When people learn another language, they make errors and mistakes. Mistakes are when you know the right answer but you misspeak or get nervous and say the wrong thing or just forget. Errors are when you say the wrong thing and don’t know that it is incorrect. You can correct yourself on mistakes but not on errors.
The best way to improve your English is to correct mistakes for yourself. Ask your friends or teachers to tell you if you make a mistake but not what the correct sentence should be. If you correct yourself, you will learn and get it right next time.
If you make an error, you probably don’t know how to correct it so the solution here is to find the grammar that caused the error and to study how to use that grammar or that word. This is where a teacher is helpful.
Most common type of error in English
One of the most common types of errors are when we assume that English is the same as our first language.
Top 5 common errors in English
Take a look at the 5 top errors/mistakes that I hear as a teacher from students from all over the world. Can you find what’s wrong with these and correct them?
- I am going to shopping.
- He like to go to the movies.
- You really should to fix your car.
- I am go to the ski resort on the weekend.
- I will go to upstairs.
Even students who know the correct way to say it still make these mistakes. This means that you have a habit of making the sentence incorrectly even though you know the correct way. In this case, you need to change your habit by saying the correct sentence more times than you say the incorrect one.
For example, if you say he like, say it correctly 5 times each time you say it incorrectly. Make 5 different sentences that use he as your subject. Do this each time you say it incorrectly and you will change the habit. I always tell students that it is better to speak first and then correct than to try to construct a correct sentence by applying all the rules of grammar (there are a lot).
Going shopping/he likes/should fix/I am going/go upstairs