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.



I miss an online chat column where we learner can chat to improve our English, both spoken and written Eng.

Hello priya,

There is no space like that here on LearnEnglish, but you might want to take a look at our Facebook page, which is a bit more interactive. I expect that there are some websites on the internet where you can chat with others. If you do this, please just be careful with your personal information for your own safety.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I write some article but not to confirm it is good or bad where should I check my article.

Hello sharmila,

That's great! I'd suggest you find a teacher where you live to check your article, as I'm afraid we don't provide the service of checking users' writing. You might want to see if anyone can help you at the British Council Centre in Kathmandu.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team,
I am Rinson from india.I can speak well but my writing language is very poor kindly help me improve my writing skills.
Thanks and Regards

Hello Rinson,

There's some general advice on improving your writing on our Frequently asked questions page. Writing for a purpose is designed for people working on their academic English, so it may or may not be the right place for you. If you let us know what kind of writing you want to do, we can try to point in some kind of direction.

You might also want to see if there's a suitable course at a British Council Centre near you in India.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi krik,
Thank you for your reply.I woul like write proper structure and porper content emails.I just learn some structures of emails but i can't write proper content.Thats my big problem so kindly help me improve my writing skills.

Thsnks and regards

Hi Rinson,

We have a series on writing emails which should be helpful. You can find it here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! My name is Mashail. I'm from Kuwait. I specialized in special education. I'm going to study PHD in Social work in England. I'm intend to improve my writing skills.

wish me luck.

hi, good day..!!! I am Noor from KSA. I am new member here. I want to be a good article writer. Could you please advise how can I improve my english for writing effective articles.

thank you.