Verbs like ‘ausgehen von’, ‘beziehen auf’ or ‘darstellen’ that contain semantically concrete basic verbs (gehen, ziehen, stellen) form an essential part of German general academic vocabulary, i.e. vocabulary that is used across disciplines. Recent work has illuminated the inventory of these general academic verbs, the areas of meaning expressed by them as well as aspects of their polysemy. However, in-depth studies on the functional application and usage of the verbs in connection to the speech acts expressed remain to be conducted. It is only by such investigations that the expressive potential of this lexis can be revealed. The paper reports on a corpus study that exemplarily analyses the usage and functional application of the expression ‘es geht um’ in research articles from the field of German philology and thereby shows how general academic expresssions are specifically utilized in scientific texts and adapted for disciplinary specific needs.