Indefinite articles and abbreviations

Understanding the correct usage of indefinite articles and abbreviationsindefinite articles and abbreviations can be a challenge for both native and non-native English speakers. Should it be a MRI scan or an MRI scan; a UNESCO heritage site or an UNESCO heritage site? This post first describes the difference between acronyms and initialisms, before explaining the reason why we use an MRI scan, for example, despite the abbreviation beginning with a consonant.

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More Latin abbreviations

By engaging with the literaturelatin-abbreviations either in published books, journal articles or other academic material, you will undoubtedly encounter common Latin abbreviations (cf., et al., etc.). Then, in the case of the academic writing of assignments, dissertations and theses, there will be opportunities to use these abbreviations to guide your readers.

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Order of adjectives

When more than one adjective is used to order-of-adjectivesmodify a noun, or when nouns are used to modify another noun, the order of adjectives needs to follow a particular sequence. For example, we could say a delicious mature blue cheese but not a blue delicious mature cheese. This post defines the positions for different groups of adjectives with examples given.

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Writing an abstract

writing an abstractAcademic, scientific or medical papers all make use of an abstract to summarise the work. This allows an interested reader to get a feel for the paper, and perhaps holds the key to whether the work meets their interest or purpose. So, despite being the smallest section of a dissertation, thesis or journal article, writing an abstract is a vital stage that should serve to draw the reader in.

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Prefixes and suffixes

AffixationThe use of prefixes and suffixes in written and spoken English, known as affixation, allows us to extend our vocabulary range by modifying the beginning (prefix) or ending (suffix) of root words in order to alter their meaning. This post offers examples of affixation to guide writers towards broadening their linguistic range.

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The future tense

the future tenseThere are a number of ways to present the future tense in English, each with their own function and form. This post will present the different approaches and for every form, the function and practical examples will be given to help improve and consolidate the learner’s understanding of the future tense and its use.

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How to use adverbs correctly

How to use adverbs correctlyWhen writing or speaking English, either in formal or informal settings, we need to use adverbs correctly to add colour and depth to our language use. This post explores the function of adverbs, where they can be placed in our sentences and the types of adverbs that feature in the English language. Examples are given as a guide to ensure correct and effective usage.

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Using the apostrophe

Using the apostropheWhen using the apostrophe, many non-native and native speakers have difficulty in achieving its accurate and appropriate placement, as the apostrophe has a range of functions in the English language. Some uses like contractions (I can’t help / I’ll help) are straightforward, while others such as possession (The teacher’s meeting vs the teachers’ meeting) are more challenging. This post will help identify the range of circumstances where using the apostrophe is appropriate, and where so, how this can be achieved.

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Antonyms

antonymsAntonyms are pairs or groups of words that are notionally opposite in meaning, such as night/day, boy/girl, long/short, hot/cold, etc. This post describes the four categories of antonyms that feature in the use of English, explains the characteristics of each and offers a number of examples of each type.

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Using synonyms effectively

Using synonyms for increased variety in your textWhen engaged with your academic writing, your first objective is to get those ideas down on paper. This is the creative phase where your main focus is on producing content that satisfies the objectives of your assignment brief or research proposal. Whether the content needs to shine at this point depends on the author. Some believe that content should be polished as you go, but most authors prefer to get the ideas down on paper first, and then later focus on enhancing the content to make it more scholarly and engaging.

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Using abbreviations

Abbreviations lowe resNon-native academic writers at all levels, from undergraduates to researchers, often find the manner of placing and presenting in-text abbreviations of regularly used terms such as European Union (EU), radio frequency Identification (RFID), printed circuit board (PCB), etc., somewhat challenging. Consequently, several questions arise:

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Citing authors

Harvard referencesWhen citing authors in academic papers in-text citations vary, with some systems employing numbering while others state the authors’ names and dates of publication. For those employing the Harvard Referencing System the reader is able to view the names of some or all of the cited authors’ names, and the date of the publication, without needing to refer directly to the referencing section of the document. One problem which can occur in this case is the over-insertion of the same authors and dates in concurrent streams of text, particularly when no other publications have been mentioned to cloud the reader’s understanding of whose ideas or assertions are being presented.

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