You are here


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.



Hello christie,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! We actually have a site specifically for IELTS candidates. It contains information about the exam, sample papers with answers (including model answers for the writing papers), grading information and much more. You can find that site here:

I'm sure our materials there will be helpful to you. Good luck!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I have a gramar question but I'm writing here as I didn't find where to do it in the gramar section. Concerning verbs followed by prepositions, in the case of agree, is it always posible to use agree on or agree with? Or does it change if the sentence is negative or affirmative?

Hello Raquel,

Both 'agree on' and 'agree with' can be used in both the positive or negative. You can see some examples in the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'agree'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello as I said before.i have difficulty to express myself and to write fluently but any of the texts I take since I'm a member of this group,I had more than 50%. I don't know really where is the problem.Any advice will be gratefully appreciated.thanks

Hello Soulmity 88,

The Writing for a Purpose section is designed for people preparing to study in the UK and requires quite a high level of English. It may be that these pages are a little too difficult for you at the moment. I suggest taking our online level test to see what materials are most appropriate for you. You can find the test here and then do a search for materials at that level using the magnifying glass in the top right of the page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

my writing in Englis is zero, what should i do for improving my writing?

Hello Phuongmai19,

This section is for improving your academic writing, but what might be more useful for you is the advice on our Frequently asked questions page. Please read that and then if you have any other questions, feel free to ask us - though please be as specific as you can, as we can give you much better advice that way.

And by the way, if you're able to write a comment like this, then your writing in English is not zero - it was perfectly intelligible!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi, i've come to this site after a long while. why cant i find the dictionary?? there used to be one on the homepage it was great .. with best explanations and examples. PLEEEASE TELL ME it's not been taken off the site? :( :(

Hi zkpb,

I'm afraid this is something which is beyond our control. It's related to a change which Cambridge have made in the services they offer, not to a decision we have taken.

You can still access Cambridge dictionaries from their site:


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team, i want to improve my writing skills, i am intermediate in english