Writing tip of the week

by Harriet Castor

(Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow in the Department of Arts & Cultural Industries)

Today I’d like to recommend a useful website. It’s Manchester University’s ‘Academic Phrasebank’, and you can find it here: http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk

The Academic Phrasebank describes itself as a “general resource for academic writers”, and it contains plenty of material that could be useful for anyone writing an essay or dissertation. For example, there are sections on introducing work, describing methods, reporting results and writing conclusions. There are also sections with headings such as ‘Being Critical’, ‘Being Cautious’, ‘Giving Examples’ and ‘Compare and Contrast’. Under each heading you will find not only tips on how to approach this aspect of an assignment, but also lots and lots of sample phrases that could be useful in your own writing.

(Remember, however, that you will need to tailor the phrases to make sure they express exactly what you want to say in your essay/dissertation. The Phrasebank can give you ideas, but if you simply try to knit a lot of suggested phrases together, without thinking about whether they fit into your essay or not, the result won’t work well.)

If you’d like to book a confidential one-to-one session with me to work on your writing skills, please email Harriet.Castor@uwe.ac.uk  I’m at Frenchay on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.


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