Prescriptive “rules” and academic writing

A Functional Grammar for Writers - Derek Irwin

Derek Irwin [+-]
University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
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Derek Irwin is the Head of School for the founding of the School of English at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. He completed his BA (Hon) in Theatre and Literature at the University of Guelph, his MA in English Literature at York University, and his PhD specializing in Canadian Literature and Textual Analysis at York University, Canada. He spent eight years as an ESL instructor in various locations before turning to systemic functional linguistics as a framework for language inquiry. He was a grammar and writing instructor at York University, and a founding faculty member of Lakehead University's Orillia campus, before joining the University of Nottingham, first at the Ningbo China campus and then on to Malaysia. He supervises PhD students in several areas, including second-language pedagogy, genre and text analysis, language modelling, language contact, identity and culture. His most recent critical work focuses on grammatical resources for lexical movement across languages, literary textual analysis, and writing for post-secondary students.
Viktoria Jovanovic-Krstic [+-]
University of Toronto
Viktoria Jovanovic-Krstic is a sessional faculty member at the University of Toronto and a faculty member at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Jovanovic-Krstic teaches for the Writing and Rhetoric Program and The Faculty of Applied Arts and Science respectively. Her research interests are located in Appraisal Analysis, Business Communications and writing and rhetoric. She teaches courses in writing, rhetoric, and communications. She has published in the areas of war discourse, writing pedagogy, and reading and writing theory


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.

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Irwin, Derek; Jovanovic-Krstic, Viktoria. Prescriptive “rules” and academic writing. A Functional Grammar for Writers. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2024. ISBN 9781781792469. Date accessed: 09 Dec 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.26429. Mar 2024

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