Course International Business Law
Academic Writing in English
By Drs. Lisette van Hulst
Where do you start?
With building a structure!
Create a hierarchy of nested arcs: Essay, sections, paragraphs, sentences.
The overall essay structure;
- Background and relevance
- Your research question
• Main body
- Concluding the research question
A paragraph is a basic unit of organization in writing. A group of related sentences. Each paragraph must have a function in the overall story.
The final sentence always concludes the paragraph.
Structure of paragraphs;
1. Topic sentence
2. Supporting material such as examples, quotes and statistics.
3. End the paragraph with coming back to the ‘big arc’.
The advantages of paragraphs like this is that they are very clear and can be read step by step. Make it possible to summarise the text by reading the first sentences.
It makes it easy for the writer to keep their structure while writing and re-writing the essay. You can list your main points.
The introduction is different, there you put the clue at the end. You start with an anecdote or an event. The you put the issue/problem, the general view and opposing view. ‘This raises the question whether’, you end with the research question!
The format conclusion exists of the parts;
• In this essay, we considered…
• We argued that…
• Hence,… (your answer)
• This means that…
• Appropriate and convincing formulation
- Selecting the right words
- Composing clear English sentences
• Arguments + fair treatment of opponents
- Composing convincing paragraphs
You want to be precise and you do not want misunderstandings.
‘To get’ can mean to receive, to collect, to retrieve, to become, to comprehend. Use intelligent, ‘pretty’ words. Such as words from French or Latin. When you say ‘get together’, use ‘gather’!
To ask To enquire, to question
To show To demonstrate, to present
To see To perceive, to observe
Growth Increase, expansion
Shrinkage Decrease, decline, reduction
Need Requirement, necessity, poverty, penury, destitution
Use the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary!
To look into / right mouse click / synonyms. Or Shift F7.
Word can also help you with finding the better synonyms.
To look into To examine, investigate
To find out To discover, to reveal
To point out To indicate, to emphasize
To turn down To reject, to refuse, to decline
To get rid of To eliminate, to remove
To take on To accept, to confront
Become aware of
• Ambiguous words
• Common words
Use formal spelling! No apostrophes! They mean possession and you should not use them for plurals.
Clear English sentences
• Minimum: subject + finite verb
• Some verbs also require an object / two object
• Do not write in Dutch style