Even native speakers make English grammar mistakes from time to time. Nobody has perfect grammar and with so many rules to remember, you shouldn’t feel bad about making mistakes when speaking or writing English. That said, you should always aim to make as few errors as possible.
One of the best ways to improve your language abilities is by learning how to recognize the most common grammar mistakes in English. Whether you want to write the perfect college entrance essay or sound more professional in your next job interview, there are a few English grammar mistakes that you will want to avoid.
So, let’s take a closer look at the 10 most common grammar mistakes in English writing and speaking.
5 Most Common Grammar Mistakes in English Writing
Though there is some crossover between written and spoken grammar mistakes, some errors are very specific to writing (misspelled words, apostrophe or comma placement, etc).
Even though some of the mistakes below can be made in both formats (writing and speaking), some are more common in one than the other. Here are some of the most common grammar mistakes in English writing:
Their, They’re, or There?
When spoken, the words “there,” “their,” and “they’re” all sound virtually the same. However, they each have very different meanings.
You’re vs. Your
Just like the previous example, this one occurs when people confuse two or more words that sound the same. However, “you’re” and “your” mean completely different things.
It’s vs. Its
Are you beginning to see a pattern? When you’re speaking, no one can tell if you’re confusing “it’s” or “its” (as long as the rest of the sentence makes sense). In writing, these common grammar mistakes become much more obvious.
Who’s vs. Whose
While they may sound the same in speech, you can’t mix up “who’s” and “whose” in writing. One is a contraction, while the other is a possessive pronoun.
Then vs. Than
One of the most common grammar mistakes in writing is the erroneous use of “then” and “than.” Thankfully, the grammar rules for these two are pretty simple.
5 Most Common Grammar Mistakes in English Speaking
Now that we’ve covered mistakes people make while writing, it’s time to look at some of the most common grammar mistakes in English speaking. Many native English speakers get lazy when speaking, which often results in incorrect grammar. This makes it all the more confusing for those who are learning to speak English as a second language.
Here are the most common spoken grammar mistakes in English:
Me vs. I
Most intermediate English students know that “I” is the subject pronoun, while “me” is the object pronoun. However, people often mix them up when a sentence includes multiple subjects, multiple objects, or both.
Who, That, or Which?
When used as pronouns, “who, “that,” and “which” often get mixed up. While “who” is pretty easy to use (as it almost always refers to people), the other two can be a little confusing.
Less vs. Fewer
Differentiating between countable and uncountable nouns often causes problems for English students. As a result, mixing up “less” and “fewer” is one of the most common mistakes in English speaking. It can help to put nouns with numbers to see if they are countable or uncountable. For example, you can have “three dollars” (countable), but you can’t have “three money” (uncountable).
Who vs. Whom
Many native speakers forego using “whom” in casual conversations entirely, as it can sound somewhat formal. However, if you want to avoid making a grammatical mistake, you have to know when to use both “who” and “whom.”
Look, Watch, or See?
All three of these words refer to actions related to sight, but they each have unique definitions. While they can all be used as action verbs (“look” and “see” can also be nouns), the context in which they are used will vary.
If you’d like to learn more about common grammar mistakes in English or find a highly qualified English tutor online to help guide you, visit Magoosh Speaking today. Along with tutoring, we also offer our students daily coaching, role play activities to practice your speaking skills, and more interactive content! Visit our appointments page to try an introductory lesson today!