Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again? Do you wish there was a way to avoid those typical errors as you speak or write in English? The secret to avoiding the most common mistakes in English is awareness. For this reason, we at Break Into English have come up with a list of the top 5 most common mistakes made in English. Read on to find out what they are and how to correct them.
Mistakes in English with the verb to have
I am not sure if it is connected to your first language, but my experience teaching English via Skype has shown me that may learners use the word ‘have’ in sentences incorrectly:
- She has 33 years old → She IS 33 years old
- Can you turn the heating on, I have cold. → Can you turn the heating on, I AM cold.
I have also noticed that students tend to use other words instead of ‘have’ (when have is the correct word to use):
- I passed a good time at the party→ I HAD a good time at the party.
- Let’s take a coffee → Let’s HAVE a coffee.
- I’m sorry I can’t come to the show, I’m eating dinner with friends that night → I’m sorry I can’t come to the show, I’m HAVING dinner with friends that night.
Talking about people (one of the most common mistakes in English)
This is such a typical error that English learners make! For a start, we need to recognise that people is the plural form of person. So when conjugating verbs we need to use the ‘they’ form. If we use a relative pronoun (e.g. people who) we still need to use the ‘they’ form of the verb.
- People in Mozambique is very smiley. → People in Mozambique ARE very smiley.
- I don’t enjoy socialising with people who smokes → I don’t enjoy socialising with people who smoke.
Another of the most common mistakes in English is the way we talk about the number of people in a group.
- We are 112 people in my company. → There are 112 people in my company.
- How many people is in your group? → How many people are there in your group.
Sometimes it is really complicated to figure out which words go together well and just sound right. We call these words that group together collocations. Many people make mistakes in some very simple sentences, and here are some of the most common mistakes I hear (and correct) every day.
- He made me some very difficult questions in the interview. → He ASKED me some very difficult questions in the interview.
- I did a mistake with the figures in the report. → I MADE a mistake with the figures in the report.
- We did a big effort and were happy with the results. → We MADE a big effort and were happy with the results.
- I’m sorry but it doesn’t have sense to me. → I’m sorry but it doesn’t MAKE sense to me.
- He’s flying to Japan to make business. → He’s flying to Japan to DO business.
- I will pass the test on Tuesday → I will TAKE the test on Tuesday.
Incorrect use of the word ‘to’
Sometimes we need the word ‘to’ and sometimes we don’t. Unfortunately, there are no rules – you just have to get used to the examples.
- She’ll call to her boss to ask for more information. → She’ll call to her boss to ask for more information.
- She explained me the reasons for the budget cuts. → She explained the reasons for the budget cuts TO ME.
- I can’t to see him because he is in Milan on a business trip. → I can’t to see him because he is in Milan on a business trip.
Incorrect word – Vocabulary
- They went on a business travel last month. → They went on a business TRIP last month.
- Do you know Stockholm? → Have you been to Stockholm?
- This night we’re going to the cinema. → TONIGHT we’re going to the cinema.
- I go out of work at 5.30pm. → I LEAVE work at 5:30
- We pass a lot of time in meetings. → We SPEND a lot of time in meetings.
- The movie was very fun. → The movie was very FUNNY.
So there you have our top 5 list of the most common mistakes in English. Our company policy is to always correct errors that our students make, that way eventually you will stop making them and they will be eliminated from your speech. If you would like to try out our method and see how it could work for you, contact us for a FREE trial lesson.