Common Mistakes or Errors in English Grammar & How to Avoid?


In this post, we are going to talk about a few of the common English grammar mistakes or errors and will also look at how to avoid them.

So, let’s get started.

Common Mistakes or Errors in Grammar

Let’s try to understand the errors in Grammar which we make every day! When we use a language, it’s very common that we would commit a few mistakes and slip-ups. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot learn from our mistakes.

After all, we will never learn if we don’t commit mistakes. The same can be said about the English language.

  • These mistakes may change the meaning of the sentences.
  • It can send a wrong message.
  • Improper communications.
common errors mistakes in English grammar
Common errors mistakes in English grammar

Hence, it is required to know all kinds of errors in English Grammar, to avoid all kinds of problems.

Let’s learn the most common errors in grammar along with proper understanding to avoid them.

Common English Grammar Mistakes

There are so many errors in grammar, we make in normal communication as well as in writing. Let’s see a few of them for understanding,

  • Misplaced Apostrophes
  • Your/you’re:
  • Its/it’s
  • “Could’ve/would’ve/should’ve
  • There/their/they’re
  • Fewer/less:
  • Amount/number:
  • To/two/too
  • Then/than
  • Me/myself/I
  • Affect/effect

Let’s see all grammar mistakes one by one!

Errors in Grammar for Misplaced Apostrophes

Using the apostrophes isn’t something very difficult, but for that, you need to know how to use them appropriately. Putting them in the wrong place is a grammatical mistake as per the norms of the English Language.

Apostrophe Rules

  • The rule of the apostrophe is very simple. It is used to show that something is belonging to someone or something else.
  • If any object or animal or anything belongs to a person, we use the apostrophe. “Roni’s cat”.
  • In case any object or animal or anything belongs to many persons, then also use the apostrophe. For example, “Boy’s cricket match”.
  • In our English, we make plurals to add ‘s’ or ‘es’ many times. There are various rules of plural nouns as well. Remember, the apostrophe can not be used in that case. If it is used, it will not form a plural noun.
  • The apostrophe is used for contracted words. The contracted word means contraction of two words that is when two different words are formed a single word. For example, we use “do not” or “could not” in our English. Now, these words are contracted like ‘don’t or couldn’t respectively with the apostrophe.

How not to do it

  • The girl’s are in the cricket match.
  • Kite’s for sale.
  • In the 2021’s.

How to do it properly

  • The girls are in the cricket match.
  • Kites for sale.
  • In the 2021s.

Errors in Grammar for Your/you’re

This is related to the English homophones, but it’s such a common yet grave mistake that we can talk about it here again.

Your/you’re Rules

  • “Your” This one indicates possession as something belonging to you.
  • “You’re” and this is short for “you are”.

How not to do it?

  • Your nice.
  • You’re life should not be controlled by others.
  • Do you know when you’re game will be over?
  • Your ready to take the next step.

How to do it properly?

  • You’re beautiful.
  • Your life should not be controlled by others.
  • You’re ready to take the next step.
  • Do you know when your game will be over?

Mistakes in Grammar for Its/it’s

As I said before, apostrophes can also indicate possession, but there is one exception to this rule. This exception only happens with ‘it’, and that’s why a lot of people get confused with the use of ‘it’.

Its/it’s Rules

  • “It’s” is only used as a short form of “it is”. It is a kind of short form to save time while writing and speaking. For example, it’s raining.
  • “Its” also used many times, remember it’s and its both are different in use. “Its” refers to nothing but the possession of something.
  • But remember that it doesn’t refer to anything masculine or feminine; it can only be used when you are not talking about a person.

How not to do it?

  • Its raining outside.
  • The comic book looks great with it’s new colorful cover.
  • Its my fault.
  • It’s color is changing.

How to do it properly?

  • It’s raining outside.
  • The comic book looks great with its new colorful cover.
  • It’s my fault.
  • Its color is changing.

English Grammar Errors for Could’ve- Should’ve – Would’ve

With this one, you need to be a bit careful. The problem is with “’ve”. This is where the confusion begins and makes the entire thing a bit complicated. First of all, you also need to understand that the meaning is important, and the correct usage will depend upon the context.

Could’ve- Should’ve – Would’ve Rules

“Could’ve” is “could have”, “should’ve” is “should have”, “Would’ve” is “would have”. These short forms can save some time while writing if you need to use them over and over again.

How not to do it?

  • I would have been more successful if I had not met her.
  • You should have gone there.
  • They could have won the war.

How to do it properly?

  • I would’ve been more successful if I had not met her.
  • You should’ve gone there.
  • They could’ve won the war.

Errors in Grammar for There/their/they’re

English homophones are mostly responsible for the majority of common mistakes. Here’s another one for you. Same as the others, once you have a clear grasp of the meaning, the correct usage will come easily.

There/their/they’re Rules

  • “There” refers to a place that you are indicating which may or may not exist. But when you are writing “Their”, it refers to something possessed by “them”.
  • On the other hand, “They’re” is the short form of “They are”. This also saves time while writing when you have to use it multiple times.

How not to do it?

  • Let’s go their, where love is not bound by prejudices.
  • This country belongs to them; it’s there right to live here.
  • There fighting for something precious to them.
  • Rehan should contact they’re friends.

How to do it properly?

  • Let’s go there, where love is not bound by prejudices.
  • This country belongs to them; it’s their right to live here.
  • They’re fighting for something precious to them.
  • Rehan should contact their friends.

Mistakes in Grammar for Fewer/less

With this also, the problem lies with the meaning. Once the meaning is clear to you, the application would be much simpler. Else, you might keep on using “fewer” in place of “less” and vice-versa.

Rules for Fewer/less

  • Well, “fewer” basically refers to all those items that you can count with the fingers of your hand, like individually. On the other hand, “less” refers to all the things you cannot count individually. For example, water, sand, air, etc.

How not to do it?

  • There is fewer water now.
  • Lesser cigarettes every day will benefit your health.
  • There are lesser cakes now.
  • Five items or less.

How to do it properly?

  • There is less water now.
  • Fewer cigarettes every day will benefit your health.
  • There are fewer cakes now.
  • Five items or fewer.

Errors in Grammar for Amount/number

The reason behind getting confused here is the familiarity of meaning. They almost mean the same, but they ought to be used in a different context.

Amount/number Rules

  • As I said earlier, both “amount” and “number” mean the same. But “amount” is primarily used for things you cannot count and also for money.
  • Whenever you wish to specify money or the price of something, you have to use “amount”.
  • “Number”, on the other hand, is used only when the things being referred to are countable. They also refer to the English numbers and digits. A few examples can be:

How not to do it?

  • He had sent me the number directly to my bank account.
  • Back in primary school, we learned about amount.
  • The most number of water is being filtered by the authority.
  • A large amount of people are still petrified about the vaccine.

How to do it properly?

  • He had sent me the amount directly to my bank account.
  • Back in primary school, we learned about numbers.
  • The most amount of water is being filtered by the authority.
  • A large number of people are still petrified about the vaccine.

Errors in Grammar for To/two/too

Yeah, you guessed it right, another classic example of English homophones. But fret not; just understand the explanation, and the usage will be very simple.

To/two/too Rules

  • “To” is the preposition, which can have multiple applications. Before a noun, it can be a preposition; before a verb, it can form the infinitive form. It can also mean “towards”.
  • “Two” only refers to the number or quantity of something.
  • “Too” is used to indicate emphasis, “as well” or “also”.

How not to do it?

  • Wherever I go, my heart will always belong too you.
  • He gave to days’ notice.
  • She is to willing to do this job.

How to do it properly?

  • Wherever I go, my heart will always belong to you.
  • He gave two days’ notice.
  • She is too willing to do this job.

Mistakes in Grammar for Then/than

This is another mistake with which you need to be extra careful. While speaking, they sound quite familiar. But they don’t mean the same at all. So, before you use them, you need to think about the meaning and the context.

Then/than Rules

  • “Then” is a conjunction that is used to join two sets of instructions, two-different incidents, or two different time-frames. It works as the perfect connector.
  • On the other hand, “Than” is used to compare two things that are apparently different. “Than” is very frequently used to indicate a comparative degree.

How not to do it?

  • He is better then him.
  • He first did MBA than went to the states for his new job.

How to do it properly?

  • He is better than him.
  • He first did MBA then went to the states for his new job.

Errors in Grammar for Me/myself/I

Three different words which mean the same can be quite tricky to use. The same can be said about “Me/ myself / I”. But don’t worry, you just have to keep in mind the context where you need to use them, and things will be much easier.

Me/myself/I Rules

  • “Me” obviously refers to yourself, now, if you are trying to say that you were with someone else. Then you can use “he/she” and “I” instead of “Me”.
  • You can also use “myself” in the sentence if you have already used your name once.

How not to do it?

  • John and me have been playing this since high school.
  • It made myself realize my mistakes.

How to do it properly

  • John and I have been playing this since high school.
  • It made me realize my mistakes.

You can check worksheets for English Grammar to avoid errors in Grammar.

Errors in Grammar for Affect/effect

Now, we are back to the homophones. These two words not just sound similar but sometimes, at a glance, they look similar as well. This is why you need to be extra careful while using them.

Affect/Effect Rules

  • “Affect” means something that influences you or leaves an impact on someone or something.
  • “Effect”, on the other hand, means the result left by a particular action or the result experienced by the subject. This is a noun, so you need to use it only when the context demands it.

How not to do it?

  • Alcohol always effected his temper.
  • No matter how much he tried to get an affect out of the medicine, it was all in vain.

How to do it properly?

  • Alcohol always affected his temper.
  • No matter how much he tried to get an effect out of the medicine, it was all in vain.

Writing a paper on a topic set is a normal assignment for a college or a university, although generations of students face the same problems while trying to complete this assignment. These issues can come from the lack of clear explanations on the professor’s expectations from the essay, insufficient experience with the formal writing style, or students’ inability to fit writing a starring paper into their tight schedule. Anyway, here are several most common mistakes that students make while writing their papers, and this list can help you avoid at least some of them. 

Word Order and Sentence Structure

This mistake is the easiest and the most common among students who have English as a second language. Other languages have different rules regarding the word order in the sentence or flexibility of the sentence structure.

However, English is a pretty strict language, and the “subject-verb-object” structure is the best and the most reliable choice for most academic essays. Of course, sentence inversions and other tricks change the sentence tone and meaning, but it’s better not to use them if you are not the most expert writer – or do not try to write your essay in a Shakespearean style.

Incorrect Use of Grammatically Complex Constructions

In addition, it is necessary to mention that keeping your essay easy is a better solution than trying to impress the reader with page-lengthy sentences. Thus, don’t forget about the point mark and use it instead of a semicolon.

Sometimes, reading the sentence aloud can help your essay be understandable for a reader who is not familiar with your writing style. If you can end reading the sentence without losing your breath or thoughts in the middle of the statement, then, probably, it’s good to leave it in the text. In the other case, try to rephrase or break it into two parts, so the text sounds freer.

Lack of Thesis Statement

Here we go into academic essays that require grammatical and stylistic correctness in combination with specific rules set for academic writing. The formal essay should contain a thesis statement, the main idea that the author is trying to defend while writing their text.

The typical placement of the thesis statement is the end of the introduction while writing from scratch. If you prefer creating outlines before starting the paper itself, you can start it with the thesis and then list arguments or counter-arguments that you need to have a clear idea in the core of your essay.

Unclear Paper Organization

Although outlines are a typical trick to organize the paper, some students lack experience using them and jump from thought to thought. This approach makes their papers messy and less understandable, worsening their grades. Nevertheless, if you need assistance in creating a quality paper, you can use a service from a website of specialized paper writing companies, such as CustomWritings.

This academic essay writing service allows students to buy custom-written papers online and allows them to choose from various topics and subjects. Besides, a customer can order additional services that include detailed custom explanations on the paper organization and structure, and professional writers will supply their work with comments, so customers can review it and use it to improve their writing skills.

Paragraph Structure

Not only the whole paper, but you also have to structure your paragraphs as well. Each paragraph starts with an argument that is a kind of “mini-thesis” discussed in the specific piece of the whole essay. Probably, you have heard about a “sandwich-like” paragraph structure, and this is the most suitable metaphor to explain it.

So, you should start your sandwich with the “bread” of your argument and supply it with fillings of your choice, using additional information that would prove or highlight the paragraph idea. However, it would help if you ended the paragraph with another piece of bread, so-called “argument restatement,” to ensure that the reader has understood the idea. 

Weak Arguments and Non-persuasive Rhetorics

When you create an outline for your future paper, it is helpful to choose arguments, but be careful while listing them. Professional essays should not stick to emotional rhetoric or personal opinion solely unless you write a reflection or a journal piece that should be centered on your experience and emotions.

In other cases, research and statistics are the most valuable methods of getting your reader’s attention and trust, either if you write for a college or a company. Of course, you can add some spice of emotion to listing facts and numbers, but it’s better not to overuse this method. 

Use of Unreliable Sources

It’s pretty apparent that sources should not include blog posts or social media gossip unless you refer to reliable newspapers or magazines that have some official status in the USA or the other country on which your essay focuses.

Original research articles are useful sources of information, too, although it is more time-consuming to study them thoroughly and analyze the research methods results and decide if you should mention them in the paper. If you need statistics of some kind, governmental websites can give you, maybe, not the most recent, but trustworthy and reliable data on your topic.

Paper Formatting Issues

Although formatting may seem unnecessary and boring, it makes it easier for professors to check dozens of papers from different students and trains their attentiveness. Most formatting guidelines for common referencing styles, such as APA, Chicago, or MLA, are available online for free.

However, some colleges and universities have specific requirements or modify existing formatting styles according to their needs. In this case, you can consult with the university library website or the course description – most professors warn their students about necessary formatting before sending them an assignment.

Formatting Your Citations

Citation is a good source of information and proof of your meticulous work on the essay, but don’t overuse it. Most professors prefer simple referencing (mentioning the author and the information they have revealed in their research) to lengthy in-text citations.

Still, if you need to use an in-text citation, ensure that it is not too long. It is helpful to check your essay with the plagiarism checker if you have to cite other sources literally that often because even accidental plagiarism can lower the grade of even the top written paper.

Lack of Double-checking Before the Submission

The end is near, so here is the final advice. Re-read your paper, and this simple step can save you lots of time for editing and rewriting your paper according to reviews from your instructors. If you are unsure about specific phrases or fragments of the paper, it’s a good moment to think about them once more and try rephrasing them. However, if you have polished your writing – upload the file and hope for a good grade for your effort!

Final Thoughts

I guess you found the above discussion on the common mistakes of English grammar a helpful reference guide as you move forward to become fluent in English. But if you’d like to learn even more about the different aspects of English grammar, then you should continue to read more and more and use the rules you learned in this post.

Remember, practice is your most excellent teacher, and nothing can replace that. So, the more you practice writing and speaking, the more you can avoid making these common English grammar mistakes and learn English correctly.

Please suggest if we have missed out on any other common mistake of English Grammar. Should you have any further queries regarding this topic, feel free to mention them in the comment section below, and we will surely get back to you with the correct answer shortly!

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