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 cant able to understand what i hve to do properly..

Dear Dipika
Start at the introduction page - http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/writing-purpose/introduction - read it carefully and do the tasks at the bottom of the page. The numbers at the bottom of the task box allow you to move from question to question.  Press the 'next' button when you have finished the page to move on to the next one.
There are lots of exercises in the materials, so I suggest that you do a few each day. You can go back and look at previous pages, and you can  click on links to move around the site. Don't be afraid to do this! You will find lots of different exercises, video clips and examples of different types of assignments.
Good luck!
The Writing for a Purpose Team

It is good

Hello Everybody,
                           I'm new to this site.This is very helpful for me because I don't have enough time to study.I'm now working and, want to get scholars for my further studies and want to study to improve my English skills.I want to get some advices from you all to improve my skills.My English is not good.I have tested to attend British Council and i got intermediate 1.1 . But,I don't know it very well because I have never tested like that testing and never attended in classes specialized for English.That's why I'm now asking some advices from you all.Please give me some advices.
Best Regards,

i didn't love this game

Hi Guys
please tell where & how we can use in order to & in spite of

Hi Ravikant70,

We use 'in order to' to say what the goal of an action is. It is similar to just the word 'to' in this use, but is more formal. For example:

'In order to be sure I would not be late, I caught the early train.'
'To be sure I would not be late, I caught the early train.'

The order of the clauses can be changed:

'I caught the early train in order to be sure I would not be late.'
'I caught the early train to be sure I would not be late.'

We use 'in spite of' when there is something that makes an action more difficult, unexpected or unlikely, but it still happens. For example:

'In spite of the cold weather, I decided not to wear a hat.'

You can find more information about 'in spite of' here:


Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you British Council, being kind to those who wants to learn English.

I like to learn the essay fro writting task 2 for IELTS exam :) can anyone help, thanks

Hello Nhat,

You can find a lot of tips, guides, practice papers and suggestions for preparation for all parts of the IELTS exam on the British Council's TakeIELTS pages: http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org

For example, here are some useful links for you:

For an overview of the writing paper go to: http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-test/understand-test-format/...

For advice on the writing paper go to: http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-your-test/test-day-advice/wr...

For practce activities and resources go to: http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-test/british-council-online-...

For practice tests go to: http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-test/free-practice-tests

Good luck!

The LearnEnglish Team