Most Common Mistakes In English

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Grammar is generally not the most popular subject under the sun, regardless of the language or the place. The nuances range from insignificant mistakes to serious errors that can even completely change the meaning of a statement. And this is where the fun begins. Where do people make the most mistakes in English grammar? Check it out.

Misplaced apostrophes: Your/you’re

The difference between these two is:

“Your” means something belonging to you

while

“You’re” means “you are”

Similarly Its/it’s

 

Commas

The missing or misplaced comma can change the meaning of the sentence.


Let’s eat, Grandpa – asks Grandpa to join the speaker in having a meal


Let’s eat Grandpa – suggests that it’s time to eat Grandpa

 


A woman, without her man, is nothing. – this sentence suggests that a woman is nothing without her man.


A woman: without her, man is nothing.  – while this sentence claims the exact opposite, that a man is nothing without his woman.

 

Two negatives

Double negatives are seldom used in English, in contrast to some other languages. A sentence doesn’t exactly make a positive statement if two negatives are used in it, but it is considered incorrect.

 

I don’t want nothing from you.  (in old English this could emphasise the negative, while in current English it can be taken to indicate a positive meaning. Any which way, it is an incorrect statement).

I don’t want anything from you.

 

Exchanging similar sounding words

 

Affect / Effect

The lightning affected the tree.

The effect of the lightning was that the tree burned down.

 

Accept / Except

Accept – to receive, to include

Except – to exclude

 
We accept everybody, except you.

Whether / Weather

Whether – if

Weather – referring to atmospheric conditions

Whether you like it or not, the weather will be like this.

 

Then/than

Then – next, later, after

Than – for comparing

 

Between / Among

The word ‘between’ normally refers to two items or people, while the word ‘among’ refers to multiple items or people, as, for example:  ‘At the party, I sat down between two good friends’ or ‘At the party, I enjoyed being among many interesting people


Between


Among

Photos: Shutterstock / Graphic Design for the purpose of this article: Martina Advaney

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