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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.



Hi team,
I am Rinson from india.I can speak well but my writing language is very poor kindly help me improve my writing skills.
Thanks and Regards

Hello Rinson,

There's some general advice on improving your writing on our Frequently asked questions page. Writing for a purpose is designed for people working on their academic English, so it may or may not be the right place for you. If you let us know what kind of writing you want to do, we can try to point in some kind of direction.

You might also want to see if there's a suitable course at a British Council Centre near you in India.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! My name is Mashail. I'm from Kuwait. I specialized in special education. I'm going to study PHD in Social work in England. I'm intend to improve my writing skills.

wish me luck.

hi, good day..!!! I am Noor from KSA. I am new member here. I want to be a good article writer. Could you please advise how can I improve my english for writing effective articles.

thank you.


Hello Noor,

What kind of articles do you need to write? If you can be a little more precise then we may be able to make some suggestions.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr Peter,

Thank you for your reply Sir.. I would like to write on social problems especially environment pollution, global warming,health issued, gender discrimination etc.

Could you please advise with tips and essential guidelines.

Best Regards.


Hello powerhouse,

Those are topics, rather than types of articles. You can find material on those topics by using the search function on the right of the page. Type in the phrase or word ('global warming' or 'environment', for example) and you'll see links to materials on those topics which will be helpful.

When I asked about types of articles I had in mind things like articles for media publication, for blogs, for academic study and so on.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Sir.
Could you please advise tips of writing for blogs.
Kindest regards.


Hello powerhouse,

I'm not sure that there are many rules relating to blogging. Obviously, it is quite a new genre which is still developing, so it may become more fixed over time. A lot depends on the topic(s) about which you plan to blog. More 'serious' topics such as public policy, politics, economics and so on will be written in a more formal and objective style with reference to sources and data, while less academic topics like sport, cooking and travel will tend to be more chatty and personal.

My advice to you is to look at existing blogs on the same or similar topics to your own and see how they are organised, what kind of language they use and so on. That will give you a good starting point. You might also find these sections on LearnEnglish useful:

Blogging or Print?

Word on the Street: Social Media

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team 

i m new here i hope you will help me to improve my English i m JOHN PAUL from Pakistan