Common Errors in English Usage

English is a complex language with many rules and exceptions, and it can be easy for non-native speakers to make mistakes. We tend to commit grammatical errors in our everyday conversation and in writing, without being aware of them.  This article is a practical guide to the reader to avoid errors in the usage of the English language.

Common Errors in English Usage | Video

Common Grammar Mistakes in English

Types of Common Errors in English Usage

  • Subject-verb agreement: This error occurs when the subject and verb of a sentence do not agree in number. For example, “The dog barks loudly” is correct, while “The dog bark loudly” is incorrect.
  • Pronoun agreement: This error occurs when the pronoun and its antecedent do not agree in number, gender, or person. For example, “She gave her book to he” is incorrect and should be “She gave her book to him.”
  • Word order: English word order is typically subject-verb-object. When this word order is not followed, it can make a sentence difficult to understand.
  • Tense consistency: This error occurs when the tense of a sentence changes suddenly and without reason.
  • Confusing words: Many words in English have multiple meanings, so it is easy to use the wrong word in a sentence. For example, “I am going to the store to buy some affect” should be “I am going to the store to buy some effect.”
  • Misuse of prepositions: This error occurs when the wrong preposition is used in a sentence. For example, “I am looking forward to see you” should be “I am looking forward to seeing you.”
  • Run-on sentences: This error occurs when two independent clauses are joined without conjunction or punctuation.

Examples of Common Errors

Common Errors in Using Pronouns

Incorrect: Everyone should bring their own lunch.
Correct: Everyone should bring his or her own lunch.

Incorrect case of pronoun:

Incorrect: Me and John are going to the store.
Correct: John and I are going to the store.

Inconsistent pronoun reference:

Incorrect: Sarah gave the book to her and then she gave it back to me.
Correct: Sarah gave the book to me and then she gave it back to me.

Ambiguous pronoun reference:

Incorrect: The car needs to be washed, it’s very dirty.
Correct: The car needs to be washed; it’s very dirty.

Incorrect use of personal pronouns:

Incorrect: It’s not fair that they got the promotion and not I.
Correct: It’s not fair that they got the promotion and not me.

Improper use of gender-neutral pronouns:

Incorrect: A doctor should be knowledgeable and able to diagnose their patients.
Correct: A doctor should be knowledgeable and able to diagnose their patients.

Incorrect use of reflexive pronouns:

Incorrect: I enjoy cooking for my self.
Correct: I enjoy cooking for myself.

Confusing subject and object pronouns:

Incorrect: Between you and I, the plan is a bit risky.
Correct: Between you and me, the plan is a bit risky.

Incorrect use of possessive pronouns:

Incorrect: The cat is sitting on it’s bed.
Correct: The cat is sitting on its bed.

Common Errors in Using Conjunctions

Comma splice:

Incorrect: I love chocolate, I also like vanilla ice cream.
Correct: I love chocolate, and I also like vanilla ice cream.

Incorrect conjunction usage:

Incorrect: I went to the store but I forgot my wallet.
Correct: I went to the store, but I forgot my wallet.

Run-on sentences:

Incorrect: I went to the store I bought some bread.
Correct: I went to the store and bought some bread.

Missing conjunction:

Incorrect: She enjoys reading books watching movies.
Correct: She enjoys reading books and watching movies.

Overuse of conjunctions:

Incorrect: I went to the store, and then I went to the bank, and then I went to the park.
Correct: I went to the store, then the bank, and finally the park.

Misplaced conjunction:

Incorrect: She only eats vegetables, but she loves pizza.
Correct: She loves pizza, but she only eats vegetables.

Confusing coordinating and subordinating conjunctions:

Incorrect: I want to eat pizza because I’m hungry, and I like it.
Correct: I want to eat pizza because I’m hungry, and because I like it.

Incorrect use of correlative conjunctions:

Incorrect: Both the cake and the cookies, they were delicious.
Correct: Both the cake and the cookies were delicious.

Common Errors in English Usage | Pictures

Common Errors in English UsagePin

Common Mistakes in English UsagePin

Common Mistakes in the Use of English PronounsPin

Common Mistakes in the Use of English ConjunctionsPin

Common Mistakes in the Use of English AdjectivesPin

Mistakes in the Construction of SentencesPin

Common MistakesPin

Common Mistakes in EnglishPin

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Eva
Eva
3 years ago

You have done excellent work on this site, congratulations. It is of great help to us, teachers of English as a foreign language. Many thanks.

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