English Mistakes Commonly Made in a Dissertation | Examples
Students tend to make the same language mistakes over and over again in academic writing. Taking a careful look at these lists of mistakes that we often encounter may help you to break these habits. Avoiding them will set your writing apart and give it a more polished feel.
If you want to make sure your dissertation doesn’t contain any language errors, you could consider using a dissertation editing service.
Although spellcheck features catch many spelling mistakes, they cannot be relied on entirely. These words are still frequently misspelled in many theses.
|Research was conducted.
|Research is an uncountable noun.
|The number of variables may change.
|Use number with countable nouns (e.g., changes), amount with uncountable nouns (e.g., air).
|An MRI, an HR directive
|An abbreviation that starts with a vowel sound takes “an.”
|The teenagers who
|Use who with people, that with things
|Although the two cases are similar, they are not identical.
|Both economic and political factors were considered.
|The so-called experts only conducted factor-based analyses.
|The authors were especially interested in inflation pressures.
|Results of the interviews or Results of the Interviews
|Additional information is presented in Table 9 (Results of the interviews).
Conjunctions and linking terms
|First, all participants were given a survey.
|However, most theorists disagree.
|Northern cities such as Oslo and Helsinki have long, dark winters.
|The results offer valuable insights into the problem.
|Most MNCs purchase thousands of PCs annually.
|Although many criteria were considered, one criterion stood out
|Chapter 6 contains the research conclusions.
|Taxis are often full of forgotten umbrellas.
|The child’s behavior, the parents’ attitude
|Although the child’s behavior was aggressive, her parents’ attitude was very relaxed.
|Several analyses were conducted, but one analysis was most fruitful.
|This dissertation proposes many hypotheses.
|In addition to
|In addition to building dams, the government also invested in roads.
|The ages ranged from 18 to 24.
|In light of
|The test was cancelled in light of the wind.
|The participants were grouped by height.
|To what extent
|It is not known to what extent the subjects were being truthful.
A person… his or her…
|Researchers should cite their sources.
A researcher should cite his or her sources.
|If one reads the study, one may indeed be convinced.
|The price was exactly $10,000.00.
|Many styles of music emerged in the 1960s.
|A few, two/three, a handful of
|A few controversial questions were also included.
|Many, much, several, a great deal of
|Much time was spent on the test.
Terms used in citations
|The mutation is thought to be widespread (Han et al., 1999)
|Et al. have
|Omar et al. have asserted that the effect is temporary.
|The project manager chose her team before planning began.
|This dissertation is divided into seven sections.
|Although the Liberals currently lead in the polls, the Conservatives led last week.
|Take a photo
|The time was set to take photos at 20-second intervals.
|The email was sent to all employees.
Words that are commonly confused
|Which one to use?
|What’s usually the difference?
|Affect vs effect
|The effect was strong; the drug affected all members of the experimental group.
|Effect = noun
Affect = verb
|Personnel vs personal
|The company’s personnel do not like to discuss their personal problems.
|Personnel = noun
Personal = adjective
|Principal vs principle
|The principal author outlined the theories and principles that arose from the study.
|Principal = adjective
Principle = noun
|Were vs where
|Where were you?
|Were = verb
Where = adjective
|Awhile vs a while
|Jack wants to rest awhile, but he has to go to work in a while.
|Awhile = for a period of time
A while = a period of time
|Apart vs a part
|The twins were born 2 minutes apart, and when one of them a way, it feels like a part of them is missing.
|Apart = separation, distance
A part = a piece
|Use to or used to
|She is used to a busy schedule, but she did not use to feel so stressed.
|Used to = verb
Use to = only used with “did/did not”
|Empathy vs sympathy
|I feel sympathy for Sam, but it’s hard to be empathic, because I haven’t been in that situation.
|Empathy = ability to relate to the other person’s feelings
Sympathy = compassion for someone else
|Blond vs blonde
|Is Oliver a blond? Yes, and his sister is a blonde too!
|Blond = noun to describe a man with golden/pale yellow hair
Blonde = noun to describe a woman with golden/pale yellow hair
|Then vs than
|I was visiting my sister then. I like her new house better than the old one.
|Then = that time
Than = to express comparison
|Anymore vs any more
|If you give me any more trouble, I can’t help you anymore
|Anymore = adverb (any longer)
Any more = determiner (quantity)
|Who vs whom
|I’m not sure who is organizing the party; it depends whom you ask.
|Who = pronoun (subject)
Whom = pronoun (object)
|Compliment vs complement
|Vera received a compliment on her belt, because it complements her outfit.
|Compliment = admiration or praise
Complement = completes or enhances
|Affect vs effect
|The effect of the hidden variable might affect your results.
|Affect = verb
Effect = noun
|Bear vs bare
|The bear ran through the bare apartment after someone left the door open.
|Bear = endure, carry, or the animal
Bare = uncover, exposed
|Breathe vs breath
|Where were you?
|Breathe = verb
Breath = noun
Following these tips will help you to improve your written academic English in general. The next step is to fine-tune your writing depending on whether you are using American, British, or Australian English! A grammar checker can also help you automatically fix mistakes you may have missed after proofreading.