Trump vs. Trudeau: exploring the power of grammatical metaphor for academic communication

Cassi L. Liardét*, Sharyn Black

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    When writing academic texts, students often struggle with the nuances of cohesion, formality and conciseness. To realize these features, research has identified a powerful linguistic resource: grammatical metaphor (GM). Although GMs, and their most popular form, nominalizations, are critical for producing the language valued in academic contexts, there are few models for teaching them. This paper presents an accessible exploration of GM, providing a model for teaching this valuable resource. These activities were taught as a writing workshop to a group of university students who then practiced applying GM to their own writing, capturing their edits using Word's “Track Changes” functionality. The students’ revisions are discussed in the findings, demonstrating how even within a short workshop, students are able to achieve the condensation and lexical sophistication valued in academic discourse. The paper concludes with pedagogical recommendations for teaching GM and ensuring students apply it effectively, avoiding pitfalls such as ‘over-condensation’.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number100843
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020


    • grammatical metaphor
    • nominalization
    • academic writing
    • professional discourse


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