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Grammar, spelling and vocabulary

It’s important to use correct grammar, spelling and technical vocabulary in your university work. This will often be part of the marking criteria for your assignments.

If you’re not confident in your grammar or spelling skills, the Learning Hub (Academic Language and Learning) has a number of online resources such as the Write Site.

You can also attend a Learning Hub (Academic Language and Learning) workshop where you can learn strategies for paying close attention to grammar, proofreading or editing your work.

Building your technical vocabulary specific to your discipline takes time. You can improve your vocabulary by looking up technical words you come across in your readings or in class and noting down what they mean and how they’re used. You should also look out for frequently occurring academic words, for example: 'analysis', 'aspect', 'factor' and 'discourse'.

However, it’s important to read first for the general meaning of the whole text. Looking up every new word will make it much slower and harder to understand.

If English is not your first language, there are English language courses, both on campus (Centre for English Teaching) and off campus, as well as many books and online resources for learning more about English grammar. The best way to improve your use of English grammar is to spend as many hours each day as possible in English conversation. However, remember that formal written English is different to conversational English.


This material was developed by the Learning Hub (Academic Language and Learning), which offers workshops, face-to-face consultations and resources to support your learning. Find out more about how they can help you develop your communication, research and study skills.

See our Writing skills handouts.

Last updated: 26 October 2022

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