in English as a foreign language                                     coming soon !

When you write in English, you have to think in English.

do you need to write in English, but that’s not your native language?

– a paper

– a thesis

– an article for journal publication?

** Proofreaders are often at a loss to understand what the writer actually means.

** Writers don’t have the time or opportunity for intensive courses in academic writing.

This site is for you.

Try this test:

Linguists have described the academic rhetoric of English and Romance languages (including German) with these words.  Which words do you think belong to which language category? (mark ‘R’ for Romance languages, ‘E’ for English.)   (drag and drop)

ROMANCE   LANGUAGES                                              —                            ENGLISH

repetitive    –                    linear      –                   empathetic   –                                                                         digressive    –                         concise     –                 flowery    –                                     structured     –                    complex     –                  random     –                                                                     simple     –                                flexible     –                                                    mysterious      –                  rigid       –                            rambling


Did anything surprise you?  Can you recognize a pattern?


When you write in English, you have to ‘think in English’.   Here, you will find exercises designed in the FRUGAL method, to help you do just that. It’s a cross between an academic writing course and language, concentrating on differences in writing styles; what works in German (or Romance languages) simply does not work in English. What are the differences, what is the thinking behind it, what should you take into consideration? How does English academic writing ‘tick’? How can you make your writing comprehensible to reviewers and readers?

Here you can get access to new lessons each month just like ‘classroom 100’. There is one lesson devoted to an aspect of functional language, one to a rhetorical issue, one to grammar and one to lexis, or vocabulary. Together with a review they form a ‘FRUGAL’ (f-r-g-l) unit. And that’s what it attempts to be: frugal. quick and to the point. The point is difference in mentality, especially regarding academic writing- ‘contrastive academic rhetoric’. What are the common errors, where do they come from, and how do the respective languages differ in thinking?

To this end, original material has been adapted to create the exercises. Mentality differences show up in ‘errors’, expressions you would use in your language but don’t work in the foreign one. By the same token, they are to be found whenever you run across a formulation in the ‘target’ language you have difficulties with. Therefore, the original material used comes not only from German authors but also from native speaker texts.

The lessons follow an IMRAD pattern, but do not teach ‘IMRAD’; they cover rhetorical issues but do not teach rhetoric, they deal with grammar and vocabulary but do not teach these subjects, either. And the site is basically not a course in academic writing per se. If you wish to deepen any of these, you can find references in the library.

The aim of this site is to address mentality differences and help foreign writers think in English- especially in English academic language- directly.


I wish you success in your endeavors!