I have recently applied for a grant. The specific application consisted of a 3 page-pdf document and an online application form. The 3 page pdf document is solid (at least from my point of view), and there are no grammatical mistakes or typos. Unfortunately, in the form, I made some minor grammatical mistakes/typos. These are, however, very few and far between. For example, mistakenly not adding a word in the sentence, forgetting to add/type a verb in the sentence etc.

Do you think that such errors/typos albeit very few, in general, can be detrimental towards the outcome of the application?

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    Very much depends on the reviewer. If he/she is pedantic, then he/she may use that as an excuse to sink your grant application, especially if the reviewer is competing for the same grant. Aug 6, 2020 at 4:03
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    @Prof. Santa Claus: At least in the US, and any country with a halfway decent funding system, no one "competing for the same grant" would ever be a reviewer of applications for that grant. Aug 6, 2020 at 4:46
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    “Unfortunately in the later “ what? Later version? Letter? Even this post does not give a good impression...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 6, 2020 at 5:05
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    @RaghuParthasarathy in Australia, unfortunately, that's not true. The Australian Research Council (ARC) will often invite reviewers who are also applying for the same funding program; so you can imagine the review process, everyone shows up with big axes. Aug 6, 2020 at 5:40
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    @Prof. Santa Claus -- Wow! Thanks for the information. What a bizarre policy -- a guaranteed conflict of interest! Aug 6, 2020 at 14:33

2 Answers 2


If the errors are of a type easily caught by a spellchecker, it will look like you were careless. Everyone develops reading fatigue so repetitions of small words and/or forgetting some small words are usually not lethal. Making incomplete sentences is more worrisome.

It is doubtful your application will be rejected because of small typos. If your project is strong and error-free, it will be given greater weight than an ancillary form. On the other hand, if you are ranked near the threshold line, it could be that the negative impression left by this type of oversight is enough to move you down one rank and sink your application.


Typos are always detrimental. Especially in a short submission they will stand out and broadcast to the reviewer that you are not careful or did not take the submission seriously enough. This is true in other areas as well. I vividly remember as a kid watching a friend's dad flip through resumes of job applicants for his company. He would immediately throw away any that had typos, complaining "how hard is it to make sure a 2-page resume is perfect?"

Whether they are detrimental enough to fully sink your application depends on the reviewer and your application's strength otherwise.

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