Grammar for Graduate Writers


Grammar for Graduate Writers: a review of grammar structures specifically needed for graduate and professional writing, focusing in particular on differences between everyday and academic language (e.g. nominalization, embedding, complex noun phrases, hedging) and difficulties typically encountered by L2 writers (verb form, tense, and agreement; articles). Students work on exercises as well as their own writing to develop their use of the academic register and improve their accuracy.


Required textbook: Nigel Caplan, Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers (Michigan, 2012). Available from the UD Bookstore or Amazon.

Answer key available online (“Commentary”)

Other requirements:

Students should bring to each meeting 2-3 samples of good writing in their field of study. These may be journal articles, textbook chapters, books, or journalism.

They may also bring something they are writing to class meetings.

Tasks and Readings

Week Topic TB assigned before class Exercises in class
1 Clause structure and combination

Section 1.8 (ex 15)

Unit 2 (ex 1, 2, 5, 7, 9)

Functional analysis (handout)

Unit 2 ex 3, 4, 6, 8, 11

2 Relative and noun clauses Unit 3 (ex 3, 5, 9) Unit 3, ex 2, 4, 7
3 Articles and noun phrases Unit 5 (ex 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10) Unit 5, ex 2, 8, 12, 13
4 Hedging and boosting Unit 6 (ex 2, 5, 7)

Preview and grammar awareness

Unit 6, Ex 1, 3, 6, 11, 12

Proofreading techniques (handout)

Creative Commons License
This Graduate Communication Support Initiative module was designed by Nigel Caplan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This version: 12/29/16

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