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 ! how can i do writing text?


My name is Silvia and I am studying English for myself. I try to improve my writing so I am working on. I have a writing which I would be pleased if you could check and tell me what mistakes I did :) Thanks very much, Silvia xxx

Hello, my name is Silvia and I’m going to speak about an interesting ítem, it’s televisión.
The television can do that we are a lot of time watching television in front of the tv because we start don’t go out, don’t do sport, don’t meet people and also it’s a very big problem for children because they don’t spend a lot of time study just they want to relax on the sofa watching tv.
I think there are two kind of television the bad and the good one. About the bad television in my opinion shows and gossip programmes are very good for waste time without learning anything. For example, from 10 years ago, I think start a new programmes about realities. These programmes are about people who are living in a house so many times they are fighting and they don’t speak a really formal language. And other kind of programmes which I think aren’t very good are the gossip. They always want let us know about the famous lives, king’s lives about what they are doing with who people are meeting, etc. I think it’s no very interesting.
About the good programmes I think documentaries and educational programmes are very good because if you are interesting about to know history national or international, you have really good programmes with teacher from the university who explain to you. Also we have news programmes which let us know about the news and also are programmes very education if you want to know about to cook, how to look after your garden, how take care children or pets. So I think if you want to learn there is a lot of programmes.
Also it’s very interesting if you want to learn languages because you can take a movie and put the subtitles and your listening will be improved very soon. And nowadays lots and thousands of channels for everyone, sports, movies, music, news, etc.
So I think this is my idea about tv and I hope you like it and you enjoy it. Thank you

Hi Silvia,

As much as we'd like to be able to help you and other users with your writing, we cannot provide individualised feedback on texts like this one. If you have a few specific questions, then we can help you, but we are too small a team with too much work to be able to revise entire texts like this one.

If you have a few specific questions, please reply with them and we'll do our best to help you.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi how are you all ?
I have one question for you
How you can help me in business writting

Hi Jimmy,

Can you be a bit more specific, please?  What kind of business writing do you need to produce - letters, emails, contracts, marketing materials etc?  It will be easier for us to try to help you if you can be a little more precise about what you need.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi my name is Mary, i am asking how can i improve my english both speaking and writting. i am a little bit nervous when speaking. Also i need to know what to do so as i can improve my vocabularies. Thank you.

Hi Mary,

That's quite a list of areas you want to improve!  Really, what you are asking is for general improvement, I would suggest, which is fine and a perfectly good goal.

It's difficult for me to give you concrete advice without knowing more about your needs, your abilities and your interests.  However, I can give you some general suggestions.
First of all, take some time to explore the site.  Use the links at the top of the page to go to different sections and see what kinds of materials are available.  Get a feel for the level of difficulty of different sections so you can see what will be most useful to you at the moment. Work through the material, and remember that you can use the transcript to help you with the audio materials, for example by reading and listening at the same time after you have done the exercises.

Third, to improve your vocabulary keep a vocabulary notebook as you work.  Organise it by topic ('work', 'family', 'food' etc) and add words and phrases to it as you go through the material.  Test yourself regularly to see if you remember the words.

Finally, try to find time to practise English during your regular day.  Perhaps you have a friend who is also learning English, with whom you can practise speaking, or perhaps you can practise by yourself, just speaking English when you are alone at home or at work.  This kind of practice is great for developing fluency in speaking, so that when you need to use English in the 'real' world you are ready and confident.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, my name is Trang. I'm now applying for the Master's course in British university, and i also want to apply for scholarship to support my study oversea. Could you help me with this? i've taken IELTS exam, and i just got 6.0 in writing. I know that my writing skill is limited, could you tell me what could i do to improve my writing skill and to have a good personal statement?

Dear Trang
The requirements for a personal statement vary, but it is good to demonstrate that you can reflect on what you have learnt in the past, and can plan ahead for the future. Provide information about your qualifications and any personal, professional or work experiences that might help you to succeed in your studies. Say what you hope to do when you have completed your Master's programme, and explain why you want to do this.
Obviously you must be very careful to correct spelling and grammar errors before you submit your statement. However accuracy is not enough - you will need to convince your readers that you have the relevant skills and sufficient knowledge of your discipline to benefit from the programme of study you are applying for. Find out about the programme by looking on the university website. See if any reading lists are provided, or lists of publications written by university staff who teach on the programme.
Masters students are expected to take some responsibility for their own learning, so if you can demonstrate that you have already started to read and think about the topics you are going to study, this will provide some evidence that you are a keen student, with the potential to do well.
Good luck!
The Writing for a Purpose Team

Hi, I am working for Travels and Tours Company,I am not from Sales Department,but sometimes I have to write sales letter (introducing myself and explain about our services),have to reply inquiry from customer and some travel agent, my problem is I want to write well when i send sales letter or reply for some inquiry. If one of you all have very good sample letters or sample mail using the travel industry please share or advice me.