If you are studying in a British university you will be required to do a large amount of writing, whatever your subject. Some people distinguish between "essays" and "reports", and you may also know some other names for written assignments. However, sometimes the same name is used for very different types of assignment, and different names are used for very similar types of assignment.

Some of these assignments are more common in some disciplines than in others. For example, in business Case Studies are very common, in law Problem Questions are very common, while in history and philosophy Essays are very common.

Three thousand examples of proficient British university assignments from more than 30 disciplines, such as business, engineering, law, biology, sociology and history have been collected. These form the BAWE corpus. By analysing these assignments 13 basic Genre Families of student writing can be identified and each one has been given a specific name.

The 13 Genre Families are:

Here is some more information about the background to identifying these Genre Families.

Note that the names that have been given to these assignment families have very specific meanings on this site, but you will probably find that your lecturers and your fellow students use these names much more loosely – they may for example call most written assignments "essays", and they may use the terms "essay" and "report"  interchangeably.

Try this Task to check that you understand about the BAWE project.


Task 1

Choose the correct answers for these questions about the project.



The link for BAWE mentioned above is not working!

Hello Zineddine Abdou,

Sorry about that! This link should work and I'll get the link on the page fixed as soon as I can.

Thanks very much for taking the time to tell us about this error!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I read the introduction above and found this sentence "However, sometimes the same name is used for very different types of assignment, and different names are used for very similar types of assignment."
It says "very different types of assignment". I thought it should be "very different types of assignments instead of assignments". Please clear my confusion.

Hello zjboss,

Both singular and plural are used after 'types of' and I don't think there is a hard-and-fast rule dealing with this. In some contexts there are differences in meanings. You can find a discussion of the topic here, which serves to demonstrate that it is a complex issue without any very clear single answer.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Writing is one of my hobbies, I like to write fiction stories that discuss sort of sociology issues in the society. Writing usually requires an editing in order to publish it free of any mistakes.

please I need help on how to pass the Ietls exam and I need to write the exam March 2017 for me to study abroad

Hello christie,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! We actually have a site specifically for IELTS candidates. It contains information about the exam, sample papers with answers (including model answers for the writing papers), grading information and much more. You can find that site here:


I'm sure our materials there will be helpful to you. Good luck!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I have a gramar question but I'm writing here as I didn't find where to do it in the gramar section. Concerning verbs followed by prepositions, in the case of agree, is it always posible to use agree on or agree with? Or does it change if the sentence is negative or affirmative?

Hello Raquel,

Both 'agree on' and 'agree with' can be used in both the positive or negative. You can see some examples in the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'agree'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello as I said before.i have difficulty to express myself and to write fluently but any of the texts I take since I'm a member of this group,I had more than 50%. I don't know really where is the problem.Any advice will be gratefully appreciated.thanks