General Expectations for Written Assignments
In order to write well in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan you will need to be watchful of linguistic elements that may not be part of the experience of writing in English or that may follow different rules in that language. Using the correct gender of a noun, keeping agreement between subject, verbs, and adjectives in a sentence, determining whether a phrase requires the subjunctive mood, placing the written accent on words that take it, etc. are an integral part of writing well in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan; as such, special attention should be given to them.
- If you are not sure of the gender of a noun, take the time to look it up in a dictionary (you can do this very quickly online); if you do not remember whether a given situation calls for por as opposed to para, do a quick review of that grammatical distinction; if you do not remember whether a given sentence requires the use of the imperfecto (as opposed to the pretérito, for instance), review the reasoning that you have learned to make that choice. In most cases you can find quickly the information you need either online or in a previously used textbook.
- Beyond the specific issues of grammar that pertain to writing in another language, you should also give the same careful attention to content and argument that you would to any text you might write in English.
- Your professors know that you are in the process of learning a language and therefore do not expect flawless prose. However, they also know what you do know, what you are capable of doing, and what you are responsible for. The quality of your writing will evince immediately whether you have budgeted your time to do your best work. Furthermore, your mastery of the language will improve significantly if you take the extra time required to write the very best Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan that you can.