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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.



Please send to your site about the different of essay and news.

Hello alinazarpaiman,

News is simply information which you did not know before, often gained through the media.

Essays are a particular type of academic writing. You can learn more about them on this page.

This section of LearnEnglish is intended for people preparing to study at UK universities in English and it is aimed at relatively high level learners. Obviously I don't know your level of English but from the comments you have made I suspect it may be more helpful for you to work on other sections of the site before you try this one.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

How can I send an essay or assignment to you checking and evaluation?

Hello sulemankhan911,

I'm afraid we don't offer the service of checking and evaluating texts. Sorry!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

The link for BAWE mentioned above is not working!

Hello Zineddine Abdou,

Sorry about that! This link should work and I'll get the link on the page fixed as soon as I can.

Thanks very much for taking the time to tell us about this error!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I read the introduction above and found this sentence "However, sometimes the same name is used for very different types of assignment, and different names are used for very similar types of assignment."
It says "very different types of assignment". I thought it should be "very different types of assignments instead of assignments". Please clear my confusion.

Hello zjboss,

Both singular and plural are used after 'types of' and I don't think there is a hard-and-fast rule dealing with this. In some contexts there are differences in meanings. You can find a discussion of the topic here, which serves to demonstrate that it is a complex issue without any very clear single answer.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Writing is one of my hobbies, I like to write fiction stories that discuss sort of sociology issues in the society. Writing usually requires an editing in order to publish it free of any mistakes.

please I need help on how to pass the Ietls exam and I need to write the exam March 2017 for me to study abroad