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The Top English Grammar Mistakes


The English language and its grammar can be challenging and complex – for experienced speakers as well as learners. You might be surprised to know that even native English speakers often make mistakes in spelling and grammar. So it’s inevitable that language learners will sometimes also find the idiosyncrasies of English confusing. Here we take a look at some of the most common grammatical mistakes and the reasons why they occur.

  1. Which and WhoHow do you know when to use “which” and when to use “who”? Many people find these two relative pronouns confusing. A good rule to use is that you should use “who” when speaking of a person; when talking about anything else, such as a group, you should stick with “which”.
  1. Verbs: English verbs are normally easy to handle – much simpler than verbs in inflected languages such as French. But sometimes, especially if talking fast, the speaker can trip over the verb and accidentally use the wrong tense. For example, they might forget to add an s at the end of a verb that comes after “he”, “she” or “it”.
  1. PleaseThis word should normally accompany a request-formed question, or an answer where you are acquiescing. However, many non-native speakers say “please” in situations where it should not be used. For example, it is common to hear “Thank you, please”,even though “please” is a request and should not follow “Thank you”.
  1. Since: “Since” is a word that some English language learners use when they are trying to pinpoint a related word. For example, when talking about doing something for a period of time, they might be trying to say “I will run for five minutes”, but instead say “I will run since five minutes”. It is easy to mix up these two words, as they have related functions – but they are importantly different.
  1. Dessert and desertThis is a very common confusion, and many native English speakers also make the same mistake on occasion. As you know, a slice of banoffee pie (dessert) is very different to a stretch of dry land (desert). This is why particular attention should be paid to the extras in “dessert”. The words may look similar, but they mean completely different things and are also pronounced differently.

There are many other common spelling and grammar mistakes that English speakers make every day. If you don’t want to get stuck wondering if a word is spelled “sceptic” or “septic”, take a look at our General English courses to give yourself that extra confidence boost when you’re writing or speaking English