The Importance of Grammar and Vocabulary in British Universities

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British universities’ higher qualifications and education have an impressive international reputation. Students in these universities can develop their skills and potential as they enjoy a social life. Students who study in these universities also develop good language skills. The English language is both as an obstruction and a conduit for international students. British universities provide international students with language support depending on the level of the language that students require to master. Inspection in the British universities is done regularly to uphold high learning, teaching and research standards that are set by the United Kingdoms’ government. An international student must ensure that he or she is well conversant with the different aspects of language. This paper presents the argument that International students require more than proficiency in grammar and vocabulary to succeed in British Universities.

English acts as a language which offers most obstacles related to success for most students. Most assumptions related to language are in most cases made quickly and thus based on the understanding of the associated topic (Danzig, 2009, p. 23). Before students enrol in British universities, the non-native students who speak English must be well equipped with the background of the language. The non-native students must have studied English for some period and gained some access to the English language through the use of popular culture (Clarke, 2011, p. 26). Students must also be able to develop some of the best study skills in addition to the proficient grammar and vocabulary they may possess. Study skills are methods and strategies used in efficiently managing to learn (Hemlock, 1889, p. 182)

According to lecturer Mark Quinn, students admitted to the British universities should have sufficient skills in the English language. The students should also develop some listening skills that will be helpful when it comes to their full engagement with lecturers. Mark Quinn also supports the idea that students should have proficient ability in vocabulary and English grammar so that they can successfully study in British universities. After consultation with students, governments, and lecturers, the famous Association International Student Assimilation concluded that the ability of language is the essential challenge that affects most international students who enrol in British universities (Hsiao-Ping, 2015). The Association discovered that most lecturers were exasperated with the number of linguistic errors that appeared in the different projects written by international students and the lack of linguistic skills needed to understand complex texts.  The report also stated that international students had poor listening skills and lacked vocabulary.

For students to enrol in British universities, they must be well conversant with the English language (Hsiao-Ping, 2015, p. 1). Some international students argue that the different tests administered to them might be part of the problem (Kotter, 2014, p. 25). Kotter claims that the internationally used testing system for the English language does not qualify as the best predictor of how students would perform when they joined the university because most of the classes are oral (Kotter, 2014, p. 46). Most students attend classes only to pass tests and therefore the tests at times fail to indicate the students’ language levels. Many international students lack the required linguistic strength to graduate with a degree at British universities.    

Also, different courses in the international arena place different language demands. For instance, students learning biological sciences require knowledge and competency in not only English language but also scientific vocabulary that is derived from a combination of other languages such as Latin. During admission, such scientific vocabulary may not be exhaustively evaluated. For students pursuing scientific and philosophical courses, strong grammar skills may not be the only sure way to be successful in such classes but as an added advantage to other skills such as listening.

On the contrary, some persons claim that having presentations skills, especially for essays, reports and dissertation require competency in effective writing skills. Writing skills need a good command of grammar and vocabulary. Since a most international student may need producing reports that should be written in styles that may be unfamiliar to them, they may get frustrated (Kotter, 2015, p. 12). It is vital for them to learn adequate vocabulary and grammatical skills to ensure that the international students have fair learning environment with native students.

In conclusion, even though international students are admitted to various degree courses based on their level of English, academic writing involves much more than language proficiency and knowledge in grammar. This means that international students should be able to understand what is expected of them about the context of the university. Most international students lack familiarity with various academic convections like how to structure essays and therefore do not know how to provide academic arguments. For these reasons, it is compelling and valid to agree that, international students require more than proficiency in English language rules and terminologies to succeed in British Universities.



Clarke, I. (2011). Analysing the Contrast in Academic Writing Between Native and International Students in a UK Context. Journal of Educational Linguistics, vol. 4, no. 22, pp. 26-27.

Danzig, D. F. (2009). Moving International Students Forward. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Hemlock. (1889). HEMLOCK. Notes and Queries.

Hsiao-Ping, W. G. (2015). International Student’s Challenge and Adjustment to College. Education Research International, 1-9.

Kotter, J. (2015). Language: Still a barrier to success for international students. UK Higher Ed. 54 p. 46.

Kotter, J. P. (2014). Accelerate Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World.

August 21, 2023

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