Spring 2023 - ENGL 371 D100

Writing: Theory and Practice (4)


Class Number: 4272

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Fri, 12:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units or two 200-division English courses. Recommended: One of English 199, 199W, or 214.



Students will engage in theoretically informed practice of writing in various non-academic genres. Emphasis will be placed on the kinds of writing that students are likely to use after graduation. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught, though students who obtained credit for English 371 prior to Summer 2015 may not take this couse for further credit.


Style: Forms of Linguistic Expression for Writers

This course focuses on style, the third of the five canons of classical rhetoric, and in particular on "The Official Style," a current prestige standard.  Richard Lanham describes "The Official Style" as "bureaucratese or jargon" and shows how it is an obfuscating yet prestigious outgrowth of the bureaucratization of North American life.  In the course, we analyze and revise texts from a variety of domains and genres with an emphasis on business, government, science, and law because these are domains where "The Official Style" predominates and because these texts often carry high stakes for general audiences. We pay sustained attention to the details and structures of English as it is used in particular texts. In the course, students learn how to analyze and revise prose, their own and others', to increase clarity and coherence for particular audiences. They practice self-reflexivity about their own language choices and learn to identify and articulate relationships among context, situation, and writing style.


  • Revision 1 25%
  • Test 25%
  • Revision 2 35%
  • Drafts 5%
  • Participation 10%


The Revision assignments ask students to analyze and revise a text from a public or professional domain like business, government, science, or law using the methods of analysis we have studied in the course.



Selected articles, available on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html