If you are new here please read this first.
Depending on whether you are a native speaker or not, the English language can either be hard or simple to learn. Most non-native speakers consider it hard to learn especially in situation where they get introduced to the same at a very late stage in life. In as much as the native English speakers are assumed to have an easier time with the English language, not everyone can claim to have mastery on the same. As a matter of fact, most of them speak the language without a proper consideration on the grammar and words work.
Depending on what are your preferences, you can choose to either learn the British or the American English versions which are the most popular. Other versions include: the Canadian version, the Australian and the New Zealand version to name but a few. All these versions are slightly different from one another in terms of their grammar rules and in some case the spelling of words. To a typical non-native, all these can be overwhelming and confusing at the same time. This makes it hard for anyone who is willing to learn the language. In fact, some people attribute their countless mistakes to having such disparities in the versions.
In this piece, we’ll pay much of our attention to the Indian people as we try to explore some of the common mistakes they make in relation to the English language.
Get vs. Gets
A very common mistake made by the Indians which sees them adding the word ”s” to words unnecessarily.
Example: Unless you gets your act right
This is wrong. Unless the words ”you” is replaced by ”he” and ”your” replaced by ”his”. Better yet you cab drop the letter ”s” from ”gets”.
Their vs. There
More often than not, these words are misused. ”Their” refers to people whereas ”there” is used to refer to places.
Example: I have been there.
They came with their goods.
Misuse of a comma
The main purpose of a comma in a sentence should be to indicate a pause in a long sentence or split a list of items mentioned. When a sentence is split, it accounts to the misuse of a comma.
Example: It takes him all day, to drive home.
This is referred to as sentence splitting and is in fact wrong. The comma basically confuses the sentence and creates what is commonly referred to as sentence fragments.
Blunder vs. Mistake
These two words basically mean the same thing and can never be used in a sentence at the same time.
Example: You have made a blunder mistake
This is wrong because the sentence actually means, ”You have made a mistake mistake.” It can either be ”You have made a mistake” or ”You have made a blunder”.
More vs. Better
At no point should they be used together in a sentence.
Example: This could never have turned out to be more better.
The word better in itself implies superiority hence the use of the word ”more” in the sentence is seen as being unnecessary.
Does vs. Do
”Does” is used in singular form while ”Do” indicates the plural nature of the subject.
Example: Why does he bother you a lot?
Why do they bother you a lot?
Which vs. That
One of the most popular mistakes that cuts across all nationalities. ”That” should be used as a restrictive pronoun while ”Which” should be used as a relative pronoun to imply the available options. In a nutshell, ”Which” defines and ”That” limits.
Example: I never watch movies that are not HD. This means that you limit yourself to HD movies.
I only watch HD movies which are available on DVD. It means that you can watch HD movies available on DVD and do not have to download them.
Who vs. Whom
As a subjective pronoun, ”Who” is used in situations where a pronoun acts as the subject of a particular sentence. On the other hand, ”Whom” is used as an objective pronoun and used whenever a pronoun acts as an object in a sentence.
Example: Who is she?
To whom was the assignment given?
Putting a comma before the word ”that”
This is a very common grammar mistake made by Indians. There is a school of thought of the opinion that, ”that” should never have a comma before it while other provide for some discretion in certain scenarios.
Example: I did not think, that they were wrong.
This is wrong.
Un-capitalized words at the beginning of a quotation mark
Every time you start a quotation mark, it must be followed by a capital letter.
Example: He said, ”Get up and head to school.”
Forgetting to put a question mark
This mostly happens in sentences that do not begin with ”Why”, ”What”, ”How”, ”Who”, and ”When”.
Example: Are they not going to come back.
That is wrong. The sentence needs to end with a question mark.
Place vs. Plaice
This is a very common spelling mistake. ”Place” refers to a certain location or position while ”Plaice” is some type of fish.
Example: He took the first place.
Who needs a plaice?
Accept vs. Except
When spoken, these words sound almost the same and can be confusing to non-natives. ”Accept” means to agree to take something that’s being offered while ”Except” means with the exclusion of something.
Example: Kindly accept this as a token of appreciation.
The book is new except the cover.
Its and it’s
”Its” is used to show possession while ”it’s” is the short version of ”it is”.
Example: It’s broken.
The vehicle broke its windscreen.
Envy vs. Jealousy
”Envy” is used to imply the pursuit to someone else’s success whereas ”Jealousy” has a much more negative meaning implying a fear of competition.
Example: I envy you with all your success.
His jealous nature contributed to his poor judgement.
May vs. Might
”May” is normally used to imply a possibility while ”Might” refers to uncertainty.
Example: Two shots may get you drunk.
It might rain today.
Fewer vs. Less
”Fewer” is mostly used on items that can be counted while ”Less” is used for hypothetical quantities.
Example: Today, the market has fewer people.
Last year the company was less successful.
Since vs. Because
”Since” refers to time while ”Because” is used to refer to causality.
Example: Since I started drinking, I’ve lost around 10 cell phones.
Because I’m highly intoxicated, I’ll not drive.
Bring vs. Take
The use of these two words basically depends on whether the object is moving towards or away from you.
Example: Take this to your mother.
Bring it to me.
Averse vs. Adverse
”Adverse” is used to refer to unfavourable while ”Averse” refers to the state of being reluctant.
Example: The adverse effects of tobacco.
A good number of people are averse to sleep at work.
* * *
In as much as English is a foreign language, it does not mean that we do not need to polish it up. With these mistakes highlighted, we can work towards making our English better.
Julie Petersen is a professional writer, blogger and a language tutor with 6 years of experience. She works at Essaymama.com writing agency as a writing expert and a blog editor. You may see Julia’s latest publications and contact her via Linkedin.
P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!