CIP Online English Learning - Common Mistakes in English

Top 3 Common Mistakes in English

Teacher Michelle

What are your usual mistakes in English? We all have our own share of mistakes. There are some common mistakes that I sometimes make and see from others. Here are my top three common blunders in English.

There / Their / They’re

How do you differentiate these words? I bungled a few trial classes while teaching this one. In my efforts to spoon feed my students, I guess, I overdid it. They do not have different sounds. They all have the same pronunciation. 

Subject-Verb Agreement

This one is basic. Yet, many students still have a hard time with this rule. The rule is simple. If you have a singular subject, you must use a singular verb. For your singular verb, you must add “s” to the verb.  If you have a plural subject, use a plural verb. For the plural verb, use the base form of the verb. Below are some examples:

Singular Subject (one noun/pronoun) – Singular Verb (add s to the verb)

e.g.

The man runs fast. -”The man” is one person only. So, use a singular verb by adding “s” to it.

She is smart. -”She” is only one person. Therefore, use “is” instead of “are”.

Plural Subject (two or more nouns) – Plural Verb (use the base form of the verb)

e.g.

They are healthy. -”They” is a plural pronoun. Use “are” instead of “is”.

The children study at school. -”The children” is a plural subject. Therefore, use the base form of the verb “study”. That is considered as a plural verb. This is the same sentence pattern for all plural subjects.

“What does it mean?” or “What does it means?”

Which one is correct between the two? The first one is correct. “What does it means?” is wrong. Since the question is in the simple present tense, the verb “mean” should be in its infinitive form. The auxiliary or helping verb “mean” is in its base form.

Sometimes, when I think of all the grammar rules, I also get confused. “Which again is the right one?” “How can I say it in the right way?” In my overthinking, I forget some basic rules and overdo it. Have you also experienced the same? It can be overwhelming or confusing sometimes. I hope this will help you with some basic rules in English. Getting used to correct English and speaking will be a breeze.