20 English Language Mistakes That You Should Avoid
- Jul 08, 2014
English is a complex language and it is often filled with traps that you often fall into. Here are a few common mistakes that a student often makes while dealing with this type of language.
Practice / Practise
In the US English, the word ‘practice’ is used either as verb or noun. For example, the girl practices guitar while a doctor has a practice. In British English vocabulary, practise is used as verb and the word practice is noun. In this vocabulary, doctor has a practice and the girl practises piano.
Bought / Brought
The word ‘bought’ means to buy something. And brought means to bring something. For instance, the woman bought the wine bottle which she brought from France. The best way to differentiate between the words is to check the spellings. It is vital to remember that ‘brought’ starts with ‘br’ and ‘bought’ starts with only ‘b’. Many students use these two words incorrectly and many spelling checkers are unable to find out the error.
Its / It’s
When the apostrophe stands for abbreviation, such as ‘it’s’, then ‘it’s’ means it is. Without apostrophe, ‘its’ signifies ‘belongs to it’. Confusion often arises because in English language, apostrophe is also used to indicate possession. It’s is an exception. For example, if you wish to denote the dog’s bowl, you can say ‘its bowl’ and not ‘it’s bowl’. It’s always means ‘it is’ or even it has’. You can take help of your tutor to know more about this type of error.
Your / You’re
The word ‘your’ signifies belonging to you. ‘You’re’ stands for ‘you are’. The best way is to read out the sentence and know the correct one to use. You would always use your trousers look wonderful. The sentence ‘you are jeans look wonderful’ is not correct.
Two / To / Too
The letter ‘t’ with ‘w’ stands for number two, with a single ‘o’, it means’ direction’. Few examples are’ to England’, ‘to Germany’ and so on. With double ‘o’, it means ‘also’ or even ‘quantity’. An example is ‘there are too much hair fall occurring for the last few days.
Chose / Choose
There is a smart way to remember the words ‘chose’ and ‘choose’. Chose is past tense and choose is present tense. In English language, people pronounce double ‘o’, just as you pronounce ‘moo’. The same rule is also applicable here. Pronounce choose as it is being written with z sound. The word chose is just pronounced like nose. Example is ‘if you had to choose to go to Tibet, you would chose to go there via air flight.
Desert / Dessert
People often confuse with desert and dessert. In English, a single ‘s’ is often pronounced as ‘z’ and two ‘s’ is pronounced like ‘s’, such as prissy etc. The rule is same in case of desert and dessert. The word desert signifies a huge stretch of sand and is pronounced like prissy. Dessert is a type of sweet dish and is usually pronounced as ‘dezurt’ with huge emphasis on second syllable. Often desert also means to abandon. Lets us sum up in the following:
Desert, pronounced as dez-urt, means abandon
Desert, pronounced as dez’-it’, means dry land
Dessert, pronounced as dec-urt’ means sweet dish.
Drier or Dryer
Consider the sentence. If your dresses are wet, you can use dryer and make them drier. Dryer is a type of device or machine used for drying things such as laundry or hair. Drier is a comparative form of the adjective ‘dry’.
They’re, There, their
The word ‘there’ is used to specify place. It is often used as expletive or even empty word to begin sentence. ‘Their’ is often used as possessive form of the word ‘they’. They’re means ‘they are’. Examples are as follows:
There are fifty buildings in our locality
Two people raced with their own cars.
They’re tired after traveling for a long time.
A or An
There is confusion regarding use of articles such as ‘a’ and ‘an’. In fact, sound of first letter of a word determines which article to use. If word begins with vowel sound, you should always make use of ‘a’ article.
Who, that, which
Most people confuse about use of who, which and that in the correct way. ‘Who’ refers to people, ‘which’ is used for things as well as animals. The word ‘which’ should not be used in case of human beings. That refers to things or persons. For example, the man who was thirsty, the animals which bit the guard, the car that goes to railway station and so on.
Anyone or any one
The phrase anyone signifies any person and not just to a particular person. It would refer to different people simultaneously. Two different words such as ‘any one’ refers to one person.
All ready/ Already
Both the terms sound identical and are often confused by people. However there is little difference in meaning. All ready signifies completely prepared, while already means before specified time.
Software or softwares
You should not use softwares. The term Software is used both as singular and plural forms.
Use of quotes
Make sure that you use quotes after comma or quota. Use quote before colon. In case of interrogative sentence, you must put the quotes after question mark. It is used in the US English.
Who/ If/ Between You and Me
It is advisable that you should always use who or whom just after a preposition. Never use if after preposition. Use ‘whether’ instead. Use between you and me and not between you and I.
Site or sight
Sight refers to your vision or your sense while site stands for website. Often people use wrongly. Many of them join online courses to improve their language.
Fewer or Less
While referring countable objects such as people, money, you should use fewer. Less is used to highlight intangible object such as time.
Or or Nor
The word nor is used with the counterpart neither, just like ‘either and or’ always go together. For instance, ‘neither boss or I know the new program’ is a wrong sentence.
Wrong use of Anxious
Unless you are frightened you should not use anxious. You should never use sentence such as I am anxious to meet my friend’. You must use eager or even excited in place of anxious.
Go through common English errors that you should always avoid. Improve your English like never before.
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