You are an exchange student at an English-speaking university, and your dissertation is due. You’ve done your best, but you know that your English is not perfect.  You worry about mistakes in English.

Professional English editing services can help.

Although the English language seems comparatively easy to speak, when written, it can be a different story. English is full of little idiosyncrasies.

The most common mistakes apply to native English speakers too. Common word choice mistakes include:

  • there (over there) versus their (their party);
  • its (its leaves began to fall) and it’s (it’s their party; i.e., short for ‘it is’); and
  • then (then I went home) and than (rather than going shopping). 

I’m sure you can think of many others. It’s easy to see how these words can be confused.

Such natural word confusion explains why you need help from a professional editing service.

Common ESL Mistakes in English Writing

The most common error I see when editing a dissertation is a lack of the definite article, the. Many sentences leave this little word out. In doing so, the subject of the phrase can be misplaced or lost.

Use the definite article when referring to a noun already stated. For example, and in its simplest form: A man is walking in the park. A dog is following the man.

Another mistake is sentence structure. Some languages, especially European ones, put the adjective at the end of the sentence. When translating to English, the structure is wrong.

For example, many languages say: to school the children ran. A native English speaker would write: the children ran to school.

Professional editing services can help with all of these problems. We will carefully read your dissertation and ensure that the text sounds as though a native speaker wrote it.

Most of the time the sentences already make sense, but they need restructuring so that the English flows fluently and it is easy to read and understand.

In summary, the written English language is full of many quirks that are easy to miss (even for native speakers). While some of the common mistakes in English are listed here, there are many more.

Enlisting the help of a professional editing service will ensure that all of these English language problems are ironed out. It will also put your mind at ease, knowing that all those who read your dissertation will easily understand it – especially those examiners!

Originally posted 8/28/2010 and happily updated 11/15/2017. Thanks for reading!

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