EAP – Information & Worksheets

Determination is key

EAP APA Glossary Grammar Vocabulary Presentation skills

EAP — English for Academic Purposes

To write a good academic-style essay, you must first understand exactly what the research problem or essay question requires of you. This means: (1) being able to clearly identify the ‘subject’ — ‘topic’ or ‘theme’ — of the essay (e.g., should you focus on explaining a contemporary transportation problem or, should you focus on the effects resulting from it?) and (2), being able to clearly identify the ‘instructional words’ — the style of essay and how the question should be addressed (e.g., is a argumentative or descriptive style required? — see the Glossary below).

This page discusses three ‘styles’ of academic essay:

Descriptive Cause/Effect Problem/Solution

There are however some general rules that apply to all academic writing contexts, to be able to:

  1. Communicate appropriately within academia »
  2. Search effectively for online supporting material – ‘source texts’ »
  3. Use a dictionary effectively and efficiently »
  4. Identify relevant facts and figures and annotate source texts »
  5. Cite/reference source texts appropriately and correctly »
  6. Paraphrase, evaluate, juxtapose and synthesise source texts »

While there are no “short-cuts,” it is worth remembering the “Five Cs” every time you write in an academic context. They are: (1) to be Concise, keep the sentences and paragraphs short and succinct (2), to be Coherent, it is important that the information you provide is both clear at the sentence and paragraph level (3), to be Compelling, the essay you write needs to be convincing and persuasive this includes style of writing and vocabulary choice (4), to be Civilized, use conventional academic tone and vocabulary and (5), to be Correct, follow the key conventions of academic writing particularly grammar structure.

^ Email communications

Emails sent in an academic/workplace context should be: (1) carefully worded to avoid any misunderstandings and (2), clear and concise with no unnecessary information.


Presentation  More info.

^ Online research skills

As academic writing is based upon background reading, an important skills is to be able to locate and store relevant readings (“source materials”).


Presentation  More info.

^ APA — citing/referencing sources

With APA, there are “in-text” citations and “post-text” references. So, if you use information from a source like Steven Pinker’s “The Language Instinct”, you would cite it in the text like: (Pinker, 1994) or Pinker (1994) or Pinker (1994, p. 75) and reference it at the end like: Pinker, S. (1994). The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. London: Penguin.

(SURNAME, YYYY) this is the default option:
… was necessary (Smith, 1988).
… was the result (Adams & Almansouri, 2013).

(ORGANISATION, YYYY) use if there are no author details:
… was necessary (UNDP, 1988).
… was the result (IMF, 2013).

(TITLE, YYYY) use if source has no author/organisation details:
… was necessary (Liquid Gold, 1988).
… was the result (Trade Imbalances, 2013).

(SURNAME, ??) if source has no date use n.d. “No Date”:
… was necessary (Jones & Marsden, n.d.).
… was the result (World bank, n.d.).

Presentation Guide More info.


Descriptive essays provide explanations about something or someone. They typically include summaries, explanations and examples based upon source materials.

Summary writing skills:
Adam Smith
John Keynes
The Bank of England
The Gold Standard

Essay writing practice:
The Silk Road
The frankincense trade
The coffee trade
The Panama Canal
The Hanging Gardens
Hagia Sophia

Analytical report writing:
BlackBerry: the fall of a trendsetting giant
Nokia: a Viking no more
Robotics (AI)
Migrant labour


Cause and effect essays look at the reasons (or causes) for something, then discuss the results (or effects). The language of cause and effect (أسباب و نتائج) is important in academic writing because it helps answer the question: Why?

Essay writing practice:
The 2008 Financial Crisis
Coral Reef destruction
Deforestation (rainforest destruction)
Desertification (loss of soil fertility)
Oil spills


Problem and solution style essays (المشكلة والحل) often come in two forms: one where the focus will be on the problem and one where the focus will be on the solutions. As a rule, you will need to critically evaluate the solutions you put forward.

Essay writing practice:
Water resources
Rhino poaching
Childhood obesity


While there are published lists of academic vocabulary — words/phrases that are statistically more likely to be used in academic texts — at the basic level, the vocabulary you use should be formal (i.e., not informal) and gender-neutral.

What does it mean to “know” a word?

  1. To be able to spell and pronounce it correctly;
  2. To know its meaning/s (‘definition/s’);
  3. To know its grammatical form/s (e.g., adjective, noun or verb);
  4. To know its its synonyms and antonyms (related and opposite words), if any;
  5. To be aware of its usage in collocations, if any;
  6. To be able to use it in an appropriate context.
Word Syllables Translation &c.
Entrepreneur en•tre•pre•neur
مقاول [noun]
a person who organises and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
— The BBC has a range of services for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Synonyms: businessman/businesswoman.
Bond bond
سند مالي [noun]
An agreement typically with legally binding force.
Synonyms: guarantee, promise, pledge.
Deadline dead•line
الموعد النهائي [noun]
The latest time or date by which something should be completed.
— The deadline for the homework is Friday 13th February.
Synonyms: finishing date, cut-off point.
Conclusion con•clu•sion
استنتاج [noun]
Verb (used with Object): con•clude
The final part of e.g. an essay; a book or a film.
— In conclusion, this essay focused on the issue of diabetes…
— The teacher concluded the lesson by showing us a film.
Advantage ad•van•tage
ميزة [noun]
Antonym: dis•ad•van•tage
— The main advantage of iPads is that they save paper.
— The main disadvantage of iPads is that they are expensive.
Approximately ap•prox•i•mate•ly
ما يقرب من [adverb]
Adjective: approximate | Similar to: a•round; a•bout (حوالي)
— There are approximately 800,000 Emiratis.
— The approximate number of Emiratis is 800,000.
Cause cause
سبب [noun]
Verb: cause | Antonyms: consequence / effect / result
— The car accident caused a traffic jam.
Effect ef•fect
تأثير [noun]
Adjective: effective | Antonyms: cause / reason
— The most negative effect of too much sun is skin cancer.
Describe de•scribe
وصف [verb]
Noun: de•scrip•tion | Adjective: de•scrip•tive
— In this report, I will describe each stage in detail.
Discuss dis•cuss
بحث [verb (used with object)]
noun: dis•cus•sion
To consider/debate: different opinions on a subject.
— In this essay I will discuss the issue of junk food in schools.
— The discussion in class today was about global warming.
Detail de•tail
فصل [noun]
To focus on one thing and provide information about it.
— In this essay I will look in detail at the issue of…
For instance for • in•stance
Has the same meaning as “for example”.
— I like most fruit for instance, apricots, apples and raspberries.
Diagram di•a•gram
رسم بياني [noun]
— The diagram shows the process of desalinating water.
Essay ess•ay مقالة [noun]
— In this essay, I will argue that the main effects of obesity are…
Report re•port
بيان [noun]
— In this report I will compare and contrast between…
Contrast con•trast
تباين [noun]
Adverb: con•trast•a•bly | Adjective: con•trast•a•ble
—Where two things are different.
— In this report I will compare and contrast these two smartphones.
Double dou•ble
مضاعف [noun]
Where something is twice as big; two times larger.
— Al Ain mall has double the number of book stores compared to Bawadi mall.
Overall o•ver•all
شامل [adverb]
Describing the general trend.
Overall, the differences are greater than the similarities.
Whereas where•as
حيث أن [conjunction]
Used for contrasting two things (think: “but”).
— The USA is large in size whereas, Bahrain is small.
Necessary nec•es•sar•y
ضروري [adjective]
Something that is essential, indispensable, or required.
— Water is necessary for life as we know it.
Consequence con•se•quence
نتيجة [noun]
Adverb: con•se•quent•ly
Another word for effect/result.
— The exam was easy, as a consequence, most students passed.
— It rained consequently, I went outside.
Negative neg•a•tive
سلبي [adjective]
Used for describing a disadvantage (think: “bad”).
— A negative, consequence of watching too much TV might be eye ache.
Harmful harm•ful
مضر [adjective]
Noun/Verb: harm
Used to describe a negative effect.
— Eating too much fast food can have many harmful consequences.
Beneficial ben•e•fi•cial
مفيد [adjective]
Noun: ben•e•fit
Used to describe a positive effect.
— Eating lots of carrots may benefit your health.
Factor fac•tor
عامل [noun]
Noun: fac•tor
Used to describe a point.
— One factor that contributes to obesity is eating too much junk food.
Moreover more•o•ver
علاوة على ذلك [adverb]
In addition to what has been said; also; furthermore.
— There are many examples. Firstly, … Moreover, …
However how•ev•er
لكن [adverb]
Has the same meaning as “but”. Nevertheless; yet; on the other hand.
— Money is important however, happiness is more important.
Furthermore fur•ther•more
علاوة على ذلك [adverb]
In addition to what has been said; also; moreover.
— There are many examples. Firstly, … Furthermore, …
Therefore there•fore
ول / بسبب هذا / هكذا [adverb]
Has the same meaning as “so” and “because of this…”
— I am tired therefore, I am going to bed.

Aquascript’s full list of academic vocabulary and phrases


Analyse To analyse a point of view, you would need to look at it in depth and reference supporting arguments and evidence for and against it as well as how these might be linked to each other. Such analysis typically forms part of advantage/disadvantage, cause/effect and problem/solution style essays.
Assess Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter-arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.
Clarify Literally make something clearer and, where appropriate, simplify it. This could involve, for example, explaining in simpler terms a complex process or theory, or the relationship between two variables.
Compare Identify the similarities and differences between two or more phenomena. Say if any of the shared similarities or differences are more important than others. ‘Compare’ and ‘contrast’ will often feature together in an essay question.
Consider Say what you think and have observed about something. Back up your comments using appropriate evidence from external sources, or your own experience. Include any views which are contrary to your own and how they relate to what you originally thought.
Contrast Similar to compare but concentrate on the dissimilarities between two or more phenomena, or what sets them apart. Point out any differences which are particularly significant.
Critically evaluate To give your opinion on the extent to which a statement is true. Typically you would provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument.
Define To clearly set out the meaning of something. This may include highlighting any problems posed with the definition and the providing of alternative definitions (where they exist).
Demonstrate Show how, with examples to illustrate.
Describe To provide a detailed explanation as to how and why something happens or has happened. This is the key to a descriptive-style essay.
Discuss This is a written debate where you are using your skill at reasoning, backed up by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument. This can be applied to advantage/disadvantage, cause/effect and problem/solution style essays. It is important to clearly provide your overall opinion (typically at the end in the conclusion paragraph).
Elaborate To provide more information and details on something or someone.
Evaluate In some ways evaluating two or more ideas/theories together is similar to juxtaposing them (see below). It involves placing two or more sets of ideas/opinions side by side in the same paragraph enabling the reader and you, the writer, to go on to compare their respective merits and drawbacks.
Examine Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding a topic. This should be a critical evaluation and you should try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues you have identified are the most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.
Explain Clarify a topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurs, or what is meant by the use of this term in a particular context. Your writing should have clarity so that complex procedures or sequences of events can be understood, defining key terms where appropriate, and be substantiated with relevant research. [[‘Illustrate’ has very similar meaning]]
Explore Adopt a questioning approach and consider a variety of different viewpoints. Where possible reconcile opposing views by presenting a final line of argument.
Identify Determine what are the key points to be addressed and the importance and/or implications of thee points.
Interpret Demonstrate your understanding of an issue or topic. This can be the use of particular terminology by an author, or what the findings from a piece of research suggest to you. In the latter instance, comment on any significant patterns and causal relationships.
Justify Make a case by providing a body of evidence to support your ideas and points of view. In order to present a balanced argument, consider opinions which may run contrary to your own before stating your conclusion.
Juxtapose Juxtaposition is placing two or more sets of ideas/opinions side by side in the same paragraph enabling the reader and you, the writer, to go on to compare and evaluate their respective merits and drawbacks.
Paraphrase To express the meaning of something (i.e., the findings and/or opinions in a ‘source text’) by using different words. This is usually done to achieve greater clarity. It is also done to convert other writers’ styles to your own.
Outline Set out the main points placing emphasis on global structures and interrelationships rather than small specific details.
Review Look thoroughly into a subject. This should be a critical assessment and not merely descriptive.
State To specify in clear terms the key aspects pertaining to a topic without being overly descriptive. Refer to evidence and examples where appropriate.
Summarise Give a condensed version drawing out the main facts and omit superfluous information. Brief or general examples will normally suffice for this kind of answer.
Synthesise A synthesis is a written discussion that draws on two or more sources. It requires you to be able to infer relationships among sources and follows on from evaluating/juxtaposing source materials (see above).
To what extent This type of question requires a detailed assessment of the evidence in presenting your argument. Explore alternative explanations where they exist.

^ Dictionary skills

Dictionaries are far more than translation tools. And yes, online tools are great but nothing is better than a physical dictionary. Dictionaries such as “Oxford Wordpower” are highly recommended as they provide clear English definitions and Arabic translations as well as examples and associated words. This particular dictionary also highlights the “3,000 most important and useful words to know in English.”


Dictionary skills & worksheets

^ “Tools of the Trade”

Annotation skills It is important to use highlighter pens when annotating source texts. Using a number of colours is advantageous because one can be used for say ‘background information’, another for ’causes’ and another for ‘solutions’.



GPA, percentages & letter grades