Adapting your academic writing to the different stlyle manuals

Most of you have asked me to provide you with links and reference works to use MLA or APA not only in your final assignment for this subject but also to write your TFGs. These are the most commonly used standards required when submitting a manuscript to most academic journals dealing with English Studies. However, you can find many others and even special guidelines fixed by the editors of the publication.

These manuals set rules to:

– format your work (font, spaces, margins, etc. )

– include in-text citations in your essay

– present graphs and tables

– add cited works (articles, chapters, magazines, proceedings, etc.)

All these rules and many others must be followed in order to write coherently in an accurate academic style.

Each standard has its own manual of style and is being updated regularly with new guidelines. Most of these changes have been due to new electronic formats, for instance: e-books, e-journals, blog entries, fora messages, etc.

This has been one of the most recent novelty:

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA (Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.))

MLA no longer requires the use of URLs in MLA citations. Because Web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the Web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA explains that most readers can find electronic sources via title or author searches in Internet Search Engines.

For instructors or editors who still wish to require the use of URLs, MLA suggests that the URL appear in angle brackets after the date of access. Break URLs only after slashes.

Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. S. H. Butcher. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13 Sept. 2007. Web. 4 Nov. 2008. ‹›.

However, this might not common to the rest of styles, and so it is highly recommended to mention the version of the manual used in each case.

You will find more information about MLA style here:

Remember that you don’t have to learn by heart all the standards and versions of these manuals. There are websites like this which will generate the right bibliographic reference in the last version if you need it. Also, software like RefWorks, Zotero or Cite-you-Like will help you with the elaboration of bibliographies.

APA is the other alternative in our field if we are thinking about writing on teaching and applied linguistics topics. Its website holds a wide variety of training elements and social profiles to inform about any topic of interest to its followers.

It is important to remark, however, that most of the articles analized in this subject follow IEEE standards. Other disciplines, such as medicine, have AMA as a reference to cite and format their scholarly writings. Here you will find a very interesting quiz to test how much to know about using this standard. Since most of the topic dealt have to do with general AEP, it could result quite encouraging for the study of this subject.


Scientific writing and the process of research

There are multiple pages of websites to help non-native English speakers in their process of research and produce scientific texts. Pages like these not only will help you with the study of this subject but also will give you some ideas about how to improve your writing style when elaborating your TFG and other academic essays.

Søk og Skriv - illustrasjon

This website has been created by people from the University of Oslo and other partners ann deals with four key research elements:

1. Searching

2. Reading

3. Writing

4. sources and referencing

I encourage you to go through some of the topics we have studies on this subject and I recommend you to keep it marked so that you can go back and consult it later anytime you need it.

Past and Future of ESP by Ken Hyland

Ken Hyland

Ken Hyland is Professor of Applied Linguistics and director of the Centre for Applied English Studies at   the university of Hong Kong. He has published over 150 articles and 18 books on language education and academic writing. He was founding co-editor of the Journal of English for Academic Purposes and is now co-editor of Applied Linguistics, one of the most relevant publications on linguistics matters in the whole world.

Read the following article included with 20th aniverary Ibérica issue and answer to the following questions:

Which are the main fields dealt in this article about ESP?

Name some of the pioneers ESP authors mentioned by Hyland in the text as well as any relevant work.

Why is EAP referred so many times in this article?

Steven Pinker’s Ultimate Writing Guide


Sometime during middle school, I showed my father something I’d written for a class assignment. About halfway through reading, he stopped, pointed and said “that’s grammatically incorrect. You wrote ‘I will now describe.’ The correct wording is ‘I shall describe.'” The word “will”, he told me, implies defiance and determination. But if your sentence starts with the pronouns he, she, we, you or they, the rule is reversed.

It sounded nutty, to say nothing of pointlessly precise, but that was evidently what he’d learned in grade school back in the 1930’s. As far as he was concerned, that made it an eternal truth. For decades now, I’ve just assumed that the rule had gone out of style—but on reading Steven Pinker’s charming and erudite new book The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, I’ve learned that there never was such a rule…

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2014 International Symposium on Verbs, Clauses and Constructions, University of La Rioja (October 22-24th, 2014)

Mensaje distribuido a través de la lista de la Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada (AESLA).

The Nerthus Project Research Group (Department of Modern Languages, University of La Rioja) invites the submission of papers on substantial, original, and unpublished research to the 2014 International Symposium on Verbs, Clauses and Constructions, which will be held on October 22-24th, 2014 at the University of La Rioja. Topics of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:

Layered models of clause structure, The interaction of verbal projections and verbal constructions, Verbal constructions, The syntax of clauses and sentences, Alternations vs. constructions, Linking and interfaces, Inflection and derivation, Events vs. states of affairs and predications, Verbs at the representational and interpersonal level, Verbal typologies, Verbs and nouns, Nominalizations, Cross-linguistic variation of verbal constructions, Head marking and dependent marking, Diatopic, diachronic and textual variation, Morpho-syntactic and semantic change, Usage-based approaches to the development of structure, The role of constructions in grammaticalization, The functional motivation of structural development

Plenary lectures

Some Questions Concerning Accomplishments

Robert D. Van Valin Jr. (University of Düsseldorf, The University at Buffalo)

Complex verbs and their history, especially particle + verb and verb + particle

Hans Sauer (University of München)

Dative Subjects in Germanic: A computational analysis of lexical semantic verb classes across time and space

Jóhanna Barðdal (University of Ghent)



Please submit your proposal following the guidelines below:

  1. Presentations will last 20 minutes, followed by a ten minute discussion.
  2. Abstracts should be 150-200 words long (without any subheadings) and clearly present a research question/aim, critical review of the literature, methodology, results and conclusions.
  3. Please avoid footnotes and any unusual symbols (such as phonetic transcription) that might be changed in electronic communication. If you cannot avoid such symbols, submit your paper both in DOC and PDF format.
  4. Please send each abstract both in anonymized and unanonymized forms (with author(s) and affiliation) to the following address:
  5. Decisions about acceptance will be based on relevance to the above topic list, originality, potential significance, topicality and clarity. Since all accepted papers will be presented at the symposium, we require that at least one of the submitting authors must be a registered participant.


Pre-symposium course in Role and Reference Grammar and Construction Grammar

Participants can attend a 10 hour pre-symposium course on Role and Reference Grammar and Construction Grammar by Robert D. Van Valin Jr. (University of Düsseldorf) and Jóhanna Barðdal (University of Ghent), which will take place in the afternoon of October, 21st. and the morning of October, 22nd. Tuition fees are 150 euros (100 euros for postgraduate students; proof of status required). Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. A course certificate will be issued upon completion of the course, based on 80% participation.


If a participant cannot make it to Logroño, it is possible to present their paper electronically. An e-session will be scheduled for 25′ presentations in PowerPoint format with narration (voice-over). Please contact the organization by e-mail for further instructions. E-session presentations will be issued a certificate of presentation but not of attendance.

Key dates

  • Abstract submission: March 15th.-September 30th.
  • Notification of reviewers’ decision: March 30th. – October 5th.
  • Extraordinary registration deadline: October 20th.
  • Symposium: October 22-24th.


Registration fees

“Early bird”

(May 30th.)

Ordinary registration

(August 30th.)

Extraordinary registration

(October 20th.)

On desk registration
Presenters 90 € 110 € 130 € 150 €
Non-presenters 60 € 75 € 90 € 100 €


Registration fees include the symposium pack, book of abstracts and morning and afternoon coffee.


Symposium dinner

On the evening of October 24, 2014, the dinner of the symposium will be held in a grill restaurant in town centre, within walking distance from the University and the hotel area. The menu includes starters, main course (with choice meat/fish/vegetarian), dessert, water and crianza wine. It is strongly recommended to make the dinner payment together with the registration fee. It will be possible to book during the symposium but places will be limited. The cost of the menu is 35 euros.


Provided that a sufficient number of participants are interested, a selection of papers will be published in a peer-reviewed volume edited by the symposium organizers. Expressions of interest should be made on the registration form. Full papers should be submitted by December 31st., 2014. Acceptance for publication will be communicated to the authors by February 15th., 2015.

Symposium URL

For further information, we refer participants to the symposium site:


read what you want to write

Very good recommendation!!


One of the common pieces of advice given to creative writers is to read widely, work out what you like and then write like those you admire. This writing-like-admirable-others requires the aspiring creative writer to analyse various aspects of the admired texts – ranging from the way in which an author manages plot, character, dialogue and description to their technical construction of sentences, paragraphs and use of adverbs and adjectives.

Now this also seems like pretty good advice to academic writers too. Read what you want to write. The problem is of course how the doctoral researcher decides what is good academic writing. Is it simply something that they like? Is it something that is easy to read? Or is it something that has a particular style – say for example something written in the third person and in the passive voice? Is ‘academic’ necessarily densely packed with inter-textual references?…

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The genre of research articles: The literature review section

Great article!

Pros Write

Photo Credit: Lost in Scotland via Compfight cc Photo Credit: Lost in Scotland via Compfightcc

This post continues the series I’ve done over the past year or so on writing research articles (RAs) based on John Swale’s Create-A-Research-Space (CARS) model. See my first post for an overview of RAs published in peer-reviewed journals. This time the focus is on the section of an RA social science researchers call the literature review (LR).  As I’ve written before, RAs in “harder” science journals normally incorporate their review of related literature in the introduction section. But “softer” science journals require more elaborate justification of their research focus so an additional section is the norm.

There’s relatively little empirical work on the rhetorical structure of LRs. I believe it’s because the CARS model has been applied primarily to RAs in the “harder” sciences. A 2012 study (see bottom of this post for details) is a notable exception because it involved…

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Do you speak science?

As easy as pie

Hello everybody!

I know many of you have a deep interest in scientific subjects and in science in general, so I thought this might interest you!

World Science U has recently been started by the World Science Festival (NY), together with Tracy Day and Brian Green. It’s a website where you will be able to find answer to your own scientific dilemmas, follow introductory courses lasting 2 or 3 weeks, or enroll into university-level courses that last 8 to 10 weeks.
You can sign up or not, it’s your choice! Everything is in English of course, so you’ll be practicing quite a lot if you get involved in any of the courses, but even if you don’t feel up to it yet you can explore the “science unplugged” section and enjoy science videos on a wide variety of topics.

The project also has a Facebook page and here is the…

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