Style Guide for Written Problems

Your carefully written submissions should attempt to incorporate as many of the following characteristics as possible:

  1. A correct response to the exercise.

  2. If possible, write the exercise as a theorem statement followed by a proof.

  3. Clear, concise, complete sentences.

  4. An organized narrative that leads the reader (considered to be a peer in the class) through to the solution of the exercise. Use of the majestic plural is encouraged. You should address the reader as if you and he are doing the exercise together.

  5. Self-contained. You should pretend that you are not writing in response to an assigned exercise, but rather that you are explaining a mathematical idea or result spontaneously--for the sheer joy of it. For proof style questions, make a clear statement of what you will prove/show, then prove/show the result in a $\LaTeX$ proof environment. Otherwise, your narrative should always begin with a description of the exercise and, in some cases, an overview of the arc of the narrative and then smoothly transition to a solution.

  6. Above & Beyond. At some point during your response, you should extend beyond what was specifically requested in the exercise. This extension can be quite brief, but it should demonstrate that you have thought about the broader context of the exercise. For example, you could simply note that the current exercise is related to some earlier idea, or you could modify the original exercise in an interesting way. The possibilities are endless.

    In a clearly separate area, let me know in a brief bullet point what you think counts for Above and Beyond. This helps me when grading.

To give you an idea, here's a sample write-up.