Common Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners

English is a confusing language; there is no doubt about that. There are a lot of mistakes even native speakers make.

Focusing on Grammar

This is the most common mistake new learners make. If you focus on correcting your grammar, your English would sound extremely weird to a native speaker. Grammar actually hurts your ability to speak English.

Confusing ‘in time’ and ‘on time’

On time’ as in punctual. For example: ‘I am always on time.” Where ‘in time’ means before a deadline. For example: “I submitted by college assignment just in time.” Practice using these two phrases.

Gender pronouns

It is common to make mistakes with he/she/him/her. In languages where no gender is specified, it can be a problem for people to learn gender specific pronouns. In many cases, people mix up ‘he’ and ‘she’. It does not cause any difference in speech, but would make for very funny incidents.

Fun and funny

A lot of people have been seen to make mistakes with ‘fun’ and ‘funny’. ‘Fun’ is a noun, while ‘funny’ is an adjective. For example: ‘The rides were fun’ and ‘My friend is funny’. Something that causes enjoyment and pleasure is ‘fun’, on the other hand, a person or incident that can make you laugh is ‘funny’.

Singular and plural

This is another common mistake for people learning English. Sometimes, new learners do not place the ‘s’ at the end of a word to make a plural. Problems arise when a word is considered uncountable, or a name that already ends with an ‘s’. For example, if a person’s last name is Smiths, you would not say ‘There are a lot of Smithies in our building’, you would say ‘There are a lot of Smiths’ in our building’.

Less and fewer

Less and fewer are confusing terms and are often used interchangeably. There are not ‘less’ people, there are ‘fewer’ people.

A and the

Another common mistake is the use of ‘a’ and ‘the’. ‘A’ is used when referring to something for the first time. ‘The’ is used when referring to something specific. Do not use these articles when speaking about things in general such as means, transport or places.

Who and that

Who’ is used for a person, while ‘that’ is used for an object. This is a common
mistake. ‘Who’ describes a living being. For example: ‘The boy who yelled wolf’ and ‘The cycle that rolled off the hill’

Note: Steps to Start Improving instantly;

  • Go on the Internet and look common mistakes made while learning English for your native language
  • Keep a pen and paper besides you
  • Write down all the mistakes you have been making
  • Understand the correct way to use the words or phrases
  • Make your own sentences using these words and phrase


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