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About this book

Featuring clear and comprehensive guidance on the nuts and bolts of grammar, this concise volume will help students to break their bad habits and tackle written assignments with confidence. It enables students to improve their overall performance by addressing common problems, such as spelling and punctuation errors and sentence structure, in an accessible way.

Each unit is presented on a double-page spread, making it easy for users to flick through the book and quickly find the unit they need. Units provide clear, jargon-free explanations of key topics and contain focused exercises for students to complete.

This is an essential resource for students of all disciplines looking to improve their grammar. It can be used on teacher-led modules or as a self-study workbook.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
What is Improve Your Grammar? Improve Your Grammar is a study and practice book for students attending or planning to attend university or college. It concentrates on the specific areas of grammar and coherence where students frequently make mistakes, and deals with these in a straightforward, accessible way. The units feature: clear, jargon-free explanations a consistent focus on key grammar and coherence areas examples of typical student errors, with corrections tips and key advice a realistic academic context across a range of subject areas easy-to-use practice exercises, with answers. What are the book’s aims? Improve Your Grammar aims to: correct students’ grammatical mistakes encourage students to write in an appropriate academic style extend students’ range of expression help students to break out of bad habits and thereby improve overall performance in their subject areas. What kind of problems does it deal with? Improve Your Grammar addresses common problems experienced by a large number of students, such as: writing sentences that are grammatically incomplete using commas, semicolons and inverted commas incorrectly
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

1. Parts of speech

Abstract
In grammar, there are different types of word (such as ‘noun’, ‘adjective’ or ‘verb’) and phrase, which are called parts of speech or word classes. Nouns A noun is a word used for a thing or a person: book, tutor Many nouns can be singular or plural: source, sources Some nouns are called ‘uncountable’ because they cannot be used in a plural form: education, health Verbs A verb is a word used for an action or a state: write, think A verb tense is the form of a verb used for the present, the past or the future: wrote, will write, was thinking See 4 Correct tense formation. An auxiliary is a form of the verbs ‘to be’ or ‘to have’ that is used to create some verb tenses: has given, was thinking An auxiliary is also used for forming negative verbs: did not happen, are not working and questions: did it happen? have they seen it? A modal verb is a verb that goes with another verb to express various ideas or shades of meaning. Modal verbs are may, might, can, could, should, must, ought to, would, will, shall: should happen, would not have happened, might be changing See 6 Modal verbs. A participle is a form of a verb used in various verb tenses.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

2. Parts of a sentence

Abstract
A sentence is a group of words with one or more ‘clauses’. It begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark. A sentence can be short or long. Understanding how a sentence works will help you to produce grammatically accurate writing. A sentence contains one or more clauses. It must have a main clause. In a longer sentence, each clause can be seen as a building block, adding to the overall meaning. A sentence that contains two or more clauses is called a complex sentence. Clauses are normally separated by commas. A sentence may consist of a main clause and one or more dependent clauses, such as a participle clause or a relative clause. The underlined parts of the sentences below are dependent clauses. They could not be presented separately as sentences as they do not make sense on their own. Clauses may follow one after the other: participle clause 1 Which of these is not a sentence, and why? a The education system in Britain has changed many times in the last hundred years. b Education, one of the biggest issues in British society for a very long time. c Critics considered the 11-plus exam to be an unfair way of deciding the futures of children. d Admissions policies vary from school to school.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

3. Singular or plural subjects and verbs

Abstract
Identifying the subject of a verb In a complex sentence a verb can be a long way from its subject and it is easy to get confused about whether it should be singular or plural. Group nouns Group nouns may not end with ‘s’ or ‘es’, but they still have a plural meaning as they refer to a large number of people or things. Words like police, government, class, crowd, team, public, audience, press, family, community, population and staff are examples of group nouns. If the word is used to refer to the group as a single unit, use a singular verb: A child’s family has a huge influence on his or her education. The teacher reported that the class was very well behaved. If the word is used to refer to the various members in the group, use a plural verb: The child’s family were not all living in the same house. The class were from different cultural and economic backgrounds. Note that ‘police’ is always used with a plural verb: The police regularly visit the school to give talks to the pupils. Everybody, everyone, nobody and no one are grammatically singular words and so must be used with singular verbs: Everybody in the teaching profession is in agreement about the new policy.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

4. Correct tense formation

Abstract
A verb tense is the form of the verb that relates to the time when something happens. Past simple (I did it) and present perfect (I have done it) Look at these incorrect sentences and consider why the underlined verb tenses are wrong. Since the 1980s, an increasing number of people in the UK did courses enabling them to practise as counsellors. Two decades ago, the number of professionals involved in counselling has grown suddenly. What’s wrong: The wrong tenses are used. The choice of tense must match the time that is being referred to in the sentence. Use the past simple tense if you are referring to a time in the past and talking about something that was completed at that time: During the first session, the counsellor asked a number of general questions. Use the present perfect tense when the time mentioned includes the past and the present: In the sessions so far, the counsellor has tried to identify the exact nature of the problem. Past simple (I did it) and present perfect (I have done it) Look at these incorrect sentences and consider why the underlined verb tenses are wrong. Since the 1980s, an increasing number of people in the UK did courses enabling them to practise as counsellors.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

5. Using more than one verb tense

Abstract
In July last year, an experiment was set up, in which different groups of participants who had not previously met and who had not received any preparation, answered questions while they were dealing with a number of different tasks. Pay particular attention to your use of tenses when you are using two or more verbs in the same sentence. Look at the verb tenses in bold in these incorrect sentences from reports on research. 1 Incorrectly mixing past and present tenses The groups went into separate rooms so that they can’t hear each other. What’s wrong: The first verb is in the past and so the second verb must also be in the past. The groups went into separate rooms so that they couldn’t hear each other. To describe how this experiment works in general, however, you could use the present for both verbs: In this experiment, the groups go into separate rooms so that they can’t hear each other. Describing one past action that followed another past action Once they completed the tasks in Room A, the groups went into Room B. What’s wrong: The past perfect, describing an earlier action that allows a second action to happen, should be used in the first part of the sentence: Once they had completed the tasks in Room A, the groups went into Room B.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

6. Modal verbs

Abstract
Fashion imagery may promote extreme dieting among some young people. Modal verbs are used before other verbs to express various meanings such as possibilities and obligations. Can, could, may, might, must, need, ought to and should are modal verbs. Used correctly, modal verbs are a key way of expressing ‘attitude’ or point of view in your writing. For example, writers often use them for hedging purposes in order to suggest that something may be the case, rather than stating baldly that it is the case. Used correctly, modal verbs are a key way of expressing ‘attitude’ or point of view in your writing. For example, writers often use them for hedging purposes in order to suggest that something may be the case, rather than stating baldly that it is the case. Problems with past forms 1 Incorrect use of ‘could’ After extensive negotiations, BJ Separates could make an exclusive agreement with CTY Designs. What’s wrong: You cannot use could for a specific achievement in the past. Instead, you need to use was/ were able to or managed to or succeeded in. After extensive negotiations, BJ Separates was able to make/managed to make/succeeded in making an exclusive agreement with CTY Designs.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

7. Using the passive

Abstract
The passive is a verb form. Verbs can be in the active or passive form. An active verb is used when the subject ‘does’ the verb: The voters of Merthyr Tydfil elected Keir Hardie as the first Labour Party MP in 1900. The subject is ‘voters’ and they ‘elected’. A passive verb is used when the subject does not ‘do’ the verb: Keir Hardie was elected as the first Labour MP by the voters of Merthyr Tydfil in 1900. The subject is ‘Keir Hardie’ but he did not ‘elect’ – the voters ‘elected’. In the example above, the passive is more effective because Keir Hardie is the main focus of the sentence, not the voters. The passive is made using a form of the verb be + past participle (designed, taken, etc.). Here are examples in the main tenses, and in the modal, gerund and infinitive forms: A candidate is chosen by a constituency party.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

8. Direct and indirect questions

Abstract
Sentences using ‘if’ are called conditionals. They contain two parts: the ‘if’ clause (expressing the condition), and a ‘result’ clause. The ‘if’ clause can come first or second. If it comes first, you need a comma after it: If Worraltech plc had invested in new technology, it would have survived the recession. Worraltech plc would have survived the recession if it had invested in new technology. Writing Tip Conditional sentences are an effective way of linking causes with effects, both real and speculative. ‘Real’ conditionals The ‘zero’ conditional has a present tense in both clauses, and describes a situation with an inevitable (or highly likely) outcome: If you are self-employed, submitting a tax return is a legal requirement. NOTE: ‘if’ can often be replaced by ‘when’. The ‘first’ conditional has a present tense in the ‘if’ clause and a future tense in the result clause, and describes a possible action, with a likely outcome: If Bygress plc cuts its costs, it will survive the recession. Provided that/as long as can replace if when the meaning is ‘only if’ or ‘on condition that’: Provided that/As long as demand outstrips supply, the price will continue to rise.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

9. Conditionals (If …)

Abstract
Sentences using ‘if’ are called conditionals. They contain two parts: the ‘if’ clause (expressing the condition), and a ‘result’ clause. The ‘if’ clause can come first or second. If it comes first, you need a comma after it: If Worraltech plc had invested in new technology, it would have survived the recession. Worraltech plc would have survived the recession if it had invested in new technology. Writing Tip Conditional sentences are an effective way of linking causes with effects, both real and speculative. ‘Real’ conditionals The ‘zero’ conditional has a present tense in both clauses, and describes a situation with an inevitable (or highly likely) outcome: If you are self-employed, submitting a tax return is a legal requirement. NOTE: ‘if’ can often be replaced by ‘when’. The ‘first’ conditional has a present tense in the ‘if’ clause and a future tense in the result clause, and describes a possible action, with a likely outcome: If Bygress plc cuts its costs, it will survive the recession. Provided that/as long as can replace if when the meaning is ‘only if’ or ‘on condition that’: Provided that/As long as demand outstrips supply, the price will continue to rise.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

10. Time words and phrases

Abstract
Writing Tip There are a number of expressions connected with time that are more appropriate in academic writing than the simpler ones used in spoken and informal language. Read this paragraph from an economics essay and look at the words and phrases in bold that refer to the times when things happen. At that point, the worst of the economic crisis was yet to happen. Countries knew that they could not go on adding to their debt burden any longer, but paying down their debt proved to be beyond many of them. Various emergency measures were carried out but as it turned out these were to provide only temporary respite. They dealt with the immediate crisis, only to exacerbate the problems later on. During the course of the next few years, one crisis followed another. Meanwhile, unemployment was rising, as was inflation. So far, nothing had worked and the biggest crisis of all was soon to follow. Future time As well as writing about the ‘future in the present’, we also write about the ‘future in the past’. Have/be + yet/still + infinitive Used to talk about things that have not happened but might happen in the future: The full repercussions of the financial crisis haven’t been felt yet.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

11. Emphasising

Abstract
Emphatic language strengthens a writer’s argument. People need to appreciate that speeding causes accidents. Although you often need to be cautious in academic writing, there will be other times when your tutor will expect you to express strong and confident arguments. Read this text and look at the phrases in bold. Mass tourism undoubtedly brings problems as well as benefits to newly discovered regions. Only by examining a key set of issues in detail can we decide whether a town or region has actually benefited from tourism. A good place to start is the local economy. What one will notice quite quickly is the number of new businesses that have emerged since the first influx of visitors. All of these may have brought in new income and created jobs, but it is their seasonal nature that distinguishes them from the traditional economy: when the tourists leave, the restaurants and souvenir shops in the main tourist areas – and the streets themselves – go into a kind of hibernation, perhaps for six months on end, during which time nothing happens at all. Look at these sentences about travel and find a mistake in each one. It is the lack of information what makes travellers angry when there are airport delays. What are passengers looking for is a train service that is punctual and not overcrowded. Only by acting on consumer feedback travel companies can improve their performance.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

12. Negative words and phrases

Abstract
The Minister did not offer an apology at any point. → At no point did the Minister offer an apology. We can make a sentence more emphatic by placing a negative phrase (‘At no point’) at the beginning, after which we may need to reverse the normal word order (‘did the Minister’). There are a number of negative words and phrases that can be very effective in academic writing. They are not commonly used in informal speech but are very appropriate in more formal contexts such as essays. In this paragraph, note the negative words and phrases in bold and the word order that follows them. This was a particularly difficult period for the Government. No matter what they did, everything seemed to go wrong. Neither their handling of the economy at home nor their foreign policies abroad proved effective. No sooner had they weathered one storm than another arrived. At no time were they able to get to grips with events. Some MPs faced a dilemma: they did not want to rebel publicly against the leadership, but neither could they allow things to continue in this way. Not since the leadership battle of 20 years earlier had there been such a key moment in the party’s history. Negative words and phrases using the question pattern When you place the words or phrases below at the beginning of a sentence to emphasise its negative nature, you need to place the auxiliary or modal verb (be, have, could, will, etc.)
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

13. Gerunds and infinitives

Abstract
If we fail to improve distribution by December, we will risk losing our share of the market. A gerund is a verb that ends with ’-ing’ → losing An infinitive is to + verb → to improve Use this unit to learn whether verbs are followed by the infinitive or the gerund, then check your writing to make sure that you have got them right. Read this paragraph from an essay about industrial relations and look at the verb forms in bold. At the meeting, senior management and union leaders discussed implementing new working practices and scales of pay. They attempted to reach agreement on these issues and each side expected the other side to compromise. However, finding solutions to some of the areas of disagreement proved extremely difficult. To give everyone an opportunity to consult their colleagues, the meeting was adjourned. When the talks resumed, management tried to make the union leaders see how important it was to modernise but they remained opposed to implementing some of the ideas. Union representatives denied causing the talks to break down. The management were unable to justify imposing unfair terms on the workforce. It was clear that the proposal would entail/involve/mean making 200 people redundant. Union officials would not contemplate/consider agreeing to the terms. Strikers described/mentioned being reluctant to go on strike.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

14. Articles: a/an, the

Abstract
The grammatical term for a/an and the is articles: a/an is the indefinite article; the is the definite article. Not using articles correctly is a basic error that will give a bad impression of your work. It is essential to use an article when it is required and it is just as essential not to use an article when it is wrong to do so. Read this paragraph from an essay on media and look at when articles are used and not used. The birth of what is now commonly called celebrity culture can be traced to the 1980s. Before then, a famous person could assume that he or she could maintain some privacy out of the glare of the media and without attracting the attention of the public. There were gossip columns in newspapers and of course scandals were common, but life was different for celebrities until the 1980s. During that decade there was a huge change in attitudes towards famous people and this coincided with the arrival of new magazines such as Hello. The celebrities they covered were paid large sums to give readers an insight into their private lives and the stories and interviews in the magazines took an uncritical view of their subjects. The change in attitudes started here. Use ‘a/an’ … to talk about one of many, but not a particular one: a famous person → any famous person when you are using a singular noun for the first time, not referring to someone or something already mentioned: a huge change → the word ‘change’ is introduced here.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

15. Relative clauses: who, which, that, etc.

Abstract
Brunel was the engineer who first realised the potential of wider tracks for higher-speed trains. The clause in bold above is called a relative clause, and the word ‘who’ is a relative pronoun. Rules There are two types of relative clause: 1 ‘Defining clauses’, where the information in the clause is essential to the sentence: The integrated circuit was the key development that led to the personal computer. The patients who had listened to music before surgery seemed to have experienced less pain. Without the relative clause, these sentences lose their meaning. In defining clauses, ‘that’ is generally used instead of ‘which’ (and also instead of ‘who’, although this is less common in academic English). 2 ‘Non-defining clauses’, where the information in the clause is useful, but additional: Optical fibres, which have a much higher capacity than copper cables, have revolutionised the telecommunications industry. Without the relative clause, the sentence still conveys its basic meaning. In non-defining clauses you may not replace ‘which’ or ‘who’ with ‘that’, and the clause itself must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

16. Comparing and contrasting

Abstract
Adjective: good; comparative adjective: better; superlative adjective: best/worst. Adverb: quickly; comparative adverb: more quickly; superlative adverb: most quickly. Add -er/-est to one-syllable adjectives (adj.) and adverbs (adv.): (adj.) low → lower → lowest; (adv.) soon → sooner → soonest; but ‘double’ the consonant when there is a single vowel + a single consonant: big → bigger → biggest; hot → hotter → hottest. Add -er/-est to two-syllable adjectives ending in -ow, -er (and -y, but change the -y to -i): narrow → narrower → narrowest; clever → cleverer → cleverest; noisy → noisier → noisiest. Use more/most or less/least with adverbs and all other adjectives of two syllables or more: (adv.) efficiently → more/less efficiently → most/least efficiently; (adj.) famous → more/less famous → most/least famous. Note the exceptions: (adj.) good/(adv.) well → better → best; (adj.) bad/(adv.) badly → worse → worst; far → further → furthest (farther/farthest is also possible, but less common).
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

17. Describing similarities and differences

Abstract
You do not have to present one thing as a stark contrast to another – ‘it’s bigger’. You can use a whole range of words and expressions to write with precision and ensure that your reader has a clear idea of what you are saying. The cave in the rocks turned out to be at least four times bigger than geologists had expected. Read this short text on river pollution, noting the words and phrases that are used to describe similarities and differences. Although the Danube is more than twice as long as the Rhine, both are similar in that they have their sources in central Europe. The Danube, however, unlike the westward-flowing Rhine, travels east through countries that have not been able to invest in expensive water-treatment plants. While the Rhine Action Programme has ensured that the river is 80 per cent cleaner than it was 20 years ago, the Danube Pollution Reduction Programme, in contrast, has been far less successful. Modifying adjectives and adverbs For structures with a comparative adjective or adverb (+ than), you can use much, a great deal, far, or the opposites slightly, a little, marginally – or percentages (as in the text above): Earthquake damage is much greater in areas where housing was poorly constructed.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

18. Using noun phrases

Abstract
Building sentences around nouns rather than verbs or adjectives is a typical feature of academic English, and helps to create its impersonal style. Creating sentences based on nouns Compare these two sentences on the subject of local politics. If community groups get together to buy land, they can, in some cases, prevent it from being developed. → This sentence is built around the underlined verbs. The joint purchase of land by community groups enables them, in some cases, to prevent development. → This sentence is built around a noun phrase and a noun (both in bold). Here are some ways of creating sentences based on nouns. 1 Using the noun form of verbs or adjectives Councillors criticised the way in which newspapers covered the local elections. Councillors criticised newspaper coverage of the local elections. Several councillors wondered how reliable the traffic statistics were. Several councillors questioned the reliability of the traffic statistics. Using nouns and noun phrases makes it possible to put the important idea (e.g. the joint purchase of land ) at the front of the sentence.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

19. Commas (1): correct uses

Abstract
Commas are used to break up sentences so that they are clear and easy to follow: The journalist who reported on the agreement for The Economist Mary Scott said she had received intimidating phone calls. → The journalist who reported on the agreement for The Economist, Mary Scott, said she had received intimidating phone calls. Writing Tip Commas are more than just a pause in a sentence. They can be vital to its meaning. Commas separating clauses Look carefully at the use of commas in these sentences from essays about international relations. Clauses with participles Relations between the two countries became strained, leading to open hostility. The talks having broken down, relations between the two countries became even more strained. Non-defining relative clauses (which give additional information) There was disagreement on a number of foreign-policy issues, which caused relations between the two countries to become strained. NOTE: You must not use a comma before a de.ning relative clause – that is, one that gives essential information without which the sentence would not make sense: These were among the issues that caused relations between the two countries to become strained.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

20. Commas (2): incorrect uses

Abstract
Writing Tip Even if the rest of your sentence is perfectly good, adding commas where they should not be used will automatically lower the standard of your work. Remember! Read back every sentence you have written to make sure that any commas you have put in really should be there. Never use a comma … with a clause beginning ‘that …’: The exam results indicated, that children were improving at maths and science. The Department of Education announced, that there would be reforms to the system. between a subject and its verb Teachers with many years of experience, were beginning to leave the profession. between two subjects linked by ‘and’: The professor, and his colleagues carried out important research into primary education in the UK. in a phrase involving a group of words that belong together as a single unit: for example – between a noun or an adjective and a preposition that goes with it: There was a considerable improvement, in the performance of boys in that age group. Many in the teaching profession were enthusiastic, about the proposed changes to the curriculum. between a verb and a word or phrase that goes with it: Parents in general viewed the changes, as a positive move.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

21. Colons and semicolons

Abstract
Writing Tip Some people avoid using colons (:) and semicolons (;) because they are not sure how to use them correctly or appropriately. However, these punctuation marks are useful and important features of academic writing. Colons Read these sentences from a social studies essay and find the punctuation errors. A government report highlighted three main causes of crime in the inner city. High unemployment, poor housing and family breakdown. The report concluded as follows. ‘Solving the problems of the inner city is not simply a question of providing money for initiatives.’ The report raised one serious question, how could these problems best be addressed to improve quality of life for those in the inner city? A government report highlighted three main causes of crime in the inner city: high unemployment, poor housing and family breakdown. ← Colon before a list The report concluded as follows: ‘Solving the problems of the inner city is not simply a question of providing money for initiatives.’ ← Colon before a quotation The report raised one serious question: how could these problems best be addressed to improve quality of life for those in the inner city? ← Colon before an explanation of something just mentioned (what the ‘serious question’ is)
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

22. Hyphens, dashes and brackets

Abstract
A hyphen (-) has no space before or after it: semi-detached. A dash (–) has a space both before and after it: It worked – but only for a short time. Brackets () must come in pairs: (in other words, one at the beginning and one at the end). Writing Tip Hyphens are not used these days as much as they used to be, but there are certain times when you should use one. Brackets and dashes can be used effectively in academic work to separate information in sentences. Hyphens You should use a hyphen: between parts of an adjective formed from two or more complete words: middle-aged user-friendly customer-driven after certain prefixes: e.g. semi-, ex-, counter-, e-, self-: semi-detached ex-colleague counter-productive e-commerce self-conscious with co- if referring to people: co-author co-founder (but note that, over time, hyphens have been dropped from some words, such as semicircle and countermeasure) for words consisting of a number and another word: a three-stage process for an age used as an adjective: a 40-year-old man BUT 40 years old in phrases beginning well and with certain other phrases, only if they are used before a noun: state-of-the-art equipment up-to-date information well-planned courses long-term solutions BUT: The equipment is state of the art./Keep up to date with all the latest information./A club that is well known for its friendliness./A plan that might work in the long term.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

23. Apostrophes

Abstract
Writing Tip Despite the misuse and omission of apostrophes in some forms of everyday English, they are an important feature of academic writing and distinguish a ‘sloppy’ writer from a careful one. Read these sentences on the subject of US history and find the punctuation errors. It could be argued that Kennedys assassination contributed to the upheaval that took place in the 1960’s in the US. The Vietnam War and it’s repercussions had a profound influence on US society and its a subject that still arouses strong feelings. What’s wrong: There is one missing apostrophe and one apostrophe that should not be there in each sentence. The sentences should read: It could be argued that Kennedy’s assassination contributed to the upheaval that took place in the 1960s in the US. The Vietnam War and its repercussions had a profound influence on US society and it’s a subject that still arouses strong feelings. Nouns and names Use an apostrophe and s (’s) when something belongs to, is connected with or is done by someone or something: after a name: Barack Obama’s presidency/party/policies
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

24. Inverted commas

Abstract
Inverted commas can be single (‘ ’) or double (“ ”). When used for quoting actual words used by people in speech or written material, they are also called ‘quotation marks’ or ‘speech marks’. Academic writing often involves the use of inverted commas, particularly when incorporating other people’s words into your own writing. Therefore, it is essential to use them correctly. Read this paragraph from a social studies essay and notice how inverted commas are used: This report was considered ‘ground-breaking’ at the time because it indicated that changes in attitudes at all levels of society were taking place. ‘The established patterns of family life are being broken,’ the report stated, ‘and this is having a major impact on the lives of a great many people.’ The report began by looking at what these ‘established patterns’ were and went on to detail the ‘drastic changes’ that were taking place. It concluded: ‘Whether or not people in general are happy about it, the truth is that society is changing forever.’
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

25. Capital letters

Abstract
Writing Tip Even if your writing is otherwise very good, failing to use capital letters where they are required, or using them where they should not be used, will spoil it. When to use capital letters People the name of a person: Martin Simpson a person’s title, e.g. Mr, Mrs, Ms, Professor, President, Prime Minister, Sir, etc.: Professor Olivia Peters, President Nixon, Prime Minister Places a building or landmark: Westminster Abbey, Sydney Opera House a geographical feature: the (River) Thames, Mount Everest, Yosemite National Park a street or district: Hollywood Boulevard, the district of Kensington in London the name of a village/town/city, county, state or region: Los Angeles, California, Scandinavia a country or continent: the capital city of Wales, in Africa, the United Arab Emirates NOTE: With north, south, eastern, western, etc. only use a capital if it is part of the name of a country or region: South Africa, South-East Asia, in the southern states of America Days and months (but not seasons) November/Saturday/in the winter Planets the Earth, Jupiter, Mars, the Moon Nationalities and languages French politicians, speak French/the Spanish Historical periods and events the Middle Ages, the Russian Revolution
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

26. Linking: contrasting

Abstract
A linker is a word or phrase that connects sentences or parts of sentences, e.g. but, however, in spite of, on the other hand. Writing Tip Sophisticated and varied linking allows you to present contrasting ideas more clearly, and makes it easier for the reader to absorb information. Read this introductory paragraph to an essay about the Welfare State in Britain and look at how the ideas and points are connected. The Welfare State in Britain was created immediately after the Second World War, but British society has changed a great deal since then. Aspects of the Welfare State, such as the NHS and the old-age pension, have been regarded as untouchable by every political party, but some experts say this should not continue to be the case. It is desirable to have a ‘safety net’ for the poorest in society, they say, but it is not economically sustainable for the taxpayer to fund all these benefits. What’s wrong: The linking of points and ideas is too basic and repetitive; everything is linked with ‘but’. More varied and sophisticated linking words and phrases could be used to give the paragraph a more academic style and to make the points clearer.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

27. Linking: adding

Abstract
Writing Tip Using linking words and phrases that are not as simple as the ones you might use in conversation can enable you to connect and emphasise ideas and facts in a coherent, effective way. Read this paragraph from a business case study and look at how the points are connected. Zolltrack modernised its factory in Thirsk and it invited management consultants Clarto to conduct an audit of its staff development provision and make recommendations. Very few Zolltrack staff had applied for funds to upgrade their qualifications, according to Clarto, and the internal workshops had little relevance to the actual needs of participants and were poorly attended. What’s wrong: The over-use of ‘and’ to link the ideas makes the linking too simplistic. Here is the paragraph with better linking: In addition to modernising its factory in Thirsk, Zolltrack invited management consultants Clarto to conduct an audit of its staff-development provision and make recommendations. Not only had very few Zolltrack staff applied for funds to upgrade their qualifications, according to Clarto, but also the internal workshops had little relevance to the actual needs of participants, and were poorly attended. Here are some examples of how linkers for adding information are used.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

28. Linking: causes

Abstract
Writing Tip In conversation, causes and results are often described using simple words like ‘and’, ‘because’ and ‘so’. In academic writing, you will need to use a variety of more sophisticated words and phrases. Read this paragraph from a sociology essay and look at how the causes and results are connected. The closure of a series of coal mines in the UK during the 1980s brought about a severe rise in regional unemployment. Since many of the pit towns and villages had relied almost entirely on the local mine as a source of work, very few alternatives were available to local men of employable age. Due to the fact that employment prospects were so bleak, many of them came to the conclusion that their working lives were effectively finished. Verbs Cause/bring about 1 With noun phrase The Industrial Revolution caused/brought about the growth of the city. The growth of cities in Britain was caused/brought about by the Industrial Revolution. 2 With object + infinitive The Industrial Revolution caused people to leave their villages for the city. Trigger + noun = ‘cause to happen’; used for describing a dramatic or sudden event or development The Industrial Revolution triggered wholesale changes in the way of life of working people. Wholesale changes in the way of life of working people were triggered by the Industrial Revolution.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

29. Linking: results

Abstract
Writing Tip Try to vary the way you link results and their causes and to clarify their relative importance. Sometimes it is necessary to emphasise the result, rather than the cause, as in the example above. Read this paragraph from an essay on stress in the workplace and look at how results and their causes are connected: Burnout in the workplace can happen as a result of prolonged stress. Initial symptoms may stem from the desire of an employee to do well and to fit into the corporate structure. An unrealistic deadline from a senior manager can then lead to additional pressure on the individual, which may become so severe that he or she is unable to continue functioning in the workplace. Verbs Result from/stem from 1 + noun followed by the cause of something: An inability to think clearly at work may simply result/stem from a lack of sleep. 2 + object + ’-ing’ Stress at work can result from employees feeling that they are badly treated by management. Lead to/result in/produce followed by the result: 1 + noun Changes in management and systems led to/resulted in/produced problems for many of the staff.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

30. Signposting

Abstract
Certain words and phrases act as signposts to point your reader to other parts of your essay. Writing Tip A coherent piece of writing, such as an essay, works as a whole rather than as a series of separate points, and should have a clear line of development, marked by ‘signposting’ language. Look at this paragraph with three signposting words or phrases. Japan and the United Kingdom, with an emperor and a monarch as head of state respectively, are sometimes compared with each other. The former country remained culturally isolated for a long period of its history, while the latter evolved through its engagements, peaceful and military, with the world. Despite these differences, there are some interesting similarities. All three of these words or phrases refer backwards to earlier parts of the text. Not only do they help you to avoid repetition, but they also serve, in the reader’s mind, to link one part of your writing to another. Respectively This word is used to mean ‘the order in which I mentioned them’. In the paragraph above, it tells the reader that Japan has an emperor as head of state, and the United Kingdom has a monarch. It can be used at the end of a clause (as in the text above) or earlier in the sentence: ‘Sevilo’ (from Savile Row) and ‘nekutai’ are, respectively, the Japanese words for a Western style business suit and a tie (or necktie).
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

31. Using pronouns correctly

Abstract
A pronoun (e.g. its, they, this, that, she, them) is a word that is used instead of a noun or name to refer to people and things. A short presentation can be more effective than a long talk, because the audience may lose track of its main point. Always re-read your sentences to make sure that any pronoun references are clear. Small mistakes can cause significant confusion for your reader, as this example shows. Using a pronoun carefully to avoid confusion Look at this sentence from an essay on EU business activity. Both parties signed the contract at the same time as the confidentiality agreement, and passed it to the lawyers. What’s wrong: It must be clear what ‘it’ refers to: the contract or the confidentiality agreement. Here are two possible ways of doing this: Both parties signed the contract at the same time as the confidentiality agreement, and passed the contract to the lawyers. Both parties signed the contract at the same time as the confidentiality agreement, and passed the former to the lawyers.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

32. Avoiding repetition of words

Abstract
There are several ways you can avoid repetition in your writing: by using substitute words such as ‘one’ by omitting unnecessary words by using words or phrases with the same or a similar meaning (synonyms), e.g. stay/remain. Writing Tip Use the techniques outlined in this unit, along with those in units 30 and 31, to make your writing as clear and coherent as possible. Using substitute words Read the sentences below and think about how you could avoid repeating the underlined words. Unlike other housing projects in the area, the housing project in Philadelphia evolved through the equal participation of the Mayor’s office and the local community. The charity converted several disused car parks into winter soup kitchens. When it had converted the car parks, it was able to provide daily meals for more than 200 people. It may take homeless people some time to acquire a permanent address, but they can apply for a job more easily by acquiring a permanent address. You can use one(s) to avoid repeating nouns: Unlike other housing projects in the area, the one in Philadelphia … In formal writing it is common to avoid repeating a verb phrase by using the appropriate form of do + so: The charity converted several disused car parks into winter soup kitchens. When it had done so, it was able to provide daily meals for more than 200 people
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

33. Parallel structures

Abstract
Some sentences involve repeating the same grammatical structure to link points. Repeated grammatical forms of this kind are called parallel structures. Writing Tip Parallel structures enable you to integrate lists of ideas into long, coherent, well-formed sentences. Read the student’s notes from a lecture on the subject of new media. Then read the sentence beside it and underline the parallel structures. What error has the student made? There is evidence that excessive use of new media among children can affect their performance at school, influence their behaviour at home and limiting their overall attention span. What’s wrong: Different verb forms are used within the parallel structures. The first two verbs ‘affect’ and ‘influence’ are parallel. They are not in the singular form because they go together with ‘can’. The third verb should therefore be in the same form as ‘affect’ as it is also linked with ‘can’ → ‘can limit’. Here is the sentence with parallel structures: There is evidence that excessive use of new media among children can affect their performance at school, influence their behaviour at home and limit their attention span.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

34. Participles

Abstract
What are participles? A present participle is a form of a verb ending with ’-ing’ → facing A past participle is often a form of a verb ending with ’-ed’ → worked Many common past participles do not end in ’-ed’ (e.g. done, driven, known) A past participle can also be used after ‘having’ → having worked, having done Writing Tip Using participles enables you to produce sophisticated sentences that connect important pieces of information. This can be more effective than writing short simple sentences or linking these using simple conjunctions such as ‘and’ or ‘because’. Here are some of the ways you can use participles: 1 To describe causes and results The country’s car industry was obliged to restructure in the 1990s because it faced the effects of a recession. → Facing the effects of a recession in the early 1990s, the country’s car industry was obliged to restructure. 2 To give important additional information Exports grew over the next few years. They were driven by an international marketing campaign.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

35. Incomplete sentences

Abstract
Writing Tip Make sure that every sentence you write really is a complete sentence. An incomplete sentence is a serious error that may give the reader a very bad impression of your work. Read this extract from a science essay and think about which sentences are complete and which are incomplete. The results of the experiment were consistent. Regardless of the background of the subjects. Or the time-frame over which the experiment was conducted. The researchers were therefore able to draw firm conclusions from the experiment. Not that these were universally accepted in the scientific world. Because they contradicted previous research. What’s wrong: The second, third and last sentences are not complete sentences; they are parts of sentences. They all contain words and phrases that link parts of sentences together (regardless of, or, because), but they are all clauses that cannot stand alone. Here is the extract with complete sentences throughout: The results of the experiment were consistent, regardless of the background of the subjects or the timeframe over which the experiment was conducted. The researchers were therefore able to draw firm conclusions from the experiment. Not that these were universally accepted in the scientific world, because they contradicted previous research. To be complete, a sentence needs to have a subject and a main verb. As such, it carries an idea and makes sense on its own.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

36. Avoiding long and disorganised sentences

Abstract
A long and complex sentence is only a good sentence if it is easy to follow. There are several ways that you can avoid writing long sentences that are disorganised and confusing for your reader. These include: using appropriate linkers using parallel structures and appropriate punctuation using more sentences. Think carefully before you present a number of separate points or pieces of information. Don’t simply write them one after the other in a single sentence as they occur to you. Think of a clear way of integrating them into one or more sentences so that the points are easy to read. Read this sentence from an essay on management systems. In a management system such as this, staff become chiefly concerned with pleasing their managers and they get stressed and they lose focus on the needs of the company and they are unable to carry out core operations in the best possible way, so the system is acting to the detriment of the organisation. What’s wrong: The sentence is garbled, with too much repetition of ‘and’. Using appropriate linkers You can create two or more sentences, with clear linking, instead of one very long sentence: In a management system such as this, staff become chiefly concerned with pleasing their managers.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

37. Avoiding too many short sentences

Abstract
A short sentence can draw attention to important information. → Films can change people’s lives. They have the power to inspire, educate and inform people about the world and they can do this in a number of different ways. Too many short sentences can reduce the impact of a key idea. → Films can affect people in a number of different ways. They can inspire people to achieve great things. They can also educate people about events. Films are a useful way of providing information about the world. Films can change people’s lives. Writing Tip Too many short sentences can create a bad impression, especially if there are several together. Read this extract from an essay on cinema. Orson Welles was a prodigy in the world of film. He directed Citizen Kane at the age of 26. He starred in it too. Many people think it is the greatest film ever made. That was in 1941. He made a number of other films then. Some of them are considered masterpieces as well. What’s wrong: The information is given in a series of short and simple sentences. It reads like notes and does not flow. Some of the sentences need to be joined together, using appropriate ways of linking.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

38. Building successful long sentences

Abstract
The ability to write successful long sentences is one of the key requirements of academic writing. Writing Tip Complex ideas and points require complex sentences. To write in an academic style, you sometimes need to be able to produce long sentences that have two, three or even four parts. These sentences need to make clear sense and be well controlled. Focus first of all on the first and last points, and always keep in mind how this long sentence will end. In this case, it will end with a reference to a bad outcome (financial problems) of the first point (the arrival of the internet), which will begin the sentence. This gives you an overall idea of the shape of your sentence: arrival of internet → financial problems Now consider the points between the beginning and the end. The second point describes a response to the first point and the third point describes the result of that: 1990s, arrival of internet → newspapers produced online versions → negative effect on sales of print papers When constructing a long sentence, always keep in mind how it is going to end, and build towards that ending.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

39. Generalising

Abstract
Some statements are facts and can be plainly stated: Some diseases are becoming resistant to antibiotic treatment. Many statements are not facts but claims, and need to be written with some caution: It is generally believed that doctors prescribe too many antibiotic drugs. Writing Tip Academic writing often involves making claims and presenting arguments. When doing this, make it clear if you are generalising, rather than suggesting that something is true in all cases and at all times. Read this sentence from a report on a new medical treatment and consider its meaning and the tone in which this is conveyed. It is accepted that the new treatment should be made available to the public as soon as possible. Here is the same sentence with a less assertive tone. The writer generalises in order to show an awareness that some people may have a different view. It is generally accepted that the new treatment should be made available to the public as soon as possible. Ways of generalising 1 Using phrases connected with the word ‘general’ The treatment proved generally effective, with many patients showing significant improvement. In general (terms), the treatment was effective, though not all patients showed significant improvement.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

40. Qualifying a statement

Abstract
Writing Tip When presenting an argument or a claim, it is important that the reader understands clearly the particular way in which you think it is true. Avoid making empty generalisations that lead to unanswered questions. Ways of qualifying a statement 1 By using phrases that show there are or were other reasons for an outcome Read this sentence from a health report: Health improvements resulted from lifestyle changes. Here are two versions of the same sentence, showing that lifestyle changes were not the only reason for health improvements: To some extent, health improvements resulted from lifestyle changes. Health improvements resulted to a/some degree from lifestyle changes. 2 By using phrases that explain in what way something is true Lifestyle changes led to health improvements, in the sense that they made people less susceptible to minor ailments. To the extent that they made people less susceptible to minor ailments, lifestyle changes led to improvements. In that they alleviated some of the symptoms of the illness, lifestyle changes were effective. Lifestyle changes were effective, insofar as they alleviated some of the symptoms of the illness.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

41. Giving a definition

Abstract
This sentence gives a definition of the term ‘communications protocol’. → In computing, a communications protocol is the system of rules that allows computers to exchange messages. Writing Tip It is often necessary to give a clear definition of a word or phrase you are using so that the reader knows exactly what you mean by it. Definitions should be given when you first use the particular term or phrase. Remember! Your definition needs to be more than an example – it needs to provide an explanation. A social networking site is an online platform such as Facebook, which has more than 800 million users. A social networking site is an online platform (such as Facebook) that seeks to bring people and their interests into contact with each other. Using different verbs Two group of verbs are regularly used in definitions. Describe, mean, refer to, signify Sentences with these verbs sometimes start with ‘The term … ’ or ‘The word … ’: The term ‘multiplexing’ describes communication between more than two parties or devices.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

42. Introducing an example

Abstract
This sentence gives an example of a modern farming method that has been under discussion. → For some time now, there has been considerable discussion about modern farming methods. The debate over the use of pesticides is just one example. Writing Tip When introducing an example, it is important to make a clear and accurate link between your main argument or claim and the information you are using to support it. Read this sentence from a report on modern farming methods. Government control affects many areas of farming and farmers often suffer as a result: e.g. farm management. What’s wrong: The example is not clearly linked to the main argument and it has been incorporated into the sentence in an ungrammatical way. Here is the same sentence with the example clearly and accurately integrated: Government control affects many areas of farming and farmers often suffer as a result. An example of this can be seen in the current approaches to farm management. Ways of introducing examples 1 Using the word ‘example’
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

43. Citing

Abstract
Writing Tip Citations that are accurately incorporated into your writing strengthen your arguments and significantly enhance the overall impact of what you say. Remember! Your university may require you to use a particular system for incorporating citations. It is advisable to check this out. Here are some more examples of citations. Compare them with the examples above. In his famous book Circle Game, Minton (2009) drew attention to the need for ‘specialised centres’. As Peacock and Tramer argue: ‘nothing holds back a child more than inattention’. Klein, in his paper ‘Nothing to Lose’ (1999), gives an example of a successful classroom exercise. The method lost credibility when parents noticed signs of regression in their children (Packam, 2004). Thomas et al. (2003) dismiss this theory, stating that ‘studies consistently show that the logic is flawed’. Like many earlier experts, Quimper is of the view that ‘childhood is our only stage of innocence’.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

44. Paraphrasing

Abstract
Paraphrasing involves rewriting someone else’s words using your own words. Writing Tip A good paraphrase: is a useful alternative to a direct quotation shows that you understand the original text is normally approximately the same length as the original text always acknowledges the source. Remember! You don’t need to change: very common words that have no alternatives, e.g. ‘television’ or ‘university’ specialised words from particular subject areas, e.g. ‘limited company’ or ‘diagnosis’. There are various techniques you can use when paraphrasing. Using synonyms (words with the same meaning) Look at this original or ‘source’ text and think about which words could be replaced by synonyms. Soller (2010) states: ‘Companies that show a genuine interest in charitable activities can earn the respect of the buying public.’ Here is a version of the source text, using synonyms: Businesses that demonstrate a real interest in non-profit-making activities can gain the respect of consumers, according to Soller (2010).
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

45. Incorporating data

Abstract
Writing Tip Whether you are reporting your own data or using a source, the information must be clearly and accurately incorporated into your writing, using appropriate vocabulary. Read this paragraph from an essay about research into shopping habits and think about how the vocabulary could be improved. The study, performed by a marketing research team, was created to find out information about people’s buying habits. A general group of approximately 100 shoppers were interviewed over a four-week period. During this time a lot of data was assembled and checked. Prior to the study, the research team had thought that there would be many differences in the subjects’ approach to purchasing. The results showed they were right. They discovered that men spent much more time than women researching their purchases on the internet. However, women shopped more often and spent more overall. These results are the same as those of other similar studies. What’s wrong: The vocabulary is not precise enough. There are certain words and phrases that are commonly used to describe data and few of them have been used.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

46. Formal language (1)

Abstract
Doctors use electrocardiograms and that sort of thing to investigate heart problems. → Doctors use tests such as electrocardiograms to investigate heart problems. Writing Tip The kind of language you might use in conversation is often inappropriate in academic work because it is too informal or imprecise. In your written work, you need to develop a precise, objective style and to avoid colloquial language, such as slang and clichés. Words and phrases to avoid Read the following sentences and think about which words you would avoid in formal writing, and how you might replace them. 1 It would be dead easy for the Government to make unhealthy foods much more expensive. 2 There are loads of examples of advertising campaigns that have changed public attitudes to health. 3 Gone are the days when the public would automatically pay attention to a ministerial broadcast. 4 The town-centre workshops were brilliant. Here are the sentences as you might write them in an academic essay: 1 What’s wrong: Colloquial language or slang terms such as dead easy, cool, cute, kids, guys, ad, uni, skive, kip and doss should be avoided in formal writing.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

47. Formal language (2)

Abstract
Formal written language is tighter and often briefer than conversational language. A number of key features of grammar and vocabulary contribute to making formal written language different from the ‘looser’, spoken form. Writing Tip In your written work, your tutors will expect grammar and vocabulary that is appropriate to an academic style. There are various structures and techniques you can use to achieve this. The use of relative clauses to convey additional information: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s second largest country. It used to be a Belgian colony. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, which used to be a Belgian colony, is Africa’s second largest country. Building sentences around nouns rather than verbs or adjectives: It is easy to understand why the country objected at first to having peacekeeping forces within its borders. The country’s initial objection to peacekeeping forces within its borders is understandable.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

48. The language of argument

Abstract
To what extent has the fair trade movement been a success? → In order to address this question successfully, you need to use an acceptable, academic style of language. Writing Tip When you are planning your next assignment, highlight some of the words and phrases in this unit that you could use. Below are some examples of the language you can use for each part of an essay. Stating the scope Read this introduction to an essay on ‘fair trade’ and think about the function of the words in bold. First, this essay will define the term ‘fair trade’ and describe in brief the history of the movement. Then it will consider three cases where fair-trade initiatives have benefited communities in the developing world, and examine with statistical evidence how general these benefits have been. Next, it will move on to criticisms of the movement, analysing two important concerns that have been raised in the last five years. It will conclude by making a recommendation for the future of the scheme. Stating the scope of your essay normally involves verbs such as: analyse, consider, define, examine; and sequencing language such as: first, in the second part/half, next, then, finally, start, move on to, follow, finish, conclude.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

49. Using adverbs

Abstract
Writing Tip Using adverbs correctly can greatly improve your writing, particularly if you use ones that convey your meaning precisely. Read this paragraph from an essay about changes in the music industry, look at the adverbs (in bold), then read the rules. The music industry has frequently undergone major changes and it has always tried hard to adapt. It has been affected equally by technological advances and demographic changes in its market. A structure that worked well in one decade would prove not to be viable in another. For example, the domination of big record companies came to an end remarkably quickly in the 1990s. Small independent companies could now produce and market music easily and set-up costs for such companies were reasonably low. Logically, this had major repercussions for the big companies. Rules Forming adverbs Most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the adjective: clearclearly extremeextremely If the adjective ends with -l, add -ly: fullfully essentialessentially globalglobally If the adjective ends with -y, the adverb ends with -ily: happyhappily
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

50. Using prepositions (1)

Abstract
Prepositions complete phrases or form a relationship between words in a sentence. Common prepositions include: at, of, in, on, for, off, out of, from, by, with, without. Other prepositions include: as, beyond, against, throughout, between, concerning, towards. Here are some features of prepositions: They have a meaning of their own and can be used to indicate time, movement, place, etc. in both concrete and abstract ways: over the wall; over a ten-year period/towards the goal; towards success/beyond our galaxy; beyond anyone’s dreams They can go with many verbs, adjectives and nouns: believe in/different from/characteristics of They can form part of a common phrase: to what extent/in contrast to/in line with/on account of They can form part of a phrasal verb: carry out/draw on/weigh up/account for Here are some examples of when you might need to use prepositions in academic work: 1 To report information (verbs) White (2008) points out, admits to, agrees to/agrees with X on/about something, reflects on, accuses X of, refers to, expresses doubts/concerns about/over, draws attention to, focuses on, gives/lends support to
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

51. Using prepositions (2)

Abstract
A correct preposition clarifies meaning; an incorrect or unnecessary one obscures it. You must comply to with the confidentiality agreement. We will explore on this topic in the next session. Writing Tip It is essential to know which prepositions to use with certain words and which prepositions are used in certain phrases. Here are some reasons why mistakes are made using prepositions. 1 Sometimes different prepositions can be used with the same word Meals were provided for the participants during the study. (for + somebody) The results provided the researchers with the information that they needed. (with + something) The correct choice depends on what follows the preposition. 2 Sometimes the word is not followed by a preposition at all The article highlighted on the main ideas of Peterson. You might make this type of mistake because: A synonym of the word goes with the preposition: highlight on → focus on enhance on → improve on relish in → delight in comprise of → consist of
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

52. Creating longer words

Abstract
Read this paragraph from a business case study and look at the words used to express the key ideas. When consultants were called in to advise on how the organisation should implement change, they recommended several things. They advised against rapid change and suggested that management should consult staff on the subject for a fairly long period. They said that some of the ideas the management were proposing would not work because they were too complex, and they mentioned how unpopular the suggested productivity scheme would be. The consultants also stressed the need for management and staff to work together in harmony. Here is the paragraph with more sophisticated wording: When consultants were called in to advise the organisation on the implementation of change, they made several recommendations. They said that rapid change was inadvisable and suggested a lengthy period of consultation between management and staff.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

53. Using single words for impact

Abstract
Writing Tip Sometimes, the use of a single, more complex word instead of a more basic or common phrase can have an impact on the reader. It can help to make a point in a shorter way than it might be made when speaking, and it can also help to make your writing more serious and academic in style. Using a single word for impact may involve one of the following: 1 Forming a longer word using a prefix or suffix (see 52 Creating longer words) When the councillor read the minutes of the meeting, he found that his views had not been presented properly. When the councillor read the minutes of the meeting, he found that his views had been misrepresented. 2 Using one word instead of a spoken phrase Some members of the council had to make the same point again and again before it was addressed. Some members of the council had to make the same point repeatedly before it was addressed. 3 Using a precise word instead of a phrase (i.e. the ‘right’ word) A list of items for discussion at the next meeting was prepared. An agenda for the next meeting was prepared.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

54. Using phrasal verbs

Abstract
A phrasal verb consists of a verb and one or more prepositions. The meaning of a phrasal verb is often different from any usual meaning of the verb or any logical meaning of the phrase. Researchers carried out an experiment. This phrasal verb means ‘perform’ or ‘conduct’. It does not describe physically carrying something and it does not describe something being ‘out’. Other examples of phrasal verbs are bring about (= cause) or put up with (= tolerate). Writing Tip Many phrasal verbs are used in informal, spoken language and are not appropriate for academic writing. Others, however, are appropriate and useful in academic writing. Make sure you know which ones to use. Informal use of phrasal verbs Read the following paragraph from a business essay, thinking about which words or phrases should be avoided in formal writing, and how you would replace them. Some small companies get by for many years by putting off difficult decisions. If a business is to thrive, however, it needs to pick out its weaknesses and face up to the challenges of operating in the modern business environment. A recession, for example, may be an ideal time to check out successful competitors and come up with new business ideas. Going for that approach is better than hanging on in the hope that something turns up and tides the company over until better conditions return.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

55. Commonly misused words

Abstract
Some words are often confused. This is usually because they have a similar form or sound, even though their meanings differ. The Cultural revolution was a historic event in China. → being or taking place in the past and becoming significant in history The book provides a historical account of the events leading up to the Cultural Revolution. → based on an analysis of important events in history Writing Tip Your spellchecker will not pick up errors with these words because the mistakes involve words that do exist but are being used wrongly. Learn the meaning and spelling of these words, incorporate them into your writing, and make sure you use them correctly. Here are some examples of words that are commonly confused. 1 Words that are in the same general area of meaning advice The noun (a piece of advice) advise The verb (consultants who advise the Government) Words that have a different meaning adverse An adjective meaning negative, not good or unhelpful (adverse weather conditions)
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

56. Commonly confused words – homonyms

Abstract
Homonyms are words that sound the same but are spelt differently. They may be different parts of speech and may have different meanings. Exercises 1 Six of these sentences contain a mistake. Find the mistakes and correct them. a Unlike many laws of physics, Archimedes’ Principal is over two thousand years old. b Actions that had been agreed at the strategy meeting turned out to be to costly to implement. c A clear distinction has to be made between pushing the boundaries and actually breaking them. d The biodiversity reserve has aloud previously threatened plant species to survive. e Problems such as dyslexia often past unnoticed in the 1960s. f Candidates were advised to submit applications as quickly as possible to be sure of a place. g Not knowing weather to save money or invest it is a common problem these days. h Perfectionists often cannot bare to be criticised. 2 Correct the ten mistakes in this paragraph. One of the problems that arises when your paying for something over the internet is that you never see whose receiving your details at the other end.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

57. Key spelling rules

Abstract
Words are made up of vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and consonants (b, c, d, etc.). Some words, such as phenomenon, are hard to spell and there are often no rules to help you. Other words have prefixes and/or suffixes (e.g. insensitivity) and their spelling may adhere to certain rules. Writing Tip Although English spelling can be difficult, try to remember some of the rules as they will help you correct or avoid mistakes. However, bear in mind that the rules sometimes have exceptions. Here are some spelling rules for adding suffixes and verb endings to words. Words ending in ‘e’ Lose the final ‘e’ – if the suffix begins with a vowel or if ‘-ing’ is added visible → visibility abbreviate → abbreviation refuse → refusal undeniable → undeniably insure → insurance suffice → sufficient intrigue → intriguing write → writing
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

58. Common spelling mistakes

Abstract
Writing Tip Spelling mistakes can ruin an otherwise excellent piece of work and can give a bad impression on a CV. Get into the habit of using a dictionary to make sure that you are spelling words correctly. Read this paragraph from an essay on English literature and think about which words have been spelt wrongly. Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice was, it seems, quiet carefully constructed. It makes a clear statement about moral values at the time she was writting, yet also has a timeless significance. Unlike some of her contempories, she restricted herself to the type of world she knew she was capable of reproducing in prose. She understood her own social enviroment and never went beyond this. As a result, the story presents a snapshot of 18th-century life, without exagerration or extremes. She insured that any detail was kept to a mininum. A close examination of the descriptive passages reveals little in the way of figurative language; few similes or metaphors; no extraenous emotion. The reader can be secure in the knowledge that there will be no distractions from the all-important plot. 1 Some words have silent letters or letters that don’t get clearly pronounced
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

59. Writing an email to your tutor

Abstract
Like any other form of communication, an email should be written with the reader in mind. Writing Tip An email will create a positive or negative impression on your tutor, depending on how it is written. However well you get on with your tutor, your correspondence should reflect your relative status, should be clear and easy to read, and should not contain mistakes. Write a clear and useful subject line Your tutor is a busy person and has an inbox full of emails. He or she needs to be able to note the content of a message quickly and to make any necessary response. What’s wrong: At a glance, none of the subject lines gives any indication of what the email is about. Here is an example of a full, clear subject line: Subject: Request work reference for Dave Watts, History 2006 Remember! Your email address may bear no relation to your name, so putting your name in the subject line may be helpful if your tutor has a lot of students. It may be useful to add your course details as well.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson

60. Covering letters and CVs

Abstract
The first impression you make on a prospective employer is likely to be through the quality of your writing in the covering letter and the CV (curriculum vitae) that you send. Writing Tip Your covering letter and your CV must be grammatically accurate and written in an appropriate style. Spelling and punctuation errors, in particular, are likely to have an immediate negative impact on your application. Covering letters and CVs should contain the information below, but should also be as brief and relevant as possible. The words you use should be precise and accurate. A covering letter states what position you are applying for, why you are interested in this type of work, how your skills match the job requirements, and when you are available for interview. A CV describes your education, qualifications, work experience and skills, and is normally tailored to the post for which you are applying. In most CVs, subheadings on work experience and skills are followed by short explanatory texts. Danger Zone Over-using capital letters Having graduated with a BSc in Finance from the University of Hull, I am keen to apply not only the Specialist Knowledge I have acquired in Accountancy and Statistics, but also the Communication and Presentation Skills developed throughout my University Studies. Having graduated with a BSc in Finance from the University of Hull, I am keen to apply not only the specialist knowledge I have acquired in accountancy and statistics, but also the communication and presentation skills developed throughout my university studies.
Mark Harrison, Vanessa Jakeman, Ken Paterson
Additional information