English Language Education

Grammar for Academic Writing

This course focuses on key areas of English grammar that students need to master to express themselves correctly and appropriately in academic writing.

Those areas include the basic distinctions of meaning in the verb tense system, the use of modal verbs to express degrees of certainty and commitment, and alternative ways of grouping and ordering written information to highlight the flow of an argument.

Course Details

Course Content

The following functional language areas will be covered:

  • Packaging Information (co-ordinating and subordinating clauses and linking words)
  • Sequencing (the ordering of information in and between sentences and the use of the passive)
  • Indirectness (past verb forms to make polite requests)
  • Predicting and making proposals (future verb forms and noun phrases)
  • Reporting (past tense verb forms)

Teaching Methods

In class students work through a series of language tasks under the guidance of a tutor. They discuss the tasks with their classmates, either in pairs or small groups. Students then write a short assignment outside of class hours (approximately 1-2 hours a week) which they submit to the tutor for feedback. The tutor will provide selective written feedback on the weekly assignments that focuses on the use of the target language.

Class Size

There will be a maximum of 12 students in a class.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students should:

  • have improved their general written language accuracy
  • be able use modal verbs more correctly when making polite requests, predictions, proposals or speculating
  • be more proficient at ordering information within and between sentences

Timing and Location

Wednesdays from 18 October 2017 14:10pm-16:00pm (5 weeks)

Fridays from 20 October 2017 14:10-16:00pm (5 weeks)

Paterson’s Land, Holyrood Road.


All undergraduate and postgraduate students currently studying at Edinburgh University. In allocating places priority will be given to students with low TEAM grammar scores.


Please complete and submit the following online form:

ELSIS Registration Form

The application deadline is Friday 6 October 2017.

Independent Study Materials