Image. Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Even advanced English speakers can make grammatical mistakes. Understanding and correcting these common errors can greatly enhance your writing and speaking skills. Here are some frequent grammar mistakes and tips on how to avoid them.

1. Subject-Verb Agreement

Mistake: The subject and verb do not agree in number.

  • Incorrect: She go to school every day.
  • Correct: She goes to school every day.

How to Avoid: Ensure that the subject and verb agree in number (singular/plural). Singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs.

2. Misusing Apostrophes

Mistake: Incorrect use of apostrophes in possessives and contractions.

  • Incorrect: Its a beautiful day.
  • Correct: It's a beautiful day. ("It's" is a contraction for "it is.")
  • Incorrect: The dog's are barking.
  • Correct: The dogs are barking. ("Dogs" is plural, not possessive.)

How to Avoid: Use apostrophes for contractions (it's = it is) and to show possession (the dog's bone).

3. Incorrect Use of Commas

Mistake: Commas used incorrectly, either overused or missing.

  • Incorrect: I went to the store, and bought apples.
  • Correct: I went to the store and bought apples.
  • Incorrect: Let's eat Grandma.
  • Correct: Let's eat, Grandma.

How to Avoid: Use commas to separate items in a list, after introductory elements, and to set off non-essential clauses. Avoid using unnecessary commas.

4. Confusing "There," "Their," and "They're"

Mistake: Using the wrong form of "there," "their," or "they're."

  • Incorrect: Their going to the park.
  • Correct: They're going to the park.
  • Incorrect: Put it over their.
  • Correct: Put it over there.
  • Incorrect: There car is new.
  • Correct: Their car is new.

How to Avoid: Remember:

  • "There" refers to a place.
  • "Their" shows possession.
  • "They're" is a contraction of "they are."

5. Misplaced Modifiers

Mistake: Modifiers not placed next to the word they describe, causing confusion.

  • Incorrect: She almost drove her kids to school every day.
  • Correct: She drove her kids to school almost every day.

How to Avoid: Place modifiers close to the word they modify to avoid ambiguity.

6. Using "Who" and "Whom" Incorrectly

Mistake: Confusing "who" and "whom."

  • Incorrect: Who did you give the book to?
  • Correct: Whom did you give the book to?

How to Avoid: Use "who" as the subject of a sentence or clause and "whom" as the object of a verb or preposition.

7. Misusing "Me," "Myself," and "I"

Mistake: Using "me," "myself," and "I" incorrectly.

  • Incorrect: Me and him went to the store.
  • Correct: He and I went to the store.
  • Incorrect: She gave the book to John and I.
  • Correct: She gave the book to John and me.
  • Incorrect: I did it by me.
  • Correct: I did it by myself.

How to Avoid: Use "I" as the subject, "me" as the object, and "myself" for emphasis or to indicate the action is done by the subject.

8. Confusing "Less" and "Fewer"

Mistake: Using "less" instead of "fewer" for countable nouns.

  • Incorrect: There are less apples in the basket.
  • Correct: There are fewer apples in the basket.

How to Avoid: Use "fewer" for countable nouns and "less" for uncountable nouns.

9. Incorrect Use of "Which" and "That"

Mistake: Using "which" and "that" interchangeably.

  • Incorrect: The book which I borrowed was interesting.
  • Correct: The book that I borrowed was interesting.

How to Avoid: Use "that" for essential clauses and "which" for non-essential clauses.

10. Double Negatives

Mistake: Using two negative words to express a single negative idea.

  • Incorrect: I don't need no help.
  • Correct: I don't need any help.

How to Avoid: Use only one negative word to express a negative idea.


By paying attention to these common grammar mistakes and applying the tips to avoid them, you can significantly improve your English writing and speaking skills. Regular practice and careful proofreading will help you develop a strong command of English grammar.

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