Cómo escribir un informe de inglés – B2

Here’s some basic advice about how to write a good report in English.

First, structure it into 4 paragraphs and subheading or subtitle for each paragraph.

1. introduction – why/purpose of report.

Begin with a fixed English phrase.
It is the aim/purpose/intention of this report to investigate/examine/look into the …

2. Current situation – including evidence (maybe results from a survey or assessment, using a bullet list).

Students and staff were canvassed for their opinions using a questionnaire… The results were as follows,
– lack of …
– need for…
– etc…
(there are rules for how to write a good bullet list which will be the subject of a later post)

3. Proposed solution – including pro’s and con’s’.

Whilst there are many advantages (see Current Situation), a potential and serious drawback is Staffing and Security within the IT Room… A possible solution would be…

4. Closing statement/Recommendation

After careful and due consideration it is the opinion of the author that...

In general, once you have named the subject, for example ‘students‘ use impersonal passives to speak about them.

Students were asked to complete a questionnaire and from their opinions a number of factors were evident. 24 hour access to the IT room was thought to be the most important …..

A tip about word usage.
Remember – Short verbs in English are usually Celtic based and informal.

Get – informal
Receive – formal
Buy – informal
Purchase – formal

An easy way to know a formal form is to check a short verb in a dictionary and find a longer synonym or one that you recognise from Spanish. Generally longer words are are Latin based and more formal and so ideal for a report.

Get – obtain, acquire, receive
Write – transcribe

Remember to use a variety of vocabulary and also specific vocabulary for the topic. Try to include synonyms rather than repeat a noun, verb or subject, and use abstract nouns to demonstrate concepts rather than only concrete facts. For example restitution, deconstruction, strength.

Use fixed phrases and expressions to sound natural but pay attention to prepositions.

In summary…
To sum up…
In light of…

A tip about grammar
Use the following structures to put distance/respect/formality into your writing.

passive/impersonal passive/impersonal passive infinitive
Students were asked to complete…

Had the facilities been accurately described…

Perfect tenses/Past perfect
Past forms of have had, will would, can could and should all add a subtle degree of formality to writing, so try to use them rather than short, present tense sentences which speak more directly to the reader.

Sprinkle a handful of appropriate linkers/connectors into your report to add another layer of formality depending on the reader. Do not go overboard, or put too many.

But, although, however, in spite of + ing, despite + ing, nevertheless, while, whilst, on the one hand/on the other… etc.

Here’s a photo of the whiteboard from a B2 adult class – note the vernacular/colloquial English in the top left hand corner…tut…tut