15 Common Grammar Mistakes in Spoken English

Common English Grammar Mistakes

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“Everybody are happy.”

Words like everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody are actually singular, not plural. Even though “everybody” refers to a lot of people, it takes the singular verb – so the correct sentence is “Everybody is happy.”

“I’ll explain you the problem.”

In this sentence, there are two objects – the direct object (the problem) and the indirect object (you). After explain, we need to use to before the indirect object – the person to whom we are doing the explaining. Also, it’s more common to put the direct object first, so the correct sentence is “I’ll explain the problem to you.”

“I have the possibility to study in Canada next year.”

With “have,” we use opportunity, not possibility – so the correct sentence is “I have the opportunity to study in Canada next year.” The word possibility is more used with “There is…,” for example, “There’s a possibility I  may study in Canada next year.”

“I think she doesn’t like tomatoes.”

Although there’s no specific grammar rule here, it’s more common to say “I don’t think she likes tomatoes.”

“If I will see John later, I’ll give him the message.”

Although both events are technically in the future, this sentence should be in the first conditional form – “If I see John later, I’ll give him the message.”

“Do you want that I make breakfast?”

“That” is not normally used after “want.” The correct sentence is: “Do you want me to make breakfast?”

“I’m thinking to buy a new car.”

“To + infinitive” is not used after “think,” so the correct sentence would be: “I’m thinking of buying a new car” or “I’m thinking about buying a new car.”

“They enjoyed the baseball game despite of the rain.”

“Despite” and “in spite of” mean the same thing, and many English learners confuse them. After “despite,” we never use “of.” The correct sentence would be “They enjoyed the baseball game despite the rain” or “They enjoyed the baseball game in spite of the rain.”

“My ten-years-old daughter loves to dance.”

When an age comes after “is,” then you say “years old”: “My daughter is ten years old.” But when an age comes before the person (or object) as an adjective, then you say year, not years“My ten-year-old daughter loves to dance.”

“Our house is near to the beach.”

“Near” and “close to” mean the same thing, but “to” is never used after “near.” The correct sentence is “Our house is near the beach” or “Our house is close to the beach.”

“I like very much soccer.”

We don’t normally put “very much” between a verb (like) and its object (soccer). The correct sentence would be, “I like soccer very much.” However, in spoken English, it would probably be more common to say “I like soccer a lot” or “I really like soccer.”

“Gary gave to Joan the keys.”

Like “explain” in the example above, “give” has two objects – the indirect object (Joan) and the direct object (the keys). We can say this sentence two ways: “Gary gave Joan the keys” or “Gary gave the keys to Joan.”

“She asked me where do I work.”

This is one of the most difficult parts of English – reported speech. In reported questions, we do not use the auxiliary verb do/does/did – so the correct sentence is, “She asked me where I work.”

“They left without say goodbye.”

When you use a verb after conjunctions and prepositions like after, before, since, when, while, without, instead of, and in spite of, it is generally in the -ing form. So the correct sentence is “They left without saying goodbye.”

“I need to finish this project until Friday.”

Use until to talk about a situation that will continue up to a certain moment, for example: “I’m staying in the city until June.” Use by to talk about a single action or event that will happen before a future moment. By is often use with deadlines, so the correct sentence is, “I need to finish this project by Friday.”

Speak English without mistakes!

100 Common Errors in Spoken English: Grammar and VocabularyLearn 100 common errors that English as a Second Language students make when speaking English – with explanations of the correct grammar and vocabulary to help you learn how to speak English easily and confidently – without mistakes.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nobu April 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

Thank you for a good reminder !

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Maud April 14, 2012 at 9:11 am

It is very useful to revise grammatical tricks from time to time, keep going!

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punsiyu April 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

thank your teaching

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shahenaz April 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

thank`s a lot .

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