Did I speak it wrongly? That line might sound familiar to some of us. Or we would have uttered something similar from our mouths and felt embarrassed. Even those we consider as English experts, end up fumbling and speaking incorrect English. Of course, it might give us a chance to pull their legs but it is a challenge indeed, to speak the language well. Considering that it is not our mother tongue. Many of the common mistakes are made because we transliterate the language, i.e., think in our mother tongue and then translate it into English or we learn certain words and phrases without figuring out which context they should be used in.
Below are some of the commonly made mistakes when it comes to speaking the language:
A double negative while speaking:
“ I didn’t do nothing.”
We hear such phrases especially on American TV shows and movies and repeat them in our conversations. But what is wrong with it is that one cannot use two negatives together. In this case: didn’t and nothing.
Correction: I didn’t do anything.
And yes, American shows aren’t the right source for learning the correct usage of the language.
Using ‘good’ with a verb (action) during a conversation:
“She sings good”
This is incorrect as with an action, in English, the word “well” is to be used and not “good.” This holds for speaking and writing in English.
Correction :She sings well.
‘Less’ with uncountable nouns:
“There were less people at the function.”
A very common mistake made while expressing ourselves. What has to be kept in mind is that with nouns that can be counted, few is used and not less. Less is used for nouns we cannot count. So even though we have heard “ less pens”, “less toys” and accept it as the correct way of speaking, such expressions are to be avoided.
Correction : “There were few people at the function.”
“This is a office.”
The article ‘a’ comes before nouns which start with a consonant and ‘an’ is used for nouns which start with vowels.
Correction: “This is an office.”
But words which start with a consonant but are pronounced starting with a vowel sound, can also have the article ‘an’ .
Example: “It is an honour to meet you.”
“ I only have an hour to finish my work.”
‘Myself’ as a subject pronoun:
“Myself Arun Bhatia. I’m a C.A.”
This is peculiar to Indians and their use of the English language. We use ‘myself’ as a subject pronoun, while talking about ourselves, when it should be”I”.
Correction:“I am Arun Bhatia. I’m a C.A.”
Using Anyways instead of Anyway
“Anyways, let me know when the report is ready.”
We Indians abundantly use anyways, when we are trying to make a point or wind up a conversation. The correct, formal use of the word is anyway. Anyways is a colloquial form whose use must be avoided during a conversation in a formal setting.
Correction: “Anyway, let me know when the report is ready.”
‘Only’ used liberally:
“ She was here at 9:30 only.”
‘Only’ in English is to be used when we have to convey that something is limited or few in numbers.
The use of this term is prevalent, yet it is incorrect most of the time when used by us.
Correction: “She got here at 9:30.”
‘Me’ used to start a sentence:
“ Me and my friends are going out for a movie.”
‘Me’ is not a subject or doer of action, it is an object or receiver of the action in English. “I” is the pronoun when you have to convey that you did something. And when used with other people, it should be in the second position.
Correction:“‘My friends and I ( second position)are going out for a movie..”
Watch and See
“I see my favourite series every Friday night.”
“ I watch a cat on the table.”
How many of us have made this mistake ? And how many times? Be it children or adults, we use these words while speaking, thinking that they probably mean the same.
‘See’ in English means to notice or become aware of something or someone.
‘Watch’ is used when you look at something or someone for an amount of time and pay attention to what is happening.
Correction:“I watch my favourite series every Friday night.”
Correction: “ I see a cat on the table.”
Saying “prepone” instead of “advanced”
“The meeting was preponed to 4 p.m.”
Prepone is a strange word that we have devised for our requirement. We feel it is the opposite of postpone. Yet it is not a term native English speakers will use .The correct term instead, to be used is “advance”.
Correction: “ The meeting was advanced to 4 p.m.”
The common errors we make are many, but that is the only way to master any subject. Consistent reading and speaking the language ensures reduction in errors and making us capable of self assessment. You can also enroll with Edulyte, for our personalised English language course, formulated by our in-demand English tutors and supported by the latest tech tools to make learning easier and fun! You get a certificate too, post completion of your course. There is a demo class as well, which will give you a good idea about our exceptional courses. Register now and become an English language expert !
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