Cultural Difference and Its Impact on Rhetoric

"When assisting ESL writers, you should remember, first and foremost, not to take anything for granted. When working with a writer who is American, you can (usually) assume that he knows what a thesis sentence is; that he understands the basic idea of the paragraph; that he will place a topic sentence at or near the beginning of each paragraph, and that he understands (at least in a general way) the rules governing plagiarism.

However, with an ESL writer, none of these principles can be assumed. The values we have as regards writing, argument, structure, and intellectual property are not universal. On the contrary: they differ from culture to culture, making the process of writing a paper for an American academic audience extremely confusing for the ESL writer. Accordingly, when you assist these writers, you should keep some of the following differences in mind."




"English as a Second Language." Dartmouth Writing Program. Dartmouth College. 7 Apr. 2009 <>.