Glossary of Academic Words

Jargon, terminology, nomenclature – there are lots of difficult words in the English language to describe subject-specific vocabulary. To make understanding that little bit easier for students and tutors, we’ve include a glossary of single-sentence definitions (and related courses) for the most commonly used academic-English words. 

A

Acronyms (NATO), contractions (shouldn’t) and initialisms (WHO) are all types of abbreviation, which are when one or many words are shortened from their original form for quickness. 

Related courses: Words, Word Structures, Abbreviations

The first section of a dissertation or thesis in which a summary of the entire primary research is provided to the reader in brief.

Related courses: Dissertations, Theses, The Abstract

These are the rules and regulations that students and tutors should follow if they wish to be considered functioning members of an academic community.

Related courses: Study Skills, Collusion Avoidance, Plagiarism Avoidance

The vocabulary and language structures which are acceptable in academic contexts, such as cohesive devices, hedging language or reporting verbs.

Related courses: Vocabulary, Academic Language, Academic Word Lists

When a member of an academic institution breaks the rules of that institution, such as by cheating, colluding or committing plagiarism.

Related courses: Study Skills, Collusion Avoidance, Plagiarism Avoidance

A bank of words collected by linguistics (language scientists) which are used much more frequently in academic contexts than in general settings.

Related courses: Academic Language, Academic Word Lists

In referencing, an acknowledgement is when one author publicly recognises the ideas and research of another author, usually by including a combination of citations and references.

Related courses: Referencing, Citation Types, References and Reference Lists

A word class which is usually used to describe nouns within a sentence, such as difficult in difficult examination.  

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Adjectives

A word class which is usually used to modify verbs within a sentence and which often end in the suffix -ly, such as slowly in speak slowly.  

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Adverbs

A phrase function (like a subject or an object) in which a phrase acts like an adverb in an expression, modifying the verb, an adjective or another adverb.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Phrase Functions, Adverbials and Complements

In grammar, this is a lexical process in which morphemes (pieces of words) are attached to an existing word to alter its grammar, meaning or class. 

Related courses: Affixes, Prefixes, Suffixes

The organisation of a list of items (such as a reference list) using the alphabet, with items that start with ‘A’ coming first on that list and those that begin with ‘Z’ being placed last.

Related courses: Referencing, References and Reference Lists

When a word has the opposite meaning to another word, such as how big and small are antonyms of each other (related to synonym).

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Meanings, Antonyms and Synonyms

A type of punctuation mark (‘) which is particularly useful for forming abbreviations and possessive constructions.

Related courses: Punctuation, Apostrophes, Abbreviations

A collection of optional resources placed at the back of an assignment that are not essential to grading that work, including items such as transcripts, questionnaires or images.

Related courses: Referencing, Appendices and Bibliographies

In grammar, these are a type of determiner which can be divided into definite (the) and indefinite (a/an) forms, both of which are used to specify nouns.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Types, Determiners

The name of the organisation or business that would like to be recognised as the author of a piece of work, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Related courses: Referencing, Including Authors

B

The first type of (undergraduate) degree available at university, usually completed within three or four years of continuous on-campus or distance-learning study.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees

An element of an introductory paragraph that provides the reader with the context of the essay topic, such as a definition of key terms or the history of the topic in brief.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Introductory Paragraphs, Background Information

An alphabetical list of sources that were read when completing an academic assignment, usually placed at the end of that assignment with careful formatting (much the same way a reference list).

Related courses: Referencing, Appendices and Bibliographies

When learning is conducted both face-to-face in class and online in a mixed format, particularly popular in modern institutions.

The expressions and gestures which a presenter makes to provide information to the audience beyond and in addition to the spoken word.

Related courses: Presentation Skills, Body Language, Delivery Strategies

A written instruction such as AND, NOT, “” and * that is used in a library or internet search engine to expand or narrow a researcher’s search results.

Related courses: Research Skills, Conducting Digital Searches, Finding Academic Sources

C

The Certificate in Advanced English as created and managed by Cambridge University to test the proficiency in English of non-native speakers.

Related courses: Careers Advice, CAE, IELTS

The combination of numbers and letters which are printed on the spine of a library book to indicate the precise location of that book within the library’s shelves.

Related courses: Research Skills, Conducting Digital Searches, Finding Academic Sources

The Cambridge University Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, Cambridge University CELTA

The organisation of a list of items (usually in a reference list) using historical dates, with items that have earlier dates (such as ‘2001’) being placed before those with more recent dates (such as ‘2019’).

Related courses: Referencing, References and Reference Lists

A piece of text such as (Jones, 2020) that is placed within an academic assignment or published research to acknowledge a source being used as support for that work.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Citation Types

In grammar, the combination of a subject and a verb creates a clause, which may be independent or dependent depending on whether another cause is required to form a complete sentence.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentences, Sentence Clauses

Similar to a society, an academic club is a collection of like-minded people who work together to complete a goal, whether a sport, an activity or an intellectual pursuit.

Related courses: Getting Experienced, Clubs and Societies

The various words and phrases which are used to signpost and make connections within academic communication (particularly within essays), such as howeverfinally or the first.

Related courses: Academic Language, Cohesive Devices, Coherence and Cohesion

When words or phrases have a tendency to be found together, such as how give and advice or do and homework are found together.

Related courses: Academic Language, Phrases, Collocations

This is a type of academic misconduct in which two or more students work together on a piece of work that is intended to be completed alone, such as an essay.

Related courses: Study Skills, Collusion Avoidance, Plagiarism Avoidance

A type of punctuation mark (:) which is often taken to mean for example and which is used to introduce a new independent clause

Related courses: Punctuation, Colons and Semicolons

A type of punctuation mark (,) which is most commonly used to list words or phrases or to separate clauses.

Related courses: Punctuation, Commas

A language structure which compares one thing with another, usually by adding -er to an adjective, such as faster or smarter (she is smarter than he is).

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Affixes, Comparatives and Superlatives

A phrase function (like a subject or an object) in which a word, phrase or clause completes the meaning of an expression, usually following subjects and copula verbs.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Phrase Functions, Adverbials and Complements

A sentence which is made of one independent clause and one dependent clause, such as Because I study English daily, I am quite good at it.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentence Structures, Compound-Complex Sentences

A sentence which is made of two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clause, such as Because I study English daily, I am quite good at it and I think I will pass the test.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentence Structures, Compound-Complex Sentences

A sentence which is made of two or more independent clauses, such as I study English, and I like French too.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentence Structures, Simple and Compound Sentences

A word that is formed by joining two words together in a compound, such as how work and book can combine to create the new word workbook.

Related courses: Word Structures, Abbreviations, Compounds

The practice of using as few words as possible to express something clearly, particularly important in academic assessments which have limited word counts.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Concision

The practice of speaking fluently by focusing on improving areas of connected speech, such as elision and liaison.

Related courses: Pronunciation Skills, International Phonetic Alphabet, Connected Speech

A special type of verb such as be or seem which carries little meaning and which is used to join a subject with its complement – as in she seems angry.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Copula Verbs

The act of agreeing to an aspect of an argument, usually indicated in the topic sentence of a body paragraph directly before a rebuttal.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Body Paragraphs, Conceding and Rebutting

A word class which is used to combine words, phrases or sentences, such as andbecause or while (divided into coordinating and subordinating types).

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Types, Conjunctions

The close-mouthed sounds which are used to pronounce a word, usually represented by graphemes such as k, m, t and z in the English language.

Related courses: Word Structures, Pronunciation Skills, Syllables

A type of abbreviation in which two words are blended together into one form, usually using an apostrophe (‘) in English, such as how should and not become shouldn’t.

Related courses: Word Structures, Abbreviations, Contractions

A contributing author is one who has written only one or two chapters in a published source (such as an edited book) that contains many chapters from multiple different authors.

Related courses: Referencing, Including Authors

A type of conjunction which is used to join coordinating clauses and words, such as and, but and so

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Types, Conjunctions

A collection of words, phrases and sentences, usually millions of words big, which is studied by linguists and language students to increase the knowledge of language patterns.

Related courses: Research Skills, Using Corpora

Unlike exams, this is the assessed work which is completed throughout a course that contributes to a student’s final grade, such as essays and presentations.

Related courses: Assignments, Essays, Presentations

D

The description of something in as clear, logical and concise a way as possible, usually to clarify its meaning, purpose or significance.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Defining and Categorising

The methods which are used to improve a presenter’s delivery, such as paying attention to body language, pronunciation, tone and posture.

Related courses: Presentation Skills, Body Language, Delivery Strategies

The Cambridge University Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, Cambridge University CELTA

In grammar, demonstratives (this/these/that/those) are a type of determiner and are used to specify nouns as part of the noun phrase.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Types, Determiners

A type of clause (subject and verb combination) which cannot stand as a complete clause with being combined with another clause, such as Because I study English…

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentences, Dependent Clauses

A word class which includes articles (the), demonstratives (this) and quantifiers (some), all of which are used to modify nouns as part of the noun phrase.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Types, Determiners

A lexical and grammatical process in which affixes are added to words to alter their meaning or word class (see prefixes and suffixes).

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Affixes, Derivational Affixation

A book or online tool which attempts to list, exemplify and define all the words in a given language.

Related courses: Research Skills, Using Dictionaries

An extended essay of between 10,000 and 15,000 words, usually completed at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree as the final assessment. 

Related courses: Essay Writing, Dissertations

Also known as a PhD, this terminal degree is usually completed within four to eight years after submission of a thesis and completion of a viva.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, Doctorate Degrees, Theses

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is an alphanumeric identifier which is used to locate online sources (particularly journal articles) in large digital repositories.

Referencing, References and Reference Lists, Conducting Digital Searches

The process of planning and producing an academic assessment, particularly the writing of a an essay in an early and unfinished stage.

Related courses: Study Skills, Planning and Drafting

E

The process of checking a piece of work for content-based errors or gaps, such as the deletion of a paragraph, the improvement of a sentence or the addition of a new supporting detail.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Editing and Proofreading

A numeric reference to an explanation, source or additional comment which is included as a note on a separate page at the end of a piece of research or an assignment.

Related courses: Referencing, Endnotes and Footnotes, Referencing Styles

A written academic assignment that requires an introduction, a body section and a conclusion (and which is shorter than a dissertation or thesis).

Related courses: Essays, Essay Types, Essay Writing

A Latin term meaning and others which is used directly after the first author’s family name within a citation (Smith et al., 2010) to indicate that four or more authors have authored that source.

Related courses: Referencing, Including Authors, Citation Types

Conducted before a course in the middle of a course or at the end of the course, examinations are assessments which are designed to test a student’s competence in a subject.

Related courses: Examinations, Exam Preparation, Exam Types

F

A name (also known as a surname) which is shared among family members such as ‘Johnson’, ‘Small’ or ‘Zhang’ and which is most often the same as the father’s family name.

Related courses: Referencing, Including Authors

A verb which can be conjugated to demonstrate grammatical features such as tense or agreement. 

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verbs

The precise display rules which should be followed to correctly format a given assignment, usually involving aspects such as spacing, punctuation, capitalisation, italics and font size.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Formatting

A numeric reference to an explanation, source or additional comment which is placed at the bottom of the same page in an assignment or piece of research as a short note.

Related courses: Referencing, Endnotes and Footnotes, Referencing Styles

A type of punctuation mark (.) which is most commonly used in abbreviations (Mr.) or to mark the end of a complete sentence.

Related courses: Punctuation, Full Stops, Abbreviations

The first week of university which is dedicated to the freshman (the new first-year students), usually involving interactive activities and information sessions.

Related courses: Settling In, Fresher’s Week, Making Friends

G

Listening for the overall message of something, not listening for specific information or detail.

Related courses: Listening Skills, Gist, Specific and Detail Listening

A name that is more unique to an individual than a family name, such as ‘Alex’, ‘Paige’ or ‘Isabella’ – often provided to a person by their parents as a first or middle name.

Related courses: Referencing, Including Authors

The written representation of a sound in a language, such as how /ʃ/ is written using the graphemes [s] and [h] in combination, as in shout.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Words, Spelling

An assessed academic assignment in which a small group of students work together to discuss a topic or series of topics for around 10 minutes.

Related courses: Assignments, Group Discussions

H

A type of indentation which is used for improving the display of references, in which every line of that reference other than the first line is indented within the page.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Formatting

The words and phrases such as maycould and might possibly which are used to make a claim or argument more cautious and which protect the author’s reputation.

Related courses: Vocabulary, Academic Language, Hedging Language

When a word has the same spelling or pronunciation as another word but different meanings and origins, such as check and Czech.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Meanings, Homonyms and Polysemes

A type of punctuation mark (-) which is most commonly used to join prefixes and suffixes to words or to compound words into adjective phrases.

Related courses: Punctuation, Dashes and Hyphens, Affixes

An unproven theory, usually at the centre of a piece of academic investigation in order to find empirical evidence for its veracity and accuracy.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Hypothesising Trends

I

A Latin term meaning the same which is included in repeating citations to indicate that the new information which has been introduced is also taken from the previously cited source.

Related courses: Referencing, Including Authors, Citation Types

A word or phrase which possesses a meaning which is not obvious from the words it contains, such as raining cats and dogs (raining heavily) or burning the midnight oil (staying up late). 

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Meanings, Idiomatic Phrases (Idioms)

The International English Language Testing System which is designed to measure the proficiency in English of non-native speakers.

Related courses: Careers Advice, CAE, TOEFL

A type of clause (subject and verb combination) which can stand as a complete clause without being combined with another clause, such as I study English…

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentences, Independent Clauses

A verb which cannot be conjugated to demonstrate grammatical features such as tense or agreement, such as to study or studying

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verbs

A lexical and grammatical process in which affixes are added to words to alter aspects of their grammar such as plurality, possession or tense (see prefixes and suffixes).

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Affixes, Derivational Affixation

A supportive language-based course provided usually to non-native speakers of English who are in the middle of studying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, In-sessional Courses

A type of citation that demonstrates clear source voice in which the source authors are placed inside the main text and outside the brackets of the citation, like Smith (2010).

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Citation Types

A type of alphabet which is used to represent all possible sounds in all languages around the world.

Related courses: Pronunciation Skills, International Phonetic Alphabet

A verb which cannot take any objects in a grammatical structure, such as in the object-less expression the ice melted vs the transitive expression I melted the ice.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verb Transitivity

L

Different to a seminar, a lecture is traditionally when a tutor delivers a presentation to a class while the students quietly take notes, whether online or offline. 

Related courses: Lectures and Seminars

The signposting language which is used in a spoken lecture to indicate certain things, such as the inclusion of new information, comparison, exemplification or summarisation.

Related courses: Listening Skills, Gist, Specific and Detail Listening, Listening for Lecture Cues

The third section of a dissertation or thesis in which the writer provides a detailed summary of the most important research which has been conducted about the essay topic.

Related courses: Dissertations, Theses, The Literature Review

M

The first type of (postgraduate) degree available at university, usually completed within one or two years of continuous on-campus or distance-learning study.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees

The fourth section of a dissertation or thesis in which the writer provides a detailed description of the particular methods which were used to collect the primary research. 

Related courses: Dissertations, Theses, The Methodology

A special type of verb such as can or should which cannot be conjugated and which adds modality (possibility, permission, etc.) to the verb phrase.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Modal Verbs

The pieces of a word which are used to build words, which may include bases, roots and affixes (see prefixes and suffixes) in the study of morphology.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Words, Affixes

A type of citation in which more than one source is listed within the same set of brackets to indicate that the same claim or piece of evidence is taken from multiple sources, such as (Smith, 2010; Jones, 2012; Zhang, 2020).

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Citation Types

N

A type of citation (which demonstrates a combination of writer and source voice) that is usually found at the end of a piece of information with all its elements inside brackets, such as (Smith, 2010).

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Citation Types

The small cards which are used during a presentation to prompt the presenter’s memory as to the content of their presentation.

Related courses: Presentation Skills, Scripts and Notecards

When the details of a presentation, publication or discussion are written in note form, whether using a a personalised notetaking style or a method such as Cornell notes, margin notes or mind mapping.

Related courses: Study Skills, Mind Mapping, Notetaking

The most common word class in any language, nouns are used to describe objects, ideas and events (such as chair, love or Christmas) and may be pluralised and made possessive. 

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Nouns

O

​​A phrase function (like a subject or a complement) in which a noun or noun phrase acts as the receiver of the action of the verb, such as English in he studies English.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Phrase Functions, Subjects and Objects

Also known as a roadmap, the outline is a element of an introductory paragraph that provides the reader with a brief list of the main ideas of the essay in the same order as presented in the body.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Introductory Paragraphs, Outlines

P

The pattern of having to repeat grammatical elements with the same grammatical pattern  when listed together, as in I came, I saw, I conquered

Related courses: Academic Language, Phrases, Parallel Structures

When one author takes another author’s ideas or evidence and writes that information in different words while maintaining the same or similar meaning.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Paraphrasing

In grammar, a type of language structure using be past participle in which the agent of the action is absent from the structure or placed into a by phrase, such as in the exam was completed by me.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Passive Constructions

When a piece of research is checked by other professionals or academics for accuracy and to help guarantee quality, reliability and veracity.

A special type of verb + adverb/preposition combination such as clock in or shut down which carries idiomatic meaning and which is is uncommonly used in academic contexts.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Phrasal Verbs

When one author uses or copies another author’s work or research without providing clear acknowledgement in the form of citations and references.

Related courses: Study Skills, Plagiarism Avoidance, Referencing

When two words which look identical have different meanings, such book in the expressions read a book and book a table.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Meanings, Homonyms and Polysemes

A collection of academic assessments such as drawings or essays which are collated together into one document or folder to form a single assignment.

Related courses: Assignments, Portfolios

As a word class, prepositions (at/on/over) are unique in that they pre-modify nouns and noun phrases, providing information about space, time or manner.

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Prepositions

A type of affix such as un- or re- that attaches to the beginning of a word to change that word’s meaning, such as in do, redo and undo

Related courses: Affixes, Prefixes, Suffixes

A preparatory language-based course provided usually to non-native speakers of English who are about to begin studying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, Pre-sessional Courses

The original data resources or investigations that might be used as a source of information, such as a recording or a diary, or a journal article that includes details about its own research.

Related courses: Referencing, Sources and Search Terms

When the author of a piece of work carefully checks that work before submission for features such as formatting, spelling and grammar.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Editing and Proofreading

As a word class, pronouns (I/you/she) are unique in that they can be used in place of nouns to describe people, animals and objects.

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Pronouns

The symbols which are used to show pauses, divisions or grammatical relations within a written text, such as a full stop (.), a comma (,), a semicolon (;) or a colon (:).

Related courses: Punctuation, Colons and Semicolons, Commas

Q

In grammar, quantifiers (some/many/few) are a type of determiner that is used to specify the number or amount of a noun.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Types, Determiners

The precise or subtly modified words of one author used in another author’s work, usually provided alongside citations and within quotation marks.

Related courses: Referencing, Citation Types, Quoting

R

A document provided by a module convenor or tutor which details the recommended sources that students should read to complete a course or module.

Related courses: Reading Skills, Reading Strategies

The speed at which someone can read, usually measured by comparing the length of reading time with the number of words in order to determine words-per-minute.

Related courses: Reading Skills, Improving Reading Speed

The methods which are used to read more efficiently, such as skimming, scanning and reading for detail.

Related courses: Reading Skills, Reading Strategies

The act of challenging a particular aspect of an argument, usually indicated in the topic sentence of a body paragraph directly after a concession.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Body Paragraphs, Conceding and Rebutting

An element of a concluding paragraph in which the author provides solutions, future considerations and recommendations to the reader about the essay topic.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Concluding Paragraphs, Recommendations

A piece of text at the end of a piece of research that acknowledges a source being used as supporting information for that work, such as: Jones, R. (2020) Example reference. London: Publishers.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, References and Reference Lists

Elements such as Name of author, Year of publication and Source title which are used to build a referencing feature such as a citation, endnote or reference.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, References and Reference Lists

An alphabetical/chronological list of all the sources which are read and cited within a piece of research, placed at the back of that research with careful ordering and formatting.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, References and Reference Lists

The features which are used by writers to acknowledge sources within a piece of research, including citations, endnotes, footnotes, references and reference lists.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, References and Reference Lists

A piece of software such as Zotero or Mendeley that helps students and researchers to manage and organise the referencing features included in their work.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Referencing Management Software

The elements, formatting and ordering rules which are required when following a particular style of referencing such as Harvard, Chicago, MLA or Oxford.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Referencing Styles

A type of citation that identifies the repetition of a source within a text, showing that the information being cited is from the same source as in the previous citation.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Citation Types

The verbs which are used alongside integral citations to report or discuss another author’s ideas or research, such as argueclaim or state

Related courses: Vocabulary, Academic Language, Reporting Verbs

A physical or digital storage space for sources, such as in a library or online database.

Related courses: Research Skills, Conducting Digital Searches, Finding Academic Sources

An element of a concluding paragraph in which the author concedes to the limitations of their research and highlights to the reader the gaps for future investigations.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Concluding Paragraphs, Research Gaps

The detailed document which tutors use to evaluate an assessment, involving numerous criteria such as coherence and cohesion or delivery depending on the assessment type.

Related courses: Course Management, Building Rubrics

S

A financial grant given to students who are in financial difficulty or who excel at a subject, usually to complete a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree.

Related courses: Applying for Scholarships, Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees

The combination of search terms and Boolean operators which can be used to narrow or expand search results within a search engine in order to better find valuable sources.

Related courses: Research Skills, Sources and Search Terms

A word or phrase (commonly noun phrases) that is used to narrow or expand search results within a search engine in order to find valuable sources.

Related courses: Research Skills, Sources and Search Terms

A type of citation in which the author of a piece of work wishes to cite a primary source that they have only read about in a secondary source, such as (Smith, 2010, cited in Jones, 2020). 

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Features, Citation Types

A source that describes or discusses the unique research of another (primary) source but which does not necessarily detail any new research itself.

Related courses: Referencing, Sources and Search Terms

A type of punctuation mark (;) which is used to join two independent clauses or a list of phrases or words.

Related courses: Punctuation, Colons and Semicolons

An ungrammatical sentence which is usually formed when a single dependent clause has no adjoining independent clause to complete it, such as in  Because I like English.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentence Structures, Sentence Run-Ons and Fragments

An ungrammatical sentence which is formed when two or more independent clauses are improperly joined together, such as I like English, I study it every day.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentence Structures, Sentence Run-Ons and Fragments

A computer programme such as Turnitin that helps students and tutors find instances of potential plagiarism by comparing the uploaded work with a large existing database.

Related courses: Referencing, Referencing Management Software, Turnitin and Test Your Text

A sentence which is made of only one independent clause, such as I study English.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Sentence Structures, Simple and Compound Sentences

Unlike a lecture, a seminar is traditionally when students and tutors participate together in class with discussions and various task-based activities.

Related courses: Lectures and Seminars

Similar to a club, an academic society is a collection of like-minded people who work together to complete a goal, whether a sport, an activity or an intellectual pursuit.

Related courses: Getting Experienced, Clubs and Societies

Any text such as a book, interview or website that is used to add supporting information to an academic assignment or piece of academic research.

Related courses: Sources and Search Terms, Research Skills, Finding Academic Sources

The details of a source that are needed in order to correctly reference that source, such as the precise name of the author (Smith) or the precise year that source was printed (2019).

Related courses: Sources and Search Terms, Research Skills, Finding Academic Sources

The use of summarising and paraphrasing techniques in order to include numerous sources within the same paragraph, such as to  debate the same topic.

Related courses: Sources and Search Terms, Research Skills, Synthesising Sources

The type of source which may be used to provide supporting information in a pieces of academic research, such as a book, a journal article or a digital magazine article.

Related courses: Sources and Search Terms, Research Skills, Finding Academic Sources

The gaps in a piece of text between words, sentences, paragraphs and visual data which are used to distinguish these items more clearly for the reader.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Formatting

This is the writer’s opinion about the essay topic, indicated first in the introduction but repeated in the topic sentences of the body section as well.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Introductory Paragraphs, Stance

A phrase function (like a complement or an object) in which a noun or noun phrase acts as the doer of the action of the verb, such as he in he studies.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Phrase Functions, Subjects and Objects

In English grammar, agreement is shown between a subject and its verb, such as how I plays is incorrect but I play demonstrates correct subject-verb agreement.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Subject-Verb Agreement

A type of conjunction which is used to join subordinating clauses and phrases, such as howeverbecause and while.

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Types, Conjunctions

A type of affix such as –ment or –ed that attaches to the end of a word to change that word’s meaning, word class or grammar such as in ship, shipment and shipped

Related courses: Affixes, Prefixes, Suffixes

When one or more authors’ ideas are abbreviated, paraphrased and synthesised in order to create a much shorter version of the original text.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Paraphrasing, Summarising

An element of a concluding paragraph that summarises the main ideas presented in the body section of an essay, briefly detailing also the key findings of the investigation.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Concluding Paragraphs, Summary of Main Ideas

The final sentence of a body paragraph in which the writer summarises the main idea(s) of the paragraph or transitions from one main idea to another.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Body Paragraphs, Summary-Transition Sentences

A language structure which indicates the absolute form of something, usually by adding -est to an adjective, such as fastest or smartest (she is the smartest person in the room).

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Affixes, Comparatives and Superlatives

The main section of a body paragraph in which the writer provides evidence, examples and explanation from sources in order to support the topic sentence.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Body Paragraphs, Supporting Details

The piece of a word which contains at least one consonant and one vowel, such as con- or -tains in contains.

Related courses: Word Structures, Pronunciation Skills, Syllables

When a word has a similar meaning to another word, such as how big and large are synonyms of each other (related to antonym).

Related courses: Grammar Practice, Word Meanings, Antonyms and Synonyms

T

The student version of the Turnitin software which enables students to check their own assignments for possible instances of plagiarism by highlighting similarity with other authors’ works.

Related courses: Referencing, Plagiarism Avoidance, Turnitin and Test Your Text

An extended academic essay of between 40,000 and 100,000 words, usually completed as the primary assessment of a doctorate degree (PhD).

Related courses: Essay Writing, Theses

An element of a concluding paragraph that reminds the reader (in different words) of the introductory thesis statement and writer’s stance.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Concluding Paragraphs, Thesis Restatements

An element of an introductory paragraph that provides the reader with the argumentative focus of the essay (the thesis) and an outline of the body sections’ main ideas.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Introductory Paragraphs, Thesis Statements

The Test of English as a Foreign Language which is designed to measure the proficiency in English of non-native speakers.

Related courses: Careers Advice, CAE, IELTS

An element of a body paragraph that reminds the reader of the essay topic and introduces the main idea(s) being discussed in that paragraph.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Body Paragraphs, Topic Sentences

A verb which can take one (monotransitive), two (ditransitive) or three (tritransitive) objects in a grammatical structure, as in give me the book.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verb Transitivity

A piece of software which is designed to check similarity between submitted research or assignments and a large database of uploaded sources in order to suggest instances of plagiarism.

Related courses: Referencing, Plagiarism Avoidance, Turnitin and Test Your Text

U

An academic institution which typically accredits and awards bachelor’s, master’s and PhD qualifications.

Related courses: Getting Qualified, Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees

A Uniform Resource Locator (also known as a web address) is used to identify an online resource such as a web page, uploaded file or digital image.

Related courses: Research Skills, Conducting Digital Searches

V

A class of words that demonstrate an action (kick), state (love) or occurrence (happen) and which can be conjugated to show tense, aspect and modality.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verbs

In English grammar, this is the expression of passages of time through the verb phrase in simple (study), continuous (studying) and perfect (have studied) forms.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verb Aspect

In English grammar, modality (ability, permission, future, etc.) is expressed on the verb phrase via hedging language and modal verbs such as may will and could

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verb Modality

The expression of absolute time in an expression via the form of the main verb, which in English may be the present (study) or past (studied) (modality is used to show the future not tense). 

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verb Tense

Whether or not a verb can take an object (transitive vs. intransitive), and how many objects that verb takes.

Related courses: Word Types, Verb Functions, Verb Transitivity

Any visual tool which is used to enhance a performance or presentation, such as a poster, a handout, a PPT presentation or a whiteboard.

Related courses: Presentation Skills, Using Visual Aids

The final task of a PhD in which the doctorate student is required or orally defend their research in front of a panel of experts. 

Related courses: Essay Writing, Theses, The PhD Viva

The specific words you have learned or are attempting to learn.

Related courses: Vocabulary, Academic Language

The author which communicates an idea or argument in a piece of work is said to have voice: this can be the writer’s voice or the voices of external sources which provide supporting evidence.

Related courses: Writing Skills, Balancing Voices, Synthesising Sources

The open-mouthed sounds within a word, usually represented by the graphemes a e i o u in the English language.

Related courses: Word Structures, Pronunciation Skills, Syllables

W

The amount of words permitted in an academic assessment and the record of that number at the end of an essay or assessment, often within a range of +/–10%.

Related courses: Essay Writing, Formatting

A method of identifying words depending on their placement in a sentence and their grammatical rules, such as nouns , adjectives or verbs

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Word Forms

A grouping of the same words which have different forms when in different classes, such as how informinformative and information are in the same family.

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Word Forms

A description of the shape of a particular word, depending on its word class and whether it has any attached prefixes or suffixes.

Related courses: Words, Word Types, Word Forms