Most common grammar mistakes

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Tumblr
Students tell me that if they look for one type of mistake each time when they are checking their work, then they find more mistakes that they have made! This means checking your work just looking for mistakes with articles. Then look again and check your nouns to see that the plural/singular forms are correct. Then check again….But what sort of mistakes do you make? Take a look at this list I’ve made of the most common grammar mistakes that I see in my students’ writing:
1. Articles  – the / a / or nothing

The rules are nearly impossible! Look at the noun. If it is a singular countable noun it usually needs an article.

WRONG:   I went to cinema yesterday.

RIGHT: I went to the cinema yesterday.

2. Plural  / singular nouns

Look at your noun carefully. Only one, or more than one?

WRONG:       Overseas students often have many problem.

RIGHT: Overseas students often have many problems.

3. Verbs: do they agree with the subject?

Circle the subject. Is it singular or plural?

WRONG:   Smith (2007) believe that….

RIGHT: Smith (2007) believes that…

4. Verb: is the tense right?

Look at your verb. Do you need present or past tense? Continuous or simple?

WRONG: Smith interview 300 overseas students and find that they have language problems.

RIGHT: Smith interviewed 300 overseas students and found that they had language problems.

5.  Word form

Do you need a noun, verb, an adjective, or an adverb?

WRONG: The new  car is very efficiently.

RIGHT: The new car is very efficient.

6.    -ing form

The    -ing form is often used to make a noun phrase.

WRONG: I don’t like get up early.

RIGHT: I don’t like getting up early.

7.   Active or passive verb?

If the verb is passive, make sure you use ‘be + past participle’

WRONG: Students were interview in pairs about their experiences.

RIGHT: Students were interviewed in pairs about their experiences.

8. Prepositions

Check them!

WRONG: This essay attempts for address this issue.

RIGHT: This essay attempts to address this issue.

How many mistakes can you find:

Many students come from all over world to study in UK. There is many reasons for this but usually they say that have a British degree will help them to find good job in their country later on. Study in UK can be hard work, but also very reward. Although experience can be difficult, student often look back at their university days with happy.

Answers in the next post!


  1. Kishor G. Bhide says:

    I do not see any difference in the two sentences listed in 2.


  2. It is really a very greate site which helped me to learn more effectively and easily. Thanks for all the staff who managing this site.

    Good luck!

  3. hi Kishor G. BHIDE,

    The problem is with the problem because in the first sentence problem is singular but in the second it is problems. It means problems not problem, there is grammar mistake singular and plural.


  4. James Eyre says:

    Hi Patrick, this resource is of great use thank you so much.

    I came across the following PDF last night (think it maybe of use) which is totally geared towards proofreading and something I plan on using during the first 10-15 minutes of every Academic Writing lesson: