20% of the world speaks the English language, making it one of the most studied languages worldwide. Despite being fluent in the language, many English speakers still struggle with common blunders in daily conversations. Some may not even be aware that they are making common mistakes in everyday English!
Both native and non-native speakers can encounter problems with speaking and writing the language. Errors can creep into the daily vocabulary and grammar of the average English speaker.
How well do you think you speak English? We created this article to help you fix common problems that you may unknowingly be making! Read on to test your skills in the language.
Why is it important to learn about common English mistakes?
It’s essential to learn the ropes of English before you can get creative with it with figures of speech. After all, it all boils down to the basics! What’s important is that you get your message across. However, it’s even better if you can express yourself in the best and most accurate way possible.
A mistake in any language can create a very awkward situation. Once you make a slip-up, it can affect your confidence. Many students give up on learning a language because of the mistakes they make. However, it’s important to remember that those blunders are stepping stones to becoming better at English!
While you may never be perfect with English, it will be best to equip yourself with as much knowledge as you can. Here’s something that can be a source of relief: even native English speakers tend to mess up!
Common English Mistakes
Gone vs. Went
If you’re not quite sure whether you should use “gone” or “went,” then a quick rule of thumb is that “gone” is always preceded by an auxiliary verb. Some auxiliary verbs are: is, are, am, has, have, had, be, was, and were.
On the other hand, “went” cannot have an auxiliary verb before it.
For example: “I had already went to the bathroom before leaving” is wrong. Since there is an auxiliary verb which is had, the sentence should have been “I had already gone to the bathroom before leaving.”
It’s vs. Its
This is one of the most common mistakes that even native English speakers make. “Its” and “It’s” get interchanged often, but it means two different things.
Its without the apostrophe refers to possession, as it is a possessive version of a pronoun.
It’s with the apostrophe is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” If you see an apostrophe, then it is a shortened version of it “is/has.”
If you’re not quite sure which to use, a quick tip is to add “it is/has” to a sentence and see if it works. If it sounds wrong, then it probably is.
For example, this is how you use both: “Even though the car lost its shine, it’s still a very beautiful model.”
Watch vs. See vs. Look
You may think that these three words are just synonyms, but they actually have different meanings that refer to different situations. Here’s a breakdown of their meanings:
Watch: to look at something carefully; this usually refers to something that is moving.
See: to see something that you may not have been looking for.
Look: to look at something directly and usually on purpose.
Subject-verb agreement is one of the first things they teach you, but it’s also one of the most common mistakes made. An example is using is and are incorrectly.
“Is” is singular, while “are” is plural.
Here’s an example: instead of saying “my food are ready,” the right way to say it is: “my food is ready.”
There vs. Their vs. They’re
Spoken out loud, these three all sound the same, so it’s very easy to mix up.
However, “there” refers to a place; “they’re” is a contraction for they are; and “their” refers to ownership.
It’s essential to understand the context when using any of these three. You may be able to get away with it in conversations as they all sound the same, but you may have problems in writing!
Your vs. You’re
Here’s a pro-tip to distinguish the two: “your” is for owning something, while “you’re” is for being something.
Your is possessive, while you’re is simply a contraction of “you are.”
For example, here’s how you use the two in just one sentence: “You’re not wearing your favorite shirt today!”
How can I easily avoid making mistakes in English?
The best advice is to stay simple. It can be tempting to form complicated sentences. However, if you’re unsure of what you’re going to say, it’s best to stick to the basics.
Aim to form sure but straightforward sentences. What’s vital is to express yourself in a clear manner! You can get creative and incorporate new words that you’ve learned once you have the basics locked in.
Remember that learning a language is a continuous process. Always look for the meaning of new words that you encounter, and learn from your mistakes.
Did you know these facts about common English blunders?
Even highly educated people are prone to errors. Being fluent in a language does not mean having zero errors. Instead, proficiency in a language is a mark that they’ve worked hard to learn from every slip they make.
It can take a lot of time, but you will soon find yourself playing grammar and sentence construction by ear.
Keep in mind that getting the basics down is not the end goal of learning. You should strive to learn new things and be open to correction. The best way to absorb a language is by surrounding yourself with good sources.
Practice speaking in English with friends who are native speakers! You can even run anything you write through a grammar checker to improve your grammar and vocabulary.
Have you ever made any of the common English mistakes we listed? Let us know in the comments or share any common errors we missed!
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