Oops! I did it again. I made a mistake again but neither did I notice nor you. Hey, it doesn’t mean that we both can make that mistake. Mistakes are jarring, irritating too. And if your listener is good in English, he will never forgive you in life. You can’t butcher English, period.
Having said that, you made an error and can’t undo it. The bravest thing to do is to admit your mistake and learn from it. Sometimes, our errors go unnoticed so we don’t realise our mistake. We are here for your rescue.
Here is a basic guideline on some common grammatical errors we all make and not realise. Make mental notes and never repeat them again.
8 Common ENGLISH MISTAKES you never noticed before
1)IT’S or ITS
This is a very common error we make while writing. Its, without an apostrophe, is the possessive form of the pronoun it, meaning belonging to it.
The salon raised its rates.
The old building has its own charm.
It’s, with an apostrophe is the contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.
It’s very hot in India.
It’s been a hot day.
2) SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT
For most of the verbs, add ‘s’ when the subject is singular. Example: The teacher reads many books.
When the subject is plural, do not add ‘s’ to the verb. Example: The teachers grade our papers.
3) GONE OR WENT
This is a simple rule. Always remember, gone is used with an auxiliary verb. The primary auxiliary verbs are be, do, and have.
Example: Tina has gone to the market.
‘Went’ does not need an auxiliary verb with it.
Example: Sushmita went to buy some groceries.
4) SAID AND TOLD
Said and told are the past tense of Say and Tell. Told focusses on the content or message of what someone said. Said focusses on the words someone said.
Example: The police officer told her to stop running. (The focus is on the information.)
On the other hand, said is used for the exact wording or quotes when the receiver is not mentioned. We use said with direct speech. We don’t normally use told in this way.
She said, “I ran to the market.” (The focus is on the words someone said.)
5) WATCH, LOOK, SEE
These words have similar meanings but aren’t synonyms. Let’s have a look at their meanings.
- Look- direct one’s gaze in a specified direction. For ex, I am looking at him.
- See- perceive with the eyes; discern visually. For ex, In the distance I could see the blue sea.
- Watch- look at or observe attentively over a period of time. For ex, I sat by the window and watched him go.
We can see something even if we don’t want to but we cannot look or watch something without our will or awareness. All the three words- look, watch and see have their peculiar usage. Do not mix them.
6) Don’t get confused between genders.
If you are not sure about the gender of the person/object you are referring to, you can use they/it respectively.
Example: A person should enjoy their vacation.
If you don’t have a clue about an animal’s gender, you must use “it”.
Let’s take another example:
Incorrect: The pooch lost
Right: The pooch lost its bone. (Gender Neutral)
7) USING ‘THAT’ INSTEAD OF ‘WHO’
‘Who‘ is used when we refer to people while ‘that‘ is use when we refer to objects or places or animals.
Incorrect: I have kept in touch with my sister
that lives in France.
Right: I have kept in touch with my sister
who lives in France.
8) USING ME OR I
Oh my my…..this is the most common error we make. There are people who are so familiar with the language and yet sometimes mess up here. Let’s have a look at the misusage and the correction. The examples will help you understand better than any theory.
Incorrect: Jason and
me took the class.
Right: Jason and I took the class.
Incorrect: Angela and
me got home late.
Correct: Angela and I got home late.
I’ll give you an easy way to check. Remove the other people from the sentence and re-read the sentence to see if it sounds right. ‘Me got home late’ does not sound right but I got home late sounds right.
Incorrect- The dog licked my sister and I.
Correct- The dog licked my sister and me.
Apply the same trick. Remove the other people and read the sentence to see if it sounds right. ‘The dog licked I’ does not sound right but the dog licked me does sound right.
Keep practicing these 8 tips to speak English fluently. Remember, practice makes a man perfect and one of the rules that I tell my students is to PRACTICE. Keep learning. These tips help my students to improve their speaking skills and I hope these tips have helped you as well.
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