COMMON ERRORS IN ENGLISH

  1. Only I and my friend were at the concert.

Only my friend and I were at the concert.                                                                  

(Pronouns order – I and me come last when more than one pronoun is used in a phrase, you comes next to last, and third-person pronoun comes first)

 

COMMON ERRORS IN ENGLISH

 

  1. Everybody will get their share.

Everybody will get their share.                                                                                      

(Everybody sounds like ‘a lot of people’, but in grammar, everyone is a singular noun and takes a singular verb).

 

  1. Most of the students found difficult to comprehend his speech.

Most of the students found it difficult to comprehend his speech.       

                                 

  1. Don’t pride on your victory.

Don’t pride yourself on your victory.

(Without the reflexive pronoun yourself, it would be impossible for the reader to know who you pride on).

 

  1. The climate of India is hotter than France.

The climate of India is hotter than that of France.                                                                        

(Here the comparison is between the climates of two countries (India and France) and not between the climate of India and the country of France).

 

  1. His room’s doors are locked.

The doors of his room are locked.                                                                               

(Normally use ‘of the’ form, like ‘wheels of the car’, etc.)

 

  1. John absented from the office yesterday.

John absented himself from the office yesterday.        

                                                                 

  1. I have a good news for you.

I have good news for you.                                                                                                    

(“News” is uncountable, which means that not only is it followed by a singular verb, but you also cannot say “a news.”)

 

  1. The boys leave the school at four o’clock.

The boys leave school at four o’clock.                                                                                               

(Daily routine, not leaving for any specific purpose)

 

  1. They realized where their weak points were and how to get rid of them.

They realized where their weak points were and how they could get rid of them.        

(A fragment with a Missing Subject; hence, an appropriate subject to form an independent clause included).

 

  1. While doing the work, there are obstacles ahead.

While doing the work, they met with obstacles.                                                                            

(Needs to revise a dangling modifier by naming the appropriate doer of the action as the subject of the main clause)

 

  1. It is everybody’s duty to respect their motherland.

It is everybody’s duty to respect his motherland.    

                                                                       

  1. He cannot set a foot in my house.

He cannot set foot in my house.                                                           

(The idiom is ‘set foot in’ and not ‘set a foot in’)

 

  1. Either of them are to go.

Either of them is to go.

(Technically, “either” is singular but informally and in conversation, you’ll hear “either of them are”).

 

  1. Andamans are a group of islands.

The Andamans are a group of islands.

(‘The’ is used with the places consisting many Islands; for example The Bahamas, The Philippines, The Maldives, The West Indies etc.)

 

  1. Police was unable to catch the thief.

Police were unable to catch the thief.

(The word “police” has no singular noun form. Other words that take no singular form include pants, trousers, scissors, etc.)

 

  1. Shiela pretended to not recognize the man in the market.

Shiela pretended not to recognize the man in the market.   

                                                      

  1. She neither speaks English nor French.

She speaks neither English nor French.

(Here neither modifies the verb ‘speak’ whereas it should modify the language English)

 

  1. Fire broke out in our neighbourhood.

A fire broke out in our neighbourhood.                                                                                             

(While fire, as a substance, is uncountable, but ‘a fire broke out’ gives a mental image of a single fire)

 

  1. His heart sank and could hardly stand.

His heart sank and he could hardly stand.    

(A fragment with a Missing Subject; hence, an appropriate subject to form an independent clause included).

 

  1. All I know is my friend is right.

All I know is that my friend is right.

(Here the verb ‘is’ connected with reporting can be followed by a that-clause acting as the direct object)

 

  1. He has not yet gone to the bed.

He has not yet gone to bed.

(Go to bed means to lie down to sleep, to put oneself in one’s bed while go to the bed means not necessarily preparing for sleep).

 

  1. He made very wise decision.

He made a very wise decision.       

                                                                                                        

  1. They had better to go now.

They had better go now.

(The verb form is always had, not have and is shorten to‘d better in informal situations. It is followed by the infinitive without ‘to’)

 

  1. He succeeded to get the prize.

He succeeded in getting the prize.

(Gerund is used as nouns for objects of verbs and prepositions: Did she succeed in solving the problem?)

 

  1. No one can avoid to make mistakes.

No one can avoid making mistakes.     

                                                                                               

  1. Mother was busy to prepare dinner.

Mother was busy preparing dinner.       

                                                                                              

  1. Please tell him don’t come now.

Please tell him not to come now.

 

  1. We will tolerate no interference with our internal affairs.

We will tolerate no interference in our internal affairs.

(The noun ‘interference’ will take the preposition ‘in’: She was infuriated by his mother’s constant interference.)

 

  1. I saw him to play.

I saw him play.                                                                                                                                               

There are two patterns of these sentences:

1) I saw him play. = I saw him play throughout the game.

2) I saw him playing = I saw him on the field but I do not know whether he actually finished the action)

 

  1. Rita is incapable to complete the work on her own.

Rita is incapable of completing the work on her own.

(If someone is incapable of doing something, they are unable to do it. You do not say that someone is ‘incapable to do’ something).

 

  1. This park is belonged to every resident.

This park belongs to every resident.

(Belong is followed by to which means ‘to be bound to (a person, place, or club) by ties of affection, dependence, allegiance, or membership)

 

  1. Water composes of hydrogen and oxygen.

Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.                                                                                

(Be composed of something means to be formed from various things: Air is composed mainly of nitrogen and oxygen.)

 

  1. Herman looks cheerfully.

Herman looks cheerful.

(Look- intransitive verb should be followed by an adjective ‘cheerful’ and not an adverb ‘cheerfully’).

 

  1. What is the difference of these two places?

What is the difference between these two places?                                                                        

(When you make difference between two or more things, you use ‘between’: What’s the difference between an ape and a monkey?)

 

  1. I didn’t see him too.

I didn’t see him either.   

(‘Either’ is used in negative sentences to add an agreeing thought: Tom doesn’t speak French. Sam doesn’t speak French either).

 

  1. The polar bear is not used to live in hot places.

The polar bear is not used to living in hot places.                                                                         

(‘Be used to’ is followed by a noun (or pronoun) or the gerund – the ‘ing’ form of a verb: I can’t get used to getting up so early.)

 

  1. How much is the price of this watch?

How much is this watch? or How much does this watch cost?   

                                        

  1. She sent a word that she would come late.

She sent word that she would come late.

(The word ‘word’ means news or a message: We got word of their plan from a former colleague).

 

  1. Nobody is bound to suffering.

Nobody is bound to suffer.

(Bound after verb + to infinitive means certain or extremely likely to happen: You’re bound to forget people’s names often).

 

  1. Have you read the Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

Have you read Shakespeare’s Macbeth?   

                                                                                      

  1. She rarely goes to theatre.

She rarely goes to the theatre.  

(‘The’ the definite article is used because you’re talking about something ‘definite’).

 

  1. Adams invited me to a party.

The Adams invited me to a party.

(If you are referring some members of a family, you make it plural by adding ‘the’ in the beginning).

 

  1. Shiela felt sorry about the street children but she did not voice.

Shiela felt sorry about the street children but she did not voice it.                                         

(The sentence is incomplete without the objective case ‘it’).

 

  1. He was astonished by her sudden resignation.

He was astonished at her sudden resignation.                                                                                 

(If you are astonished by something, you are very surprised about it: I was astonished by his stupidity. Here contextual use is ‘at’.)

 

  1. The judge has decided the case.

The judge has decided upon the case.

(To make a judgement about some aspect of someone or something: Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.)

 

  1. Do you want to try these new skates?

Do you want to try out these new skates?                                                                                        

(‘Try out’ means to undergo a competitive qualifying test; to test or use something experimentally).

 

  1. I enjoyed during the holidays.

I enjoyed myself during the holidays.      

                                                                                           

  1. Although he was ill, but he went to work as usual.

Although he was ill, he went to work as usual.

(When ‘although’ as a subordinate conjunction to introduce a subordinate clause to complete the sentence).

 

  1. They may not realized that how important time is.

They may not realize how important time is.                                                                                  

(Coordinating conjunctions ‘that’ and ‘wh- question words do not come together).

 

  1. Tom’s project is more perfect than Sam’s.

Tom’s project is better than/superior to Sam’s.                                                                             

(There are words like square and not ‘more square’ or round and not ‘more round’ similarly, it is perfect or imperfect, unique or not unique etc.)

 

  1. This movie is the most unique of all.

This movie is unique.                                                                                                                                  

  1. This bicycle cost me hundred dollars?

This bicycle cost me a hundred dollars?                                                                                           

(If you spell out dollars, it would be usual to also spell out a hundred or one hundred: You owe me a hundred dollars or you owe me $100).

 

  1. He has good knowledge of Botany.

He has a good knowledge of Botany.

                                                                                                

  1. French are industrious and frugal.

The French are industrious and frugal.                                                                                              

(French means of, relating to, or characteristic of France or its people or culture; The French denotes peoples of the France (functioning as plural) the natives or inhabitants of France collectively).

 

  1. She likes to play the badminton.

She likes to play badminton.   

                                                                                                                

  1. The blue is my favourite colour.

Blue is my favourite colour.     

                                                                                                                 

  1. The dogs are faithful animals.

Dogs are faithful animals.                                                                                                                         

(We only use ‘the’ with general plural nouns when we are referring to a specific set within a general class of people or things: Books are so important in my life. (=all books in general). The books were all over the floor. (=specific books (that you and I know).

 

  1. Sheila did not answer to his question.

Sheila did not answer his question.

(‘To answer to’ as a phrasal verb meaning ‘be accountable to’: If she doesn’t behave properly, she‘ll have to answer to me. ‘I’ll answer your email’ means replying.)

 

  1. I bought a story book to read it.

I bought a story book to read.

(An objective pronoun functions as the object of a verb or preposition, as distinguished from a subject or subjective pronoun, which is the subject of a verb).

 

  1. David has just been commissioned as the captain.

David has just been commissioned as captain.            

                                                                  

  1. You are no exceptional.

You are no exception.

(Exceptional is an adjective: an exceptional student; exception is a noun: Men are usually quite good at mountaineering but Sam is the exception).

 

  1. He will be great help for you.

He will be of great help to you.  

(‘Of great help to you’ is grammatical)

 

  1. Both of them did not win the election.

Neither of them won the election.    

(Additive phrases (both, also, too, etc.) are not used when overall meaning of them is to negate).

 

  1. Each of these girls sing very well.

Each of these girls sings very well.                                                                                           

(The subject of such sentences is each, which is a singular noun. The phrase ‘of these girls’ modifies each, but it doesn’t turn it into a plural noun. It just specifies a group which the subject is a part of).

 

  1. We all had not been invited.

None of us had been invited.    

(In negative sentences we do not normally use ‘both’. Instead, we use neither. Similarly, don’t use ‘all’, use ‘none’. Consider none as singular when emphasis is on a single entity in a group, but consider none to be plural when you want to emphasize more than one: None of us is/are going to the banquet).

 

  1. One should love his country.

One should love one’s country.   

(To avoid gender bias, use generic pronouns: “While one is reading, one should always wear his glass”)

 

  1. ‘Have you got a house?’ ‘No, I haven’t got’.

‘Have you got a house?’ ‘No, I haven’t.’/’No, I don’t have one’.                                         

(In US English: You have a pencil. Don’t you? And in the UK: You’ve got a pencil, haven’t you?)

 

  1. I said her to behave.

I told her to behave.

                                                                                                                                    

  1. He told that he would be visiting Father on weekend.

He said that he would be visiting Father on weekend.                                                                 

(Use ‘tell’ with a personal object and ‘said’ when there is no personal object).

 

  1. Hardly the sun had risen when we set out.

Hardly had the sun risen when we set out. OR the sun had hardly risen when we set out.

(If hardly, scarcely, barely and so sooner are in the initial position, the subject and auxiliary are inverted: Hardly had we arrived home when the doorbell rang. = We had hardly arrived home when the doorbell rang.)

 

  1. Not only she speaks English but also Chinese.

She speaks not only English but also Chinese.                                                                               

(For proper parallel structure, the verb following the subject must precede ‘not only’ so that it applies to both parallel phrases- English and Chinese).

 

  1. It is high time she improves her behaviour.

It is high time she improved her behaviour.                                                                                     

(After It’s time/It’s high time, use a past tense to refer to the present)

 

  1. Suppose, if she arrives late, you will miss the train.

Suppose she arrives late, you will miss the train.                                                                           

(Use suppose, supposing and what if + present verb form to make suggestions about what might happen. Suppose and if do not come together).

 

  1. He did good in the exams.

He did well in the exams.               

(Good is an adjective and a verb cannot be modified by an adjective. Well is an adverb and it goes after the verb or verb + object).

 

  1. She speaks French good.

She speaks French well.

(Good is an adjective and goes before a noun. An adjective cannot be used to modify a verb. ‘Well’ is an adverb and it usually goes after the verb or verb + object).

 

  1. This dress is inferior than that.

This dress is inferior to that.     

                                                                                                               

  1. Sam is junior than Tom.

Sam is junior to Tom.                                                                                                         

(The comparatives senior, junior, superior, inferior etc. are followed b to and not than: His first movie is superior to his latest. However, with other comparative adjectives, than is usually used in such constructions: His first movie is bigger than his latest).

 

  1. It was bitter cold that night.

It was bitterly cold that night.

(Cold is itself an adjective; hence, can be modified by an adverb ‘bitterly’ and not by an adjective i.e. ‘bitter’).

 

  1. She sang sweet.

She sang sweetly.

(Wrong us of adjective in place of adverb)

 

  1. I ever remember having met a more interesting man.

I never remember having met a more interesting man.                                                               

(Never means at no time before now, and is the same as not ……. ever:

I have never visited Berlin; ‘ever’ is used in questions, negative questions and with ‘the first time’).

 

  1. The movie is too interesting.

The movie is very interesting.

(Too means ‘more than enough’; do not use in the sense of every or much)

 

  1. This hardly won liberty cannot be lightly abandoned.

This hard won liberty cannot be lightly abandoned.                                                                    

(‘Hard-won is one-word adjective which means won with toil or difficulty; ‘hardly’ is an adverb meaning ‘scarcely’).

 

  1. She was much happy to see him.

She very happy to see him.    

(Don’t use ‘much’ with positive adjectives: She is much intelligent (incorrect) say, she is very intelligent. Similarly, don’t use ‘very’ with comparative adjectives. Instead, use much, far, very much, a lot, lots, rather, a little, a bit etc.: a bit more sensible. (NOT very more sensible)

 

  1. No one writes as neat as Susan does.

No one writes as neatly as Susan does.   

(‘Neat’ is an adjective which cannot modify a verb i.e. ‘write’; ‘neatly’ meaning ‘with neatness’ is an adverb which correctly modifies the verb ‘write’).

 

  1. The grandmother is living miserly.

The grandmother is living in a miserly way.                                                                                    

(Not all words ending in – ly are adverbs like miserly is an adjective)

 

  1. The receptionist sat on her desk.

The receptionist sat at her desk.    

(Use ‘sit’ at a table, but on a chair, on a bench, on a sofa, etc.; in an armchair, in a tree or up a tree. However, a bird sometimes perches (sits) on a tree).

 

  1. Sam took his younger sister with the hand.

Sam took his younger sister by the hand.   

(Also hold by, catch by, seize by, snatch by, grasp by).

 

  1. Everybody must conform with the rules.

Everybody must conform to the rules.

(‘Conform’ means ‘to comply with rules, standards, or laws’: conform to hygiene regulations; in some special usages ‘conform with’ is used: changes have to conform with international classifications).

 

  1. The Himalayas are covered by snow.

The Himalayas are covered with/in snow.                                                                                         

(“Covered by” usually means that the covering actually hides the thing that is covered (it may be a sheet, a lid, a curtain): Covered by blankets).

 

  1. Gina was disappointed from her daughter.

Gina was disappointed with/in her daughter.                                                                                   

(Before a person we use with or in, before a thing we use at, about or by; however, before a gerund we use ‘at’: Sandra is very disappointed at not getting the job.

 

  1. Divide the apple in four parts.

Divide the apple into four parts.

(To or cause to separate into parts or groups: divide students into small discussion groups; Book divided into various chapters etc.)

 

  1. This is an exception of the rule.

This is an exception to the rule.

(When someone or something is not included in a rule, group, or list or that does not behave in the expected way: There are exceptions to every rule; however, we say: He liked all her qualities with the exception of nagging)

 

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