“How can I add an argument appropriately in English?” Addition markers in Chinese L1 and English L1 university student writing

Chao Han, Sheena Gardner

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Previous studies have shown that as L2 writing develops from intermediate to advanced levels, addition is marked less often and the use of and decreases as the use of moreover, furthermore and other less frequent addition markers increases. This study goes further in that it examines first how addition is marked in different academic disciplines and genres, and secondly how addition markers and their collocates are used by Chinese students in comparison to L1 writers of English. For the first question, and in contrast to Peacock's (2010) analysis of research articles, addition markers are used more in this student writing in the sciences of Engineering, Food Sciences and Biology than in the social sciences of Business and Law, and more in the more scientific writing of lab report genres than the discursive writing of essays. Such variation reinforces the importance of genre and discipline differences in teaching second language writing. For the second question, a qualitative analysis reveals the important difference between stringing several points using addition markers and grouping points into one argument using a shell noun, or reinforcing one argument with collocates. These findings lead to specific suggestions for L2 academic writing teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101332
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Early online date31 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license


We are grateful to the ESRC for funding the project An Investigation of Genres in Assessed Writing in British Higher Education (RES=000-23-0800) that included the compilation of the BAWE corpus from which the Han CH-EN corpus is drawn. This paper is also supported by the Foreign Language Teaching Research Project of Colleges and Universities in Gansu Province. Project number: GSSKB22-07 awarded to Chao Han


  • Addition markers
  • Discipline
  • Genre
  • Metadiscourse
  • Student writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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