PhD students are generally expected to be proficient in written and spoken English language, as most international universities use English as the medium of communication and for writing research-related academic documents. This is particularly true for students from native English-speaking countries.
However, the reality is very different. While most students are good at the spoken language, most of them are unable to write grammar-correct English sentences. This can have a major impact on their grades. Grammatical errors can reduce the overall quality of PhD thesis papers and dissertations. The use of correct grammar is a major factor in the easy reading flow of your submitted academic paper. Remember that your submitted documents also represent your overall understanding and knowledge of your PhD subject.
Irrespective of the time and effort you have invested into your PhD research, you must still be able to represent your data properly in your submitted research paper. Any supervisor, who devotes his or her time to reading the results of your research, must be able to read and comprehend your research content effortlessly. Proper construction of sentences, along with the right punctuation, can engage the attention of your supervisor.
Improving your grammar
There is no short workaround to improving your English grammar skills. The only way is to practise English writing and getting it reviewed. Begin your writing practise from the start of your PhD program. Additionally, you can refer to academic writing blogs that suggest how you can improve your academic writing.
Most students, including native English speakers, confuse between the use of American and British English. The use of words and grammar are very different between these languages. Depending on which university you are attending, ensure that you use the right language and write your papers accordingly.
Another common mistake is the confusion between contractions (it’s or you’re) and possessive words (its or your). Learn the correct use of these words in the context of the sentence.
Supervisors can also encourage the use of the English dictionary and thesaurus for student reference, when they are writing their academic papers. Before submitting your academic paper, ensure that your document has been proofread by a peer proficient in English writing or by a professional proof-reader. You can learn about good English grammar from their feedback comments and suggestions.