We have no solid evidence that radiation has caused the problem.
certain or safe; of a good standard
B Vocabulary and academic style
In writing, academics use many expressions which are neutral, but they also use rather formal expressions which are not common in everyday language. Knowing whether an expression is formal or just neutral is important.
in short, briefly, basically
in sum, to sum up
almost / more or less
However, very informal vocabulary may be used in spoken academic styles in classes and lectures. Learn to understand such language when you hear it but be careful not to use it in essays and written assignments. Here are some examples of teachers using informal language. 'OK. Have a shot at doing task number 3.' [more formal: Try/Attempt to do ...] 'There's no way schools can be held responsible for failures of government policy.' [more formal: Schools cannot in any way be held ...] • Academic language tries to be clear and precise, so it is important to keep a vocabulary notebook (see page 8) and learn the differences between similar words, as well as typical word combinations (underlined here).
The building is a prime example of f 920s architecture, [excellent in quality or value] The group's primary concern is to protect human rights, [main / most important]
C Noun phrases
Academic language puts a lot of information into noun phrases rather than spreading it out over a whole sentence. For example, instead of saying Radiation was accidentally released over a 24-hour period, damaging a wide area for a long time, an academic might say The accidental release of radiation over a 24-hour period caused widespread long-term damage. It is therefore important to learn the different forms of a word, for example:
Finally, be aware of 'chunks' or phrases which occur frequently, and learn them as whole units. Examples: in terms of, in addition, for the most part, in the case of,etc. (See Unit 16.)
Appendix 3 Abbreviations
Abbreviations are frequently found in an academic context. Here are some which are common in academic writing.
example or comment
for example (from Latin, exempli gratia)
Many large mammals, e.g. the African elephant, the black rhino and the white rhino ...
that is (from Latin, id est)
Higher earners, i.e. those with a monthly salary in excess of £3,000 ...
and so on (from Latin, et cetera)
Smaller European countries - Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, etc. - had different interests.
note carefully (from Latin, noto bene)
NBYou must answer all the questions on this page.
and others (from Latin, et alii)
used when giving bibliographical reference, e.g. as mentioned in T. Potts et al (1995)
in the same place as the preceding footnote (from Latin, ibidem)
1 Lee (1987) History of Tea-Drinking in Europe
compare (from Latin, confer)
cf Lofstedt (2005) for a different approach to this topic
which you can see (from Latin, quod vide)
used to refer the reader to another part of a book or article for further information
see previously quoted work by author (from Latin, opus citatum)
Potts op. cit. 33-54
used when giving bibliographical reference
used when giving bibliographical reference
in the article referred to above (p. 43), Smith claims ...
See McKinley 1990 pp.1 1-19
Appendix 4 Making presentations
The language of presentations often contains less formal vocabulary than that of academic writing, so take care not to use the less formal expressions in your written work.
Getting started 'In this presentation I'd like to focus on recent developments in biomass fuels. I'll speak for about 45 minutes, to allow time for questions and comments. Feel free to1 interrupt if you have any questions or want to make a comment.'
'First I'll give a brief overview of the current situation with regard to intellectual property rights, then I'd like to raise a few issues concerning the internet. I'll try to leave2 time for questions at the end.'
'I'd like to begin by looking at some previous studies of ocean temperatures. There's a handout going round3, and there are some spare4 copies here if you want them.' 'In this talk I'll present the results of a study I did5 for my dissertation. I'll try not to go over time and keep to 20 minutes.'
' an informal way of giving permission 2 less formal than allow 3 a more formal version would be which is being distributed 4 extra 5 or, more formal, carried out I conducted
During the presentation - and closing it
Now let's turn to the problem of workplace stress.
1 begin to examine or talk about
Moving on, I'd like to look at the questionnaire results in more detail.
2 going on to the next point; less formal than ingreater detail
I also want to talk about the supply of cfean water, but I'll come back tothat later.
3 or, more formal, return to
I'd just like to go back to the graph on the previous slide.
4 or, more formal, return to
Anyway, getting back to / to return tothe question of inflation, let's look at the Thai economy.
5 getting back to is less formal than toreturn to
The results were not very clear. Having said that, I feel the experiment was worthwhile.
@ this symbol is read as 'at' - used in email addresses
∞ infinity symbol
" this symbol is read as 'ditto' - used in lists to avoid writing a word if the same word is written immediately above it
Appendix 7 Assessing your writing
Look at the Writing task below and compare the two sample answers.
WRITING TASK 1
The graph below gives information about changes in the birth and death rates in New Zealand between 1901 and 2101. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below. Write at least 150 words
The graph gives information about changes in the birth and death rates in New Zealand between 1901 and 2101.
In 1901 the birth rate was 20,000 and the death rate was 9,000. In 1961 the birth rate reached a peak of 66,000 while the death rate was 23,000. In 2001 there were 55,000 births and 38,000 deaths, and in 2061 there were 60,000 deaths and 48,000 births.
At the end of the period there were 58,000 deaths and 45,000 births.
Both the birth and death rates changed between 1901 and 2101. Perhaps this was because a lot of people did not want to have children.
This is a weak answer which would score a low band.
introduction is copied from task
no comparison between figures
no focus on general trends
no reference to the future (see projection on graph)
conclusion tries to explain information rather than summarise it
poor linking of ideas (only done by time markers)
limited range of grammar and vocabulary
The graph shows changes in the birth and death rates in New Zealand since 1901, and forecasts trends up until 2101.
Between 1901 and the present day, the birth rate has been consistently higher than the death rate. It stood at 20,000 at the start of this period and increased to a peak of 66,000 in 1961. Since then the rate has fluctuated between 65 and 50 thousand and it is expected to decline slowly to around 45,000 births by the end of the century.
Incontrast, the death rate started below 10,000 and has increased steadily until the present time. This increase is expected to be more rapid between 2021 and 2051 when the rate will probably level off at around 60,000, before dropping slightly in 2101.
Overall, these opposing trends mean that the death rate will probably overtake the birth rate in around 2041 and the large gap between the two levels will be reversed in the later part of this century.
This is a strong answer which would score a high band:
fulfils criteria for length
introduction is paraphrased.
main sets of data are compared and contrasted
clear focus on the different trends.
important features of the graph, (e.g. cross-over point) included
information summarised in conclusion
well organised information
range of linkers and referencing expressions
good range of vocabulary and structures, used accurately
1 This reference focuses on some frequent and important nouns in academic English.