10 Most Embarrassing Mistakes in English


“Knowledge of language is the doorway to wisdom”- Roger Bacon

Language, (either spoken or written) is a structured means of communication through which human beings exchange ideas, thoughts, expressions, feelings and informations in order to meet their needs.

English Language is the third most spoken language of the world. It is ironic that English education which was promoted by an alien culture in India has now  become a ‘lingua franca’ in India. Yet, even though, English has now become a basic medium of communication for us, there are some everyday glitches to which we have made ourselves so accustomed to that we fail to take notice.

In the professional world, it is crucial to have a good hold of the language, its syntax, its rules and use because this becomes a reflection professionalism and wisdom of an individual. However, with the infiltration of the slangs and the so-called “WhatsApp” texts in our society, people have adapted themselves to a flawed language. We must realise the depth of adapting ourselves to such a faulty grammar or syntax. These errors may work in informal conversations but they can simply put someone off in the corporate world. 



Here are some most silly and most embarrassing mistakes that people often make while using English on day to day basis:

1. The ‘DID’ horror
This error is the worst one to commit. The word ‘did’ is used as a past participle of the verb ‘do’ as well as an auxiliary/helping verb with base verbs in the past tense. In the latter usage of ‘did’, the present form of the base verb is used with it. 

For example:

Correct Usage: 
When did you arrive?, I did not write that letter, I didn’t do it., etc.

Incorrect Usage:
I did sended it, when did you came?, He did performed at the wedding, etc.



2. The -er and more conflict / -est and most conflict
While using the comparative form of adjectives, it is very common to make this error. The word ‘more’ is used with some exceptional adjectives which cannot be converted into comparative form by adding -er. Similarly this concept can be applied for ‘most’ and the superlative tense. 

For example:

Correct Usage: 
More beautiful, more interesting, most complicated, etc.

Incorrect Usage:
More clearer, more farther, most best, etc.



3. Its or it’s?

This mistake is so tricky that it can confuse even the most erudite. But, there is a very easy way to learn the correct usage. ‘It’s’ is short for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ ergo, the apostrophe. Whereas ‘its’ is used to represent either the subject’s attributes or something it posses.

For example:

Correct Usage: 

It’s raining, I think it’s right, give me its location, what’s its name, etc.



4. Your or you’re ?

This is another common mistake made by many people. Though, Ross Geller from the famous American sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. has made this error quite popular, yet not many people know the use of these two words correctly. ‘You’re’ is short for ‘you are’ and ‘your’ represents possession. 

For example:

Correct Usage:

You’re beautiful, your name, you’re welcome, your data.



5. Their, there & they’re?

These three words continue to puzzle many people. ‘Their’ is the possessive case of the pronoun ‘they’, whereas ‘there’ is an adverb that means “in or at that place”.  ’They’re’ is a contraction of the words ‘they’ and ‘are’. 

For example:

Correct Usage:

Their home is nearby, There is his car, They’re late.  



6. The ‘does’ dilemma

The verb ‘do’ exists in two forms in the present tense i.e., do and does. The verb is used as ‘does’ whenever the subject is a singular second person. It is also used in two ways just like ‘did’.  The most common error that people make is of adding an extra ‘-s’ after the base verb when the word ‘does’ is used as an auxiliary verb. The base verb is put without any added ‘-s’ and in the present tense form. 

For example:

Correct Usage: 

She does sing, Does he work with you?, etc.

Incorrect Usage:

She does writes to me, Doesn’t it sounds familiar?, etc.



7. The Past Participle 

There are a few verbs whose past participle is same as their present form. They are called irregular verbs. A lot of times, people create wrong past participles by adding ‘-ed’ or ‘-ted’, etc. in the end of the present form. One must always be conscious and aware of such words. 

For example:

Correct Usage: 

I cut the fruits yesterday, The balloon got burst, He hurt me, etc.

Incorrect Usage:

I cutted , He putted, It bursted, etc.



8. Except or accept or Expect?

These words are very tricky and are frequently used interchangeably. Though there is a huge difference in not only their spellings and but also their meanings yet these words are confusing due to similarity of  pronunciation. 

‘Except’  means to exclude and ‘Expect’ means to regard something as probably or likely and hope with certainty. ‘Accept’ means to receive, or to agree with. 

For example :

Correct Usage: 

I expect nothing in return, Please accept the offer, I will do everything except dancing, I accept the challenge, Exceptions are always there, High expectations et cetera.

Incorrect Usage:

I except your challenge, Please expect the offer et cetera



9. Effect or affect?

Affect is a verb meaning to influence something and effect is for something that was influenced. Hence, they complement each other. The difference between affect and effect is so slippery that people have started using "impact" as a verb instead. For example :

Correct Usage : 

It affected me a lot, Its effect is devastating, The medicines are effective, Radiation affects the heart and brain, et cetera



10. Then or than?

This is the last but not the least common mistake. People often get confused between ‘then’ or ‘than’.  The word ‘then’ is used to talk about a particular time in the past or the future. We also use ‘then’ to talk about something coming immediately after something else in time or order. Whereas, ‘than’ is used in a comparative context. You will mainly find ‘than’ when people compare one person or thing with another. 

For example:

Correct Usage : 

Let’s sit then, First do the homework, then go and play, chocolate is better than vanilla, By then, it was dark, I like tea more than coffee, etc.




These are some common  mistakes people make in their spoken or written English which can work out in informal conversations but will be a cause of embarrassment in the professional world. One must take heed of these minor yet not so minor everyday errors and try to work on them.

- Apoorva Garg

Source: https://mindgrad.com/free-reads/f/10-most-embarrassing-mistakes-in-english


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10 Most Embarrassing Mistakes in English 10 Most Embarrassing Mistakes in English Reviewed by EMN on March 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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