Do you want to look less like an ESL student in class and more like a native English speaker?
Then you probably want to avoid the following 15 common grammar errors that are typical of most foreign students:
- WRONG: I have been to Las Vegas last week.
RIGHT: I was in Las Vegas last week.
Comment: Use Past Simple when you specify a certain moment in the past (“last week” in the example above).
- WRONG: He played poker when we entered the casino.
RIGHT: He was playing poker when we entered the casino.
Comment: Use Past Continuous for a longer action and Past Simple for a shorter action in the past.
- WRONG: The woman that won $ 1 million yesterday was in the seventh heaven.
RIGHT: The woman who won $ 1 million yesterday was in the seventh heaven.
Comment: Use ‘who’ instead of ‘that’ for living beings to avoid this common grammar error.
- WRONG: If it will rain on Sunday, we won’t go to Las Vegas.
RIGHT: If it rains on Sunday, we won’t go to Las Vegas.
Comment: Use Present Indefinite for time and condition clauses.
- WRONG: John said he will not leave the casino before sunrise.
RIGHT: John said he would not leave the casino before sunrise.
Comment: Watch out for the correct sequence of tenses.
- WRONG: I am not going nowhere today.
RIGHT: I am not going anywhere today.
Comment: Avoid using a double negation, which is one of the most common grammar errors ever.
- WRONG: How much casinos are there in Las Vegas?
RIGHT: How many casinos are there in Las Vegas?
Comment: Use ‘how many’ for countable and ‘how much’ for uncountable nouns.
- WRONG: Laughing all the way, this weekend was amazing.
RIGHT: Laughing all the way, we had a wonderful time this weekend.
Comment: If you start a sentence with a modifier, do your best to make it match the subject after the coma.
- WRONG: Every student likes their Halloween costumes.
RIGHT: Every student likes his or her Halloween costume.
Comment: Use ‘his or her’ for a singular gender neutral subject.
- WRONG: His goals included work and study, receiving good grades and some fun.
RIGHT: His goals included combining work and study, receiving good grades and having some fun.
Comment: Faulty parallelism is another common grammar error. Use similar constructions for parallel members of the sentence.
- WRONG: What about me, I hate curfew hours.
RIGHT: As for me, I hate curfew hours.
Comment: “What about” is used in questions only.
- WRONG: I looked through the window and saw that new houses were built.
RIGHT: I looked through the window and saw that new houses were being built. OR: I looked through the window and saw that new houses had been built.
Comment: Choose the right form of the verb, depending upon the character and status of the action.
- WRONG: I am literally dying to see him. (I hope you are not.)
RIGHT: I am dying to see him.
Comment: ‘Literally’ means that what you are saying is precisely true in a very concrete way.
- WRONG: Me with my sister went to the party.
RIGHT: My sister and I went to the party.
Comment: If you have doubts, try to remove all subjects except ‘I’ and make sure that the sentence does not sound odd.
- WRONG: My aunt is doctor.
RIGHT: My aunt is a doctor.
Comment: Use the indefinite article to indicate a person’s profession.
Have you found the common grammar errors from your own nightmares in this list? Please, leave your comments in the section below.