Common Errors



Scattered through the posts of this blog are mentions of numerous English language errors commonly made by professional writers whose mother tongue is not English. Most of the errors are of grammar (as defined in the post 100. What is a Grammar Error?), but vocabulary, pronunciation, punctuation and spelling also feature.

This page attempts to bring together in one place the most common of the errors mentioned in the blog, so that interested readers can browse through them and link to a more detailed explanation of any that they choose. Further attention is given to errors in general in the post 138. Test Your Command of Grammar.


1. Infinitive after possibility (*possibility to do).

2. The before a generalizing plural or uncountable noun.

3. Of after despite (*despite of).

4. Such as and etc. with the same list.

5. Confusion of such as and namely.

6. “Dangling” participles.

7. Who/which with a participle (*which having/who named).

8. To infinitive after MAKE (*make … to do).

9. Uncountable nouns used as if they were countable (*luggages, *an advice).

10. Dropped pronoun after a subordinating conjunction (*when are).

11. Confusion of everyday and every day.

12. Confusion of regard and regards.

13. Comma instead of a full stop (“spliced” comma).

14. Semi-colon instead of a colon.

15. It instead of this.

16. Incorrect punctuation with however, therefore and similar words.

17. Of wrongly used after the verbs LACK & COMPRISE, about after DISCUSS and into after RESEARCH.

18. Incorrect use of until now.

19. *If + will/would.

20. Incorrect it after as (*as it is shown below).

21. Incorrect use of on the contrary.

22. ALLOW with a directly following infinitive verb (*allow to do).

23. Question mark after indirect questions.

24. Incorrect position of BE in indirect questions (*tell me what is your name).

25. Use of in case instead of if.

26. *Look forward to do (absent -ing).

27. Missing verb after firstly, secondly, etc.

28. Confusion of could and was able to.

29. Confusion of if and when.

30. *The same with/of (wrong preposition).

31. Confusion of aspects and respects.

32. Superlative adjective without the (*first time they have failed).

33. Citation verb in the wrong tense (*Smith wrote that …).

34. Overuse of zero.

35. As and that used together (*As Smith says that …).

36. Confusion of loose/lose, raise/rise, lie/lay.

37. Use of that with CRITICISE.

38. Beginning a sentence with and, but or so.

39. Giving an example with as.

40. Confusion of e.g. and i.e.

41. Use of must instead of have to.

42. Use of informal get, big and a lot in formal writing.

43. *Many of instead of many or many of the.

44. Incorrect use of for + -ing to express purpose (*go for walking).

45. Incorrect pronunciation of word stress.

46. Below placed before a noun (*the below reasons).

47. Infinitive instead of -ing after ENJOY.

48. Confusion of its and it’s.

49. Unnecessary pronoun immediately after the noun it represents (*People, they …).

50. Incorrect use of in a minute’s (hours’/day’s/week’s etc) time.

51. Confusion of comma use before and after for example.

52. Use of *or … or ... to list alternatives.

53. Use of that before an indirect question or command.