Accurate spelling helps to create a good impression on your marker or prospective employer. Checking through your work for typos and using spellcheck on the computer can help minimise mistakes and add to the professional appearance of your work. Spelling can be crucial in some professions, such as Healthcare, where having the accurate name of a drug is essential.

Scroll down for our recommended strategies and resources.  

Basic rules

Many people, including native English speakers, have never been explicitly taught spelling rules, or have forgotten them. Look at this clear guide to the basic principles:  

Sound same, look different

Homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings, such as ‘their’ and ‘there’, can be the trickiest to get right as they will not show up on spellcheckers. Look at this guide to the most commonly confused spellings:

Authors’ names and technical terms

Markers often get annoyed if names of authors or specific terminology from their subject are spelled incorrectly. Names, especially in languages that are not your own, and long or complex technical terms can be confusing to spell. Keep a checklist of common subject-specific words, add them to your spellchecker, and make time to proof-read carefully for these.  

Language learner dictionaries

These are a type of dictionary especially designed for the needs of language learners. You can find many language learner dictionaries in the Library, such as The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary - try searching for ‘advanced learner’s English dictionary’ in the Library catalogue.