Essential Actions for Academic Writing

A Genre-Based Approach
Nigel A. Caplan and Ann M. Johns


Essential Actions for Academic Writers is a writing textbook for all novice academic students, undergraduate or graduate, to help them understand how to write effectively throughout their academic and professional careers. While these novice writers may use English as a second or additional language, this book is also intended for students who have done little writing in their prior education or who are not yet confident in their academic writing. Essential Actions combines genre research, proven pedagogical practices, and short readings to help students develop their rhetorical flexibility by exploring and practicing the key actions that will appear in academic assignments, such as explaining, summarizing, synthesizing, and arguing. 

Part I introduces students to rhetorical situation, genre, register, source use, and a framework for understanding how to approach any new writing task. The genre approach recognizes that all writing responds to a context that includes the writer’s identity, the reader’s expectations, the purpose of the text, and the conventions that shape it. Part II explores each essential action and provides examples of the genres and language that support it. Part III leads students in combining the actions in different genres and contexts, culminating in the project of writing a personal statement for a university or scholarship application. 

Product Details

  • 8 x 10.
  • 352pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • March 2022
  • 978-0-472-03796-4

  • $29.95 U.S.

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