Anne Vicary (educator)

Anne Vicary (educator)

Hi there! I'm Anne and I teach English for Academic Purposes at the University of Reading. I'm particularly interested in the teaching of grammar and writing. Looking forward to the course!

Location Reading, UK


  • Hi Mimi you are absolutely right that in science they often use the 1st person plural. That's why it's always important to look at other sources written in the target discipline so that you can see what academic style they adopt. And yes it's the academic style of scientific articles, so you need to follow that style.

  • I have seen that book by Strunk and White, and other students have talked about it. It's considered to be a bit old-fashioned now but I am sure that many of its rules are still useful!

  • @LeoRose
    I'm not quite clear about eliminating the verb 'to be' unless you mean when you use it with a relative clause. So 'the house WHICH IS over there belongs to me ' should be 'the house over there belongs to me' , or to give you another example 'the lady who has the grey hair is my mother' should be ' the lady WITH grey hair is my mother'. Do you want...

  • @ChengLi Well you can use the active and passive voices when you need to. So for example you might be given a title 'Discuss the reasons why English is widely taught in kindergartens in China'. It really depends on if you need it. You wouldn't want to set this title as it's repeats the word teacher too much : 'Discuss the reasons why teachers teach English...

  • Thank you for this!

  • Thanks for this. Use 'there is /there are' to introduce a new idea to a reader. So 'there are many language schools' is more forceful than ' it has many language schools'

  • Hi Amjad
    Thank you for this. I've given you some feedback!
    Well done!

    (a) In China, most x primary schoolS HAVE BEGUN to teach English, and some children ARE STARTING OR HAVE STARTED learn English in the kindergartens. There are many language schools as well.
    (b) Firstly, In THE MAJORITY of China, English has been used as an official language.
    (c) In...

  • Good try thank you!
    Don't forget that we use formal language in academic writing so:
    it is rather than its
    Also make sure that you match the subject with the verb ending
    an individual excelS
    children studY

  • Hi Kianzolwa - thanks, you are right with your suggestion that the writer could have supported her paragraph more fully rather than just writing about how many different jobs there might be around the world.

    For example, as you suggest (I have amended the language as appropriate): '' The parents are thinking about how their children can potentially...

  • Hi yes good point. I think that generally the writer believes that young children are mostly learning English in order to improve their future prospects in life.

  • Thanks ..

  • :)

  • :)

  • No problem :)

  • Hi thank you for all your posts. I think that the use of I/We as opposed to impersonal writing is culturally bound - you are right. You have to look at other reports that have been written within the community of practice to get the idea of the style that the reader is expecting. It's all about the reader expectations and you can only know this if you look...

  • Great - thank you. Some feedback - you can say 'large numbers of people' but not 'numbers of people'. Also the music festivals ARE HELD in Al Hoceima - you need this verb to be passive voice. Note too the difference between 'so' (meaning 'result') and 'so that' (meaning 'purpose') e.g. 'the tourists did not arrive on time, SO they could not get into the...

  • Hi Georg - thank you - excellent! Some feedback:
    'economical' means 'cheap' or 'good value for money'
    'economic' means 'connected with economics', so Vienna is an 'economic centre'

  • Hello! This is a very good piece of writing - your home town sounds as if it is a lovely place to be! Just one small piece of feedback:
    Despite + 'the fact that' .. + subject + verb

  • Hi Walid
    thank you for this. I have never been to Algeria, but Guelma sounds lovely!! Some feedback if you like ... you should put a full stop after Algeria (not a comma) as you are starting new sentence with 'It', In English we also say 'it is famous FOR something' (not 'by'). Also it would be good NOT to start your sentence about the countryside on a new...

  • Ok thanks but you can't say 'Nearly everyone of the students is in business' you have to say 'almost all of the students [in the classroom] are in business'

  • @ThuyNgocTran - thanks for this feedback. Also you can just say 'most students' without 'of' and 'almost all business students' without 'of '. You only need to add 'of' when you are selecting a particular, smaller group from a larger group. So, for example, you would say 'Many OF THE STUDENTS IN THE ROOM come from Russia' (there are some in the room who...

  • Great!

  • Well done !

  • Well done! With 'a few' we don't need 'of'.

  • Well done! Some lovely comments and a great question!

  • Hi Hao - thanks for this - to answer your question - writing in a passive voice can be useful if you don't want to mention who is doing the action (the agent). In a biology report, for instance, it's not important to mention who the agent is: e.g. 'the height of the plants is measured every day'. The writer wants to give the impression in the report that the...

  • Good idea - always best to choose a topic that you are interested in!

  • Good point!

  • Thanks - just to note that with the verb 'discuss' you don't need to add 'about'. So 'I would like to discussion the reasons why the English language should be studied'.

  • Thank you - can you explain the phrase 'third millennium' to me?

  • Thanks - try and and change this into an indirect question as shown above.

  • Thanks Andrea - see comment above!

  • Great - just remember that you are writing an indirect question in this sentence so there is no question mark at the end and the subject + verb are inverted.
    Discuss the reasons why MORE PEOPLE ARE seeking online courses.
    If we were really asking a direct question we would use the following order:
    Why ARE MORE PEOPLE are seeking online courses?

  • Hi Diyaz I've had a quick look at your articles and they are fine! You are talking directly to your interested public and giving them information and instructions directly, so it's ok to use 'I/we'. Making your writing more impersonal is often needed in academic writing in order to focus on analysing and evaluating concepts through objective evidence rather...

  • yes, the IELTS exam is, I think, the most popular English language entry exam for studying abroad isn't it?

  • Thanks Ismaila - you may need to clarify this title. Has it become popular or is it getting more popular? In other words is it popular now or is this process still going on?

  • Hi Michelle - thanks for this post - this title would be considered to be very personal in academic circles. If you had some evidence that Liverpool FC had the highest number of followers, for example, you could say 'Discuss the reasons why Liverpool FC is currently the most popular football team in Europe'. I'm just worried that your evidence for them being...

  • Hi Kahmvin - could you just check the last few words of your title?

  • :)

  • No problem! Do let me know if you enjoy his books!

  • Thank you for all you positive comments. I'm glad that the video is helpful to you.

  • Thank you. I'm glad they are helpful to you.

  • Hi Lorena it's very interesting to hear about the healthy Mediterranean diet that your parents used to have as children. There is a well-known author here called Dr Michael Moseley who has written a lot on the subject of diet. He insists that the Mediterranean diet has been scientifically proved to be extremely healthy!

  • Thank you Thiri. I'm glad that access to technology is improving the lifstyle in Myanmar. It's great to hear that!

  • Well done! An interesting and informative paragraph. I'm glad that you have had better living conditions since 1962.

  • Excellent paragraph!

  • Excellent paragraph thank you! Good observations about the way that we can now 'erase the geographical distances'.

  • Hi Sodanuth - you really seem to be into the online world! I find it quite difficult to concentrate when I'm trying to read something on the computer - I'd far rather print it out if it's long-ish. But I'm interested to know that some people find it easier than me!

  • Hi Mohammed - a great philosophical answer! Ways of life in the past differed from ways of life now, but each person needs to enjoy the life they have as much as they can, don't they?

  • Hi Cesar thanks - just wondering why people nowadays have more access to public services - has there been a political change? (Sorry for my ignorance)!

  • Hi Diyaz - thank you for this. Just to say that a hypothesis is a particular type of idea. It means an idea that you may have that you are not sure is right. For example, I might have a hypothesis that the students in my class are sleepy because they have been up late into the night playing games on their computers, but I can't prove or disprove this...

  • Hi Paloma - yes you are right - life is much easier for so many of us these days. I like watching films set in historical surroundings through which we can understand better what life was like in the past!

  • Hi Donatella you are right to focus on these areas; in particular the UK's relationship with Europe is pertinent these days. I hope that it won't make any difference to any of being able to visit each other's countries. There is so much to learn from these exchanges!

  • Well you all seem to have very good ideas about what academic writing is! You are right that logic plays a very important part as well as text organisation and language accuracy. This is a beginner's course so we are going to focus on all these important elements. I hope you enjoy it.

  • Yes the internet helps us all to access information from around the world quickly and easily doesn’t it?

  • So sorry to hear about the difficulties you now face Nima. I am glad that this course is free for you and that you can take part freely.

  • Yes, thank you so much for this.

  • That’s very sad. Thank you for sharing this. Let us hope that somehow things the situation will improve in the future.

  • Yes I do too! Thank you for explaining this to us.

  • Interesting paragraphs. Thank you. Make sure that you distinguish between ‘their’ and ‘there’ ( final sentence).

  • Well done.

  • Thank you for this Ziad. I hope that Syria will become safe again as fast as possible. We are thinking of you.

  • So the world is going past at a fast pace but you don’t want to go so fast? You would prefer to take time to enjoy things rather than live a fast-paced robotic life?

  • Yes - well done. Good answers!

  • Good observation but it’s ok in this case to use results as evidence of successful industrialisation.

  • Good.

  • Good point.

  • Yes I suppose I was trying to be encouraging!

  • Eventually you will of course get information from reading other writers. You will be encouraged to reference this in your writing.

  • Thank you for this. I’m glad it may help with your writing journey.

  • Yes good points thank you.

  • Good points. Thank you.

  • Hello! This was the work of one of our pre-sessional students several years ago. This was when he first arrived. He is now a fluent writer with a PhD gained in the USA. Everyone has great potential whatever their level when they start out:)

  • Yes that’s important that you have noticed the sincerity of the person who has written it. Thank you.

  • So are you saying that it is easier to live like a robot now? Do you prefer to live like a robot?

  • Sorry to hear that you do not have so much peace now

  • Ok - remember that a person is ‘stressed’ (that is their response) but a situation gives stress so it is ‘stressful’.

  • Thanks. Usually we use ‘change’ in the active not passive voice, so for example ‘education has changed’.

  • Which country do you have in mind here?

  • Thank you. Very interesting changes mentioned here.

  • Yes but it might feel more interesting for you if you think of writing as a way of communicating with a real person who is interested in what you have to say.

  • Do you have to write in English on your degree programme in India? Do you just write in exams?

  • Good luck with your ambitions!

  • Yes academic writing tends to be formal partly because you don’t necessarily know the reader, or if you do know your reader, they aren’t your friend, so you can’t use informal language.

  • Yes a great answer. Well done!

  • 'Put my own perspectives instead of just stating the truth' - I think that when you write from your own perspective, you are indeed writing what you think is the truth. is there any difference between your own perspective and what you think is the truth?

  • Yes you are right. it's important that you write in your voice, so you write from your own understanding of the topic, not from someone else's (which is what you would do if you just copied and pasted).

  • Hi yes that's typical of social science/humanities writing I think.

  • Thanks for your appreciative comments. I'm glad you have been learning a lot so far!

  • Hi Roxane There are many adjectives that end in -ed; for example, 'his presentation was disjointed' - (an adjective meaning that the presentation didn't flow as a unified whole). The verb 'to disjoint' is quite old-fashioned in English and we hardly ever use it, so it is unlikely to be in the passive voice here. Other adjectives that end in -ed are...

  • Yes this is a passive form - are there any others in the text?

  • Hi Andres I think that you will naturally improve your critical thinking and reasoning the more you understand what you are reading.

  • Hi Mariangel - it's just about understanding things and giving your honest opinion about them ... I'm sure that in your everyday life you do think critically but you just don't realise that you are already doing it. You don't have to be an aggressive and argumentative person - you have to be polite, and be prepared to say what you think and engage in dialogue.

  • Hi Maria can you explain a bit more about your dilemma with this?

  • Thanks for this information Adam!

  • Hi Maria can you explain a bit more about 'having a good disposition' when you read?

  • Hi Luisa thanks for your comment - can you translate it into English?

  • Hi Sunju I agree with you, that when you read for pleasure, you enjoy understanding all the details and you read very actively. I think that probably some people think that reading an academic text is not such a pleasurable experience and may present challenges. For example, if you start reading for pleasure and you don't really understand what is happening in...

  • - yes it's a bit like having to read to understand more deeply so that you can write an essay - it gives you a real purpose for reading and you enjoy it perhaps more than you thought you would!

  • That's a great expression: through reading 'we let go of ignorance'!