TEN OF THE MOST COMMON GRAMMAR ERRORS OF ELL SPEAKERS (not often made by native speakers):

learning English Grammar
The house diagram employed by french language teachers in order for students to visualize which verbs go with être. Employs Image:Bird 1010720 drawing.svg and part of Image:Zwaluwen op dakgoot schaliedak.JPG, all which have been released under the GNU Free Documentation license. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Error #1: Count or Noncount Noun Error

Making English nouns plural can be confusing. “Count” nouns refer to things that can be counted and made into plurals (a hundred dollars, six miles, three children). “Noncount” nouns refer to things that cannot easily be counted (money, wisdom, love, traveling); these usually have no plurals.
Noun error: The box contained many photo of my family.
Correct:      The box contained many photos of my family
Noun error: We have ordered new office equipments.
Correct:      We have ordered new office equipment.

Error #2: Incorrect or Missing Article

The articles a, an, and the signal that a noun will follow. A and an are used in front of nonspecific, singular count nouns (a movie, a cat, an octopus, an advertisement). The is used in front of specific singular and plural nouns (the movie, the cats, the furniture, the future). But be careful: many noncount nouns require no article at all.
Article error: There was beautiful sunrise this morning.
Correct:        There was a beautiful sunrise this morning.
Article error: The martial artists bowed to each other to show the respect.
Correct:        The martial artists bowed to each other to show respect.

Error #3: Preposition Error

Many expressions in English contain prepositions, which can easily confuse the non-native speaker. Tip: memorize common expressions containing prepositions.
Preposition error:  On March, we will go to the mountains.
Correct:                 In March, we will go to the mountains.
Preposition error: Joaquin is acquainted to the president.
Correct:               Joaquin is acquainted with the president.
Other examples of errors with prepositions:

  1. We discussed about his plan.
  2. My sister married with a foreigner.
  3. This table is made by wood.
  4. Yesterday I went to shopping.


Error #4: Repeated Subject

The subject of a sentence should not be repeated in pronoun form.
Repeated subject: My engineering professor she is very smart.
Correct:                 My engineering professor is very smart.

Error #5: Wrong Verb Tense

Make sure your verbs reflect the correct tense (time)-present tense, past tense, and so forth. Study and practice will help you master the verb tenses in English.
Tense error: Yesterday, I cash the refund check and buy a laptop.
Correct:        Yesterday, I cashed the refund check and bought a laptop.
Tense error: The Arteaga brothers wait here for two hours.
Correct:        The Arteaga brothers have waited here for two hours.

Error #6: Irregular Verb Errors

Regular verbs in English end in –ed in both the past tense and past participle (work/ worked, has worked), while irregular verbs often change form (take/ took, has taken). For non-native speakers, the best way to learn irregular verb forms is to memorize them.
Verb error:  Lee cutted fabric for the vests.
Correct:      Lee cut fabric for the vests.
Verb error: They all have went to the film festival.
Correct:     They all have gone to the film festival.

Error #7: Wrong Form After a Verb

Some verbs in English can be followed by an –ing verb form; in many such expressions, a preposition falls between the main verb and the -ing form: He believes in working hard. Other verbs (for example, decide, have, agree, and plan) must be followed by an infinitive (to + the main verb). Don’t use an infinitive where an –ing verb is needed—or vice versa.
Wrong verb form: We enjoy to eat there.
Correct:                We enjoy eating there.
Wrong verb form:   The pilot wanted landing in Dallas.
Correct:                  The pilot wanted to land in Dallas.

Error #8: Wrong Order of Adjectives

ESL writers need to pay special attention to the order of adjectives. In English, when two or more adjectives (modifiers) appear before a noun, they should follow a certain order. Here is the usual order of adjectives in a series:

  1. Article or other noun signal word (a, an, the, most)
    2. Judgment (wonderful, unfair, useful, ugly)
    3. Size (large, tiny, little)
    4. Shape (round, long, bell-shaped)
    5. Age (old, teenaged, modern)
    6. Color (green, yellow, black)
    7. Nationality (Vietnamese, Dominican, Russian)
    8. Material (stone, wood, cotton)

Wrong adjective order: I just bought a yellow new Mini Cooper.
Correct:                          I just bought a new yellow Mini Cooper.
Wrong adjective order: Is that your silver Mexican favorite necklace?
Correct:                        Is that your favorite Mexican silver necklace?
[The above list was taken from the following website:
http://college.cengage.com/devenglish/fawcett/evergreen/7e/students/esl_errors.html ]

Error #9:  Wrong Form of Word or Wrong Word Usage (Therefore it’s especially important to teach word families and usage of each word in word families.)

Exs of errors:

  1. I image it is an elite school.
  2. I am exciting about my new job.
  3. My friend borrowed me his book.
  4. Lately, work is very busy so I work hardly.


Error #10:  Phrasal Verbs and noun and pronoun objects

Noun objects of phrasal verbs may or may not be separated (called the game off; called off the game), but pronoun objects must be separated (called it off)
Wrong order: There is no game today because the coach called off it.
Correct:         There is no game today because the coach called it off.


#1: Lack of subject/verb agreement – especially with compound subjects  (ELLs will often have more errors with agreement of simple subjects).
#2: Past tense error
#3: Past participle error
#4: Run-on sentence or comma splice
#5: Sentence fragment
#6: Pronoun error
#7: Apostrophe error
#8: Comma error
#9: Illogical verb tense shift
#10: Misplaced or confusing modifier
For more details on these errors, see this website: http://college.cengage.com/devenglish/fawcett/evergreen/7e/students/grammar_errors.html
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