I want to share some common English mistakes that I frequently hear students make. I hope these are helpful. If you have a few that you would like to share, feel free to send an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-Count nouns Advice, baggage, evidence, furniture, homework (and work), knowledge, learning, luggage scenery, training and vocabulary are all non-count nouns in English. In other languages, they are countable. For example, in a court case, the evidence can be one document or thousands. We just refer to the evidence in the case. Some of these non-count nouns may surprise you, because you have been counting the equivalent word in your language all of your life!
Incorrect: Anna is has brought her luggages to the office because she has a business trip.
Correct: Anna has brought her luggage to the office because she has a business trip.
Incorrect: I had three trainings in February.
Correct: I had some training in February. We also say: I had three training sessions/classes in February
Incorrect: We don’t say “these were the important learnings from the seminar”.
Correct We say “these were the important lessons/things we learned from the seminar”.
Incorrect: I have a lot of homeworks to do.
Correct: I have a lot of homework to do.
Incorrect: My father gave me three advices about what to study last weekend.
Correct: My father gave me some advice about what to study last weekend.
A common expression we use is “let me give you some good advice” when we want to share our life experience with others.
For expressions of feeling – use the verb to be
I have noticed Eastern European speakers make this mistake. They forget to use the verb “to be” with expressions of feeling. For example, “I worried” or “I scared” or “I sorry”. Use I am/was worried, I am/was scared. I am/was sorry.
Modal verbs A modal verb (in the present tense) is followed by the base verb. If you don’t know what a base verb is, just remember that it is the verb without “to” in front of it. Students often add “to” after the modal verb and before the base verb.
Incorrect: I must to have time to prepare for my test.
Correct: I must have time to prepare for my test.
Note: there are a few modal verb forms where “to” is used. Have to + base verb, need to + base verb and ought to + base verb.
You ought to see a Broadway show while you are in New York.
Jane needs to see a doctor because her cold is getting worse.
You really have to study for the next exam!
The same for the modal past ( modal verb + have + past participle ). Students sometimes will say “I should have to prepare for the test”. The correct way is “I should have prepared for the test”.
Ms. Is not pronounced “Miss”. It is pronounced “Miz”. It is a professional woman’s title and does not indicate marital status. It is correct to use this title in business correspondence if you do not know the person you are addressing the letter to. For example, Dear Ms. Johnson,
Stay tuned for Common English Mistakes – Part 2!
Pete Versage Versage English Tutoring Service ©