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Welcome to AWE — a reference source for the details of Academic Writing in British English. AWE aims to give helpful advice, rather than to be prescriptive - it does not tell you what to do. It is not a dictionary or an encyclopedia. It is meant for students in Higher Education in the UK, including non-native speakers.

This AWE is entirely separate from the AWE app produced by the Survey of English Usage at UCL, which aims to teach learners in a structured way how to write formally in English. This may be accessed at

In 2014, AWE moved to its current site from its previous berth at the University of Hull.

As part of the move, we have updated the mediawiki software (with only partial success) on which it operates.

Please be patient. The difficulty is mostly with IPA characters, and some punctuation marks.
We are struggling to solve it.

                     TO COMMENT ON ANY ARTICLE IN AWE:, or to contact us,

Send an e-mail to
[The 'talk' tabs at the top of pages - the previous system - have been attacked by spam, and weren't much used.
       So that system IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED. 
[It may be worth trying the old system: some 'talk' pages are still open for comment. 
    To do so: 
         Click on the talk tab at the top of a page you want to comment on - 
         and write your thoughts, ideas, comments or criticisms in the blank page that opens. 
         It will help us if you give your name and e-address.]

Newcomers may wish to know more about AWE or get help with using AWE.


AWE is intended to help you become a better writer. This is a matter of taste and style. AWE does not set out to be judgemental: our aim is to advise you how to write in a style appropriate to your studies. We do not set out to teach you how to write formally in English; see


Our 4,584 articles (and more) are arranged into broad categories, which may be a useful starting point. Some examples are:

(You may also like to see the article on the first person)
    • For a comprehensive list of categories, see Category list (on your left - in the second panel (editors) on the Navigation panel).


Structured courses on aspects of writing provide further depth to many of the topics covered in AWE. We do not set out to provide a structured course to teach you how to write formally in English; many other resources do this, such as the similarly named AWE app available (for: iPhone 3-6, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad mini, and Google Play for Android) from the Survey of English Usage at UCL, at