Common Mistakes In English
May 24, 2011 English Language Learning (ELL) 2463 Views
bstacles should not deter any language students. What follows are examples of a few commonly made mistakes, which will hopefully enable students learning English to avoid or overcome them.
One common mistake actually relates to the use of the abbreviation 'UK'. Many non-native speakers will simply make the statement: 'I like UK very much'. Naturally, native speakers will be able to tell this is incorrect usage, as 'UK' is short for 'United Kingdom'. As 'Kingdom' is a noun, it requires an article such as 'a' or 'the' before it to make proper grammatical sense, so the correct sentence would be: 'I like the UK very much'.
Non-native English speakers (and in truth some native English speakers!) struggle when writing to successfully differentiate between 'your' and 'you're, which is understandable considering they sound exactly the same in speech. However, 'you're' is the contracted version of 'you are', such as 'you're in trouble', whereas 'your' is a possessive term, 'of yourself', as in 'your time is come'. Non-native people learning English will usually take some time to grasp the difference, but it will come with practice.
Likewise, non-native people learning English will struggle with the difference between 'it's' and 'its' when writing, again because they sound exactly the same in speech. 'It's' is simply a contracted form of 'it is', as in 'it's a wonderful world'. However, 'its' is a possessive pronoun, for example: 'The dolphin is swimming in its tank'. In this sentence the dolphin is in possession of the tank, as it is its home.
Many non-native people learning English get confused when they are asked a negative question and have to respond in the correct manner. For example, if asked the question: 'Don't you like this restaurant' and the responder wishes to agree with the statement they may mistakenly say 'Yes', whereas if they actually wish to agree in the negative they must say 'No'. A good way to avoid confusion is to answer negatively by repeating the negative verb used in the question, for example: 'No, I don't like this restaurant' or simply 'No, I don't'. Alternatively, should the responder wish to disagree with the negative question, they should reply in the positive, saying: 'Yes, I do like this restaurant' or 'Yes, I do'.
An incredibly common mistake is made by non-native people learning English (and again some native English speakers) when they have to deal with possessive nouns when writing English. An example might be if the person wants to write regarding a room belonging to a particular man they would write: 'That is the man's room', as an apostrophe s ('s) must be used for a possessive noun. Again, this will only be learned through repeat usage and practice.
The above list is far from exhaustive, but will help people to avoid or overcome some commonly made mistakes.