Mistakes and students go together. Otherwise, pupils would be teachers. English – a language of few infallible rules – is fertile land for blunders, which we have been listening to and committing for years.
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1. Accused of
Correct – The man was accused of the murder.
Incorrect – The man was accused with the murder.
Correct – This is just an administrative problem.
Incorrect – I work as an administrative at a co-operative.
Correct – Greta agrees with you.
Incorrect – Greta is agree with you.
4. Alive & live
Correct – Only three people were alive after the accident.
Incorrect – Only three people were live after the accident.
5. Alternate & alternative
Correct – We’ll meet on alternate Mondays. Today, on the 11th and on the 25th.
Incorrect – We’ll meet on alternative Mondays. Today, on the 11th and on the 25th.
6. Alternative & alternate
Correct – Is this the only solution? Isn’t there an alternative option?
Incorrect – Is this the only solution? Isn’t there an alternate option?
7. Among & between
Correct – The three boys divided the cake among themselves.
Incorrect – The three boys divided the cake between themselves.
8. Angry & hungry
Correct – He’s angry because he had an accident.
Incorrect – He’s hungry because he had an accident.
9. Anything & nothing
Correct – She can’t see anything.
Incorrect – She can’t see nothing.
10. As & like
Correct – He’s an engineer but works as a driver.
Incorrect – He’s an engineer but works like a driver.
11. Attempt & intend
Correct – She tried to climb Mount Kilimanjaro last year but failed. This year she’ll attempt it again.
Incorrect – She tried to climb Mount Kilimanjaro last year but failed. This year she’ll intend it again.
12. Axis & axle
Correct – Shall I write the figure on axis X or axis Y?
Incorrect – Shall I write the figure on axle X or axle Y?
13. Axle & axis
Correct – My car wheels are held together by the axle.
Incorrect – My car wheels are held together by the axis.
14. Bad & badly
Correct – He reacts in a bad way.
Incorrect – He reacts in a badly way.
15. Badly & bad
Correct – He reacts badly.
Incorrect – He reacts bad.
16. Be fifteen years old
Correct – We are both fifteen years old.
Incorrect – We have both fifteen years.
Correct – I don’t believe anything she ever says.
Incorrect – I’m not believing anything she ever says.
18. Between & among
Correct – France lies between Spain and Germany.
Incorrect – France lies among Spain and Germany.
Correct – A billion is a thousand million in the USA.
Incorrect – A billion is a million million in the USA.
Correct – I find the economics class boring.
Incorrect – I’m boring at the economics class.
Correct – I can speak Swahili.
Incorrect – I can to speak Swahili.
22. Can’t & mustn’t
Correct – It can’t be Silvia. It’s too early!
Incorrect – It mustn’t be Silvia. It’s too early!
Correct – We were expected to wear casual clothes so I didn’t bring a tie.
Incorrect – It was a casual meeting. We met by chance.
24. Certainly & surely
Correct – Unemployment is certainly rising. Look at these figures!
Incorrect – Unemployment is surely rising. Look at these figures!
Correct – They charge the laptop on the mains.
Incorrect – They charge the elephant onto the lorry.
26. Comprehensible & comprehensive
Correct – The book is written in a comprehensible style. It is easy to understand.
Incorrect – The book is written in a comprehensive style. It is easy to understand.
27. Comprehensive & comprehensible
Correct – That was a comprehensive research paper. It covered the history of mankind.
Incorrect – That was a comprehensible research paper. It covered the history of mankind.
Correct – I’m constipated. I should take a laxative.
Incorrect – I’m constipated. I think I have a cold.
29. Continually & continuously
Correct – She’s continually taking days off. She missed Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week.
Incorrect – She’s continuously taking days off. She missed Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week.
30. Continuously & continually
Correct – The bell rang continuously and didn’t stop for even a second.
Incorrect – The bell rang continually and didn’t stop for even a second.
31. Crash into
Correct – He crashed into a wall.
Incorrect – He crashed a wall.
32. Current & actual
Correct – I always check news online because I like to be informed about current affairs.
Incorrect – I always check news online because I like to be informed about actual affairs.
Correct – He works on a dairy farm.
Incorrect – She writes on her dairy every night.
34. Deduce & deduct
Correct – She deduced he was the murderer.
Incorrect – She deducted he was the murderer.
35. Deduct & deduce
Correct – We can either deduct taxes from your salary now or next year.
Incorrect – We can either deduce taxes from your salary now or next year.
36. Depend from
Correct – In a hierarchical organization employees depend from one boss.
Incorrect – In a hierarchical organization employees depend on one boss.
37. Depend on
Correct – My decision will depend on the information I have.
Incorrect – My decision will depend of the information I have.
38. Desert & dessert
Correct – The Gobi desert is cold at night and warm during the day.
Incorrect – The Gobi dessert is cold at night and warm during the day.
39. Dessert & desert
Correct – Would you like apple pie for dessert?
Incorrect – Would you like apple pie for desert?
Correct – He keeps a private diary.
Incorrect – These are diary cows. They produce milk.
Correct – Mark dislikes modern architecture.
Incorrect – Mark is disliking modern architecture.
Correct – My brother is a doctor.
Incorrect – My brother is doctor.
43. Download & upload
Correct – We must download the page from the server to our laptop.
Incorrect – We must upload the page from the server to our laptop.
Correct – I enjoy the cinema.
Incorrect – I am enjoy the cinema.
Correct – I enjoy my children.
Incorrect – I enjoy with my children.
Correct – He looked for the keys everywhere.
Incorrect – He looked for the keys every place.
Correct – We’ll finance all the new projects except for Joe’s, which will be discontinued.
Incorrect – We’ll finance all the new projects except Joe’s, which will be discontinued.
Correct – Please explain your theory to me.
Incorrect – Please explain me your theory.
Correct – I can’t remember her face but her name does sound familiar.
Incorrect – We have a large family so I invited several familiars to the wedding.
50. Few & little
Correct – We need a few dollars to meet our savings goal.
Incorrect – We need a little dollars to meet our savings goal.
51. Flour & flower
Correct – You need flour to bake a pizza.
Incorrect – You need flower to bake a pizza.
52. Flower & flour
Correct – Most flowers bloom in spring.
Incorrect – Most flours bloom in spring
53. Folder & carpet
Correct – I use a folder to keep papers.
Incorrect – I use a carpet to keep papers.
54. For & since
Correct – I’ve waited for three hours already.
Incorrect – I’ve waited since three hours already.
55. Good & well
Correct – This is a good book.
Incorrect – This is a well book.
56. Had better
Correct – You had better visit the client tomorrow.
Incorrect – You had better to visit the client tomorrow.
Correct – I hate her because she is mean.
Incorrect – I’m hating her because she is mean.
58. Intend & attempt
Correct – I intend to attend university when I finish school
Incorrect – I attempt to attend university when I finish school.
59. It’s & its
Correct – It’s going to snow.
Incorrect – Its going to snow.
60. Its & it’s
Correct – The company pays its employees once a month.
Incorrect – The company pays it’s employees once a month.
61. Job & work
Correct – I’m the company manager. It is my job to solve problems.
Incorrect – I’m the company manager. It is my work to solve problems.
62. Ladder & stairs
Correct – Shall I move the ladder under the chandelier so you can change the bulb?
Incorrect – Shall I move the stairs under the chandelier so you can change the bulb?
63. Large enough
Correct – This boat isn’t large enough for all our family.
Incorrect – This boat isn’t enough large for all our family.
64. Lay & lie
Correct – You must lay the table before they arrive.
Incorrect – You must lie the table before they arrive.
65. Lie & lay
Correct – He always lies down for a nap.
Incorrect – He always lays down for a nap.
Correct – I like Picasso because he’s a Cubist painter.
Incorrect – I’m liking Picasso because he’s a Cubist painter.
67. Like & as
Correct – That product is very much like the one we developed.
Incorrect – That product is very much as the one we developed.
Correct – I always listen to my boss.
Incorrect – I always listen my boss.
69. Live & alive
Correct – NBC will broadcast the match live.
Incorrect – NBC will broadcast the match alive.
Correct – They’ll load the elephant onto the lorry.
Incorrect – They’ll load the computer on the mains.
71. Look forward to
Correct – We look forward to meeting your partner.
Incorrect – We look forward to meet your partner.
Correct – I love him more and more every day.
Incorrect – I’m loving him more and more every day.
73. Make a mistake
Correct – Andrew wrote this list so he would make fewer mistakes.
Incorrect – Andrew wrote this list so he would do fewer mistakes.
74. Many & much
Correct – Many people came today.
Incorrect – Much people came today.
75. Media & medium
Correct – Most of the media live from advertising revenue.
Incorrect – Most of the medium live from advertising revenue.
76. Medium & media
Correct – I think you should try another medium.
Incorrect – I think you should try another media.
Correct – Most managers have arrived.
Incorrect – Most of managers have arrived.
Correct – We drove through the motorway.
Incorrect – We drove through the autoway.
79. Much & many
Correct – Having much money is always better than having little money.
Incorrect – Having many money is always better than having little money.
Correct – We must increase prices.
Incorrect – We must to increase prices.
Correct – She understood nothing.
Incorrect – She didn’t understand nothing.
82. Now & actually
Correct – He used to be a secretary. He’s a manager now.
Incorrect – He used to be a secretary. He’s a manager actually.
83. Officer & official
Correct – Could you please call a police officer?
Incorrect – Could you please call a police official?
84. Official & officer
Correct – This is an official statement.
Incorrect – This is an officer statement.
Correct – She loves her parents-in-law.
Incorrect – She loves her fathers-in-law.
Correct – I rarely leave my car at a parking lot because it’s too expensive.
Incorrect – I rarely leave my car at a parking because it’s too expensive.
Correct – Most people are interested in their health.
Incorrect – Most people is interested in their health.
88. Personal & personnel
Correct – I have a personal trainer.
Incorrect – I have a personnel trainer.
89. Personnel & personal
Correct – Where’s the personnel department?
Incorrect – Where’s the personal department?
90. Price & prize
Correct – The price of this shirt is twelve dollars.
Incorrect – The prize of this shirt is twelve dollars.
91. Prize & price
Correct – She’s an excellent student and won the first prize.
Incorrect – She’s an excellent student and won the first price.
Correct – Anthony is a university professor. He teaches Physics.
Incorrect – Richard is a kindergarten professor. He teaches children.
93. Raise & rise
Correct – Farmers raise cattle.
Incorrect – Farmers rise cattle.
Correct – Do you have the recipe for Yorkshire pudding?
Incorrect – The doctor gave me a recipe for more antibiotics.
95. Rise & raise
Correct – Prices rise because of inflation.
Incorrect – Prices raise because of inflation.
96. Rob & steal
Correct – He robbed me.
Incorrect – He stole me.
97. Safe & secure
Correct – Is your neighbourhood safe? There are many robberies in mine.
Incorrect – Is your neighbourhood secure? There are many robberies in mine.
98. Salary & wage
Correct – The manager collects her salary monthly.
Incorrect – The manager collects her wage monthly.
99. Say & tell
Correct – He always says that India is a powerful country.
Incorrect – He always tells that India is a powerful country.
100. Secure & safe
Correct – Is the rope secure? If it loosens the cargo might move.
Incorrect – Is the rope safe? If it loosens the cargo might move.
101. Sensible & sensitive
Correct – She’s a sensible woman so I trust she’ll make the right decision.
Incorrect – She’s a sensitive woman so I trust she’ll make the right decision.
102. Sensitive & sensible
Correct – She’s a very sensitive child and will cry if you shout at her.
Incorrect – She’s a very sensible child and will cry if you shout at her.
Correct – 2, 4, 6 and 8 make a series of even numbers.
Incorrect – 2, 4, 6 and 8 make a serie of even numbers.
104. Sew & sow
Correct – They need to sew at least ten shirts a day.
Incorrect – They need to sow at least ten shirts a day.
105. Since & from
Correct – I’ve been waiting here since eleven this morning.
Incorrect – I’ve been waiting here for eleven this morning.
106. Sow & sew
Correct – We will sow corn in our farm.
Incorrect – We will sew corn in our farm.
107. Stairs & ladder
Correct – Walk up the marble stairs to reach the hotel lobby.
Incorrect – Walk up the marble ladder to reach the hotel lobby.
108. Stake & steak
Correct – Our company owns a stake in Citibank.
Incorrect – Our company owns a steak in Citibank.
109. Stationary & stationery
Correct – Stationary satellites remain at the same relative position.
Incorrect – Stationery satellites remain at the same relative position.
110. Stationery & stationary
Correct – We need to purchase more stationery.
Incorrect – We need to purchase more stationary.
111. Steak & stake
Correct – I always order my steaks well-done.
Incorrect – I always order my stakes well-done.
112. Steal & rob
Correct – He stole the wallet from my bag and I never realized!
Incorrect – He robbed the wallet from my bag and I never realized!
113. Story & history
Correct – Can you tell me the Cinderella story tonight?
Incorrect – Can you tell me the Cinderella history tonight?
114. Straight & strait
Correct – Look straight ahead and you’ll see the factory.
Incorrect – Look strait ahead and you’ll se the factory.
115. Strait & straight
Correct – The ship crossed the Strait of Gibraltar.
Incorrect – The ship crossed the Straight of Gibraltar.
116. Suit & suite
Correct – All lawyers must wear suits at this office.
Incorrect – All lawyers must wear suites at this office.
117. Suite & suit
Correct – She stayed at her suite all day.
Incorrect – She stayed at her suit all day.
118. Tell & say
Correct – She never tells me the truth.
Incorrect – She never says me the truth.
119. The reason why
Correct – She couldn’t explain the reason why she was here.
Incorrect – She couldn’t explain the reason because she was here.
120. Think of
Correct – I’m thinking of moving to Australia.
Incorrect – I’m thinking to move to Australia.
121. Times & per
Correct – Two times three equals six.
Incorrect – Two per three equals six.
122. Two pounds’ worth
Correct – I’d like two pounds’ worth of sweets.
Incorrect – I’d like two pounds worth of sweets.
123. Upload & download
Correct – We must upload the page from our laptop to the server.
Incorrect – We must download the page from our laptop to the server.
124. Used to
Correct – We used to run a small company. Now it’s grown rather large!
Incorrect – We used run a small company. Now it’s grown rather large!
125. Wage & salary
Correct – Their wages are between five and six dollar an hour though they should be much higher.
Incorrect – Their salaries are between five and six dollars an hour though they should be much higher.
126. Want to
Correct – I want you to contact the production supervisor immediately.
Incorrect – I want that you contact the production supervisor immediately.
127. Well & good
Correct – She dances, sings and draws quite well.
Incorrect – She dances, sings and draws quite good.
128. Who & whom
Correct – Who is responsible for collections at this office?
Incorrect – Whom is responsible for collections at this office?
129. Whom & who
Correct – I’ll send this note to whom it may concern.
Incorrect – I’ll send this note to who it may concern.
130. Work & job
Correct – Writing the budget is hard work. I wish I didn’t have to do it every year!
Incorrect – Writing the budget is hard job. I wish I didn’t have to do it every year!