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 i am alakananda. i want to correct my english writing.
this matter has bought to the notice of the postmaster.

Hello, Alakananda,
Thank you for your interest in The Learn English Team.
First, writing is difficult in any language, in English, it is a bit difficult.
It takes a long time to be good at writing, but if you are patient and you have your selective and identified goal why you want to be good at English writing,then it is not difficult. Ok, let us try to correct your two sentences. (1) Hi, I am Alakananda. I want to correct my English writing. (2) This matter has been brought to the notice of the postmaster.
Best wishes.

hi The Learn English Team I have send a comment few days ago but unfortunately I haven't get the answer yet . Is it possible to have in a short time . Thank you very much in advance

Hi farah rezaeibadie,

We receive many comments every day and answer them as fast as we can.  We are a small team here, however, and sometimes it takes us a few days to answer.  Please be patient and we will get to your comment.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

hi Peter your comment has been received I am willingly waiting for the answer thanks again

Hi Hang Le,

Incorrect: I'm very appreciate what you are doing for everyone.

Correct: I appreciate very much what you are doing for everyone.
Best wishes.

Hi alphabet26,

Thanks for helping Hang Le and offering to help other users - your English is clearly good and I'm sure Hang Le and others will be grateful for your feedback.

Please note that we are very happy for users to communicate and help each other, but when you do this, it's important that it be clear from the tone that you are another user who is helping. We just don't want other users to get confused.

Thanks and best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Is it possible to have a correction of an essay using the Britishcouncil forum site? Planning to sit for a IELTS exam, a comment on one will be appreciated... Thanks

Hi MayelaM,

I'm sorry, but we are too small a team in comparison with the millions of people who use the site to be able to offer any kind of individualised feedback on users' writing. Perhaps you could find a teacher near where you live who could help you? It can also be really useful to see sample IELTS essays - there are a couple available on TakeIELTS and I'm sure you could find others by doing an internet search.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

The four skills are all important but to me the most difficult one is writing which is essential in educational field as well as the daily Life.