- Common errors in English
- 1. Verbs: Bad use of the 13 tenses
- 2. Confusion between possessive and personal pronouns
- 3. Wrong arrangement of words
- 4. Subject and verb disagreement
- 5. Misuse or omission of articles
- How to improve your grammar?
Each learner quickly becomes aware of the intricacies of English grammar. From subject/verb agreement to the use of the homonyms "there," "their," and "they're," the complicated rules of English make our heads spin.
Frankly, no one wants to spend hours studying conjugations and sentence structures. And yet, without an excellent grammatical foundation in English, you will continue to make fundamental mistakes in speaking.
Fortunately, improving your knowledge of grammar rules is possible. Armed with the right tools and learning strategies, you can avoid common grammar mistakes that hurt many students - and even find it fun.
In this helpful overview, we will look at some of the most common grammatical issues that English learners face and how to avoid them when in a conversation.
Common errors in English
Let us look at common errors in English as a second language (ESL) grammar.
A student of English who wants to become bilingual must avoid many pitfalls. Of course, all grammatical mistakes made in English are problematic in and of themselves. However, some complicated concepts remain puzzles for students.
We have listed the five most common grammatical errors made by international students learning English. Are you one of them?
1. Verbs: Bad use of the 13 tenses
Did you know that the English conjugation includes 13 different verbal tenses to describe past, present, or future actions? If you are still looking for the difference between the simple past and the past perfect or if you cannot use verbs correctly, you are not alone! Below are some examples of errors made in English:
Yesterday, I talk with my friend on the phone. (Incorrect tense; talked)
Yesterday I was talking with my friend on the phone. (Wrong time; spoke)
I will graduate from university and find a fulfilling job. (Inconsistent verb tenses; will find)
I will graduate from college and have found a satisfying job. (Inconsistent verbal tenses; will find)
Of course, these are two commonly encountered timing problems. But, with 13 different conjugation options, you are not at the end of your surprises.
2. Confusion between possessive and personal pronouns
When pronouns take the place of a noun: Tim saw Sarah at the mall and said hello to her. In this sentence, (he) and (her) are pronouns used to replace Tim and Sarah, respectively. The known personal pronouns are I (I), me (me), he (he), she (she), him (him), she (her), on (it), and they (they).
Many English learners may not know when to use he and him (him), I (I) and me (me) and she (she) and she (her). If you have faced this type of problem yourself, do not despair. Many native English people make these grammatical errors as well. But, of course, this is not an argument for minimizing your efforts in learning these grammar rules.
3. Wrong arrangement of words
Word order varies from language to language, and many students find these intellectual gymnastics difficult. Are you worried about the place of the adjective?
In Romance languages, adjectives usually follow the nouns to which they refer. In English, adjectives typically precede the noun. So, for example, you might be tempted to say:
I saw the car black speed down the road.
I saw the black car speeding down the road.
However, the adjective "black" must be placed before the noun "car." Overcoming this common trend requires students to ignore their first language, a challenge that nevertheless seems easier said than done.
In sentence structures, adjectives are not the most problematic words for students.
4. Subject and verb disagreement
Children play in the park, and the sun rises every morning.
The children play in the park, and the sun rises every morning.
This sentence shows correct grammatical agreement between the subject (s) and the verb.
The verb agrees in number and gender with its expressed or implied subject. The verb which has several topics is put in the plural. It is a simple rule, but it is common to hear errors in the verb agreement.
5. Misuse or omission of articles
Not surprisingly, the absence or misuse of articles in English is one of the most common grammatical errors. The rules for the use of English articles are, of course, delicate. For example, the article is usually omitted when a plural noun is used as a direct object:
I love cars. I like to eat apples.
I like cars. I like to eat apples.
Prepositions also influence whether articles are used.
It would be best to have a definite (the) or undefined (a / an) article in most other cases.
Yesterday, I rode the bus might get the point across.
Yesterday I took the bus so I could cross.
Native speakers will quickly notice your mistake and be able to call you an amateur. (Yesterday, I rode the bus is the correct sentence structure).
The grammatical errors in English discussed above are only a tiny part of the potential errors made by students. There are countless of them, and of course, for people who want to express themselves well in English, familiarizing themselves with grammar rules is fundamental. There is no other way.
How to improve your grammar?
So, you need a little help with the grammar. No problem! If you are wondering how to optimize your English, you can use the tips below to improve your grammar in no time. With luck, you might even enjoy studying these grammatical workings in detail.
First: study the rules
It might not be a lot of fun and not amazingly easy but studying English grammar rules is the best way to master the intricacies of the language. Unfortunately, many teachers ask their students to focus primarily on their speaking skills rather than grammar itself.
This way of doing things only works in the short term. And, if you ever want to speak like a native speaker, you must change your approach to meet your goals better.
Fortunately, working on English grammar is not just about spending long hours studying a grammar primer. If you prefer a more dynamic version, why not give yourself a few hours a week to watch grammar videos online? If you want to get started now, please note that we have several ESL videos available on our English Phonetics platform.
Learn with the right materials
Native English people are not immune to grammar mistakes. And you do not want to pick up on other people's bad habits. So, whether it is by browsing Facebook or having fun in front of a distracting video, you enrich yourself in the language, but it will not allow you to develop good grammar.
To do this, you need to focus on reading and listening to a proficient level of English. For example, why not start your morning reading an English daily or watching the news from a reputable channel like the BBC? Of course, there are plenty of other magazines and novels that would easily do the trick.
The important thing is not the subject itself but finding examples of quality grammatical phrases used in our society. As you get into the habit of working with these materials in your language studies, you should, of course, see an improvement in your grammar skills.
Do not neglect writing in English.
Many students focus on learning to speak English. Of course, speaking the language plays a predominant role in relational exchanges, but this whole approach often leads to grammar errors. Writing in English will force you to juggle the different words that make up the English language and structure your sentences more intentionally.
If you are not in a school environment, find an "English pen pal" with whom you can chat online, or better yet, chat with friends using social media. Of course, it is easier to get help with your grammar if you ask for it explicitly. Consider exchanging, online, with people who study your native language, so you can help each other improve your language skills.
Finally, identify your weaknesses.
Strive to move forward? Use these tips to get out of the rut.
The best way to improve grammar is to know where your difficulties lie. It does not matter if you can solve your problems on your own or need the help of a native speaker. Once you understand your common English grammar mistakes, you will be better equipped to adopt a strategy to improve yourself.
You can create your games and tests to track your progress regularly, but there are also many resources available online for perfecting your grammar. Many students find it beneficial to incorporate into their studies quizzes and tutorials in English, available free online. These educational tools provide real-time feedback and can give you direct insight into your grammar level.
Now, it is your turn to play.
Studying grammar is often one of the things students prefer to minimize unless they must. Learning the subtlety of English grammar might not sound like fun, but it will help you become a better English speaker. In the end, this alone should motivate you to work on your grammar more diligently.
Remember, "to travel far, and you have to be careful with your mount." There is no point in working on complicated concepts from the start. Try to develop your current knowledge continuously, and you will succeed in erasing your English grammar mistakes as you go.