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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.



Hello jhunung,

This section is designed to help you improve your academic writing and is generally at a high-intermediate or advanced level. Our English for Emails section is more appropriate for an intermediate level, and is designed to help you write emails. If you're interested in working on your writing in general, there's some advice on how to use our site to improve your writing on our Frequently asked questions page.

If you have any other specific questions, please feel free to ask us.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I am newcomer in this site. It is useful for me, but I need to learn more. I want to improve more in English. Could you please advise to me if i have any difficulties?

Thanks, :)

Yes I can help you

Hello Iwin1990,

Welcome to LearnEnglish!

The best place to start is our Getting Started section. Please also take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page, which has a lot of advice on how to learn most effectively, including advice on particular aspects of learning (grammar, different skills and so on).

In the comments sections of each page we try to answer any questions about the material on the page or related language or cultural aspects. We are a small team and there are many thousands of users of LearnEnglish and so we cannot answer all questions or provide online lessons, but we try to help as much as we can.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your huge efforts that's help me a lot to learn English and practice it anytime which i want.

Hello khulood mohamed,

Thank you very much for your lovely comment! It's great to know that we're helping people.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear The Learn English Team ,
i'm preparing for a final exam and i need some documents and materials about Applied Linguistics and TEFL. I would be very grateful if you help me. You can just send me some links or PDF books related to the topics.

Hello sousan,

LearnEnglish is a site for learners of English and not teachers, so this is really outside of our area. I suggest you try our sister-site, Teaching English, which is aimed at teachers of English and should be able to help you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

To, British Council

I am an English language learner, I would like to say great thanks to British Council regarding his efforts which are providing for English learners in the shape of learning website and different types of android mobile apps most of learning material we can get free of cost even peoples can registered and would be start learning without any cost this is very good for which persons who are really interested to learn English language. once again i am thankful to you.

All of thinks clear in my mind instead of one thought when all things available on website like study material , apps etc so what is the need to go British Council Center even, I checked courses fee that time these are too high how can i submit it or teacher is necessary for me. you are requested to start low fee program for serious learners who needs a native teacher but he cannot enter in the center cause of high fees and charges.

Please consider request from English lovers than, I would be a first student of your low fee program.


hi team! i'm new here, as i just found out this page, it's really helpful and LearnEnglish Team is incredible friendly, kind and polite.. thanks you so much for doing this.