Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Best Infographic Ever on 15 Common Grammar Mistakes

I know, grammar is nobody’s favourite topic. Most people probably never studied it at school (not their fault, ok), and often we don’t really care what’s right and what’s wrong as long as our message gets across. Fine.

The point is, however, that the way we write says a lot about the type of person we are. In my view, this is particularly true in academia, and for anyone who writes in a (semi-)professional way.

Say, for example, you are writing a thesis. If you cannot be bothered to check that your grammar is right, what does it say about the quality of everything else you have put down there? Can people trust that your results are correct? Or should they wonder whether you have applied the same level of carelessness in your numbers too?

Interestingly, I have found that most common grammar mistakes are very easy to spot and to correct. I have been mulling for a while about creating a list of the 10 most common mistakes and give it away as a freebie (yes, one of those free gifts you get in exchange of your email). Well, I haven’t. Instead, I have come across this fantastic Infographic from one of my favourite blogs of all time: Copyblogger. And I thought this was just too good not to share!

So here it is. Make sure you come back here often and revisit it every time you are in doubt whether you should write its or it’s, their or they’re. Better even, print the infographic and post it where you can see it well and often enough. Oh, and by the way, if you like it, please  share it further. You know how. The buttons are below.

Happy writing! 🙂

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
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PS Do you have other juicy mistakes you often come across? Let us know about them and share them with us!


Insiders Views on Doing a PhD (Video)

A new academic year starts today at the University of Edinburgh.

This also coincides with the arrival of all our new PhD students. For some, this is the time to start thinking about choosing a project, or a supervisor, and finding out what to do to begin in the best possible way.

For others, this is the time to start thinking about applying for a PhD, or even finding out whether a PhD is a good idea for them. Last year, I posted some advice in this blog and you may find it useful to read Ten Good Reasons for Doing PhD (part I) and (part II) or to read my guest post at Nature’s SoapBox Science Blog.

This year, we decided to ask some insiders about what a PhD means to them.

In the video below, three of our PhD students (Daniel Doherty, Salome Matos, and Tim Bush) speak about their experience as a PhD student in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

These are the questions we have asked them:

  • What made you want to study for a PhD?
  • What are your career aspirations and how do you think a PhD will help?
  • Is your PhD related to previous studies?
  • Do you have any advice on how to approach a potential supervisor?
  • So far, what have been the hardest and most rewarding moments of your PhD?
  • So far, has the PhD been what you expected?
  • Do you have any advice for prospective PhD applicants?

Click on the image below to start watching the video. I hope you will find it useful.

Video credits: Noe Ardanaz-Ugalde 

Do you have any comment or question? Just let us know and share your experience.

When Publishing Gets Tough: Letter From A Frustrated Author

If scientific writing is an art, replying to a reviewer can be your masterpiece.

And this is what frustration can do to you: A letter from a frustrated author to a journal paper. The amusement is guaranteed (I laughed so much I had tears in my eyes!).

Want to share with us your stories on publishing? Please do so, and leave a comment below.