Academic Writing
Nina Nellemann Rasmussen ([email protected])
Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP) - www.cip.dk
Outline
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Getting Started – challenges and tips
The Academic Paper – structure and content
Critical Thinking
Referencing
Academic Style
Vocabulary
1. Collocations, fixed expressions and dependent
prepositions
7. The Most Common Errors
1. Spelling
2. Punctuation
3. Subject-verb agreement
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1. Getting Started – challenges
What do you find most difficult about writing in English?
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1. Getting Started – tips

Consider constraints: time at your disposal and length requirement.

Design a time plan: the writing process takes longer than you think.

Select a topic and define an aim.

Collect material: primary (your data) and secondary (other people’s work).

Read sources and take notes – and keep track of your sources and notes!

Organise the material and create an outline of your paper.

Start writing!
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2. The Academic Paper – organising your writing
 Readers have the expectation that information will be presented in a structured
format that is appropriate for the particular type of text.
 Even short pieces of writing have regular, predictable patterns of organisation.
 The traditional division of an experimental paper in science and technology is
based on the IMRAD pattern:
Introduction
Method
Results
And
Discussion
 These papers are not designed to be read in sequential order.
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2. The Academic Paper – structure
 Common structure of a research/scientific paper:
Title and Abstract
(Table of Contents)
1. Introduction
2. Method
2.1
2.2
3. Results
4. Discussion
5. Summary and Conclusion
Reference list
Appendices
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2. The Academic Paper – abstract

Examine the following abstract and identify the functions of the different parts:
Indicates purpose and nature
of study.
Indicates experimental
method.
Control Laser Driver Air Bag Tests
A five-run sled-test program was conducted to obtain anthropometric dummy test
data using a compact driver air bag system. All tests were run at a sled velocity of….
In all tests, bag deployment occurred later than was anticipated. The probable reason
for late deployment was the difference between…. Despite late bag deployment,
dummy chest accelerations were tolerable in all tests, and head accelerations were
tolerable in four of the five tests. The tolerable results are attributable to the
operation of the air bag in conjunction with a collapsible steering column and a lap
restraint.
Conclusion.
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Results and brief
explanation.
2. The Academic Paper – the introduction
Foot-Ankle Injuries: Influence of Crash Location, Seating Position and Occupant Age
In recent years, research into non-fatal injuries in automobile accidents has increased. Due to
the reduction in serious and fatal injuries to the head, chest and abdomen thanks to improved occupant
restraints with airbags and other crashworthiness countermeasures, foot-ankle injuries caused by the
footroom have increased in relative importance. More effort is now being exerted on lower extremity
Establishes importance of
protection, including footroom intrusion and lower leg acceleration.
research+reason for topic
Miller et al. (1993) carried out an extensive analysis of national databases and found that lower
extremity injury accounted for significant medical costs ranging…. The majority of lower extremity injuries
are characterized as…. Lestine et al. (1992) found lower leg injuries…. Severe lower leg injuries often lead
to long-term disability and impairment… (Pattimore et al., 1990).
Reviews previous work
However, the exact mechanism for foot-ankle injury in car crashes remains unclear. In general,
these injuries are produced by…. Some field studies found…. Morgan et al. (1991) have described six
different mechanisms….
Prepares reader for present study
The objective of this study is to determine the influence of crash location, seating position and
occupant age on the frequency and relative risk of foot-ankle injury by analyzing the Folksam database.
Introduces present study (purpose,
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scope and data source)
2. The Academic Paper – the thesis statement
 A thesis, or purpose statement, is the main idea of your work.
 It states plainly what you are trying to persuade your reader to believe.
 Therefore, it cannot be a simple statement of fact because a statement of fact
does not require persuasive argument.
Example of fact
The number of cases of skin cancer per thousand US
citizens has increased steadily since the 1920s.
Example of thesis
That rates of skin cancer have increased steadily since the
1920s reveals the danger of the American obsession with
getting a ‘healthy’ tan.
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2. The Academic Paper – the thesis statement
Marine Biology Assignment:
Research the harvesting practices for any marine species, and analyze the impact of these
practices on the future population of the species.
Weak thesis statement
There are many reasons why shark populations are
threatened.
Better but not perfect
Overfishing of sharks has lead to a world-wide
decline in shark population.
Good thesis statement
Changing technology and lack of international
cooperation may lead to the extinction
of sharks.
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2. The Academic Paper – methods
 The purpose of the methods section is to accurately describe the experimental setup, the methodology of the study, and the material(s) used.
2. Material and method
An experiment was designed in which…
2.1. Subjects
Ten male university students (18-29 years old) were recruited….
2.2. Apparatus
The experimental work station was an adjustable table….
2.3. Procedure
Subjects were given a verbal description of the task. To….
2.4. Experimental design and data analysis
The study was a 2x3 repeated-measures design to examine….
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2. The Academic Paper – results
 The results section typically reports the findings of the study without making
comments on the findings.
3. Results
For each experimental condition, peak force was significantly greater than
steady-state force at the p = 0.01 level. The average difference between peak
and steady-state force for the six experimental conditions ranged from 28 to
65% (mean = 54%).
For steady-state force, the main effects of load and COF were statistically
significant…. A five-fold increase in load (7.5 to 41.5 N) resulted in a threefold increase in steady-state force (9.6 to 31.1 N) for sandpaper and a….
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2. The Academic Paper – discussion
Strengthens the position of the present research by
briefly summarising the main result and its implication.
The effect of friction (COF) on both steady-state and peak pinch force depended
upon the load and was statistically significant only at the highest (41.5 N) load (table
2). Thus, the participants seemed insensitive to friction at lower loads. This finding is
consistent with that of Westling and Johansson (1984) whose graphical presentation
of data suggested a similar load-dependent friction effect. Although their results
were not tested for statistical differences, the investigators reported that the slope of
the linear function between load and pinch force was determined by COF.
Their data did suggest, however, a noticeable COF effect in the load range of
0.1 to 10 N using 320-grit sandpaper, suede and silk.
Creates a context for the research by relating
the present results to previous work:
agreement.
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Raises questions about previous
research.
2. The Academic Paper – discussion
Disagreements between present and previous
results and possible explanations for these.
By contrast, in the present study, no COF effect was found at the lower load, 7.5 N. A
direct comparison of the results of Westling and Johansson’s study (1984) to those of the
present study are difficult because of the difference in the type of tasks, i.e. static versus
dynamic. Additional force undoubtedly must be used to ensure control of the test apparatus
owing to inertial effects of moving it from side to side to ensure control as well as repeatedly
grasping and regrasping it. Thus, at loads requiring a low proportion of strength (MVC), the
potential for variation in applied pinch force and “over gripping” is greater than at loads that
require forces closer to the maximum because of the extra pinch force capacity available.
Also, to prevent fatigue and injury at higher weight levels, an individual will probably use
more force than is necessary to prevent dropping the object.
Attitude markers are characteristic of a
discussion section since it is permitted
to speculate in a discussion.
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2. The Academic Paper – tip!
Read and study papers in your own field to familiarise
yourself with the required/expected/common structure and
style –
and pay attention to useful words and expressions.
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Did you know that…
´…you can eat deep-fried Mars bar in Scotland? The “specialty” was
invented Stonehaven south of Aberdeen in 1992 and is now served in
22% of Scotland’s fish and chips shops. It is estimated that a deep-fried
Mars bar contains 1,200 calories (“Scottish fact of the week”, 2013).
Scottish fact of the week: The deep-fried Mars bar. (2013, March 26). The Scotsman.
Retrieved from http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/scottish-fact-of-the-week-the-deepfried-mars-bar-1-2858596
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3. Critical Thinking

As a university student, you are expected to think critically and not
just passively accept everything you see and hear.

You are expected to question and analyse the information.

Academic writing requires that you support your ideas, statements
and opinions with ”evidence”.

This gives your work more academic ”weight”.

Using the ideas of other people in your text and acknowleding them
is an essential part of academic writing.
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3. Critical Thinking
Is the following paragraph a product of critical thinking?
Facebook has a positive impact on social interaction. Firstly, after graduating
from primary school, middle school, high school or even university, all of our friends
and classmates were separated far away, maybe all over the country or the world.
Everyone is busy with his own business. It is impossible for us to meet in reality. And
then, facebook serves as a medium, which makes us know about our friends and
classmates’ current lives. And each of us can have a close talk on Facebook. As a
result, Facebook shortens the distance between different people. Secondly, there is a
function regarding organizing events and activities on Facebook. Through this function,
detailed contents, timetable and place will be showed by organizer. Afterwards, a lot
of people who have the common interest will be invited. The invitee will share the
activities which will attract more people. Hence it is a good way to meet a new friend
and the people with the same hobby. Therefore Facebook enlarges the possibility to
meet more people with the same appetite. To sum up, Facebook is a significant and
convenient tool to decrease the distance between people and meet new friends,
namely, itwww.cip.ku.dk
gives a positive
influence on social interaction.
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3. Critical Thinking

Students who do not write critically tend to:



regurgitate lecturers’ notes or textbook material with no analysis;
overuse quotations without expanding on the ideas;
treat information found in sources as facts to be reproduced.
Compare the following extracts from essays.
1. Which extract is a better example of critical writing?
2. What features are more apparent in the better extract?
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3. Critical Thinking
Extract 1:
Martindale (2003) states that Anne Kelley, a neuroscientist at
the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, claims that she
has discovered that rats who overindulge in tasty foods show marked,
long-lasting changes in their brain chemistry similar to those caused by
extended use of morphine or heroin. When she looked at the brain of
rats that received highly palatable food for two weeks, she saw a
decrease in gene expression for enkephalin in the nucleus accumbens.
”This says that mere exposure to pleasurable, tasty foods is enough to
change gene expression, and that suggests you could be addicted to
food” (Martindale, 2003, p. 43).
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3. Critical Thinking
Extract 2:
The consequences of not moderating the intake of fast food are rather
alarming. Experiments on rats carried out at the University of Wisconsin Medical
School in Madison indicate that overindulgence in foods high in sugars and fats results
in long-lasting changes to the brain chemistry similar to those caused by extended use
of morphine or heroin. According to Martindale, the results highlight that “…mere
exposure to pleasurable, tasty foods is enough to change gene expression, and that
suggests you could be addicted to food” (2003, p. 43). A consequence of eating fast
food is therefore a tendency to become addicted to it. As addiction means an
abnormal dependency on something (Collins, 1984), there is perhaps a cause for
concern. It is clearly important that people are made aware of the potential threat of
fast food. Coupled with research on young American children and the rise of obesity
by more than 42% over the last 25 years (Schlosser, 1998), educating people on the
risks associated with fast food from an early age is essential.
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3. Critical Thinking
Points in text
Extract 1
Extract 2
Starting sentence
Main message lost amidst
references to places and people.
Introduces topic of paragraph more
specifically with writer’s own voice coming
through.
Description of
experiment
Described in too much detail.
Irrelevant detail has been omitted.
Use of reference
Quote used to make the point
rather than to support it.
References are used to support writer’s own
point.
Synthesis of ideas
Ideas are combined well but
irrelevant detail should be omitted
and use of sources needs
development.
Ideas from two sources are linked well in an
attempt to put forward the point about
educating young people.
Overall
The start of a good attempt at
critical writing. Information is there
but needs to be clearer and with
better use of sources and the
writer’s own voice coming through.
This is a good attempt at critical writing. The
writer of extract 2 has begun and ended the
paragraph with their own opinion and has
used the sources to support their claim.
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4. Referencing – introduction
 Academic writing requires that you support your ideas,
statements and opinions with ‘evidence’.
 You need to show some ‘proof’ that what you are saying is
correct.
 This gives your work more academic ‘weight’.
 Using the ideas of other people in your text and
acknowleding them is an essential part of academic
writing.
 This means referring to them twice: within the text itself +
in the bibliography at the end.
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4. Referencing – avoid plagiarism!
 Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas as if they were
your own, and it is a serious offence.
 Students who plagiarise may fail a class or even be expelled from
university.
 When you use information from an outside source without
acknowledging that source, you are guilty of plagiarism.
 For more information see:
http://saxoinstitute.ku.dk/about/document/dokument2/
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4. Referencing – types of proof and evidence
Support your ideas and opinions with:
Facts:
At sea level, water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
Quotations:
”We might best think of reference as an act in which a speaker, or
writer, uses linguistic forms to enable a listener, or reader, to identify
something” (Yule, 1996, p.17).
Statistics:
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4. Referencing
Claims made in an argument will fail to persuade unless they are
accompanied by tangible, concrete support. Example:
Opinion:
There are too many tourists in Denmark.
Fact but needs proof:
The number of tourists in Denmark has increased considerably
since last year.
Specific supporting detail:
The number of tourists has increased by 10% since last year,
according to the most recent government report on the economy
(Government Statistics, 2008).
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4. Referencing – always identify your sources!
 Both within the text itself…
Any discussion of financial markets must begin with a definition of what
they are, ”A financial market is the place or mechanism whereby financial
assets are exchanged and prices of these assets are set” (Campbell, 1988,
p. 28).
As Sloman (1999) has demonstrated, there are two main methods of
measuring unemployment.
Charles Yesalis, a Pennsylvania State University professor who has studied
the use of drugs in sports believes that ”a large percentage” of athletes
who have set new records have done so with the help of performanceenhancing drugs. (Herper, 2002, p. 56).
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4. Referencing – always identify your sources!
 …as well as in the bibliography at the end:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
author’s full name (first, middle, last);
full title (including any subtitle);
edition (if the book is a second or later edition);
number of the book volume or journal issue;
city of publication;
name of the publisher;
year of publication;
page number(s) for a particular quotation.
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4. Referencing (APA)
2
1
3
6
4
Adams, W. M. (2001). Sustainability. In P. Cloke & C. Barrett (Eds.),
Introducing Human Geographies (pp. 68-79). London: Arnold.
7
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9
4. Referencing
3 ways to insert outside information into your
own writing:
1. Quote it.
2. Summarize it.
3. Paraphrase it.
Avoid plagarism!
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4. Referencing – referencing systems
 Does it matter which style you choose? No, but be consistent!
APA:
Bordo, S. (2003). The moral content of Nabokov’s Lolita. In P. R. Matthews & D.
McWhirter (Eds.), Aesthetic subjects (pp. 125-52). Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P.
MLA:
Bordo, Susan. “The Moral Content of Nabokov’s Lolita.” Aesthetic Subjects. Ed.
Pamela R. Matthews and David McWhirter. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2003.
125-52. Print.
Harvard:
Bordo, S. 2003. The moral content of Nabokov’s Lolita. In: Matthews, P.R. and
McWhirter, D. eds. Aesthetic subjects. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, pp. 125-52.
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4. Referencing – when quoting directly
 copy your quotation carefully, word for word, from your
source;
 put double quotation marks around it;
 place commas (and periods) before the first mark and
also before the second mark in a pair of quotation marks:
 According to Sports Illustrated, ”Eliminating drug use from Olympic sports
would be no small challenge.”
 ”Eliminating drug use from Olympic sports would be no small challenge,”
according to Sports Illustrated.
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4. Referencing – when paraphrasing or summarising
 Summarise or paraphrase the writer’s ideas and put the reference at
the end of the sentence:
Since the cultural values of any society have an effect on how the
people…limit how it is produced (Gumperz, 1983).
This antibiotic has an immediate effect on the illness (Branston,
2001)
 Refer directly to the author:
According to Wang (2001), education is the key aspect underlying the
successful economic development in a society.
Djabri states that operations research is the application of the
methods of science to complex problems (Djabri, 2001).
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4. Referencing – reporting verbs
 When discussing other people’s work, reporting verbs can be used
to great effect:
Smith (2004) claimed that there was a link between depression
and high fat diets.
Smith (2004) suggests that there is a link between depression and
high fat diets.
Smith (2004) speculated that there was a link between depression
and high fat diets.
Smith (2004) found that there was a link between depression and
high fat diets.
Smith (2004) emphasised the link between depression and high fat
diets.
Jones (2004) dismisses Smith’s claim that there is a link between
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 +45high
35 32 86
39 diets.
[email protected]
depression
and
fat
4. Referencing – reporting verbs: examples
 But pay attention to subtle differences in meaning and patterning:
He acknowledges that cities now need to address sustainability and green issues
too (Landry, 2006).
With new generations of mutant mice on the horizon, some researchers question
the meaningfulness of standard behavioral tests and the wisdom of minimizing the
mouse environment (Bohannon, 2002).
Sir David [King] wrote an article for the American journal Science in which
he criticised the US Government for failing to take global warming more seriously
(cited in Norton and Leaman, 2004).
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/learning_guides/learningGuide_reportingV
erbs.pdf
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4. Referencing – quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism
A student has decided to use ideas from the following extract in an essay:
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and
faced mutual threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the
ultimate driving force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
Decide whether the incorporation in each of the following examples is a quote, a
paraphrase, or whether the student is guilty of plagiarism:
1. But by this time, things were changing in Russia. The new leader,
Gorbachev, argued that all countries in the world had interests in common,
which were not connected with class. This was very different from the
traditional Soviet view. (Papp, 1994, p. 290)
Quote/Paraphrase
Plagiarism
Comment
Paraphrase
No
The original idea is restated in the student’s own
words and correctly referenced.
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4. Referencing – quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and
faced mutual threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the
ultimate driving force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
2. But by this time, things were changing in Russia. Gorbachev declared
that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and faced mutual
threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was
the ultimate driving force behind history. The West reacted to this new way
of talking…
Quote/Paraphrase
Plagiarism
Comment
Quote
Yes
Words lifted directly from original article without
any attempt to quote or cite original source.
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4. Referencing – quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and
faced mutual threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the
ultimate driving force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
3. But by now, things were changing in Russia, where the new leader was
talking about how the different countries of the world faced similar
problems. Such beliefs represented a complete break with standard Soviet
philosophy. The West reacted to the new mood in the USSR by…
Quote/Paraphrase
Plagiarism
Comment
Paraphrase
Yes
The ideas of the original are maintained without
acknowledgement although the wording is
completely different.
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4. Referencing – quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and
faced mutual threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the
ultimate driving force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
4. But by now, things were changing in Russia. Established Soviet dogma
was being abandoned by the new leader, whose views concerning the
common interests of different countries in the world, both East and West,
clearly represented a revolutionary perspective for a leader of the USSR.
The West reacted to such changes by…
Quote/Paraphrase
Plagiarism
Comment
Paraphrase
Yes
This is plagiarism even though the wording is
completely different (except ‘revolutionary perspective’).
The original source must be acknowledged and the
lifted words enclosed within quotation marks.
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4. Referencing – quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and
faced mutual threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the
ultimate driving force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
5. But by now, things were changing in Russia. The new leader was
expressing views which were very different from traditional Soviet
ideology. As one theorist puts it:
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared
mutual interests and faced mutual threats that went beyond class
conflict.This was a revolutionary perspective for a Soviet leader
because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the ultimate driving
force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
Quote/Paraphrase
Plagiarism
Comment
Quote
No
Quotes of three lines or more should form a
separate indented paragraph as demonstrated above.
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4. Referencing – quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and
faced mutual threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the
ultimate driving force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
6. But by now, things were changing in Russia. The new leader was
expressing views that were very different from traditional Soviet ideology,
in that they represented a revolutionary perspective for a leader of the
USSR in which the class struggle was the driving force. The West reacted to
such changes…
Quote/Paraphrase
Plagiarism
Comment
Paraphrase
Yes
Student has lifted key phrases from the original
without acknowledging the source.
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4. Referencing – quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism
Gorbachev declared that the countries of the world shared mutual interests and
faced mutual threats that went beyond class conflict. This was a revolutionary
perspective for a Soviet leader because a Marxist-Leninist class conflict was the
ultimate driving force behind history (Papp, 1994, p. 290).
7. But by now, things were changing in Russia. The new leader was
expressing views about the need for international action that were so
different from established Soviet ideology that they represented a
“revolutionary perspective for a Soviet leader” (Papp, 1994, p. 290). The
West reacted to the new Soviet mood by…
Quote/Paraphrase
Plagiarism
Comment
Quote
No
This is a good example of the use of a very ‘quotable’
phrase in order to add weight to the point the
student is making.
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4. Exercise – spot the errors (5)!
Since the dawn of civilisation, the impulse to collect things to keep 1.
and
displaypage
has number
been part
Missing
p. 30
of human nature, which is how the concept of the museum evolved.
Drurie (1997) remarks that museums have a “long history as repositories for things” –
concrete physical objects remaining from the past, which museums have assumed an
obligation to collect, conserve, present and interpret for the benefit of the community,
present and future. So conscientiously have they embraced this obligation that they have
come to be seen as mausoleums – mere “storage spaces housing dusty glass cases filled with
artefacts identified by fading, curling labels” (Mareovic, p. 71). 2. Missing year: 1998.
However, we now live in a digital world, a world in which technology has become part of
every aspect of life. Computers and the “Information Superhighway” have been seized on by
Government and business as the solution to every problem (Lancaster & Reynolds, 1999).
They are being used everywhere as a quick technological fix, to “paper over the other
problems and create the illusion that solutions are in hand”. In the new virtual world, some
feel that traditional museums will become obsolete or will be transformed into archives, as
people search for information rather than material, three-dimensional artefacts (Bowen et
al., 1998).
3. Missing source
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4. Exercise – spot the errors (5)!
This view is by no means universal, however, and others believe that the demand for original
objects will only increase as web users recognise their value as important aspects of human
culture.
4. Missing brackets
“Alternatively, … technology can help all of us see new relationships between objects,
information, the experience of others and our own response to the world” Teather, 1998.
It is the relationship and balance between the idea of a museum as a place for pure object
collections and the museum as an information provider, making use of digital technology
(1997), which must moderate any discussion of the place of museums in the virtual world.
It is the mission of museums to present collections in an entertaining and educational
fashion. The digital world can be a useful tool for furthering this mission as long as it is not
used indiscriminately, and its users know what they want to achieve, whether they are
achieving desired outcomes and at what cost (Lancaster & Reynolds, 2002; Rentschler,
1999). The World Wide Web offers very real cultural opportunities for museums but also
poses threats which must be considered before decisions are made (Silvester, 2001).
TasTafe Libraries. (n.d.). Referencing for reports and essays. Exercise 2. Retrieved from
5. Author’s
http://library.polytechnic.tas.edu.au/sites/referencing/reference15.htm.
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name missing
4. Referencing – concluding quote:
”I spent all morning putting in a comma and all
afternoon taking it out.”
Oscar Wilde
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5. Academic Style
 Academic writing: precise, semi-formal, impersonal and
objective.
 Focus is on presenting information clearly and accurately.
 Identify any examples of poor style in the following paragraph:
A lot of people think that the weather is getting worse. They say
this has been going on for quite a long time. I think that they are
quite right. Research has shown that we now get storms etc. all
the time.
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5. Academic Style
The paragraph can be analysed as follows:
A lot of people think…
‘a lot’ is imprecise
…the weather…
‘weather’=shortterm=imprecise
…getting worse…
informal
They say…
personal pronoun=informal
…going on…
informal phrasal verb
…quite a long time…
imprecise
I think…
informal
…we now get…
informal
…storms etc….
vague
…all the time…
overgeneralization
5. Academic Style
The paragraph can be rewritten:
It is widely believed that the climate is deteriorating. It is claimed that
this process has been continuing for nearly 100 years. This belief
appears to be supported by McKinley (1997) who shows a 55%
increase in the frequency of severe winter gales since 1905.
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5. Academic Style

Do not use idiomatic or colloquial vocabulary:
kid(s)
huge
ok
like





child(ren)
significant, extensive, immeasurable, considerable…
acceptable, well, permission, safe…
such as, for instance, for example
Contractions may be acceptable in some fields, but in most they are not, so try to
avoid them:
don’t

can’t

won’t

there’s

it’s (vs its!)

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do not
cannot
will not
there is
it is
5. Academic Style – simplistic statements

Try to avoid simplistic statements and sweeping generalisations:
a) Children living in poverty do poorly in school.
b) Older students perform better than younger ones.
c) Telecommuting can significantly damage people’s mental health.
d) Computers cause children’s language skills to decline.
e) One of the reasons why people want to be rich is to have personal
freedom. Without accumulating huge amounts of money, you will not have
full control of your life.
f) Money always moves people closer to frivolous feelings such as materialism,
which is followed by the desire to possess more and more, and away from
other values such as family, and loved ones.
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5. Academic Style – hedging

Instead, distance yourself from your claim through ‘hedging’:
a) Children living in poverty do poorly in school.
Children living in poverty appear/seem/tend to do poorly in school.
Many children living in poverty do poorly in school.
A majority of children living in poverty do poorly in school.
Some children living in poverty do poorly in school.
In most parts of the world, children living in poverty do poorly in school.
Research shows that children living in poverty do poorly in school.
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5. Academic Style – hedging


More examples of ‘hedging’:
b) Older students frequently perform better.
c) There is evidence to suggest that working from home can have a negative
effect on people’s mental health.
d) Some studies suggest that there is a correlation between excessive
computer use and language development.
e) ?
f) ?
And support your claims/arguments with evidence:
c) There is evidence to suggest that working from home can have a negative
effect on people’s mental health. A recent study (Miller, 2011) found that long
hours of working in isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and sometimes
even depression.
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5. Academic Style – hedging: exercise

Look at the hedging expressions used to soften the following strong claim:
1. Word-of-mouth advertising influences a consumer’s incentive to purchase a product.
a) Word-of-mouth advertising can/could/may/might influence a consumer’s incentive to
purchase a product.
b) It is probable/possible that word-of-mouth advertising influences…
c) There is a strong/slight possibility that word-of-mouth advertising influences…
d) Word-of-mouth advertising seems to influence…
e) Several studies suggest/have concluded that word-of-mouth advertising influences…
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5. Academic Style – hedging: exercise

Now try to soften the following claims:
2a. Economic sanctions are ineffective.
2b. Economic sanctions are not necessarily/always the best option.
3a. When people have too many choices, they choose the safest one.
3b. When people have too many choices, they tend to choose the safest one.
4a. Alcohol causes brain damage in teenagers.
4b. There is evidence to suggest that…/Alcohol can cause…
5a. Physical exercise prevents depression.
5b. Research suggests that exercise can prevent depression.
6a. Private schools provide a better education than do public schools.
6b. Private schools seem to provide a better education than…
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5. Academic Style – vagueness

Avoid vagueness:
about a hundred years ago 
hundreds of years ago

a considerable number

of the respondents
ninety years ago
250 years ago
25 of the respondents
thing
nice


factor, issue, topic
attractive, pleasant, enjoyable,
appealing, approachable,
considerate, friendly…
get

receive, obtain, achieve, contract,
arrive, persuade, understand…
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5. Academic Style – imprecise expressions

Avoid vague expressions such as etc. or and so on/so forth. They are
imprecise and require readers to “fill in” the missing information.
Micropumps can be used in drug delivery, lab-on-a-chip analysis,
etc.
vs
Micropumps can be used in drug delivery, lab-on-a-chip analysis,
ink dispensing, and other specialised applications that require
self-contained, low power, miniature pumps.
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5. Academic Style
Identify examples of poor style in the following paragraph:
Facebook has a positive impact on social interaction. Firstly, after graduating
from primary school, middle school, high school or even university, all of our friends
and classmates were separated far away, maybe all over the country or the world.
Everyone is busy with his own business. It is impossible for us to meet in reality. And
then, facebook serves as a medium, which makes us know about our friends and
classmates’ current lives. And each of us can have a close talk on Facebook. As a
result, Facebook shortens the distance between different people. Secondly, there is a
function regarding organizing events and activities on Facebook. Through this function,
detailed contents, timetable and place will be showed by organizer. Afterwards, a lot
of people who have the common interest will be invited. The invitee will share the
activities which will attract more people. Hence it is a good way to meet a new friend
and the people with the same hobby. Therefore Facebook enlarges the possibility to
meet more people with the same appetite. To sum up, Facebook is a significant and
convenient
tool to decrease the distance between people and meet new friends,
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namely, it gives a positive influence on social interaction.
5. Academic Style
Rewritten paragraph:
Facebook has had a positive impact on social interaction. When people
graduate from high school or university, they tend to scatter in all directions and
become absorbed in family commitments and careers, sometimes in different parts of
the world. Staying in touch and meeting up later in life can therefore be a challenge.
This is why Facebook is so valuable. It allows users to reconnect and stay in touch
with friends, family and acquaintances across the world, thus shortening the distance
between people. What makes Facebook particularly alluring is its visual quality. It
literally offers users a glimpse of friends’ lives through photos and videos, thus making
the connections more authentic. According to a survey by xxx (2011), 76% of
Facebook users admit that connections with friends in far-off places have been
strengthened since the appearance of Facebook. Another important interactive
function on Facebook is the events organizer, which makes it easy for users to arrange
social get-togethers and meet people with similar interests. Research has shown that
Facebook has contributed to a significant reduction in the sense of loneliness and
isolation www.cip.ku.dk
among expats
various
parts of the world (Evans, 2012). To sum up, …
 +45 in
35 32
86 39  [email protected]
5. Academic Style
Identify examples of poor style in the following paragraph:
According to Dr. David Houghton, the information we post to Facebook reach
different groups of our “friends”; for instance family members, friends and colleges. For
example, if we post a photo of ourselves taking shots it may seems harmless to closer friends,
but it also can have a negative effect on colleges or a family members. In addition, the research
of Dr. Houghton found out that sharing too many photos of your private life can have a negative
impact on real-life relationships.
It is important to remember that any personal information posted on Facebook reaches a
wide variety of people: close friends, acquaintances, family members, and colleagues. While pictures
depicting heavy drinking may seem amusing to close friends and peers, the same pictures are likely to
be perceived very differently by colleagues or family members, as Dr. Houghton points out (xxxx, p. x),
and can be downright damaging if viewed by current or potential employers. Houghton also found that
sharing too many personal/private photos can have a negative impact on real-life relationships.
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Did you know…
…that there is a word in English for the morbid fear of
peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth:
arachibutyrophobia
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6. Vocabulary
 English is immensely rich: 500.000 – 1.000.000 words.
 English heavily influenced by French and Latin:
cordial reception
investigate
require
respond
vs
vs
vs
vs
hearty welcome
look into
need
answer
 About 80 percent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly
from Latin.
 In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90
percent.
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6. Vocabulary
 Identify the words of Latin and French origin in the following abstract:
ABSTRACT
I argue that a policy of presumed consent for cadaveric organ procurement, which assumes that
people do want to donate their organs for transplantation after their death, would be a moral
improvement over the current American system, which assumes that people do not want to donate
their organs. I address what I take to be the most important objection to presumed consent. The
objection is that if we implement presumed consent we will end up removing organs from the bodies of
people who did not want their organs removed, and that this situation is morally unacceptable because
it violates the principle of respect for autonomy that underlies our concept of informed consent. I argue
that while removing organs from the bodies of people who did not want them removed is unfortunate,
it is morally no worse than not removing organs from the bodies of people who did want them
removed, and that a policy of presumed consent will produce fewer of these unfortunate results than
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the currentwww.cip.ku.dk
system.
6. Vocabulary
ABSTRACT
I argue that a policy of presumed consent for cadaveric organ procurement, which assumes that
people do want to donate their organs for transplantation after their death, would be a moral
improvement over the current American system, which assumes that people do not want to donate
their organs. I address what I take to be the most important objection to presumed consent. The
objection is that if we implement presumed consent we will end up removing organs from the bodies of
people who did not want their organs removed, and that this situation is morally unacceptable because
it violates the principle of respect for autonomy that underlies our concept of informed consent. I argue
that while removing organs from the bodies of people who did not want them removed is unfortunate,
it is morally no worse than not removing organs from the bodies of people who did want them
removed, and that a policy of presumed consent will produce fewer of these unfortunate results than
the current system.
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6. Vocabulary
 General words – most common 3,000 e.g. plant,
name, place, voice
 Domain-specific terms e.g. metabolic, anabolic,
catabolic, glycolysis, molecular
 Academic Word List (AWL) e.g. analysis, deviate,
abandon, confirm
Check words on OALD:
http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com
Academic Word List link:
http://www.uefap.com/vocab/select/awl.htm
Test the size of your vocabulary:
http://www.lextutor.ca/tests/
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6. Vocabulary – weak vs. strong verbs

Avoid using weak (Germanic) multi-word verbs if there is a stronger
one-word (French/Latin) synonym:
put down to
make out
get better/worse
put up with
do away with
get rid of
put off
put into practice
throw out









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attribute
discern
improve/deteriorate
tolerate
abolish
eliminate
deter
implement
evict
6. Vocabulary – weak vs. strong verbs: exercise
Exercise! Replace the informal multi-word verbs with more formal
equivalents:
1. The aggregate of outstanding balances went up and down quite violently.
The aggregate of outstanding balances fluctuated quite violently.
2. Dieters often feel that they should totally get rid of high-fat and high-sugar foods.
Dieters often feel that they should totally eliminate high-fat and high-sugar foods.
3. Ms Tucker, Lord White's 29-year-old companion, has since taken her statement
back.
Ms Tucker, Lord White's 29-year-old companion, has since retracted her statement.
4. The solitary feeding of insectivores in forests was therefore put down to a foraging
strategy involving the pursuit of cryptic and easily disturbed prey by singletons.
The solitary feeding of insectivores in forests was therefore attributed to a foraging strategy
involving the pursuit of cryptic and easily disturbed prey by singletons.
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6. Vocabulary – weak vs. strong verbs: exercise
5. They had given up all hope that she was alive.
They had relinquished/abandoned all hope that she was alive.
6. The story told by German propaganda, however, gave away nothing of the mounting
hopelessness of the 6th Army's position.
The story told by German propaganda, however, betrayed/revealed nothing of the mounting
hopelessness of the 6th Army’s position.
7. Marx took as one of his main tasks the understanding of how this system came into being and
this was in order to find out why this system had such power.
Marx took as one of his main tasks the understanding of how this system came into being and this
was in order to discover why this system had such power.
8. This was before he had read the guidelines on how to carry out the research.
This was before he had read the guidelines on how to conduct the research.
9. Raising taxes has been shown to reduce revenue to the government and make the job
situation worse.
Raising taxes has been shown to reduce revenue to the government and exacerbate the job
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situation.
6. Vocabulary – collocations
1. Collocations are pairs or groups of words that are often used together and sound
natural to native speakers:
√Raise important questions
vs.
*Give important questions
√Do research
vs.
*Make research
√Do your homework
vs.
*Make your homework
√Heated debate
vs.
*Warm debate
√Strongly disagree
vs.
*Deeply disagree
√Strongly dislike
vs.
*Deeply dislike
√Meet requirements
vs.
*Keep to requirements
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6. Vocabulary – collocations
 More examples:
a) Adjective+noun:
heated debate, preliminary results, groundbreaking research, significant
contribution, powerful argument, supporting evidence, tentative explanation…
b) Verb+noun:
play a central role, gather evidence, conduct an experiment, raise questions,
draw a conclusion/an analogy, assess the significance of, touch on issues, lend
support to…
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6. Vocabulary – collocations
 You can improve your written style by using more sophisticated collocations than
combinations with do and get.
Expressions with do/get
Alternatives
do an exam
sit/take an exam
do research/a research project carry out/conduct research
do a course
enrol on/take a course
do a degree/diploma
study for/take a degree
do a subject (e.g. law)
study/take history
do an essay/assignment
write an essay/assignment
do a lecture/talk
give a lecture (on)
get a degree/diploma
obtain/be awarded a diploma
get a grade
receive/be given a grade
get a qualification
obtain/acquire a qualification
get an education
receive a basic education
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6. Vocabulary – collocations
 Be aware of collocations when you are reading/listening to English
 Check collocations in dictionaries / collocations dictionaries e.g.
 Oxford Collocations Dictionary (CD-ROM)
 Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English (CD-ROM)
 Macmillan Collocations Dictionary (book only)
 Collocations link http://www.just-the-word.com/
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6. Vocabulary – fixed expressions and dependent prepositions
2. Fixed expressions:
on the whole, with respect to, in the case of, in terms of, for the most part,
with the exception of, to some extent, with regard to, a great deal of, a wide
range of, as a rule, from the point of view of…
3. Many nouns, adjectives and verbs are followed by a particular preposition, i.e.
dependent prepositions:
eligible for, delay in, solution to, dissuade from, approve of, depend on,
respond to, spend money on, attend to, convince of, approach to, equip with,
account for…
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6. Vocabulary – exercise on dependent prepositions
Complete the sentences with the correct prepositions:
1. We try to equip our laboratories
the latest technology.
2. The result gives us all the more reason
3. How can we make science relevant
4. It was typical
optimism.
environmental policy?
the farmers in the study that they had a negative attitude to technology.
5. Thirteen percent of deaths among children were attributed
6. Traffic accidents account
malaria.
most hospital admissions at the weekend.
7. Hopper (1999) argues
a new approach to English grammar.
8. Heart disease is often associated
an unhealthy lifestyle.
9. Changes
the rate of growth of the cells were observed over time.
10. Our experiments provided us
the data we needed.
11. We must convince people
the need
water conservation.
12. You should
always attend
design
when planning a questionnaire.
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 +45 35 32
86 39issues
 [email protected]
6. Vocabulary – exercise on dependent prepositions
Complete the sentences with the correct prepositions:
1. We try to equip our laboratories
with
2. The result gives us all the more reason
3. How can we make science relevant
4. It was typical
of
the latest technology.
for
to
optimism.
environmental policy?
the farmers in the study that they had a negative attitude to technology.
5. Thirteen percent of deaths among children were attributed
6. Traffic accidents account
7. Hopper (1999) argues
for
for
in
malaria.
most hospital admissions at the weekend.
a new approach to English grammar.
8. Heart disease is often associated
9. Changes
to
with
an unhealthy lifestyle.
the rate of growth of the cells were observed over time.
10. Our experiments provided us
11. We must convince people
with
of the need
the data we needed.
for
water conservation.
12. You should
always attend
design
when planning a questionnaire.
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 +45 to
35 32
86 39issues
 [email protected]
Did you know…
…that the word ”sandwich” was named after John Montagu, 4th
Earl of Sandwich (1718--92), who ordered a waiter to bring him
roast-beef between two slices of bread, so that he could continue
his gambling while eating.
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7. The Most Common Errors – spelling

Don’t trust your spellchecker!
1) In addiction to style issue and education, the audience of art
today has changed. From one side, modern art viewer is more
common, which meeans that more and more people are
interested in art, but from another side, these people are usualy
less cultivated with art. It haves huge influence in artists, and
emerge by more incomprehensive pieces of art. Yore, there
exists formulaic, and higher up sighs code not everyone
understoods it, but art back then haves special system to be
readed. Situations when almost noone understands the artist’s
envoi are mostly the sighn of present age.
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7. The Most Common Errors – punctuation
Correct punctuation is important!
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8. The Most Common Errors – punctuation
Correct punctuation is important!
Let’s eat, Grandpa!
vs.
Let’s eat Grandpa!
Woman, without her man, is nothing
vs.
Woman: without her, man is nothing
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7. The Most Common Errors – punctuation
 Add commas, semicolons and colons to the following sentences (one sentence is correct
and requires no punctuation):
1. Please bring the following to the final exam two pencils an eraser a blue book and your brain.
2. Many people want to learn English in fact there are more students of English in China than
there are people in the United States.
3. A person who speaks three languages is trilingual.
4. The theatre manager who had tried to be nice lost his job for giving away free popcorn.
5. Generally British and American people speak the same language however there are a few
differences.
6. Every morning I get up take a shower eat breakfast read the newspaper walk my dog and fight
with my wife.
7. He said “Study hard respect your teachers and call home once a week.”
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7. The Most Common Errors – punctuation
Key
1. Please bring the following to the final exam: two pencils, an eraser, a blue book, and your
brain.
2. Many people want to learn English; in fact, there are more students of English in China than
there are people in the United States.
3. A person who speaks three languages is trilingual.
4. The theatre manager, who had tried to be nice, lost his job for giving away free popcorn.
5. Generally, British and American people speak the same language; however, there are a few
differences.
6. Every morning I get up, take a shower, eat breakfast, read the newspaper, walk my dog, and
fight with my wife.
7. He said, “Study hard, respect your teachers, and call home once a week.”
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7. The Most Common Errors – subject-verb agreement
Subjects and verbs must agree in number:
1. The purpose of the monorails have changed from one of carrying food to one of
carrying people to work in crowded urban areas.
have  has
2. The shortage of available infants and the availability of children with special needs
has changed the focus of adoption for many parents.
has  have
3. Recent discoveries about the weather reveals that several cycles are involved.
reveals  reveal
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7. The Most Common Errors: subject-verb agreement
Correct the subject-verb agreement errors in the following sentences:
a) All the novels on the reading list treats feminist issues.
treats  treat
b) Each of the candidates recite one poem and sing one song.
recite  recites
c) One of the teachers I met during my high school years have published a book.
have  has
d) Five dollars are a lot of money.
are  is
e) The dirty dishes sitting in the kitchen sink needs to be washed.
needs  need
f) Taking detours are annoying, especially when you're late for work.
are  is
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Tools and Links (self-study)
The Academic Phrasebank: http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/
Free dictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/
Merriam Webster online dictionaries: http://www.merriam-webster.com/
Online dictionary: http://www.dictionary.com
Using English for Academic Purposes: http://www.uefap.com/
University of Canberra, Academic Skills Centre: http://www.canberra.edu.au/studyskills/
University of Toronto, Writing: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/
University of North Carolina: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/scientific-reports/
Signalling Words and Expressions: http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm
References
Björk, L. & Räisänen. (1997). Academic writing: A university writing course (2nd ed.). Lund, Sweden:
Studentlitteratur.
Gillett, A., Hammond, A. & Martala, M. (2009). Inside track: Successful academic writing. Harlow, England:
Pearson Education Ltd.
Hogue, A. (2003). The essentials of English: A writer’s handbook. White Plains, NY: Pearson Longman.
McCarthy, M. & O’Dell, F. (2008). Academic Vocabulary in Use. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press.
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www.cip.ku.dk  +45 35 32 86 39  [email protected]
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