Introduction

When you produce texts in another language than your own, you are quite likely to run into difficulties that are different from those that you may experience when writing in your own mother tongue.

Sometimes you are not certain exactly what is grammatically acceptable in English and what is not.

Sometimes you know what is correct English but you still cannot apply this knowledge to construct a coherent and convincing argument.

Sometimes you know exactly what you want to say, but you cannot seem to find the right words in English to do this.

Even if you manage to come up with a sentence that expresses what you want it to express, it is sometimes the case that you feel that the level of formality or style is inappropriate for the type of text you are currently producing.

The aim of this AWELU section is to help you with all such problems related to English grammar and words.

The subsections

Grammar and words is a fairly large AWELU section with a number of subsections. That the section is large means that it might be difficult sometimes to find the exact information that you are looking for. Of course the subsection headings, the index, and the search engine will be of great use to you, but you may also find the following brief introductions to each subsection useful.

The rest of this introductory text is organised as follows: You first get a short piece of text in which the name of the subsection is provided. After this short text, you get a link to the subsection in question. Then there follows another short text and another link, and so on.

The first subsection after this introduction is called Selective mini grammar. In this subsection you are introduced to a number of terms and concepts that you need to be familiar with in order to fully understand what is said in other parts of AWELU. Even if you know a lot of grammatical terminology in Swedish or some other language, you might not know what all these terms correspond to in English. So, if you feel that you are not comfortable using terms such as Noun, Clause, or Subject Predicative, or if you do not know how to analyse clauses or phrases, this is where you start:

The second subsection is concerned with Common problems and how to avoid them. Here you find information about a number of areas where people writing in English often make mistakes or run into difficulties. Generally speaking, the problems mentioned here are not typically Swedish, but rather problems that people tend to experience when writing in English, regardless of their linguistic background. 

The third subsection is devoted to Punctuation. If you write proper academic texts in English, you also need to be able to make use of punctuation properly.

Another notoriously tricky area for people writing in English is Spelling. We know that English is not one of those languages where the spelling of a word automatically gives you its correct pronunciation, and it is definitely not the case that the pronunciation of an English word straightforwardly determines its spelling. This means that we all need to use dictionaries and automatic spell-checks when we write in English. The topics that the subsection on spelling is concerned with are commonly confused words, certain spelling rules/conventions, and some important differences between British and American spelling.

Obviously, we cannot produce texts in English if we do not know enough about English words, so the next subsection has its Focus on Vocabulary. The following topics are dealt with here: Vocabulary Awareness, Useful Phrases and Expressions, Abbreviations, and Discipline Specific Vocabulary.

Related to vocabulary is Register and Style. What words are appropriate to use in a given context depends to a large extent on the type of context, the type of text you are writing, and what your relationship is to the expected reader(s). Whatever it is that you are writing, you have to take such matters into consideration.

Another subsection that has to to with the use of words is Dictionaries. Here you get some useful general information about dictionaries and how they could be used in academic writing. You will also find links to on-line dictionaries that AWELU recommends. 

Finally, you are introduced to Corpora and how corpora can be used, for instance, by non-native writers who want to improve their writing and make it more native-like. We are convinced that corpora can be of great use for both advanced and less advanced writers.