Glossary of Words and Phrases related to Writing
- noun COUNTABLE a shortened form of a word or a phrase : Abbreviations, especially acronyms, are common in reports written for specialists (scientists, economists, etc.). if the text is written for non-specialists, the abbreviations should be written out in full where they are first mentioned in the text. Compare with acronyms.
- noun COUNTABLE a very short form of an article or other text, giving only the most essential information
- adjective existing as a thought or feeling rather than as a something concrete, material, tangible : "Note, too, the value of using specific examples such as "lemons and carrots” rather than abstract words like agriculture …” (Pyne 2018)
- noun the consideration of the qualities and characteristics of an entity rather than its physical properties
- academic integrity
- noun phrase being honest and truthful about your work : Academic integrity includes a) not plagiarising, b) citing your sources correctly, c) presenting only work which is your own, d) collaborating with others only within the limits of your institution’s guidelines, e) not cheating in exams, f) not submitting work which has been previously submitted. More information about academic integrity is available on the plagiarism faqs page.
- Academic Word List
- noun phrase A list of words presumed to be more commonly used in academic writing than other types of discourse. It was developed by Averil Coxhead and you can see the reference to her original article in the bibliography. You can alos practice using collocations of words from this list on the Collocation Game Page.
- noun COUNTABLE 1. recognition of a source of information by stating its origin with a correctly formatted citation; 2. a statement of appreciation of help given
- noun COUNTABLE an abbreviation of a series of words (usually a noun phrase) consisting of the first letter of each word in the phrase : UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; ASEAN: Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Compare with abbreviation.
- adjective describes a verb when the subject of the sentence performs the action : In the sentence, "The boy is washing the dog.”, "The boy” is the subject and performs the action. "is washing” is a verb in the active voice. Compare with the passive.
- noun a textual element (sentence, paragraph, section) which adds further information about an argument : These elements are often introduced with adverbials such as "In addition”, "Furthermore” etc. See how adverbials are managed on the adverbials page.
- noun COUNTABLE a word which provides more information about the noun to which it is attached (either preceding the noun or with a copula verb)
- noun COUNTABLE a word which provides more information about a verb, adjective or adverb to which it is attached
- noun COUNTABLE an adverb phrase used to provide circumstantial information about a clause, to indicate the writer’s stance, or to link units of discourse by indicating their relationship : See how adverbials are managed on the adverbials page.
- noun a group of letters attached to the beginning or end of a word which changes to meaning or form of that word : See also prefix and suffix.
- noun COUNTABLE a literary work in which the story represents particular qualities, ideals or moralities
- noun the repetition of consonants for its effect, especially used in poetry (and occasionally in newspaper headlines, football chants and children’s nicknames) : Not used in serious non fiction writing.
- noun COUNTABLE an indirect reference to something outside the text (e.g. another text, a person, a well known story)
- noun COUNTABLE uncertainty about meaning or reference because of the way a phrase or sentence is structured.
- noun COUNTABLE a reference to something which is cannot really happen because it is in in the wrong time in history
- noun COUNTABLE the use of a comparison between things which share some similar features in order to make an explanation clearer
- noun the process of breaking apart an entity (idea, topic, object …) into its component parts in order to better understand and be able to describe it
- noun a publication which is issued once a year
- adjective describes a source for which no author is known
- noun the thing, already mentioned in a text, which is being referred to
- noun COUNTABLE words or ideas which are in contrast because they are opposites
- noun COUNTABLE a short sentence containing some important thought or observation
- noun COUNTABLE a punctuation mark used to indicate possession or the omission of a letter or letters : Fred’s work wasn’t submitted on time.
- noun an additional section of a text placed towards the end in which extra information such as diagrams, tables, survey results may be placed for consultation
- noun UNCOUNTABLE placed next to : Noun phrases are often placed next to another in English to provide more information about, or explanation of, a noun phrase immediately preceding it.
- noun COUNTABLE the use of a word or phrase or construction which is no longer in current use : Archaisms should not be used unless for special (e.g. humorous) effect.
- noun a statement used with reasoning and, usually, evidence to show that something is true
- noun 1. the word "the” (definite article) or "a(n)” (indefinite article; 2. a piece of writing on a particular subject written for publication in a journal, magazine or newspaper
- noun a task required by an authority (usually an instructor) to be completed according to given criteria before a certain date (the deadline)
- verb to state who wrote the information or quotation
- noun a statement about who the author of a work is considered to be
- noun COUNTABLE the person or people you as a writer expect will read your text
- noun COUNTABLE the writer of (an article, a report, a book, etc.). The author may be a group of people if they write on behalf of an organisation (a corporate author).
- verb TRANSITIVE FORMAL to write (an article, a report, a book, etc.)
- noun COUNTABLE a respected expert on a particular subject matter
- noun COUNTABLE a list of sources referenced in your text, or consulted during the preparation of your text and relevant to your topic : A List of References normally contains only works cited in your text, whereas a bibliography may be more wide-ranging.
- noun COUNTABLE an account of someone’s life and works
- block quote
- noun a quotation formatted by placing it in a separate indented paragraph : A block quote is used without quotation marks where the quotation is longer than 40 words instead of inserting it in line with quotation marks.
- noun punctuation marks ( ) used to enclose and separate a short portion of text : Also known as parentheses in American English.
- verb to gather possible ideas (usually in a group) by thinking freely about a topic with a view to evaluating these ideas later : See how you can brainstorm to get ideas and sources together on the brainstorming page.
- noun something (usually an action) which provokes an event or a result (an effect)
- cause and effect
- noun a common text pattern in which causes and their effects are analysed or used in support of the writer’s arguments : See how cause and effect is used in a real text on the cause and effect page.
- noun COUNTABLE words spoken or written by another person, the source of which is declared : Often "citation” is taken to mean the correctly formatted source of the quotation or paraphrase. See how to cite on the citation page.
- verb to write words spoken or written by another person and to formally declare the source : There are strict rules about how the source of a quotation or paraphrase should be formatted. See how to cite on the in-text citations page.
- noun COUNTABLE a statement of the writer’s belief : In writing, claims need evidence. The reader needs to know why an assertion made by the writer should be believable.
- noun COUNTABLE the act of grouping elements into various classes according to their characteristics : See how classification is used in a real text on the classification page.
- noun COUNTABLE a clause is composed of phrases and contains a verb. It is highest level of grammatical structure below the sentence.
- noun COUNTABLE a phrase which has become fixed and is overused : Everyone uses clichés. They are unavoidable. However, it is good practice not to overuse them run your writing otherwise your text becomes stale and boring.
- noun UNCOUNTABLE coherence is concerned with the way a text seems to have a connected and logical flow : Unlike cohesion, coherence is not a feature of the text itself; it is the reader who decides how coherent a text is based on his or her perception of the logical flow of the arguments in the text.
- noun UNCOUNTABLE cohesion is a feature of the text itself and concerns the way in which certain grammatical items (such as pronouns) and words can connect a sentence to previous (and, sometimes, later) ones : Cohesion is not coherence but cohesive ties contribute to the coherence of a text by providing the reader with pointers to the connections in the text.
- adjective connected, tied together : Cohesive text is text which has the quality of being a unified whole because of the connections (cohesive ties) within the text itself.
- noun a word which is commonly associated with or found in proximity to another word : "sweet", "strong", "milky" are all common collocates of the word "tea". You can see a list of common collocates of the word "comparison" a few words below in this glossary.
- verb to place a word in proximity to another word : "sweet", "strong", "milky" collocate well with the word "tea".
- noun COUNTABLE a punctuation mark (:) used as a stop, often to introduce an example or clarification of the information in the text preceding the colon
- noun COUNTABLE a punctuation mark (,) which separates one part of a sentence from another : Commas are used to separate items in a list and to separate clauses.
- noun COUNTABLE a textual element (sentence, paragraph, section) in which similarities and differences are examined : See how comparison is used in a real text on the comparison/contrast page 1 or comparison/contrast page 2
- noun COUNTABLE a short essay written by a student as an exercise in writing
- compound noun
- noun a noun phrase constructed with a noun and another noun (or nouns), a verb, or an adjective : table lamp (noun + noun), gunfire (noun + verb), current affairs (adjective + noun)
- noun COUNTABLE the end of a piece of writing contained in a separate paragraph or paragraphs, usually consisting of a summary of the main points and any necessary remarks or recommendations
- adjective having substance, clarity and definition
- noun UNCOUNTABLE the text which surrounds a word phrase or sentence and which influences the meaning of those elements
- noun a textual element (sentence, paragraph, section) in which differences are examined : See how contrast is used in a real text on the comparison-contrast page 1 or comparison-contrast page 2
- noun the right of a person, persons or legal entity to assert rights of ownership and reproduction of their creative work
- counter argument
- compound noun an argument against a previously stated argument, statement, or point of view : In stating a case it is important to look at other possible points of view and offer reasons and evidence why these may not be as strong as the case you are making
- cover sheet
- compound noun a page, usually pre-formatted, required to be attached to an assignment upon submission, supplying information about the assignment, the writer and other pertinent details
- noun a detailed evaluation or criticism of a piece of writing - both of the writing itself and on the opinions contained therein
- compound noun a reference in a piece of writing to another reference elsewhere in the same document
- noun COUNTABLE an area of study
- noun UNCOUNTABLE written or spoken communication
- discourse analysis
- compound noun the study of how text is used for particular purposes in socio-cultural situations
- noun COUNTABLE a long text normally written by a student to demonstrate mastery of a particular area of study
- noun COUNTABLE a text written for a particular purpose and in a particular format
- noun COUNTABLE a version of a piece of writing which is not complete or is yet to be reviewed and revised
- verb to review and revise a piece of writing before final submission
- noun COUNTABLE 1. one of a series of publications issued at regular intervals; 2. a single publication which may be republished with additions and/or alterations
- noun COUNTABLE someone who reviews and revises a text
- noun the result of a particular action or initiating cause
- noun UNCOUNTABLE a cohesive device, similar to substitution, where an element is omitted because it can be retrieved from the context of the text : See more about ellipsis on the elllipsis page.
- noun COUNTABLE a note containing further information or explanations added to the end of a chapter, section or article
- noun UNCOUNTABLE the ordered listing of items in a text : See how enumeration is used in a real text on the enumeration page.
- noun COUNTABLE a very short piece of text saying much in a few words
- noun COUNTABLE a piece of writing on a particular topic often written by students as a demonstration of their writing ability or their knowledge of a particular area of study
- noun COUNTABLE a word or phrase used to substitute for an unpleasant or offensive one
- noun UNCOUNTABLE information presented as support for the truth of an argument
- adjective used to describe non-fiction writing which is explanatory or descriptive rather than persuasive : Compare with persuasive
- noun a short section of writing taken from another document
- noun UNCOUNTABLE information provided by a reviewer or examiner on the value of a piece of writing with suggestions about how it might be improved
- finite clause
- noun a clause which contains a finite verb (one which has a subject and which shows tense) and which can stand as an independent clause
- noun a clear and well defined idea around which a sentence, paragraph, section, or entire piece or writing is constructed : See also topic and thesis.
- noun COUNTABLE a note containing further information or explanations added to the end of a page
- noun a short introduction (usually to a book or lengthy article) often written by someone other than the author of the main work, providing preparatory information about the work
- formal words
- noun phrase words which are used in official or technical documents but which may not often be used in everyday speech or writing : commence (formal) for begin (informal); purchase (formal) for buy (informal)
- noun COUNTABLE the layout and typography of a text : You should abide by formatting guidelines if they have been stipulated.
- noun UNCOUNTABLE to write freely and quickly for a short timed period without regard to format, grammar punctuation etc. in order to generate ideas
- full stop
- noun COUNTABLE a punctuation mark (.) which marks the end of a sentence : Also known in American English as a period.
- noun COUNTABLE a list of definitions and explanations such as this one explaining terms used in a particular content area, arranged alphabetically
- noun COUNTABLE text (such as a chapter or section title) placed in the top of every page in a text
- noun COUNTABLE the title of a section of text
- verb to avoid absolute commitment to an argument or thesis by using words or grammar which introduce an element of doubt or tentativeness
- noun UNCOUNTABLE the avoidance of absolute commitment to an argument or thesis by using words or grammar which introduce an element of doubt or tentativeness : This technique may also be used not because you have doubts about your argument but because it may be easier for your reader to accept your ideas if they are expressed less forcefully. See how hedging is managed on the hedging page.
- noun COUNTABLE a short line which connects two parts of a compound word : self-help, eye-opener
- noun COUNTABLE an idea which is open to testing and which can be refuted through demonstration or experiment
- noun COUNTABLE a fixed phrase in which normal rules of grammar may be broken and whose meaning may not be obvious from the words themselves : Idioms are rarely used in academic or technical writing. If English is not your native language you should be wary of using idiomatic forms in your text as they may sound odd.
- noun COUNTABLE a short space at the beginning of a line or section of text : Indents are used to indicate the beginning of a new paragraph and block quotations.
- noun COUNTABLE a list of items contained in a text ordered alphabetically for ease of reference
- adjective this refers to verbs which do not take an object
- noun 1. a paragraph at the beginning of a piece of writing which gives the main idea of the work; 2. a section at the beginning of a book or other lengthy piece of writing providing the main idea for the work, background information and other essential details helpful to the reader : See more about introductions on the essay planning page.
- noun UNCOUNTABLE the use of words which imply the opposite of what is meant : Rare in academic writing.
- noun slanting typeface used to separate a piece of text from its surroundings for emphasis or to distinguish it for some other purpose (usually contrast)
- noun COUNTABLE the process of repeating something a number of times
- adjective describing something which is repeated a number of times
- noun UNCOUNTABLE specialised words or phrases used by a particular group (scientists, tradespeople, professional groups etc. ) which may be difficult for those outside of that group to understand
- noun COUNTABLE a specialised periodical for those involved in a particular discipline to publish their work
- noun the whole set of words used in any particular language
- noun UNCOUNTABLE texts which deal with a particular discipline
- literature review
- noun a survey of the pertinent writings in a particular discipline often conducted as a part of a dissertation or thesis
- noun COUNTABLE a text which provides instruction on the use of a machine or system
- noun COUNTABLE the original written work submitted for examination or publication
- noun COUNTABLE the space between the edge of the page and the text : If you have been given formatting guidelines make sue that you abide by them. If not, use standard formatting rules (e.g. 1 inch margins as stipulated by ASA style)
- noun the words and phrases used to describe features of text
- noun COUNTABLE the use of the name of one concept to describe another : Whereas a simile describes a concept as being like another, a metaphor describes a concept in terms of another. Many commonly used metaphors are almost clichés. For example: "get into hot water”, "split hairs”, "food for thought”.
- noun COUNTABLE a word which refers to a "thing”; this "thing” could be an object, a person, a process, a concept, an event
- noun COUNTABLE GRAMMAR the first auxiliary verb in a verb phrase : In the sentence "She has not been seen since”, "has” is the operator in the verb phrase "has not been seen”.
- noun COUNTABLE a concise description of the main points of an event, plan, process, design, etc. : An outline of an essay or report provides the main points and main supporting details to be discussed in the text.
- verb to describe the main points of an event, plan, process, design, etc.
- noun UNCOUNTABLE the way in which a text is organised into pages
- noun COUNTABLE a statement which seems to be contradictory but which may be insightful
- noun COUNTABLE a unit of text which usually contains one main idea. : A paragraph may be as short as one sentence but it is usually longer, containing a topic sentence and other sentences which provide supporting detail or evidence. A paragraph always begins on a new line and the first word may be indented.
- noun COUNTABLE repetition or mirroring of a style or structure
- noun COUNTABLE text rewritten in different words in order to simplify or summarise the original text
- verb to rewrite text in different words in order to simplify or summarise the original text
- noun punctuation marks ( ) used to enclose and separate a short portion of text : Also known as brackets in British English
- noun comic imitation achieved through exaggeration
- adjective describes a verb when the subject of the sentence is the sufferer of the action rather than the performer : In the sentence, "The dog is being washed by the boy.”, "The dog” is the subject and suffers the action. "is being washed” is a verb in the passive voice. Compare with the active
- peer review
- noun a review of a text (usually a draft at an advanced stage of preparation) undertaken by people in your peer group : For professionals this means people of similar or higher standing in your discipline; for students it means fellow students in your area of study.
- noun COUNTABLE AMERICAN USAGE the closing dot at the end of a sentence, also known as a full stop
- noun COUNTABLE a publication which is issued at regular intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly)
- adjective making you believe something to be true : It was a compelling and persuasive argument for the urgency of ratifying the treaty. Compare with expository
- noun COUNTABLE a phrase is a group of words below the level of a clause. There are 5 types of phrase in English: the noun phrase, the verb phrase, the adverb phrase, the adjective phrase and the prepositional phrase.
- noun COUNTABLE an introduction to a long text (usually a book) outlining the purpose and scope of the contents
- noun COUNTABLE a group of letters placed at the beginning of a word which changes the meaning or form of that word : See a list of prefixes and their meanings on the prefix page. See also suffix
- primary source
- noun phrase a source of information which was an original creation (e.g. a research paper, historical manuscript, or original artifact) See information on primary and secondary sources on the research page
- noun a textual element usually at least a paragraph long which examines possible solutions to a particular problem : See how problem/solution is used in a real text on the problem-solution page.
- noun articles, reviews or reports of discussions, conferences, experiments, surveys … conducted by a professional body
- noun COUNTABLE a series of steps taken in a given order in order to achieve a particular outcome : Students are sometimes asked to describe a process either to evaluate their understanding of a particular process or to test their ability to write a description involving enumeration. Writing itself is a complex process.
- noun COUNTABLE a word which takes the place of a noun which has previously been mentioned in a text : Pronouns (e.g. he, she, they, I, that, who ….) are important for avoiding noun repetition in a text and for creating cohesion.
- noun the act of reviewing a document carefully in order to locate and correct errors : example of the word or phrase used in context
- noun COUNTABLE a written request, containing a detailed plan, to proceed with a research project
- noun the normal form of language (written or spoken) used from day to day
- noun UNCOUNTABLE marks which divide phrases, clauses and sentences and provide information about the particular status of a portion of a text (e.g. that it is a question or a quotation)
- question mark
- noun COUNTABLE a punctuation mark: (?) placed at the end of a sentence to denote that a question is being asked
- noun a carefully constructed list of questions written in order to gather information in a systematic and reliable way from a selected group of interviewees
- noun COUNTABLE the actual words written or spoken and reported in a text - a quotation is enclosed in quotation marks (parentheses) and should be normally be accompanied by a citation : See how quotations are formatted on the citation page.
- quotation marks
- noun punctuation marks (" ") which enclose a quotation to show that these words were written by someone other than the author of the text (although an author may also quote his or her previous work)
- noun COUNTABLE the actual words written or spoken and reported in a text - a quote is enclosed in quotation marks (parentheses) and should be normally be accompanied by a citation : See how quotes are formatted on the citation page.
- noun COUNTABLE a pointer to an item located at another (usually previous) point in a text : Reference can be backward pointing (anaphoric reference), forward pointing (cataphoric reference), or pointing to something outside of the text (exophoric). See more about reference on the referencing page.
- noun a pointer to the source of information, normally formatted in a specific way in order that the reader may locate the source easily : See how to cite on the citation page.
- noun COUNTABLE a written account of a study, piece of research, survey or experiment, including the methodology used, results obtained, and conclusions reached
- noun COUNTABLE the process of finding information by conducting experiments, surveys, literature reviews or any other systematic means : See more about researching on the research page.
- research paper
- compound noun a lengthy report giving details of research conducted
- noun UNCOUNTABLE speech or writing intended to persuade
- rhetorical question
- noun phrase COUNTABLE a question which does not require an answer (the answer being obvious, and the question being asked merely to make a particular point)
- verb to read though a text quickly looking for specific information
- search engine
- compound noun COUNTABLE software used for locating specific information on the World Wide Web : See how to search in the research page.
- search term
- compound noun COUNTABLE the words (and possibly boolean symbols) used to conduct a search using a search engine : See how to search on the research page.
- secondary source
- noun phrase COUNTABLE a source of information which makes use of, refers to, or comments on other sources (primary or secondary)
- noun COUNTABLE a sentence is a group of words (containing clauses and phrases) beginning with a capital letter and ending in a full stop (period).
- noun COUNTABLE a series of items one after another, usually ordered in a particular way (alphabetically, numerically, chronologically, etc.) : "[respiration] involves a remarkable sequence of processes that beautifully convey the wonder of these biological nanomachines.” (McFadden and Al-Khalili 2016) See how sequence (enumeration) is used in a text on the enumeration page.
- shell noun
- compound noun COUNTABLE Shell nouns are a special class of abstract nouns whose meaning is found in the surrounding text rather than within the word itself : See more about shell nouns on the Abstract Noun page.
- signal phrase
- compound noun COUNTABLE a phrase used to introduce a quotation or a paraphrase : See more about signal phrases on the citation page.
- verb to read quickly in order to get a general sense of the main ideas of a text
- noun COUNTABLE where something came from or originated : Even stable molecules can, however, be ripped apart if they are provided with sufficient energy. One possible source of that energy is more heat, which speeds up molecular motion. (McFadden and Al-Khalili 2016 p71)
I wish to express my thanks also to all those authors and publishers whose works have been quoted. The sources of these quotations have been separately acknowledged in the Notes and Bibliography. (Hoggart, 2009)
- noun COUNTABLE a mode of presentation either in terms of formatting or in terms of how language is used to communicate your ideas
- style guide
- compound noun COUNTABLE a guide for writers outlining required or suggested conventions to be followed (in terms of formatting, language use, referencing, etc.) when writing for a particular journal or institution
- subject 1.
- noun COUNTABLE GRAMMAR a noun phrase (a person or a thing) normally placed before a verb phrase and which acts as the performer of the verb
- subject 2.
- noun COUNTABLE an area of study in a school, college or university
- noun COHESIVE DEVICE the replacement of one item with another : See more about substitution on the substitution page.
- noun COUNTABLE a group of letters placed at the end of a word which changes the meaning or grammatical form of that word : See a list of suffixes on the suffixes page. See also prefix
- verb to write a reduced version of a text containing only the most essential points
- noun COUNTABLE a reduced version of a text containing only the most essential points
- noun COUNTABLE a systematic method of gathering and evaluating information
- noun COUNTABLE a word which has the same meaning and use as another : True synonyms are rare because words with similar meanings are usually used in slightly different contexts and may have different collocations.
- noun COUNTABLE the combination of separate entities to form a new coherent unit
- noun COUNTABLE using different words to say the same thing twice
- noun COUNTABLE words written or spoken for a particular audience and a particular purpose : Anything containing words in which meaning can be found can be a text. A text can be any length, from a one word warning sign to a lengthy book.
- noun COUNTABLE 1. the main idea of a text; 2. the main focus of meaning in a sentence
- noun to construct a coherent set of ideas, principles rules or conventions concerning a particular area of study which help in understanding and explaining it
- noun a coherent set of ideas, principles rules or conventions concerning a particular area of study which help in understanding and explaining it
- noun a book which supplies lists of synonyms, antonyms and words with similar or related meaning : The most famous thesaurus, by Peter Mark Roget, was first published in 1852. It remains a useful reference source. You can view or download the original text here. There is also a useful site here.
- noun COUNTABLE 1. the topic of an essay or report, often including the writer’s opinion on the topic; 2. an extended piece of writing on a researched topic intended for discussion or presented for examination: 3. an idea or proposal put forward for discussion and defence
- noun COUNTABLE the name (often descriptive) of a piece of writing
- noun UNCOUNTABLE the stance or emotional charge of the speaker or writer : In speaking, tone is signalled both by the quality of the speaker’s voice and the choice of words; in writing tone is carried only by writer’s choice of words and perhaps grammatical structures. In social media exchanges it may be signalled by the use of capital letters, exaggerated use of punctuation and the use of non lexical signs such as emojis. None of this has any place in academic communication, which should always be measured and straightforward.
- noun COUNTABLE the subject matter of a paragraph, section, essay, report, etc.
- topic sentence
- compound noun a sentence which provides the controlling idea (the subject matter) of a paragraph, section, or an entire piece of writing : You can see how a topic sentence is used on the main idea page.
- noun COUNTABLE a change from one topic to another : Transition adverbials (such as "now”, "meanwhile”, "incidentally”) are sometimes used to signal transition from one topic to another. See how transition is managed on the adverbials page.
- adjective describing a clause in which the verb requires an object
- noun a typographical error
- noun the way language is normally written or spoken by a particular community
- noun COUNTABLE a word used to describe actions, states or events - verb phrases are essential parts of almost all English clauses
- noun COUNTABLE 1. a set of issues of a journal; 2. one book in a set