Texas A&M University Direct Request Letter Paper

WI Chapter 6 Direct Request Letter Rubric

The assignment is at the bottom. Almost everything covered to date is incorporated into this rubric. Page numbers are included to help you refer back to things you need to review. Most mistakes are worth a half point or less. However, there are some mistakes that are more serious than others; mistakes worth a full point deduction are noted on the rubric.

Writing Techniques – worth three points

(-3 points for 6 or more mistakes) _ (-2 points for 4-5 mistakes) _(-1 point for 2-3 mistakes) _(full credit for 0-1 mistakes)

__1___ Cultivate “You” view and stress audience benefits WHEN APPROPRIATE (pgs. 44-45).

__2___ Be conversational but professional (pgs. 45 – 46). *Business writing should be conversational. Ask yourself, “Would I phrase it in this way if I were speaking to someone face to face?”

__3___ State things positively whenever possible and avoid unnecessary negative words (pgs. 47 – 48). Be courteous (pg.48 – 49), and use a proper tone overall

__4___ Use bias-free language (pgs. 49 – 50).

__5___ Use plain but precise language (pgs. 50 – 51). *For example one should use “honesty” instead of “candor.”

__6___ Develop parallelism in writing as well as in bulleted/numbered points (pgs. 72 – 73).

__7___ Keep paragraphs short (pg. 75). Our text recommended that paragraphs be eight or fewer lines.

__8___ You must use an emphasis technique – Emphasis important information through mechanics or style. Many opt to use bulleted points (pg. 97) for one sentence questions, or use category headings (pg. 98) to group related questions together.

__9___ Be concise: avoid flabby expressions, long lead-ins, filler words (there is/are & it is/was), redundancy, and empty words (pgs 88 – 91). *Remember that audience writing should be concise and audience oriented. Not everything in the writing prompt is useful information for the reader of your letter.

_10___ Be clear. Avoid trite business phrases, slang, buzzwords, clichés. Don’t bury verbs or use unclear words (pgs. 92 – 95).

Grammar/Mechanics – worth three points (grammar/mechanics rules in Appendix D are referenced)

(-3 points for 6 or more mistakes) _ (-2 points for 4-5 mistakes) _(-1 point for 2-3 mistakes) _(full credit for 0-1 mistakes)

_20____ Avoid: fragments and run-ons (pgs. 68 – 69). *These are major issues and will result in one full point deduction for every occurrence not to exceed – 3 points.

_21____ Avoid comma splices (p. 69).

_22____ Check noun-verb agreement (G/M 1.10 a. – j.) and pronoun case (G/M 1.07 -1.09).

_23____ Use colons properly. A list should always be preceded by a complete thought punctuated with a colon (G/M 2.17a).

_24____ Avoid comma mistakes:

  • Use a comma before the conjunction for items in a series to ensure separation of the last two elements (G/M 2.01).
  • Use a comma(s) to set off the names of individuals being addressed (G/M 2.02).
  • Use a comma(s) to set off parenthetical expressions IF they interrupt the flow of a sentence AND are unnecessary for grammatical completeness (G/M 2.03).
  • Use a comma(s) to set off the second and succeeding elements of dates, address, and geographical items (G/M 2.04 a).
  • Use a comma before and, or, nor, or but if the conjunction joins independent clauses (a group of words that has a subject and a verb AND could stand as a complete sentence) (G/M 2.05).
  • Use a comma after an introductory dependent clause (G/M 2.06 a).
  • Use a comma after an introductory phrase if it has four or more words OR if it contains a verb form (G/M 2.07).
  • Do not use commas needlessly (G/M 2.15).

_25___ Apply capitalization rules correctly:

  • Do not capitalize titles common titles in a sentence that follow names or appear alone (G/M 3.06 c and d).
  • Capitalize the names of departments within your own organization (G/M 3.09).

_26___ Apply dates rules properly. Numbers appearing after month should be written as cardinal figures (1, 2, 3, etc.). (G/M 4.03).

_27___ Avoid spelling/typo/omitted or doubled word issues by carefully proofreading your work.

Letter Formatting – worth 2 points – See page 152

(-2 points for 4 or more mistakes)________ (-1 point for 2-3 mistakes) ________(full credit for 0 – 1 mistakes) __

_30____ Use left alignment with ragged right margins.

_31____ Use single-spacing within paragraphs, inside address, and signature block. Leave one blank line between paragraphs.

_32____ Set margins at 1.5 inches for short letters (under 200 words) and 1 inch for longer letters (over 200 words).

_33____ Leave anywhere from two to ten blank lines following the date to balance the message on the page.

_34____ Use letterhead with all necessary information and include an inside address. *See what information is provided and make up/look up the rest.

_ 35____ Include dateline (month spelled out, day, and year) 1 blank line below letterhead or 2 in. from top.

_ 36____ Use proper salutation, complimentary close, and block style signature block for a letter on letterhead.

_37_____ Use a 12 – point font size for easier grading even though a 10-point or 11-point are acceptable.

_38_____ Use either a sans serif font (Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, or Verdana) for a clean look or a serif font (Times New Roman) for a traditional look.

Important – This assignment should not exceed one page. Business writing should be concise and audience oriented.

Organization for Direct Request – worth 2 points – See page 153

(-2 points for 4 or more mistakes)________ (-1 point for 2-3 mistakes) ________(full credit for 0 – 1 mistakes) __

_40____ Organize it as a Direct Request. Ask the most important question or express a polite command in the first sentence or one full point will be deducted.

_41____ Explain the request logically and courteously next. You will need to know what an Applied Learning Experience is in order to explain the request.

_42____ Address all questions from writing prompt and add other logical questions per the writing prompt next.

_43____ Request a specific action with an end date and reason for the end date in the closing.

_44____ Show appreciation in the closing.

Important – The writing plan on page 153 does NOT mean you should have three paragraphs. Some students will be able to write this very concisely in less than three paragraphs; others students, in more than three paragraphs. Consider the opening, body, and closing more of an indication of the order of information.

Other possible point overall point deductions

_50___ Use your own words. A certain phrases in the writing prompt was purposefully included to tempt you into not thinking of a more concise way to say it. Lifting that phrase from the writing prompt will result in up to one half point deduction.

_51___ Check for comprehension. Read the prompt several times as you write your paper. Ask questions if you aren’t sure about the content. Read the prompt one more time before you submit your assignment to make sure you have all the details correct. Misunderstood content results in one full point deduction.

_52___ Students that submit the wrong file type will have one full point deducted from their grade if it won’t open within Blackboard.

WI Chapter 6 Direct Request Letter Assignment

You are an intern in the Center for Transformative Learning and have been tasked with finding new Applied Learning Experiences (ALEs) for Tarleton students. Your boss needs to expand the philanthropic and community relations and especially employee volunteerism. She heard about Southeastern Guide Dogs, a program in which volunteers raise puppies until they are old enough to enter their guide dog training program, and thinks this would be an excellent outreach program for an ALE. Students could give back to the community in their role as puppy raisers. You have been asked to request information about the program and ask questions that a student interested in raising a puppy might ask. She doesn’t have time to think about all the details and relies on you to raise other logical questions including who pays for the costs of raising a puppy.

Write a direct request letter to John Smith, Volunteer Coordinator, Southeastern Guide Dogs, 4210 77th Street, Palmetto, FL 34221.

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