The Most Common Grammar Mistakes in English

Correcting with red ink pen

Language is one of the products of a community that sometimes has flexible rules that not everyone can understand. Sometimes the flexibility of the language itself makes people break some of the basic rules of language syntax. Errors in grammar generally occur and are not realized. Therefore, I was lucky to get a free sample of Espresso English Courses by Shayna Oliveira.
Here is a list that contains the most common grammar mistakes in English that occur in everyday life. Make sure you do not miss a thing! For a further reading, check a post How to Improve Your Writing: Avoid These Common Grammar Mistakes by Wordvice US, they write a great post! And also check How Do Top Student Study by Cubicless to leverage your potential.

The Most Common Grammar Mistakes in English

Said / Told

Wrong: She said me that she was happy.
Right: She told me that she was happy or She said that she was happy.

Tell means “to give information to a person” – so tell (present) and told (past) are always followed by a person: me, you, him, her, us, them, John, Jane, the teacher, etc. With say (present) or said (past), we can use these structures:

say (something)

  • Francis says she doesn’t like chocolate.

say that (something)

  • I said that the new website design was great.

say (something) to (a person)

  • What did the teacher say to you when you failed the test?

“(something)” a person said

  • “Nice to meet you,” Harry said.

Just remember – you say something, and you tell someone something!

Irregular Plurals

Wrong: I have three childrens.
Right: I have three children. or I have three kids.

The plural of “child” is “children” – because the word “children” is already plural, we don’t add “s.” Another possibility is to say “kids,” which is an alternative word for “children.” Here are some more nouns with irregular plurals:

  • person / people
  • man / men
  • woman / women
  • foot / feet
  • tooth / teeth
  • mouse / mice
  • fish / fish
  • crisis / crises
  • nucleus / nuclei

Years Old

WrongMy daughter has eight years. or My daughter has eight years old
Right: My daughter is eight years old.

When speaking about age in English, we use the verb be (am, is, are) and not have/has.

  • I’m thirty years old.
  • My nephew is fourteen years old.
  • These houses are 200 years old.

We can also say am / are / is + age without “years old”:

  • I’m thirty.
  • My nephew is fourteen.
  • My kids are six and eight.

When it is somebody’s birthday, we say they turn age:

  • We threw a big party when my mother turned fifty.
  • My husband’s turning forty next month.
  • My youngest cousin just turned three.

Marriage / Wedding

Wrong: I’m going to my best friend’s marriage on Sunday.
RightI’m going to my best friend’s wedding on Sunday.

Wedding -> The ceremony

  • I’m going to my cousin’s wedding on October 7.
  • We want to have a band at our wedding reception.
  • The wedding will be at the church, and the reception will be at a restaurant.

Marriage -> The relationship in general or the institution in society

  • My parents have a strong marriage. They’ve been together for 35 years.
  • New York has just legalized gay marriage.
  • Over 40{2b74503c6d54fbb70c5b6b7318afd0dccb2199033ff1b0afa192bc55eb8e68dc} of marriages end in divorce.

Married -> Describes the status of a person

  • My sister isn’t married. She’s single.
  • I’ve been married for 5 years.

Get married -> The action of going from single to married

  • We’re getting married in July.
  • My teacher got married last year.

Need / Have to

Wrong: I need study more.
Right: I need to study more. or I have to study more.

When the word need is followed by a verb, we say need to (or have to). When the word need is followed by a noun, we don’t use “to”:

Need + noun:

  • I need a book.
  • I need a chair.
  • They need a help!

Need to + verb:

  • There was no need to rush. (Check here: Need Sentence Examples by  Your Dictionary)
  • I need to go to the library.
  • You need to write this down!
  • He needs to remember this day.

Meet / Know

Wrong: I knew him last year.
Right: I met him last year.

Meet has two meanings:

When you have the first contact with a person.

  • I met him last year.

When you will encounter someone you already know. In this case, we often use “meet
with” or “meet up with”.

  • I’m meeting up with some friends at the bar after work.

Know has two different meanings/uses:

With knowledge and skills in general

  • He knows everything about computers.

With knowing people in general.

  • Do you know Janet? She’s in the advanced English class. – No, I don’t think I know her.


Wrong: Can you explain me the problem?
Right: Can you explain the problem to me?

Explain is like “say/said” – we explain something to someone. We can also say “explain that” –.

  • The agent explained that our flight had been delayed 30 minutes because of the storm.

Recommend / Suggest

Wrong: I recommend you to get more exercise.
Right: I recommend that you get more exercise. or You should get more exercise.

Recommend and suggest are followed by that or by the –ing form. Don’t use “to”!

  • I suggested that he see a doctor.
  • I suggested seeing a doctor.
  • I suggested him to see a doctor.

Ask / Ask for / Ask about

Wrong: I asked to my boss…
Right: I asked my boss…

Never use a preposition between “ask” and the person you are asking. When you want an object, you can use ask for + object:

  • I asked for a hamburger.
  • I asked my boss for a raise.

When you want general information, you can use ask about:

  • I asked about her family.
  • She asked me about my job.

When you want specific information, you can use ask + (question word):

  • I asked how much the camera cost.
  • Let’s ask what time the theater opens.
  • One moment – I’m on the phone asking my brother where we can park the car.

Finally, when you want somebody to do something, you can use ask (someone) to:

  • I asked him to turn off the lights.
  • Martha asked me not to use her computer.
  • We’re going to ask the teacher to help us.

Pass the time / Spend time

Wrong: I pass a lot of time reading.
Right: I spend a lot of time reading.

Use “spend time” to talk about the time you do an activity. The expression pass the time is different – it means doing something to make the time pass faster while you are waiting for something else, for example,

  • I look at the magazines to pass the time while waiting for my appointment at the dentist’s office.


Where do you go? Follow the right path!
Where do you go? Follow the right path!

Never underestimate grammar mistakes. Grammar mistakes will definitely make you trouble in the future. Start by learning about the most common grammar mistakes like this post. Next, visit another post that will help you become smarter in the language.
As a first step, you can consider using Grammarly a free grammar checker, a service to fix grammar mistakes as you type. Register here and get the ease of one-week free premium subscription (God bless you! I am using the free version and it works like a charm). Look at this picture below, do you see the red circle and yellow circle? Yes, there are grammatical mistakes detected by Grammarly. It shows 8 because there are some grammatical mistakes as examples on this post.

Grammarly at work!
Grammarly at work!

So, what do you think? Leave your comment below. Consider reading What are the best one-minute life hacks that work?  to learn how not to waste our time. Admit it, we often waste time. See you again! Have a nice day!

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