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Key words in university study: Whole and parts

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When you write reports or give presentations you will often need to discuss the relationship between a whole and its parts. To do this you will need to use verbs such as contain and nouns such as constituent.

  • This dissertation contains six chapters.
  • The principal constituents of the Earth’s atmosphere are nitrogen and oxygen.

The verbs and nouns below are often used in academic communication. Look up the meanings, example sentences, pronunciation and translations of the words that you do not know by clicking the links. When you know the words, do the exercise below.

Verbs

Nouns

Exercise:
Complete each sentence by replacing the
? with one of the words in brackets. Make sure that the word is in the correct form; i.e. you might need to change the tense, voice or add an 's'. After you finish, click the 'Check All Answers' button to see the answers and feedback.

Exercise:
Complete each sentence by replacing the
? with one of the words in brackets. Make sure that the word is in the correct form; i.e. you might need to change the tense, voice or add an 's'.

1.  (divide, compose)

2. (involve, classify) 

3.  (field, element)

4. (form, include) 

5.  (category, aspect)

6.  (involve, make up)

7.  (form, encompass) 

8. (incorporate, involve) 

9. (comprise, categorise) 

10. (form, cover) 
 
 



 
 
 


Answer Key

Here are the answers:

1. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'My presentation is divided into four sections.'
The answer must be passive voice because a presentation can neither divide or compose itself. Composed cannot be correct, because things cannot be composed into, they are usually composed of.

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2. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'In this report, pollution is classified as follows: atmospheric pollution, freshwater and sea pollution, and land pollution.'
Involves does not have the correct meaning, as atmospheric pollution etc. are types of pollution, and dividing things into types is called classification. Using passive voice is correct academic style, as academic style generally avoids mentioning the author.

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3. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'Dr Wong’s main field of study is construction technology in China.'
An element is a smaller part of a bigger thing, but the sentence uses main, so element is probably not appropriate. In addition, field collocates (usually goes together with) of study, and element of study is an unusual phrase.

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4. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'My report includes an analysis of the most important studies conducted since the 1980s.'
The meaning of 'My report forms an analysis of the most important studies conducted since the 1980s.' would be that the aim of the report is to analyse these studies. However, academic reports usually have a literature review, and first analyse past research, and then move on to describe how the author’s research adds new information to the existing knowledge. Due to this common structure of academic writing, includes is more likely, as academic reports usually include a summary of previous studies.

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5. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'One of the most interesting aspects of this project is how students go about planning their written assignments.'
A category is one part of a classification. However, the sentence does not mention any classifications. An aspect is a feature of something, which fits the situation in the sentence better. After the phrase One of the most + adjective, countable nouns should be plural, as one of the shows that there is more than one.

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6. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'The survey I conducted last year involved measuring air pollution on the outlying islands.'
As the survey was last year, the alternative option would be 'The survey I conducted last year was made up of measuring air pollution on the outlying islands.' This is wrong because was made up of should be followed by the component parts of something, but in this sentence there is only one part - measuring the air pollution on outlying islands. In addition, made up of is a phrasal verb, and these are often seen as too informal for academic writing.

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7. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'This report encompasses students’ use of English both inside and outside the classroom.'
In this sentence encompasses means includes. If your answer is 'This report forms students’ use of English both inside and outside the classroom.', it means that the report controls and develops students’ use of English, and it is unlikely that a report would do this.

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8. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'This chapter incorporates the results of my experiments together with those of
my colleagues.'
Incorporates means includes things together. The alternative, involves, does not have this meaning of things being together.

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9. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'My literature review comprises six sections.' An alternative answer is 'My literature review is comprised of six sections', but is comprised of is not as common and is less acceptable.
It is unusual to categorise a literature review into sections, as single things, like my literature review, cannot be divided into categories.

Click here to see more examples of is comprised of

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10. Your answer is:

The correct answer is 'Dr Siu’s new study covers the history of Hong Kong both before and after the British occupation.'
A study cannot form the history of Hong Kong, because form, as a verb, means to control and develop. Covers should have an 's' on the end as Dr. Sius new study is a single object and can be replaced by it.

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Last updated on: Friday, August 24, 2012