Common Mistakes

Here are some more common mistakes made by the non-native speakers. I have provided each common mistake with a brief explanation hoping that you will not do the same mistake.

INCORRECT: She is taller compared to Ali.

CORRECT    : She is taller than Ali.

— Use comparative adjective to compare two things.

INCORRECT:  I hope you would do it quickly.

CORRECT    : I hope you will do it quickly

— In Standard English would is used in conjunction with the past tense. It can be used with the present tense if a condition is involved. eg. [I think she would benefit if she studied a little more.]

INCORRECT: I want to know what is the matter?

CORRECT    : I want to know what the matter is.

— “I want to know what the matter is” is an embedded question. An embedded question is a polite way of asking a question by adding another question to it. Note that the later sentence is no longer in question form.

INCORRECT: He cut his hair.

CORRECT    : He had his hair cut.

— “He had his hair cut” means someone else cut his hair, not himself. “He cut his hair” means he cut his own hair by himself. Think for one second, can you cut your own hair? – No, of course you can’t.

INCORRECT: I’m having a headache.

CORRECT    : I have a headache. OR I’ve got a headache.

— Have/has is used to refer to possession (I have a car) or sensation (I have a cold).

INCORRECT: I’ll give to you next week.

CORRECT    : I’ll give it to you next week.

— ‘Give’ is a transitive verb; it needs an object.

INCORRECT: My one is very nice.

CORRECT    : Mine is very nice.

— You may say, “My ‘steak’ is very nice”. OR “Mine is very nice.” ‘One’ is used to avoid repetition in a sentence. Eg.: Which dress should I wear? The black or the brown one?” ‘One’ refers to the dress.

INCORRECT: Though I told him not to come but he insisted.

CORRECT    : Though I told him not to come, he insisted.

— ‘But’ is redundant in the sentence. ‘Though’ (or although and even though) is used as a subordinating conjunction to show opposition. ‘But’ is also used to show opposition. You may say, “Though I told him not to come, he insisted.” OR “I told him not to come, but he insisted.”


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