USE OF ARTICLES
Incorrect I have a good news for you.
Correct I have good news for you
Incorrect The men are national beings.
Correct Men are national beings.
Incorrect The boys leave the school at four o’clock.
Correct The boys leave school at four o’clock.
Incorrect He sent a word that he would come soon.
Correct He sent word that he would come soon.
Incorrect I have read the Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Correct I have read Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Incorrect You cannot set a foot in this house.
Correct You cannot set foot in this house.
Incorrect The envy is an evil passion.
Correct Envy is an evil passion.
Incorrect He has not yet gone to the bed.
Correct He has not yet gone to bed.
Incorrect He is Daniel in judgment.
Correct He is a Daniel in judgment.
Incorrect He made very wise decision.
Correct He made a very wise decision.
Incorrect Fire broke out in our village.
Correct A fire broke out in our village.
Incorrect Andamans are a group of islands.
Correct The Andamans are a group of islands.
USE OF NOUNS
Incorrect The clock has struck five hours.
Correct The clock has struck five.
Incorrect There is no place in the hall.
Correct There is no room in the hall.
Incorrect Little thing has been done.
Correct Little has been done.
Incorrect We have an urgent business.
Correct We have an urgent piece of business.
Incorrect He came by the 4:30 o’clock train.
Correct He came by the 4:30 train.
Incorrect He left the place with his belonging goods.
Correct He left the place with his goods.
USE OF PRONOUNS
Incorrect He absented from the school yesterday.
Correct He absented himself from the school yesterday.
Incorrect He availed of the opportunity.
Correct He availed himself of the opportunity.
Incorrect Don’t pride on your victory.
Correct Don’t pride yourself on your victory.
Incorrect The girl wants to get herself married.
Correct The girl wants to get married.
Incorrect The climate of India is hotter than England.
Correct The climate of India is hotter than that of England.
Incorrect Everybody will get their share.
Correct Everybody will get his share.
USE OF ADJECTIVES
Incorrect He is sick.
Correct He is ill.
Incorrect I have strong headache.
Correct I have a severe headache.
#Incorrect This is more preferable than that.
#Correct This is preferable to that.
Incorrect No less than fifty students were present.
Correct No fewer than fifty students were present.
Incorrect I want a little quantity of milk.
Correct I want a small quantity of milk.
#Incorrect Ram only is guilty.
#Correct Ram alone is guilty.
#Incorrect Do not go out in the sun with your head open.
#Correct Do not go out in the sun with your head bare OR uncovered.
#Incorrect Give a verbal translation of the passage.
#Correct Give a literal translation of the passage.
Incorrect The association has three thousands of rupees in cash.
Correct The association has only three thousand rupees.
USE OF ADVERBS
Incorrect He does not know to swim.
Correct He does not know how to swim.
Incorrect Don’t go in the sun.
Correct Don’t go out in the sun.
Incorrect I know him too well.
Correct I know him very well.
Incorrect I shall of course do it.
Correct I shall certainly do it.
USE OF CONJUNCTIONS
Incorrect Now you are tired, you may rest awhile.
Correct Now that you are tired, you may rest awhile.
Incorrect No sooner had he died, when his sons began to quarrel.
Correct No sooner had he died than his sons began to quarrel.
Incorrect He asked me that why I had not gone there.
Correct He asked me why I had not gone there.
Incorrect Until you remain idle, you cannot succeed.
Correct As long as you remain idle, you cannot succeed.
ERRORS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF SENTENCES
Incorrect One of his family members is dead.
Correct A member of his family is dead.
Correct One of the members of his family is dead.
Incorrect My brother’s all the books have been stolen.
Correct All my brother’s books have been stolen.
Correct All the books of my brother have been stolen.
Incorrect For what you are here ?
Correct What are you here for ?
Incorrect Tell me why did you go there ?
Correct Tell me why you went there ?
Incorrect I, you and he will go together.
Correct You, he and I will go together.
Incorrect Exercise is good both for work as well as health.
Correct Exercise is good for work as well as health.
Incorrect He did not abstain to smoke but persisted to purchase valuable cigars.
Correct He did not abstain from smoking but persisted in purchasingvaluable cigars.
Incorrect To him I did a request which he did not comply.
Correct To him I made a request with which he did not comply.
Incorrect I cannot bear your separation.
Correct I cannot bear separation from you.
Incorrect Open the last but one page of the book.
Correct Open the last page but one of the book.
Incorrect I solicit your favor to grant me leave.
Correct I solicit the favor of your granting me leave.
Incorrect Those who are absent, I shall punish them.
Correct I shall punish those who are absent.
Incorrect After doing the work, his face brightened.
Correct After he had done the work, his face brightened.
Incorrect We shall be glad to get your good news.
Correct We shall be glad to get good news from you.
Incorrect I feel myself feverish.
Correct I feel feverish.
Incorrect You have no excuse to be forgetful.
Correct You have no excuse for being forgetful.
Incorrect He rose equal to the occasion.
Correct He rose to the occasion.
Correct He was equal to the occasion.
Incorrect Are your work busy ?
Correct Do you have a busy job ?
Incorrect I am going to a picnic.
Correct I am going on a picnic.
Incorrect I am a bit in a hurry.
Correct I am in a bit of a hurry.
Incorrect I’ll date her out this Saturday.
Correct I’ll take her out on a date this Saturday.
Incorrect If one day I am good in English, I would definitely admit it.
Correct If someday I am good at English, I will definitely admit to it.
Incorrect How do you think to learn the English ?
Correct What is your point on learning English ?
Incorrect Are you investing on stock market ?
Correct Are you investing in the stock market ?
Incorrect I am difficult to learn English.
Correct It is difficult for me to learn English.
Incorrect We have full off and half off on Sunday.
Correct We are given the option to work either full or half day on Sunday.
Incorrect In fact, Billy really owns some personality to be a VIP.
Correct In fact, Billy really has what it takes to be a VIP.
Incorrect China is coming into rainy weather.
Correct China is in rainy season now.
Incorrect All these three cities are similar warm as Malaysia.
Correct All three of these cities are as warm as Malaysia.
Incorrect What time of a day now in your country ?
Correct What is the time now in your country ?
Incorrect Comes to think of it, it sounds right !
Correct Come to think of it, it does sound right !
Incorrect You can try it more ……….
Correct You can try a few times ………..
Incorrect He went to abroad to further his study.
Correct He went abroad to further his study.
Incorrect Today, I’ll wash my cat.
Correct I’ll give my cat a bath today.
Incorrect How many days left for you to quit your position ?
Correct How many days are left before you quit your job?
Correct How many days are left until you quit your job?
Incorrect Did Thailand come into rain season ?
Correct Is it the rainy season in Thailand ?
Incorrect How was your sleeping yesterday ?
Correct Did you have a good sleep yesterday ?
Incorrect He is trying to look cute to make himself forgiven.
Correct He is trying to get away with it by looking cute.
Incorrect Why don’t stay more time here ?
Correct Why don’t you stay a little longer ?
Incorrect But you know a lot about computer, isn’t it ? I know nothing at all about it !
Correct But you know a lot about computer, don’t you ? I myself know nothing about it !
Incorrect The sales of light arms is the main cause of heavy casualty in conflicting nations.
Correct The sale of light arms to conflicting nations is the main cause of heavy casualties.
Incorrect Why you want to know more about me ? I am just a small people.
Correct Why do you want to know more about me ? I am a nobody.
Incorrect Make sure that it is a high pay job.
Correct Make sure that it is a high paying job.
Incorrect I wonder if there is a comment on the certificate by GE about how good a student perform in the course ?
Correct I wonder if there is a comment on the certificate by GE about how well a student performs in the course ?
Incorrect We have lots of rain, because we’re in monsoon season.
Correct There is a lot of rain here as we are in monsoon season now.
Incorrect How much is the temperature?
Correct What is the temperature ?
Incorrect Don’t feel anger with me !!! I’m just kidding.
Correct Don’t be mad at me !!! I’m just kidding.
Incorrect Kitty, your honey was left just now because I told him you will coming soon.
Correct Kitty, your honey has just left as I told him you would be coming soon.
Incorrect I am a Chinese and have been abroad 10 years.
Correct I am Chinese and have been in abroad for 10 years.
Incorrect OK, tell me how does he like ?
Correct OK, tell me what he looks like ?
Incorrect I think you should go to abroad find a job make your life a little bit changed.
Correct I think you should go abroad to find a job and make your life a little bit different for a change.
Incorrect Lilian is living far away with China.
Correct Lilian is living far away from China.
Incorrect I am sure not even one man can control himself if he meet this kind of situation.
Correct I doubt that there is even one man who can control himself in this situation.
Incorrect Are you a saler, Alvin ?
Correct Are you a salesman, Alvin ?
Incorrect The team bring a lot of happy for football fan in the world but now I doubtful them.
Correct The team used to bring a lot of fun to the soccer fans in the world but I am doubtful of them now.
Incorrect Which kind of car ?
Correct What type of car ?
Incorrect I think your express will have a little difficult, but that is a lucky thing, I can understand you.
Correct I think you have difficulty in expressing your idea. Luckily, I can understand you.
#Incorrect How are you this week ?
#Correct How have you been this week ?
Incorrect I know you are good in computer and English.
Correct I know you are good at computers/computing and English.
Incorrect I think your qualification will surely make you open a computer or English training center.
Correct I think you can open up a computer or English training center with your qualifications.
#Incorrect I am no exceptional.
#Correct I am no exception.
Incorrect My telephone conversation with you for past one and half week has made me feel you as a very firm character.
Correct Having telephoned with you for one week, I think you have a very firm/strong character.
Incorrect It is easy or not get visa?
Correct Is it easy to get visa ?
Incorrect I wonder why are you keep study after graduated high school ?
Correct I wonder why you keep studying after graduation from high school ?
#Incorrect He will be great help for you.
Correct He will be of great help to you.
#Incorrect Am I a simple girl and has not any brains ?
#Correct Am I a naive lady who doesn’t have intelligence ?
Incorrect What sport are you interest ?
Correct What sports are you interested in ?
Incorrect The discussion will begin after the dinner.
Correct The discussion will begin after dinner.
Incorrect Can the communism coexist with the capitalism ?
Correct Can communism coexist with capitalism ?
Incorrect Professor Li will speak on the latest development in the chemistry.
Correct Professor Li will speak on the latest development in chemistry.
Incorrect We make the bread with the flour.
Correct We make bread with flour.
Incorrect The experience is the best teacher.
Correct Experience is the best teacher.
Incorrect David has just been commissioned as the captain.
Correct David has just been commissioned as captain.
Incorrect When children grow up, they are sent to the school.
Correct When children grow up, they are sent to school.
Incorrect They study in the England.
Correct They study in England.
Incorrect Some of the students speak the Mandarin very well.
Correct Some of the students speak Mandarin very well.
Incorrect More and more people today die of the cancer.
Correct More and more people today die of cancer.
Incorrect John said that, “I know the answer.”
Correct John said, “I know the answer.”
Incorrect Although he was ill, but he went to work as usual.
Correct Although he was ill, he went to work as usual.
Incorrect You may not realize that how important time is.
Correct You may not realize how important time is.
Incorrect He is a more nicer person than you.
Correct He is a nicer person than you.
Incorrect John’s work is more perfect than Tom’s.
Correct John’s work is better than/superior to Tom’s.
#Incorrect This book is the most unique of all.
#Correct This book is unique.
Incorrect I don’t have enough money to buy big house.
Correct I don’t have enough money to buy a big house.
Note : If the noun is specified, the is used
I want to buy a computer. The computer must be versatile in function.
Incorrect Why do you need hundred dollars ?
Correct Why do you need a hundred dollars ?
Incorrect He has good knowledge of English grammar.
Correct He has a good knowledge of English grammar.
Incorrect Japanese are industrious and frugal.
Correct The Japanese are industrious and frugal.
Note : Once the is omitted, the meaning changes from people to language.
Not all the Chinese are proficient in Chinese.
Is French a beautiful language ?
Incorrect I seldom go to theatre.
Correct I seldom go to the theatre.
Incorrect Smiths invited me to a dinner.
Correct The Smiths invited me to a dinner.
Note : It is a common practice in English to use a family name to refer to a certain family and its members. Such a family name mus tbe pluralized and preceded by the definite article the.
Incorrect Uncle’s advice is great significance.
Correct Uncle’s advice is of great significance.
Incorrect The judge has decided the case.
Correct The judge has decided upon the case.
Incorrect Do you want to try my new car ?
Correct Do you want to try out my new car ?
Incorrect I enjoyed during the holidays.
Correct I enjoyed myself during the holidays.
Incorrect Mary felt sorry about the matter but she did not voice.
Correct Mary felt sorry about the matter but she did not voice it.
Incorrect Many people in the past died from malaria.
Correct Many people in the past died of malaria.
Incorrect We were astonished by his sudden resignation.
Correct We were astonished at his sudden resignation.
Incorrect He took his girlfriend in the hand.
Correct He took his girlfriend by the hand.
Incorrect What is the difference of these two things ?
Correct What is the difference between these two things ?
Incorrect What is the time on your watch ?
Correct What is the time by your watch ?
Incorrect Lucy has been absent from Monday ?
Correct Lucy has been absent since Monday ?
Note : To express the idea of from a certain time to now, we normally say “from … to/till now ?”.
Every week, I work from Monday to Saturday.
Incorrect We will tolerate no interference with our internal affairs.
Correct We will tolerate no interference in our internal affairs.
Note : ( In means to meddle ; With means to hinder/obstruct. )
I don’t allow any interference with my work.
Incorrect The answer of this question is quite complicated.
Correct The answer to this question is quite complicated.
Incorrect Under the help of an influential friend, he got the job.
Correct With the help of an influential friend, he got the job.
Note : To express various states or conditions, we use under.
Business improved under the new management.
Incorrect Nobody is bound to suffering.
Correct Nobody is bound to suffer.
Incorrect Some people are not used to live in a hot country.
Correct Some people are not used to living in a hot country.
Incorrect Susan is incapable to complete the task by herself.
Correct Susan is incapable of completing the task by herself.
Incorrect Nobody can avoid to make mistakes.
Correct Nobody can avoid making mistakes.
ncorrect He succeeded to get the prize.
Correct He succeeded in getting the prize.
Incorrect The students were busy to prepare their lessons.
Correct The students were busy preparing their lessons.
Incorrect Please tell him don’t come now.
Correct Please tell him not to come now.
Incorrect I saw them to work.
Correct I saw them work.
Incorrect You had better to go now.
Correct You had better go now.
Incorrect The country is belonged to every citizen.
Correct The country belongs to every citizen.
Note : Verbs like belong, happen, occur etc. are not used in the passive voice.
Incorrect Water composes of hydrogen and oxygen.
Correct Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
Incorrect Shelley looks cheerfully.
Correct Shelley looks cheerful.
#Incorrect I didn’t see him too.
#Correct I didn’t see him either.
Note : In English, the adverbs also and too appear in affirmative sentences. The adverb either appears at the end of negative sentences.
Incorrect She bought a new scissors.
Correct She bought a new pair of scissors
Incorrect His room’s windows are open.
Correct The windows of his room are open.
Incorrect It is everybody’s duty to defend their country.
Correct It is everybody’s duty to defend his country.
Incorrect Either of them are to go.
Correct Either of them is to go.
Incorrect More police was sent to the scene of the crime.
Correct More police were sent to the scene of the crime.
Note : The noun police is singular in form but plural in sense.
Incorrect Mary pretended to not recognize me.
Correct Mary pretended not to recognize me.
Incorrect She neither speaks English nor Malay.
Correct She speaks neither English nor Malay.
Incorrect Only I and my friend were at the concert.
Correct Only my friend and I were at the concert.
Incorrect There is a dirty mark on the rug which must be removed.
Correct On the rug, there is a dirty mark which must be removed.
Incorrect Lizzie approached me and held my hand, said, “Hello !”
Correct Lizzie approached me, held my hand, and said, “Hello !”
Incorrect The climate of Japan is different from Taiwan.
Correct The climate of Japan is different from that of Taiwan.
Incorrect We realized where our weak points were and how to get rid of them.
Correct We realized where our weak points were and how we could get rid of them.
Incorrect All I know is my friend is right.
Correct All I know is that my friend is right.
Note : When the “that clause” is the object of a verb, the subordinating conjunction that may be omitted. When it is a complement of the verb be, that cannot be omitted.
Incorrect Most of us found difficult to comprehend his speech.
Correct Most of us found it difficult to comprehend his speech.
Incorrect Her heart sank and could hardly stand.
Correct Her heart sank and she could hardly stand.
Note : Not changing the subject will make “her heart” seem to have “feet” on which it stands.
Incorrect While doing the work, there are obstacles ahead.
Correct While doing the work, they met with obstacles.
Note : A certain action must be attached to the actor; otherwise the action becomes dangling.
Incorrect Mandy is easy to suffer from cold.
Correct Mandy suffers from cold easily.
Incorrect How much is the price of this pen ?
Correct How much is this pen ? Or How much does this pen cost ? Or What is the price of this pen ?
The use of the preposition in in the first sentence is wrong. It should be replaced with at.
Incorrect The boy is bad in Mathematics.
Correct The boy is bad at Mathematics.
Worse at, Worst at
Similarly, the use of in for the comparative and the superlative of bad (worse and worst) is also wrong.
Incorrect The boy’s brother is worse in Mathematics.
Incorrect His friend is the worst in Mathematics.
Correct The boy’s brother is worse at Mathematics.
Correct His friend is the worst at Mathematics.
Excel at ( an activity )
According to English Prepositional Idioms by Frederick T. Wood, for being extremely good at an activity, excel in may be used but excel at is more common
Incorrect This artist excels in painting birds.
Correct This artist excels at painting birds.
Excel in ( an attribute or quality )
According to the same source, the use of the preposition at is not appropriate when we use excel for qualities or attributes.
Incorrect She excels at intelligence.
Incorrect My brother excels at foreign languages.
Correct She excels in intelligence.
Correct My brother excels in foreign languages.
The use of the preposition in in the first sentence is wrong. The correct preposition to use is at.
Incorrect He is good in Mathematics.
Correct He is good at Mathematics.
Better at, Best at
The use of the preposition in for the comparative and the superlative of good (better and best) in the two sentences is wrong.
Incorrect He is better in Mathematics.
Incorrect He is the best in Mathematics
Correct He is better at Mathematics.
Correct He is the best at Mathematics