Spelling and Grammar
Why bother with accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar?
Punctuation is very important because it helps readers to make sense of a piece of text – you don’t want your reader to have to re-read sections of your essay because they can’t figure out what you are trying to say. Remember, your reader is your tutor and if they don’t understand what you have written, they can’t give you any marks for it.
Also, take particular care to use English spelling and not American English. Most people struggle with particular words or groups of words. When writing, pay attention to the words that you tend to spell incorrectly, you can then look out for these in your work and check them. For more information on spelling and to practise your skills, follow this link: www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/topic-group/spelling.
It’s also important to proofread your work for spelling errors.
The most common difficulties with punctuation are apostrophes and commas. For further details take a look at these links:
• Apostrophes [PDF]
• Commas [PDF]
Remember to leave enough time to proofread your work before your deadline.
To find out more, have a look at these BBC links to help with words and sentences.
If you have access to an iOS or Android device (smartphone, tablet etc.) you can also download the following free grammar application: www.ucl.ac.uk/english-usage/apps/ige
When checking your grammar, a useful tip is to re-read your work aloud as you will pick up on grammatical errors more easily. Click here for other proofreading tips.
Here is a reading list with book titles to help you improve your spelling, punctuation and grammar.
• AskOxford.com: Better writing - Commonly misspelled words.
Browse this site for tips on spelling and grammar.
• Indiana University Writing Tutorial Services: proofreading for common surface errors. A good guide to proofreading - easy to read.
• English Plus+ online grammar (Bair, J. 2008): the 'Grammar Slammer'.
See also Grammar Slammer Run-on sentences and Sentence fragments.
For punctuation see the Grammar Slammer - punctuation.
Email email@example.com and ask them to enrol you onto their English for Academic Purposes Blackboard site.