The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Top 15 most common mistakes Russian speakers make in English

'21.01.2022'

A source: Fluent u

Remember that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process! And to allow them less often, check out the material of the portal Fluent u.

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So it happened.

When communicating in English, you made a mistake and felt terribly ashamed!

You have turned red like a cancer and more than anything else you want to sink into the ground. Or at least fly home on the next flight.

But don't worry - it's okay. It is normal to be embarrassed and make mistakes when learning a new language, this happens to everyone, whether in speech or writing.

Why you should check out common mistakes in English

Have you ever made mistakes in English speech? Perhaps because of this, they even got into some ridiculous situations?

Let's say after an English lesson you want to compliment your teacher and say: You teach English good (“You teach English well”).

It's not easy to get up the courage and openly speak to your teacher, right?

And she replies: You think I teach English well? thank you! (“Do you think I'm good at teaching English? Thanks.”) Oops! You completely forgot that the word is not used with verbs goodand instead you need to use well. English can be a bit confusing! And so, instead of feeling proud of your attempt to speak English on your own (and you should always be proud of yourself), you are embarrassed because of your grammatical error.

Or here's another example. Let's say your good English-speaking friend is moving to another city or another country. In parting you say to him: I will always forget you (“I will always forget you”). Through laughter he answers: I will never forget you either (“I will never forget you either”).

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Later you realize that you have confused and used words together. forget (“Forget”) and always (“Always”), so your well-rehearsed farewell speech takes on a completely different meaning, and you feel like a fool as a result.

Many English learners are obsessed with honing their skills to perfection; each mistake upsets them greatly, and they spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. No one is perfect, so we all feel embarrassed and ashamed of our mistakes from time to time.

But no matter how hard you try to prevent such moments, they can never be avoided for sure. But you can learn to extract from them the opportunity to learn something new, laugh at yourself or even make a friend.

Perhaps you will feel better when I say that even native speakers make mistakes. Therefore, instead of laughing at people for whom English is not native, it is worth realizing that native speakers are constantly mistaken.

For example, in English TV shows, characters often say something like: This is your guy's cat, right? (“This is your boyfriend’s cat?”). In fact, the proposal should be like this: This cat belongs to you guys, right? (“Guys, is this your cat?”)

Although the writers try to convey the correct English grammar used “in the real world,” the result is that they make more mistakes than they can intentionally make up.

That said, many English learners watch TV shows to improve their grammar. When dialogue is disrupted due to errors in English, misunderstandings and confusion arise. Many mistakes occur in both written and spoken language.

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Even native speakers are constantly confused good и well, so if this happened to you, believe me - you are not alone!

15 common mistakes in English you can easily avoid

Each example contains a common mistake. Check if you can understand for yourself what it is, and then read the detailed explanation.

Grammatical errors

  1. It's (“This”) or Its ("Own / -th / -oё")

Error example: The spider spun it's web. Its a very beautiful web.
The spider has woven this web. Its a very beautiful web.

Explanation: "Its" without an apostrophe - this is the possessive form of the pronoun ("own / -a / -oё"). In the example above, when talking about spider webs, you should use the possessive pronoun "Its" ("His"), as it belongs to the spider.

"It's" with an apostrophe is an abbreviation for "It is" (“This”) or "It has" (“He / she has”). When discussing the beauty of the spider web, we say that "It is a very beautiful web" (“This is a very beautiful web”). Therefore, instead of "Its" abbreviation "It's".

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So from now on, if you are not sure which word to use "It's" or "Its", try to insert into the sentence "It is" (“This”) or "It has" (“He / she has”). If it's some kind of nonsense, then you need a word "Its" (“My / th / oo”). For example, phrases “The spider spun it is web” ("A spider spun this web") and “The spider spun it has web” ("A spider has woven it has a web") just don't make sense. Therefore it must be said "The spider spun its web" (“The spider has woven its web”).

Correctly: The spider spun its web. It's a very beautiful web.
The spider has woven its web. This is a very beautiful web.

  1. Concordance of a verb with a noun

Error example: The list of items are on the desk.
The list of items is on the table.

Explanation: The above sentence is about one list of items. Therefore, you should not use "Are" (plural verb), and "Is" (singular verb).

Correctly: The list of items is on the desk.
The list of items is on the table.

  1. Gone or Went (gone, gone, gone)

Error example: She had already gone to the bathroom before they got in the car.
She had already visited the bathroom before they got into the car.

Explanation: If you are not sure which verb you should use "Gone" or "Went", remember that the verb "Gone" always used only with an auxiliary verb, for example: has, have, had, is, am, are, was, were, be.

But the word “Went”, on the contrary, it cannot be used with an auxiliary verb.

In the above sentence, we used the word "Went", although it is preceded by an auxiliary verb "Had", whereby we have to use "Gone"And not "Went".

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Correctly: She had already gone to the bathroom before they got in the car.
She had already visited the bathroom before they got into the car.

  1. Watch, Look (watch), See (see)

Examples of error: Stop watching my private journal. / I look at the snow falling. / I don't play tennis, but I look at them playing every day.
Stop looking at my diary. / I look at the falling snow. / I don't play tennis, but I watch them play every day.

Explanation: Values ​​of words "See", "Look" и "Watch" often confused. The point is that they are used in different situations. Here's how you can explain the difference between these three verbs:

look - to specifically look at something.

See - to accidentally see something, although we did not strive for it.

Watch - to look carefully at something, especially if it is moving.

So, we can “see” something even if we don't want to, but we can only “look at” something on purpose.

Correctly: Stop looking at my private journal. / I watch the snow falling. / I don't play tennis, but I see them playing every day.
Stop looking at my diary. / I watch the snow fall. / I don't play tennis, but every day I see how they play.

  1. Incorrect pronoun placement

Error example: Take a deep breath through your nose and hold it.
Take a deep breath through your nose and hold it.

Explanation: The singular pronoun in this sentence should replace a noun, but it is just not clear which noun it replaces. Closest to pronoun "It" worth the word "Nose" (“Nose”), so that there is a feeling that you need to “hold” your nose. But we meant breathing.

With the correct use of the pronoun, you can easily understand which noun it replaces. Try not to have any ambiguous interpretations in your proposal. If they do appear, it is better not to use the pronoun at all and do not change the sentence!

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Correctly: Take a breath through your nose and hold your breath.
Take a deep breath through your nose and hold your breath.

Speech errors

  1. Future time

Error example: I will be going to the dance party yesterday.
I'll go to the party yesterday.

Explanation: The above sentence misused future tense because the sentence tells you what happened in the past - yesterday. Future tense should only be used in relation to what has not yet happened, but will happen in the future.

Correctly: I will be going to the dance party tomorrow.
I'll go to the party tomorrow.

  1. Literally or figuratively

Examples of error: I'm literally melting because it's so hot. / Figuratively speaking, it's 100 degrees out here.
I literally melt from the heat. / Figuratively speaking, here it is 100 degrees of heat.

Explanation: The error is that the word "Literally" (“Literally”) means “literally” or “in fact”, but the word "Figuratively" ("Figuratively") does not imply the reality of what is happening. It is used to exaggerate or generalize.

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Correctly: Figuratively speaking, I'm melting because it's so hot. / It's literally 100 degrees out here.
I, figuratively speaking, melt from the heat. / It's literally 100 degrees of heat.

  1. Loan (borrow) or Borrow (borrow)

Error example: Can you borrow me that book? You can loan me my notes.
Can you borrow that book for me? You can lend me my notes.

Explanation: With these phrases you can puzzle your interlocutor, because "Loan" means "to lend" and "Borrow" - "to borrow". You just need to learn the correct meaning by heart.

For example, the phrase "Borrow me that book" from example means “take me that book”. Where should the interlocutor take her? You didn't mean that!

In fact, you would like to use the book, so you want to be given it.

Correctly: Can you loan me that book? You can borrow my notes.
Can you lend me that book? You can borrow my notes.

  1. Spoken or formal speech

Error example: (at the interview) Hey, what's up?
Hello, what's up?

Explanation: Consider who you are talking to! Leave the conversational style for friends, but you should not contact your boss that way. Stick to formal speech, slang can sound not only inappropriate, but, moreover, rude. In formal speech, you should avoid abbreviations (say "How is"And not "How's"), try to be polite.

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Correctly: Hello, how is everything going?
Hello, how are you?

  1. Since (s) or For (during)

Error example: I have known him for always. I saw him since last year.
I've known him for eternity. I've seen him since last year.

Explanation: When you don't need to define a span of time, since the sentence already reflects an implied period, use "For" ("during"). If the sentence contains only a certain starting point and you need to set a time period, use "Since" ("from").

Correctly: I have lived here for two months. / I have lived here since 1975.
I have lived here for two months. (You do not need to set the period, it is already named - “two months”) / I have lived here since 1975. (Calculation is required here. You came here in 1975 - this is the starting point. What year is it now?)

Written errors

  1. Academic English or friendly writing style

Error example: (in scientific work) If u want to know my opinion tho, IDK who should be president.
But if you are interested in my opinion, then you have no idea who should be president.

Explanation: Try to break the habit of using your writing style to express your ideas. Write normally. Such a language is inappropriate in educational work. Slang words like "IDK" (which means "I don't know" - “I don’t know”) are acceptable only in friendly conversations and correspondence.

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Correctly: If you want to know my opinion, I do not know who should be president.
If you are interested in my opinion, then I do not know who should be president.

  1. Punctuation

Error example: (in a business letter) Dear Mrs. Jones: I am still interested in the job and want to thank you for the interview! I hope you will consider me for the following programs, A, B and C.
Dear Mrs Jones: I am still interested in this job and I want to thank you for the interview! I hope that you will consider the possibility of my participation in the following programs, A, B and C.

Explanation: Place punctuation marks thoughtfully.

In the example above, referring to Mrs. Jones, use a comma.

Colons are used when you want to make a list, not when talking to someone.

The recipient may find the use of the exclamation point unprofessional. The exclamation point is usually used to express strong emotions, and your potential employer is unlikely to be interested in your emotions.

Correctly: Dear Mrs. Jones, I am still interested in the job, and I wanted to thank you for the interview. I hope you will consider me for the following programs: A, B and C.
Dear Mrs Jones, I am still interested in this job, and I want to thank you for the interview. I hope that you will consider the possibility of my participation in the following programs: A, B and C.

  1. Merged offers

Error example: I am a woman and I am a good mother and I am an office worker.
I am a woman and I am a good mother and I am an office worker.

Explanation: A phrase that cannot be said in one breath should not be written in this way. A fused sentence is a complex sentence in which, when two or more independent simple sentences (that is, complete, with subject and predicate) are combined, the necessary punctuation marks are missing. The example is missing a dot after the word "Woman" (“Woman”) and this sentence should be split into two separate ones.

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Correctly: I am a woman. I am a good mother and an office worker.
I am a woman. I am a good mother and office worker.

  1. Apostrophes

Error example: A womans hat was left on the bus. / Two dogs use the dish. It is the dogs's dish.
A woman's hat was left on the bus. / Two dogs eat from a bowl. This is their bowl.

Explanation: The apostrophes mean that something belongs to the noun. The first sentence is missing an apostrophe, although it is about a hat belonging to a woman.

The second sentence has two dogs, but the apostrophe is misused. If the noun is singular and you want to convey ownership, you must always add 's at the end. This is true even if the noun ends in "S"... Nouns that are plural and do not end in "S", also acquire 's at the end. If they end in "S", then the apostrophe should be placed after "S".

Correctly: A woman's hat was left on the bus. / Two dogs use the dish. It is the dogs' dish.
A woman's hat was left on the bus. / Two dogs eat from a bowl. This is their bowl.

  1. Capital letters

Error example: one rainy day, i saw sarah at union street library.
One rainy day I saw Sara in the library on Union Street.

Explanation: In the given example, only in the word "Union" ("Union") is a capital letter, while there should be more.

If you are having trouble deciding whether to capitalize, ask yourself three questions:

Is this the first letter in a sentence? If the answer is yes, then you should capitalize the word. In our example, the first word is "One"so it must be capitalized.

This pronoun "I" ("I am")? If yes, use a capital letter. "I" (“I”) is always capitalized.

Am I giving someone's name or a title? If so - again, you need uppercase letters. "Sarah" (“Sarah”) is capitalized; well, in the phrase "Union Street Library" (“Union Street Library”) all words should be capitalized as this is the official name of the place.

Correctly: One rainy day, I saw Sarah at Union Street Library.
One rainy day, I saw Sarah in the Library on Union Street.

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Some people think that learning to be fluent in another language is only possible if you speak quickly and use difficult words. In fact, all you need to achieve fluency is just speaking.

The more you speak, the faster and more confident your speech will become. Also, be aware of the essence of the conversation. It is better to speak slowly but correctly than to speak quickly but with mistakes.

Why? Because if you speak slowly and correctly, you can easily improve your reading, speaking and writing skills. All it takes is practice. Eventually, you will feel like you can confidently speak or write about anything!

If you follow the rules above and still make a bunch of mistakes in your conversation, it may be better to focus on writing for a while. It is easier to build correct sentences in writing - you can use a dictionary and check the Internet to avoid frequent mistakes. Plus there is no need to worry about pronunciation.

Now take a deep breath and remind yourself that you learn from mistakes. Of course, you have to work on mistakes, but don't be self-criticizing.

Just enjoy the language learning process! Be proud of what you have achieved so far, and others will notice your strengths too.

Learn from mistakes and move on.

And as you learn to benefit from them, each new mistake will only make you stronger.

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