Common errors in English: Usage of Hard and Hardly

Hard and Hardly


Incorrect : It is raining hardly. 


Correct : It is raining hard.


Note: "Hard' means heavily or severely. It is an adverb of manner, But 'hardly’ means "scarcely'. It is an adverb of time. You can say: 


It hardly rains here.

The baby can hardly walk.


“Hard” comes after the verb but “hardly" comes before the verb.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Before and Ago

 Before and Ago


Incorrect : He came here before two days. 


Correct : He came here two days ago.


Incorrect : Haven’t you seen me ago? 


Correct : Haven't you seen me before?


Note: We use "ago' in counting from the time of speaking to a point in the past. It is used only in the past tense.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Very much and Too much

 Very much and Too much


Incorrect : I like the film too much. 


Correct : I like the film very much.


Incorrect : He ate very much and became ill. 


Correct : He ate too much and became ill.


Note : “Very much' is stronger than "much'. "Too much’ denotes an excessive quantity or degree.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Very and Much

Very and Much


Incorrect : It is a much interesting book.


Correct : It is a very interesting book.


Incorrect : He is very stronger than you. 


Correct : He is much stronger than you.


Note : “Very’ is used with adverbs and adjectives in the positive degree but ‘much' is used with adjectives and adverbs in the comparative degree. On the other hand, much is used with adjectives made from the passive form of verbs and very is used with ordinary adjectives. For example:


This picture is much admired. 

This picture is very beautiful.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Very and Too

 Very and Too


Incorrect : I feel too weak today. 


Correct : I feel very weak today.


Incorrect : He is very weak to walk.


Correct . He is too weak to Walk.


Note : “Very” simply makes an adjective or adverb stronger. ‘Too' means more than enough, or so much that something else happens as a result. 


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Common errors in English: Usage of Sweep and Brush

 Sweep and Brush


Incorrect : I sweep my teeth twice a day. 


Correct : I brush my teeth twice a day.


Incorrect : The woman is brushing the path. 


Correct : The woman is sweeping the path.


Note: You can brush any surface using a brush with a short handle held in one hand. You sweep a floor, path etc using a brush with a long handle held in two hands.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Start and Begin

 Start and Begin


You can use these two verbs often interchangeably. For example:


He started/began to dance in joy. 

He started/began dancing.


However, the "-ing' form after ‘begin' is less common. 


But -


Incorrect : The car won't begin. 


Correct : The car won't start.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Spoiled and Spoilt

Spoiled and Spoilt


These two words can be used interchangeably as past and past participle forms of the verb "spoil'. For example: 

The cook has spoiled/spoilt the soup by putting too much salt in it.


But –


Incorrect: He is a spoiled child of his parents. 


Correct . He is a spoilt child of his parents.


Note: When you use the past participle form of the verb "Spoil’ as an adjective to describe a person, you should use “spoilt”, not “spoiled”.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Refuse and Refute

Refuse and Refute


Incorrect : She refuted my invitation. 


Correct : She refused my invitation.


Incorrect : I refused all his arguments in the debate. 


Correct : I refuted all his arguments in the debate.


Note: When you refuse anything, you state your strong unwillingness to accept it. And when you refute anything, you prove that it is wrong.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Perceive and Conceive

 Perceive and Conceive


Incorrect : I conceived a subtle change in her manner. 


Correct : I perceived a subtle change in her manner.


Incorrect : She perceived a bold plan of escape. 


Correct : She conceived a bold plan of escape.


Note: You perceive (= notice) something that exists outside you but you conceive (= form in the mind) an idea. "Conceive” also means “become pregnant with a child.'


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Common errors in English: Usage of Shut and turn off

 Shut and turn off


Incorrect : Please turn off the door.


Correct : Please shut the door.


Incorrect : Please shut the television. 


Correct : Please turn off the television.


Note: You shut (close in formal English) doors, windows or boxes. You turn off water or gas taps and electrical things. For electrical things you can also use 'switch off'.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Mix and Mingle

Mix and Mingle


Incorrect : Oil and water do not mingle. 


Correct : Oil and water do not mix.


Incorrect : I mixed with the crowd.


Correct : I mingled with the crowd.


Note: To mix something with something is to combine them in such a way that they cannot easily be separated. "Mix' can be used both transitively and intransitively. But “mingle' is usually intransitive and is used of people or things so as to form an undivided whole.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Lead and Guide

Lead and Guide


Incorrect : You please guide and we shall follow you. 


Correct : You please lead and we shall follow you.


Incorrect : He led the tourists round the museum. 


Correct : He guided the tourists round the museum.


Note: To lead is to show the way by going first. But to guide is to go with someone (who needs help) in order to show the way and explain things. To lead is also to be in charge of a group. For example:


A general leads an army.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Insure and Ensure

Insure and Ensure


Incorrect : My house is ensured against fire. 


Correct : My house is insured against fire.


Incorrect : Please insure that the lights are switched off. 


Correct : Please ensure that the lights are switched off.


Note: You usually insure against future disaster by paying money to an insurance company. But ensure means to make sure that something happens.



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Common errors in English: Usage of Infer and Imply

 Infer and Imply


Incorrect : His remarks infer that he is unhappy in his married life. 


Correct : His remarks imply that he is unhappy in his married life. 


Incorrect : I implied from his remarks that he was unhappy. 


Correct : I inferred from his remarks that he was unhappy.


Note: The speaker or writer implies something and the listener or reader infers it.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Hope and Wish

 Hope and Wish


Incorrect : I wish you will pass your exam. 


Correct : I hope you will pass your exam.


Incorrect: I hope I were a bird. 


Correct : I wish I were a bird.


Incorrect : I hope you every success.


Correct : I wish you every success. 


Note: You can hope for things that are possible, but you wish for things that you think are impossible or unlikely. In the last sentence above, wish is used as a ditransitive verb. Hope cannot be used in this way.



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Common errors in English: Usage of Gaze and Stare

Gaze and Stare


Incorrect : We stood staring at the beautiful scenery.


Correct : We stood gazing at the beautiful scenery.


Incorrect : She gazed at me angrily. 


Correct : She stared at me angrily.


Note: "Gaze" is used when a person looks steadily at something, often with admiration or pleasure. But "stare' is used when you keep your eyes open and fixed on something in wonder, fear, anger, or deep thought.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Gather and Collect

 Gather and Collect


Incorrect: The girl is collecting flowers. 


Correct : The girl is gathering flowers.


Incorrect : Alan gathers stamps. 


Correct : Alan collects stamps.


Note: You can gather things which are irregularly distributed, or not clearly separated from one another. Collect is like gather but suggests that the things you gather are separate, or can be dealt with one at a time. It is used especially when you want to keep things together to form a collection.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Gain and Earn

Gain and Earn


Incorrect : He gains 15 thousand taka a month.


Correct : He earns 15 thousand taka a month.


Incorrect : He has earned a lot of knowledge. 


Correct : He has gained a lot of knowledge.


Note: You can gain something useful or necessary, whether or not you deserve it. But you earn something which you deserve or money for the work you do. You can say:


Take a rest now. You have earned it!


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Common errors in English: Usage of Expect and Look forward to

 Expect and Look forward to


Incorrect : We were looking forward to a storm. 


Correct : We were expecting a storm.


Incorrect: I am expecting to meeting her. 


Correct: I am expecting to meet her. Or I am looking forward to meeting her.


Note: If you expect anything (good or bad), you think that it will happen. If you look forward to something, you think that it will happen, and feel happy as a result. "Expect' cannot be followed by any prepositional phrase. In "look forward to', “to' is a preposition and it is followed by a noun, pronoun or gerund.


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Common errors in English: Usage of End and Finish

End and Finish


Incorrect: The film finished at 12 midnight. 


Correct : The film ended at 12 midnight. 


Incorrect : Have you ended reading the book? 


Correct : Have you finished reading the book?


Note: As an intransitive verb, the use of "finish' is very informal. You should avoid it in formal writing. “End” cannot be followed by any gerund (the -ing form of a verb used as a noun).


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Common errors in English: Usage of Do with and Do to

 Do with and Do to


Incorrect : What have you done to my pen? I can't find it. 


Correct : What have you done with my pen? I can't find it.


Incorrect : What have you done with my pen? It doesn't write. 


Correct: What have you done to my pen? It doesn't write.


Note: "What have you done with my pen?” means “Where is it?” But “What have you done to it?” suggests that you have damaged it.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Decorate and Adorn

Decorate and Adorn


Incorrect : The children adorned the house for Eid. 


Correct : The children decorated the house for Eid.


Incorrect : She decorated herself with jewels.  


Correct : She adorned herself with jewels.


Note: "Decorate' is usually used of places and buildings, whereas 'adorn' is usually used of people.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Care (about) and Care for

 Care (about) and Care for


Incorrect : She does not care for what people think about her.


Correct : She does not care (about) what people think about her.


Incorrect : Who will care about me when I am old? 


Correct : Who will care for me when I am old?


Note: To care about something is to think that it is important. To Care for somebody is to take care of them or look after them. "To care for’ also means "like' in negative and interrogative sentences. For example : 


I don't really care for red meat.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Burned and Burnt

Burned and Burnt


Incorrect : The fire burnt brightly. 


Correct : The fire burned brightly.


Incorrect : He burned all her letters. 


Correct : He burnt all her letters.


Note: The base from of these verbs is "burn'. In British English the past tense and past participle "burned' is usually used when the verb is intransitive. When the verb is transitive, the past tense and past participle “burnt' is used.


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Common error in English: Usage of Born and Borne

Born and Borne


These are the past participles of the verb “bear' when it means “to give birth to”. Note their use:


Incorrect : He was borne in 1955. 


Correct: He was born in 1955.


Incorrect : She has born three children. 


Correct : She has borne three children.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Become, Turn and Go.

 Become, Turn and Go


"Become" can be used of people and things and with most types of adjective. For example:


Zinnia became very angry/ famous.


But in some special cases, “turn” and "go' are used in the Sense of “become'.


Incorrect : The leaves are becoming brown. 


Correct : The leaves are turning brown.


Incorrect : The man went famous. 


Correct : The man became famous.


Note: “Turn" is usually used with adjectives of color and "go' is used to show changes (usually for the worse). For example:


He went mad/deaf/blind. 

The meat has gone bad.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Bath and Bathe

 Bath and Bathe


Incorrect : To bath in the sea is great fun. 


 Correct : To bathe in the sea is great fun.


Incorrect : Bath your eyes twice a day. 


Correct : Bathe your eyes twice a day.


Note: You can have (BrE) or take (AmE) a bath. You can also use bath (BrE) or bathe (AmE) as verb. You can say: 


He baths every morning. (BrE) 

He bathes every morning. (AmE)


But you bathe something to make it clean in a medical way. To bathe is also to swim in the sea or river for pleasure.


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Common errors in English: Usage of Help and Assist

Help and Assist

These two verbs often have the same meaning but assist is more formal and always suggests that the person being assisted is doing part of the work. For example: 

The nurse assisted the doctor in performing the operation.

Sometimes, the two verbs can be used interchangeably. For example:

I can't remove the table on my own- will someone help/assist me?

But if someone is in difficulties, you cannot use assist.


Incorrect : We assisted the drowning man. 

Correct : We helped the drowning man.

Incorrect : He assisted me to pass the exam. 

Correct : He helped me (to) pass the exam.


Note: "Help' can be followed by a verb in the infinitive form with or without “to', but "assist' cannot be used in this way.

Common errors in English: Usage of Wait, Await and Expect

Wait, Await and Expect


Incorrect: I am waiting Alan. 


Correct: I am waiting for/awaiting Alan. 


Incorrect: We are waiting for a cold weather.  


Correct : We are expecting a cold weather.


Note : If you await (it is a transitive verb) or wait for a person to come or something to happen, you arrange your timetable or actions so that you are ready, perhaps staying still and doing nothing else but wait. But if you expect someone or something, you think that they will come or that will happen, but you will probably not stay still because of this and may not even make special arrangements. Besides, waiting is a sort of activity but expecting is a state of mind.


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Reference

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