Common mistakes

There are lots of mistakes that are common for students of English. Here we talk about some of them with a short explanation of the correct form you should use. Come back in the future as we add more!

history vs story

History describes facts about the past
* I learned about the history of my town.
Stories are for entertainment, they’re interesting, funny etc.. (Story is much more commonly used)
* He told us a story about the first time he drove a car.

during vs for

  • I worked at home for a week.
    We use for to indicate a period of time. (a week, five days, a month etc..)
  • During the week I worked at home.
    We use during to indicate a period of time when something happens, in this situation, during the week work happens.

Word order with ‘happen’ (v.)

Common mistake
* Happened an accident last week.
In this situation we need to use our ‘subject + verb + object + place + time’ word order.

Correct form
* An accident happened last week.
Subject + verb + time (no object or place)

Word order with ‘a lot’ (adv.)

Common mistake
* I like a lot to fly.
We usually use ’a lot’ in the end position.

Correct form
* I like to fly a lot.

a shame (n.) vs shameful (adj.)

  • It’s a shame you can’t come to our party.
    A shame is an expression which means that a situation is unfortunate, or not as you would like it to be. In our example we would like you to come to your party, buy you can’t, so that situation is not how we would like it, it’s ‘a shame’.

Another example
* It’s a shame I couldn’t buy tickets to the concerts.
We imagine this person wanted to buy tickets but for some reason, couldn’t.

Imagine this situation: Peter robs an old woman with very little money. In this situation we can say;
* Peter’s actions were shameful.

If something is shameful, it should cause the person who did it to feel bad because they know it was wrong. Similar to other adjectives, ‘shameful’ is common after the verb ‘be’ or before nouns.

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