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10 English mistakes Indians make

Last updated on: September 10, 2015 18:37 IST

Even the best of learners struggle with basic sentence construction. Saurabh Chopra tells us how to correct them.

Learning English is simple -- not easy -- only if one makes a decision to be a lifelong learner.

Even the best learners tend to stumble upon grammatical errors and make basic mistakes, when it comes to constructing a sentence correctly.

So how can one incrementally improve one's English language skill and avoid rudimentary mistakes while learning the language?

Presenting a list of common mistakes most English learners make; fixing these would go a long way in helping an individual master the minutiae of learning the English language.

Mistake 1: Introductions

'Myself Amit. I belong to Delhi' or similar introductory sentences are often used and the mistakes are repetitive.

Both these sentences are incorrect.

A better way of introducing oneself is to simply say 'I am Amit. I am from Delhi.'

Or

'My name is Amit. I live in Delhi.'

Mistake 2: Forming plurals

'I have two childrens.'

'I need some informations about the course.'

English learners often make mistakes in forming plurals.

'Children' is the correct plural form of the noun 'child'.

'Information' is an uncountable noun and hence, doesn't have a plural form.

Mistake 3. Similar sounding words

'Be careful. You will loose your phone.'

Words like 'Lose' and 'Loose' are often used interchangeably.

'Loose' should generally be used as an adjective, the opposite of 'tight' or 'contained'

For example: This pair of jeans is loose around my waist.

'Lose' is a verb that means 'to suffer the loss of'.

Another example: Don't lose the car keys.

Mistake 4. Talking about past events

'Did you met him yesterday?'

'We didn't went to Mumbai last month.'

While using the past tense, especially in negative and interrogative sentences, many learners use the incorrect verb form.

It is important to remember to use the base form of the verb while making negative and interrogative sentence in the past tense.

The correct sentences are:          

'Did you meet him yesterday?'

'We didn't go to Mumbai last month.'

Mistake 5. Making comparisons

'He is the most tallest boy in the class.'

'This house is more big than our house.'

Both the sentences above are incorrect.

In the first sentence, we do not need the word 'most' before  the superlative adjective 'tallest'.

In the second one, the word 'bigger' needs to be used instead of 'more big'.

Mistake 6. Usage of articles

Most Indian languages do not have the concept of articles.

That is the reason many learners either do not use articles at all or use articles where they are not required.

Consider the following incorrect sentences:

'I am going to the Mumbai next month.'

'Can I borrow pen?'

In the first sentence, we have used the article 'the' which is incorrect. We do not use articles before the names of cities.

In the second one, the indefinite article 'a' is required before the noun 'pen'.

Mistake 7. Usage of 'much' and 'many'

Another common mistake is the interchangeable use of quantifiers.

Consider the following incorrect sentences -

'How many time will it take?'

'How much people are there in the room?'

The rule is that we use the quantifier 'much' with uncountable nouns like 'time'  and the quantifier 'many' with countable nouns like 'people'.

Mistake 8. Telling the time

'It is 3 pm in the afternoon.'

'It is 6 pm and 30 minutes.'

The sentences above convey the meaning but the language used is incorrect. The correct sentences are-

'It is 3 pm'

'It is 6:30 pm' / 'It is half past six'

Note that we do not use 'in the morning / afternoon/evening' when we use 'am' or 'pm'

Mistake 9. Subject verb agreement

'He live in Kanpur.'

'We lives Kanpur.'

Such mistakes are the most commonly made mistakes by beginners.

It is important to use the singular verb with the singular subject and plural verb with plural subjects.

The correct sentences are:

'He lives in Kanpur.'

'We live in Kanpur.'

Mistake 10. Usage of prepositions

Most English learners get confused about the correct usage of prepositions. Both the sentences below are incorrect.

'My birthday is in April 4th.'

'I will visit China on March.'

We use the prepositions 'on' with days / dates and the preposition 'in' for months / years.

Hence, the correct sentences are:

'My birthday is on April 4th'

'I will visit China in March.'

By mastering the basics, one can learn this language with fun and ease.

The author is Saurabh Chopra, Cofounder and Managing Director, Leap Learning Solutions

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Credit: Abhishek Mande/Rediff Archives

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