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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 team
i have a question,
i want writing english
how can i start ?, can you help me writing?

Hello vinh tram nguyen,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! On our Help pages we have put together our best advice for people learning English, including on how to best improve writing. Take a look at it here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I looked at "assignment" in dictionary what I saw was it is some kind of a job needs to be handled in an amount of a time but in here it has been meant like some kind of petition or something to sum up can it be used as the meaning of petition?

Hello Metin,

An assignment in this context refers to work that a teacher assigns to a student. I'm not sure what dictionary you used, but I'd recommend using the Cambridge Dictionary, where you'll see the first meaning listed is the one I explain and which is the way the word is used on this page. The word 'petition' has a meaning that is different; although it can mean 'request', it is only rarely used in that way.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team



Hi, team.
How are you?

I am known to him.

What's the word "Known" is in this sentence?

I was told by someone that it is not a passive sentence, it's like this, I am intelligent. And the word "known" is adjective, here?
Please let me know about this sentence, and thanks.

Hi maqsoodahmedmagsi,

There are sentences in which it is debatable whether a word is an adjective or a past participle, and arguments could be made either way. 'Known' can be used as an adjective ('a known problem') and it can be a past participle from the verb 'know'. For more information on this second for you might look at the section here on 'stative and dynamic passive'.

I think the most useful way to see this sentence is as an adjective rather than a passive, but it is a debatable point.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

my name's Tuan. i come from vietnam. i am very excited in english but i have try a lot in vocabulary and listening. i am following this page and listen Elementary Podcast. but my vocabulary is terrible even all my effort, may i have a advise to make it better? thank you alot.

Hello Tuan,

We have some pages with our best advice on how to improve all sorts of areas of English, including vocabulary. You can find those pages here - just follow the links to see our tips and advice.

Good luck!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr. Peter,

Would you mind to help me about sentence below? I feed doubt to use it:

1. Assistant of Project Management of Research Projects
2. Project Management Assistant of Research Projects

Could you please help to clarify which for is the correct form or you have any other right form this position about?

Best Regards,

Hello Rithy,

I think the best way to formulate this would be as follows:

Project Management Assistant, Research Projects

Project Management Assistant for Research Projects

However, it is very hard to be certain without knowing more information about the role.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team