Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Hyo-Chang Hong

Second Advisor

Kelli Prejean

Third Advisor

David Hatfield


This thesis examines how writing differs in both English departments and Biochemistry departments in realization at the grammatical, that is, the lexico-grammatical level; and thus, how the differing writing modes are not merely realizations of differences at the lexical level, but the grammar of the texts is affected by the different world perspectives reflected by each discipline. By analyzing the lexico-grammatical realizations in texts produced by professionals in both the English and Biochemistry disciplines, through the analysis of basic writing handbooks which are required reading for many introductory writing students, and through analysis of a survey given to full-time university composition professors, this study examines not only how the two disciplines write differently, but more importantly, the implications of current strategies of teaching basic writing composition for academic purposes. All of these implications are examined utilizing the theory of Systemic Functional Linguistics. The thesis argues that lexico- grammar reflects and is reflected by the world perspective of each discipline; thus teaching traditional school grammar (i.e., subject verb agreement, punctuation, spelling, etc.) and traditional English Humanities type lexico-grammatical realizations in the basic writing class falls outside the scope of teaching functional writing for all academic purposes. Therefore, the traditional approach in teaching composition, and even recent trends toward teaching writing as a "process," still falls short of the implications which teaching alternative lexico-grammatical realization patterns can have when discourse-level phenomena are discussed within and without the English Humanities discipline rather than just clause-level phenomena. Therefore, as composition courses continue to teach toward realizations of English Humanities’ lexico- grammar, students who desire to work outside this discipline may not be as prepared as instructors would like, contrary to what some professors within English departments have commonly believed.


Composition - Study and teaching.

Technical writing - Study and teaching.