The Writing Machine is a product of the IT Integration Project


The Writing Machine is an Internet resource created at the English Centre, at the University of Hong Kong. It is designed to help students understand and master the process of writing academic essays. It is organized into these 10 sections:

1. Introducing the academic essay
2. Topics, titles, introductions
3. The body of the essay
4. Inside the paragraph: cohesion and topicalisation
5. Inside the paragraph: functional and propositional development
6. Writing conclusions
7. Academic versus nonacademic writing
8. Sources of data and bibliographies
9. Note taking from written sources
10. Editing and proofreading

If this is your first time using the writing machine we recommend that you take a few minutes to find out how to use this site by reading the details on this page.

How to navigate the site

Use this Home Page - Most of your Writing Machine sessions should begin at this page. The list of links above will take you to the main page of each unit. You can return to this page from anywhere in this site by clicking on the Writing Machine logo in the top left corner of every page.

The navigation bar - At the left hand side of every main page in this web you will see a navigation bar that tells you where you are, and gives you a link to every other part in that unit. This navigation bar will also indicate what page in the unit you are in by displaying a larger button.

How to use the units

Every unit in the Writing Machine has 6 parts. Clicking on the buttons in the sidebar of this page will give you a more detailed explanation of component and how it should be used. The six parts that make up each unit are:

  • Intro - A short explanation of the unit topic, and a hotlist of the pages in that unit.
  • Read and Think - This section will give you a detailed explanation of the unit topic in a Q and A format.
  • Example - A sample of work with annotations relevant to the topic covered in that unit.
  • Your turn - Tasks that you can do to develop your understanding.
  • Review - Questions that you should ask yourself when evaluating your own work.
  • Links - Hyperlinks to other resources on the Internet that can help you understand more about the unit topic.

You should work through the units in a sequence determined by your own needs, but it is advisable to work thought each unit in the order that it is organized. Before you begin using the Writing Machine, you might want to take a few more minutes browsing around to familiarize yourself with the navigational conventions used by reading the pages linked from the navigation bar at the left side of this page.