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Academic English Skills

Resources to Assist with Improving Academic English and Study Skills


Resources for Research

Guide to Turnitin


Welcome to Academic English Help at TOP. This guide contains hints, tips, tutorials and other useful information for assisting you with your Academic English and Study Skills. For more personal and specific service, please contact our English Language and Academic Skills Coordinator here.

This is guide is for ALL students who wish to improve their Academic English skills, as well as those for whom English is a second language.

For specific resources relating to general academic writing, consult the Academic Research guide.

For specific resources relating to reading and writing in law, consult the Legal Research and Writing guide

Key Resources

Communication Etiquette

Hello! Learn the basics about how to successfully communicate with lecturers, tutors and other members of staff. These basic guidelines can be applied to any professional setting!

Email Etiquette




  • Don't use an unprofessional email address  (using your TOP email will ensure your email doesn't go to spam)

  • Start with a new e-mail. Avoid replying to an old-email thread, especially when addressing a new issue.
  • Include an appropriate subject heading. It should highlight the main focus of the e-mail.

​ "Booking a consultation time”                         Leave it blank

 "Absence from class"                                     Hi

  • Write a salutation. Address academic staff appropriately and politely. Be formal and avoid familiarity.

 Dear / Hello Kate                                             Miss/Mrs

 Dear / Hello Dr/Prof/Mr/Ms Smith                    Hey / Yo!

  • Write well! Try to use more formal language in the e-mail (definitely avoid slang and abbreviations)

​​ TTYL           i           u           cuz           lol           wanna          dunno           gotta      

  • Provide context and background information. Lecturers teach many students, you need to be helpful and remind them what you are talking about. Do not assume they remember a previous conversation you may have had or your assignment amongst the dozens sitting on their desk!
  • Write a clear and concise message. Avoid lengthy explanations; get to the point. The following format is advised:
    • State the problem by being specific and detailed
    • Include the question relevant to the problem
    • Justify why an answer is needed
    • If a response is required, politely ask for one
  • Sign your name. You need to say who you are, especially if your email address does not include it. If the name you go by is not your official name, include both! This will ensure the lecturer knows who you are and can also search for any records that are stored using your official name. It is also good to add your student number.
  • Proofread the e-mail. Never click send before proof-reading
  • Allow adequate time for a reply. Do not expect an immediate response!

Common Academic English Errors

Additional Resource

Online Graphic Dictionary

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All content is subject to change.