Common Mistakes

Level: Intermediate
common mistakes cover image: an error sign misspelled as 'erorr'

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Contents

  • Bad style: using a comma or "which" to separate complete sentences, using redundant/repetitive words, incorrect capitalization, and using only half of paired sentence constructions (both...and..., either...or..., etc.)
  • Confused meanings: affect and effect; its and it's; nutritious and nutritional; they're, their, and there; and you're and your
  • Modifiers: dangling modifiers, using prepositions as postpositions, putting "only" in the wrong place, and using the wrong particle with a word
  • Singular vs. plural: using apostrophe-s ('s) for plural, using plural words incorrectly, using "less" for plural things, and using is/was and are/were incorrectly
  • Word choice: using "like" and "as" incorrectly to compare verbs or nouns, saying "that" instead of "who/where/when," and using "I/me" in correctly at the ends of lists of people
  • Not quite (American) English: not reversing the subject and verb in questions; bringing the rules or pronunciations of other languages into English; replacing things that are hard to pronounce with things that are easier to pronounce; using words that aren't real English words; using "worth" to mean worthwhile or valuable; not changing country or place names into the possessive/genitive form when describing the origin of something; using vague simple tenses instead of more precise complicated tenses; saying "than" without a word like "more," "less," "bigger," "smaller," etc.; using "even" at the beginning of a sentence instead of although, even though, or though; using "especially/particularly" at the beginning of most sentences; in the US, using "whom" as the subject of a sentence; the US, using "which" instead of "that" in the main clause of a sentence; and using double negatives for emphasis instead of to negate a negative

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