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 (British Academic Written English) 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.



your English usages and writing is not bad.I think you studied a lot of English .In this web, I want to get new friends and to improve my English skills with friends. I enjoy for using this site.

Santhoshacs, I love this website too. I wish everyone find it interesting and fun,  learn good and practical English (thanks to British Coucil and all the teamwork.)

Hallo I wanted to ask if you have materials where I can learn the different text sorts.
For example like a essay or a report.

Hello bashkim,
We have a whole section devoted to different sorts of academic writing, which includes information and exercises on just those text types.  It's called 'Writing for a Purpose.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much Peter. 
It is very kind form you. 


Hi Marconnie Ng,
Thank you for the nice comment!  It's great to know that we're helping people improve their English... and have fun at the same time!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

i love this website very much. it is very useful. can you suggest how to improve the vocabulary. i do many spelling mistakes how to correct and improve this.

Hello Santhosh,
Are you looking for vocabulary connected with academic writing (the topic of this page) or just vocabulary in general?
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

I like learning English but I can not perfection it !

Teach  Engilish  good