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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study. Join the course to learn more.

Introduction to language in essays

To produce writing that is grammatically accurate, you need an understanding of:

  • the ways in which we use different parts of speech (eg nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, preposition, conjunctions)

  • how to structure ideas within a sentence, an understanding of how we use the building blocks of language to construct grammatically accurate sentences (eg subject, verb, object, adverbial)

  • the ways in which different grammatical structures are used to express meaning (eg verb tenses to express time, structures to express cause and effect, structures to make comparisons). This week you will check your understanding of how we use different parts of speech and how we structure ideas within a sentence.

In the extract below from the essay on food waste a number of words have been highlighted. Think about what part of speech each word is and then watch the video in the next Step to check your answers.

[Food waste](yellow) [has](blue) many [sources](yellow) which [include](blue) [households] (yellow), [manufacturing](yellow), [food](yellow) [service](yellow) and [retail](yellow). The [European Commission](yellow) (2011) [estimated](blue) that the [proportion](yellow) of [food waste](yellow) at the [retail stage](yellow) [is](blue) [about](green) 5% of [total](red) [food depletion](yellow) in the [EU](yellow), accounting for [approximately](green) 4.4 million [tons](yellow) of [food](yellow). [Food waste](yellow) [has](blue) several [extensive](red) yet [harmful](red) [effects](yellow) on [food security](yellow), [food quality](yellow), and also [food safety](yellow). Even [economic](red) [development](yellow) and the [environment](yellow) [can be](blue) [negatively](green) [impacted](blue) by [food waste](yellow) (Gustavsson, 2011).

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This article is from the free online course:

An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study

University of Reading