Here is a checklist of peculiarities of English spelling. Go through this list and avoid the most common mistakes in your thesis.

English spelling: What should you pay attention to?

It is always difficult to write a thesis, especially if it is in the foreign language. After the sleepless nights and hours of research in Linguee and Oxford, you’ve finally completed it. But before you let your scientific supervisor read it, it should be thoroughly checked. We have compiled a list of the main areas of English spelling that must be observed when checking in your thesis.

Remember the following points:

  • English dates
  • Rules of punctuation
  • Uppercase / lowercase in English headings
  • Spelling of numbers and currencies
  • English dates

There is a distinction between British and American English. As for the date, this difference is not significant.

In British English, the first day is written, then the month and the year. The letters after the ordinal number, the preposition “of” and a comma before the year are optional.

6 (th) (of) April (,) 2016


According to the American spelling, the month is set before the day and at the end of the year. Between them may be the definite article. The year is usually separated by a coma.

April (the) 6 (th), 2016


NB! Pay attention to the spelling of English ordinal numbers:

  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th …

Rules of punctuation

Now let’s take a quick look at the peculiarities of English punctuation, which often presents difficulties. This information can be of great use to you.

Dash / indent

These characters not only differ in the length of the stroke, but also have different meanings.

A hyphen is used to compose the words.

Couch-sitter, ex-boyfriend, self-sufficient …

A dash indicates a pause in speech and reinforces the emphasis.

James Watt – an outstanding scientist – invented the steam engine.

Commas before “because”

A comma before “because” is almost never asked in English. But there are a few exceptions:

  • If the comma is needed instead of parentheses.
  • I need to go out (because my mother asked to help her).
  • If the main clause is negative, to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Lisa did not go to school because she was ill.

Comma before “that”

For example, in the German sentence, a comma before “that” is obligatory, but in English it is set very rarely before “that”.

He said that his father is a doctor.

The girl that I saw at the university was my friend’s girlfriend.

Uppercase and lowercase in English headings

There are two alternatives for spelling headings:

All “important” words are capitalized.

In this option, all nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs are among the “important” words. All others are written small (if it is not the first draft).

History of Medicine; Competitions between Companies.

The first word is big and the others are lowercase.

Remember that the names of people, places and organizations are always important.

History of medicine; Competitions between companies; Union of European Foresters.

Spelling of numbers and currencies

In English, a period is used as a separator for comma numbers. But as a thousand separator one uses a comma. Since everything is reversed in German, it is important not to confuse these signs. Let’s compare the German spelling with the English:

  • 6,465 students – 6,465 students
  • 3.321,00 EUR – 3,321.00 EUR
  • 5,56 EUR – 5,56 EUR

NB! Both in German and in English you can use the space as thousands separator:

  • EUR 20 000

There are several variants of the spelling of currencies (US dollars, USD, $). If there are no specific requirements, you decide for yourself which variant to write.

The ordinal numbers you write not with the numbers, but with the letters (third, fifth, seventh).

The year is written without an apostrophe (1980s, 90s).


It is not easy to know all the peculiarities of English spelling. But with the help of this checklist you avoid the most common mistakes in your thesis.

Take note of our comments and write your work flawlessly!