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The 10 Commonest Grammatical Errors

Rajesh , 2788

With the advent of globalization and with English becoming the language of the world, one simply cannot afford to lag behind. English is not our mother tongue, and the average Indian commits a fair number of errors while speaking and writing in the language. This article will mention the 10commonest mistakes in English, along with their correct usage and explanations.

You and me/You and I: People are often confused whether to use “You and I” or “You and me”. To distinguish and correctly choose between the two, substitute the two phrases with “we” and “us”. If the sentence supports “we”, then “You and I” is the correct phrase and if the sentence supports “us”, then the latter, i.e. “you and me”, may be use”. For instance, consider “You and I will go for dinner tonight.” After the relevant substitutions, notice how “We will go for dinner tonight” makes perfect sense. On the other hand, observe the sentence “This secret is unknown to you and me.” Substituting as before, the pronoun “us” admirably replaces the phrase, “you and me”.

Continual and continuous: These two words are often used as synonyms, but there is as a matter of fact a very thin line of difference between the two. ‘Continually’ is used when something takes place repeatedly after fixed gaps or intervals. It is synonymous with the phrase, ‘periodically’. ‘Continuously’ on the other hand, is used when an action is devoid of break or interval. In other words, continual is start-and-stop, while continuous is nonstop.

Prepositions related to talk and speak: This is another area where people make mistakes. Some think it to be a difference between American English and British English difference, but the rule is really very simple. When you “talk”, you use “to” post-haste; and when you say “speak”, you use “with” post-haste. For example, you can talk to me. And you can speak with me.

Anyway/Anyways: “Anyways, I’ll talk to you later.” This is incorrect and informal. The correct usage is, “Anyway, I’ll talk to you later.” You could just as well assume that the word “anyways” doesn’t even exist.

Beside/besides: The difference here lies in the aspect of parts of speech. Beside and besides are two different words belonging to different parts of speech. Beside is a preposition, meaning “next to” and besides is more of a conjunction meaning “apart from”. For example, “Come and sit beside me”. And “Besides tea, I’d like to have some biscuits too”.

Using two negatives together: This is, once again, a very common mistake made while speaking in English. We often say, “I don’t want no books.” The error here is that we have used don’t and no in the sentence which are negative words. The two negatives cancel out each other and the sentence takes on a positive meaning “I want books.” The correct framing here will use just one out of the two negatives i.e. either “I don’t want books” or “I want no books.” The former, incidentally, is preferred.

Until/unless: These two words are often used interchangeably, but actually there is a difference between the two. ‘Until’ is used with respect to time while ‘unless’ is used with respect to condition. For example, “I will not start until he comes” and “Unless you promise me, I won’t lend you the money”. In the first sentence, the word “comes” highlights the aspect of time, hence justifying the usage of until. In the other sentence, there is a condition of making a promise, which leads to the usage of unless.

Avoid redundancies: The word redundant means useless. Often we tend to use two words with the same meaning in one sentence, which leads to redundancies. For instance, “Don’t repeat this mistake again”. Here, the word “again” is redundant because “repeat” itself means “again”. The correct usage would have been, “Don’t repeat this mistake”.

Envy and jealousy: The word “envy” implies a longing for someone else’s good fortune. “Jealousy” is far more nefarious. It’s a fear of rivalry, often present in sexual situations. “Envy” is when you covet your friend’s good looks. “Jealousy” is what happens when your significant other swoons over your good-looking friend.

Farther and further: The word “farther” implies a measurable distance. “Further” means “more” should be reserved for abstract lengths you can't always measure. For example, “I threw the ball ten feet farther than Bill.” And “The financial crisis caused further implications.”

School Nostalgia

Rajesh , 2788