By Lesley Vos
English language is not difficult to learn. Well, at least native speakers think so... Every educator can easily find the examples of English grammar, vocabulary, or spelling that always cause troubles and problems for students who learn this language. We've tried to gather the most common of them for you to avoid. Check if you make them.
This is one of the most common mistakes. THAT is a restrictive pronoun, and WHICH is a relative pronoun that implies the options to use. So, WHICH defines, THAT limits.
WHO is a subjective pronoun along with "he", "she", "it", "we" and "they". This word is used when a pronoun acts as a subject of a sentence. WHOM applies to objective pronouns along with "him", "her", "its", "us" and "them". This word is used when a pronoun acts as an object of a sentence.
ENVY implies the pursuit to someone else's success. JEALOUSY has a more negative meaning, as it is a fear of competition, which is often present in personal relationship.
MAY implies the possibility, MIGHT goes for uncertainty.
Premier = the first one, the most important one, the best in status.
Premiere = the opening night of a movie.
LESS is used for hypothetical quantities, while FEW and FEWER are used for things you can count.
SINCE refers to time, BECAUSE refers to causality.
To use the words BRING and TAKE correctly, an author should know whether the object moves toward or away from the subject. If toward - use BRING, if from - use TAKE.
These two words have different meaning: ADVERSE = unfavorable, AVERSE = reluctant.
Learners often misspell these two words, changing the meaning of a whole sentence in result. THEN is used in conditionals and subjunctives, while THAN serves as a comparative conjunction.
To cope with this problem, a simple hint can be used: AFFECT is almost always a verb, and EFFECT is a noun.
Affect = influence or create an impression
effect = result.
There are some exceptions anyway. AFFECT may be used as a noun, and EFFECT is used as a transitive verb that means "to make something" or "to happen".
It's quite easy to remember the rule: SOME is used in affirmative sentences, ANY is used in interrogative and negative sentences.
Ensure = to guarantee, to persuade
Insure = a verb for "insurance"
ITS is a possessive pronoun, while IT'S is a shortcut of "it is". English learners often forget using an apostrophe here, making a huge grammar mistake in result.
DO is often used to describe undefined actions, and MAKE is used when we speak about creating or shaping something specific.
TELL refers to a whole story, SAY refers to mentioning something. Plus, SAY is usually used with direct speech, and TELL - with indirect speech.
LEARN means the process of acquiring knowledge, and TEACH refers to transferring knowledge.
The rule is very simple here: say EXCUSE ME before you do something, use SORRY after you've done something.
FARTHER means a distance that can be measured. FURTHER refers to some abstract length that can not always be measured.
Use HISTORIC when you speak about an important event. HISTORICAL refers to something that happened in the past.
Lesley Vos is a private educator of French language and a writer of Bid4papers blog.
Writing systems | Language and languages | Language learning | Pronunciation | Learning vocabulary | Language acquisition | Motivation and reasons to learn languages | Arabic | Basque | Celtic languages | Chinese | English | Esperanto | French | German | Greek | Hebrew | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Latin | Portuguese | Russian | Sign Languages | Spanish | Swedish | Other languages | Minority and endangered languages | Constructed languages (conlangs) | Reviews of language courses and books | Language learning apps | Teaching languages | Languages and careers | Being and becoming bilingual | Language and culture | Language development and disorders | Translation and interpreting | Multilingual websites, databases and coding | History | Travel | Food | Other topics | Spoof articles | How to submit an article
Why not share this page:
If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.
Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.