5 English Grammar Mistakes You Need to Correct

Written by
Tony Kaizen

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Many English learners have trouble speaking like a native because they are unaware of the grammar mistakes they commit when they speak. In this video, you'll learn how to correct 5 common mistakes that students make constantly.

COMMON ENGLISH ERROR #1 – HAVEN’T / DON’T HAVE

  • Incorrect: “I haven’t a car.”
  • Correct: “I don’t have a car.”

The first mistake we’re going to talk about is misusing the negative form of the verb ‘have.’

When HAVE is the main verb (meaning possession) we use don’t have and doesn’t have. In other words, if the word ‘have’ is being used to describe the possession of something, then we would say ‘don’t have or doesn’t have’, not haven’t

For example: 

I haven’t any brothers → I don’t have any brothers. 

Jason hasn’t a cat → Jason doesn’t have a cat.


When HAVE is the auxiliary verb (like in the present perfect), then we use haven’t and hasn’t. In other words, if you’re using the present perfect tense (have/has + verb) then we use ‘haven’t or ‘hasn’t’, not ‘don’t have or doesn’t have’ 

For example: 

I don’t have finished my work yet → I haven’t finished my work yet. 

Jessica doesn’t have taken the test. → Jessica hasn’t taken the test.


COMMON ENGLISH ERROR #2 – EVERYBODY LIKE / LIKES

  • Incorrect: “Everybody like the teacher.”
  • Correct: “Everybody likes the teacher.”

 

The next mistake we’re going to look at is incorrectly conjugating verbs when referring to everybody, anybody, somebody, and nobody.

The words everybody, anybody, somebody, and nobody all take the singular form of the verb.  “Everybody” refers to many people, but it considers them as a group. 

Other words that refer to many people, but take the singular form of the verb include team, club, staff, family, and class.

More examples:

Everybody have a pencil → Everybody has a pencil

Nobody want to leave → Nobody wants to leave


COMMON ENGLISH ERROR #3 – INDIRECT AND DIRECT OBJECTS

  • Incorrect: “Tony gave to Leslie the keys.”
  • Correct: “Tony gave the keys to Leslie.”
  • Correct: “Tony gave Leslie the keys.”

The next common mistake that we will correct is putting the direct and indirect objects in the wrong part of your sentence.

Let’s look at the parts of this sentence:

  • Tony is the subject
  • gave is the verb
  • the keys are the direct object
  • Leslie is the indirect object

 

In English, we can form the correct sentence in two ways.

  • subject + verb + indirect object + direct object
    Tony gave Leslie the keys.
  • subject + verb + direct object + to + indirect object
    Tony gave the keys to Leslie.

 

However, you can’t put the indirect object immediately after the verb AND use “to.”

COMMON ENGLISH ERROR #4 – PREPOSITIONS AND VERBS

  • Incorrect: “They left without say goodbye.”
  • Correct: “They left without saying goodbye.”

 

The next extremely common mistake we will correct is using the wrong form of the verb after prepositions.

Verbs immediately following prepositions (like before, after, since, when, while, despite, without, and for) ALWAYS take the -ING form. Here are some examples:

Thank you for call → Thank you for calling

This channel is great for improve your English → This channel is great for improving your English

I dream about play soccer every day → I dream about playing soccer every day.


COMMON ENGLISH ERROR #5 – REPORTED QUESTIONS

  • Incorrect: “He asked me where do I live.”
  • Correct: “He asked me where I live.”

 

The final mistake that we’re gonna correct is incorrectly forming what we call ‘reported questions’.

This sentence is an example of a reported question – we are talking about a question someone asked in the past. 

In reported questions, we don’t use the auxiliary verbs do, does, or did.

Here’s another example:

  • Incorrect: They asked me what did I think.
  • Correct: They asked me what I thought.

 

  • Incorrect: She asked me if I did like basketball.
  • Correct: She asked me if I liked basketball.

I need to remind you that you will not remember any of this information if you don’t study and practice. So review this video if you need to and find some language exchange partners or a teacher so you can start living your life in English.

And if you’re having too much trouble finding a language exchange partner, consider joining the Life in English VIP community where you can practice your English every day with me and other learners of English just like you.

That’s it for now. So thank you for your time and attention. I’ll talk to you soon. Peace!

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