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 Learn English,
"one of the boys is good at studies" or "one of the boy is good at studies". Which is correct and why?
Pl explain.

Hi josephrajeshka,

'One of the boys' is correct.  We use 'one of' with plural nouns because it means 'one from a group', and a group must be made of more than one thing.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, it is clarified.

one of the boy is good at studies . This sentence is correct .

Hi Peter,
Is it correct to use, "the accused 10 in number stand trial for the offence of gang rape" or "10 in numbers"?

Hi josephrajeshka,

We would say '10 in number' in this sentence.  The phase should also have commas before and after:

the accused, 10 in number, stand trial...

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter for your prompt reply.
As part of my profession, I have to narrate past events in my writings. Which segment of our training would be more useful for me?

Hello joseph,

There are a set of tenses commonly referred to as the "narrative tenses" that it might be useful for you to review. These tenses are the past simple, past continuous and past perfect, which you can learn more about on their respective pages as well as our past tense and talking about the past pages.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,
Thank you very much!