1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

mechanics

By

Definition:

In composition, the conventions governing the technical aspects of writing, including spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviations.

Some writing textbooks also include issues related to usage and organization under the broad heading of mechanics.

See also:

Spelling


Punctuation

Capitalization
Abbreviations


Examples and Observations:

  • "Mechanics, in theory, includes matters such as usage and spelling, as well as hyphenation and the use of italics. Essentially, mechanics refers to a set of conventions--how to abbreviate and when to capitalize, for example."
    (Robert DiYanni and Pat C. Hoy II, The Scribner Handbook for Writers, 3rd ed. Allyn and Bacon, 2001)


  • "Teachers using a traditional, product-oriented approach tend to focus on the formal mechanical and technical aspects of writing while paying little attention to the individual writer's communicative purposes. Thus with this approach there is a danger that, for many children, writing will become an exercise in formal mechanics divorced from personal content and intentions."
    (Joan Brooks McLane and Gillian Dowley McNamee, Early Literacy. Harvard Univ. Press, 1990)


  • "[R]evision involves critical thinking about content, with secondary consideration to mechanics and neatness. This does not mean that technical aspects of writing can be ignored but that introductions to revision that seem to privilege rote application of rules and neatness over critical interaction with text (however brief it may be for beginners) conveys entirely the wrong message to young authors. As children learn the cognitive processes involved in revision, they acquire the inclination to monitor and revise their work in all areas."
    (Terry Salinger, "Critical Thinking and Young Literacy Learners." Teaching Thinking: An Agenda for the Twenty-First Century, ed. by Cathy Collins and John N. Mangieri. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1992)
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Grammar & Composition
  4. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary
  5. Main Clause - Oxymoron
  6. mechanics - definition and examples of mechanics in composition

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.