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Book: A Functional Grammar for Writers

Chapter: Prescriptive “rules” and academic writing

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.26429


This chapter is dedicated to exploring and explaining the tradition of marking certain structures as “errors” and insisting that writing which contains these structures is inferior to that which is “error-free.” Although sociolinguists generally agree that such markers are not the mark of inferior language, they are nevertheless used in academic writing in a gatekeeping function, significantly affecting the marks of the students who do not know how to avoid them.
Given the extensive vocabulary and skill set that the reader now has, this chapter will be able to easily explain such structures as the comma splice, run-on sentence, improper pronoun reference, and other academic writing bugbears. The reader will be given simple solutions to these problems, and will be able to avoid them in future writing.

Chapter Contributors

  • Derek Irwin ( - dirwin) 'University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus'
  • Viktoria Jovanovic-Krstic ( - vkrstic) 'University of Toronto'