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.



Hi, team.
How are you?

I am known to him.

What's the word "Known" is in this sentence?

I was told by someone that it is not a passive sentence, it's like this, I am intelligent. And the word "known" is adjective, here?
Please let me know about this sentence, and thanks.

Hi maqsoodahmedmagsi,

There are sentences in which it is debatable whether a word is an adjective or a past participle, and arguments could be made either way. 'Known' can be used as an adjective ('a known problem') and it can be a past participle from the verb 'know'. For more information on this second for you might look at the section here on 'stative and dynamic passive'.

I think the most useful way to see this sentence is as an adjective rather than a passive, but it is a debatable point.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

my name's Tuan. i come from vietnam. i am very excited in english but i have try a lot in vocabulary and listening. i am following this page and listen Elementary Podcast. but my vocabulary is terrible even all my effort, may i have a advise to make it better? thank you alot.

Hello Tuan,

We have some pages with our best advice on how to improve all sorts of areas of English, including vocabulary. You can find those pages here - just follow the links to see our tips and advice.

Good luck!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr. Peter,

Would you mind to help me about sentence below? I feed doubt to use it:

1. Assistant of Project Management of Research Projects
2. Project Management Assistant of Research Projects

Could you please help to clarify which for is the correct form or you have any other right form this position about?

Best Regards,

Hello Rithy,

I think the best way to formulate this would be as follows:

Project Management Assistant, Research Projects

Project Management Assistant for Research Projects

However, it is very hard to be certain without knowing more information about the role.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter,

Thank a lots for your help.

Best Regards,

Thank you alot.
Best wishes.

Hello dear LearnEnglish British-Council team!
My name Orien . I am from Tajikistan . I'm working as a programmer in the Russian Federation . I know conversational English .I want to learn technical English in the field of information technology. Please advise me how to understand the technical documentation, and how to formulate a question in this area.
Thank you so much!

Hello Orien,

I'm afraid we don't currently have anything specifically dedicated to improving your technical English. The best I can do is suggest seeking help at a British Council centre (if there is one near you in the Russian Federation) or to do an internet search for 'learn technical English' or 'learn English for information technology' or something similar.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team