The most common mistakes in English

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Here are some of the most common mistakes in English:

(1) We could use Telegram, or we could have the alternatives of using Snapchat or Operachat (Nonstandard).❌

We could use Telegram, or we could use Snapchat or Operachat (Standard).✅

NOTE: In formal language, the noun “alternative” means the second of two choices. In other words, if “alternative” or the verb “alternate” is to be used, only two choices can be involved.

(2) The task seems extra difficult (Nonstandard).❌

The task seems very difficult (Standard).✅

NOTE: The word “extra” is an adjective meaning “something in addition to that which is due; something beyond that which is expected; something outside of. It should not be used as an adverb to mean “very” or “unusually.”

(3) Ola plus three of his friends tried to hack the account (Nonstandard).❌

Ola and three of his friends tried to hack the account (Standard).✅

The word “plus” should not be employed in formal English as a synonym for the conjunction “and.”

(4) I was just disinterested in the story (Nonstandard).❌

I was uninterested in the story (Standard).✅

I am an uninterested party in the case (Nonstandard).❌

I am a disinterested party in the case (Standard).✅

NOTE: The term “disinterested” means “not influenced by personal or self interest.” The word “uninterested” means “not interested.”

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(5) We walked further down the aisle (Nonstandard).❌

We walked farther down the aisle (Standard).✅

The judge said they would consider the case farther (Nonstandard).❌

The judge said they would consider the case further (Standard).✅

NOTE: The word “farther” should be used in speaking and writing of physical distance, i.e, situations in which distances can be measured. The word “further” should be used in speaking or writing of matters wherein physical measurement is not possible.

(6) He has proven the answer by checking (Nonstandard).❌

He has proved the answer by checking (Standard).✅

It was a proved answer to the problem (Nonstandard).❌

It was a proven answer to the problem (Standard).✅

(7) He will not do the job except I give the order (Nonstandard).❌

He will not do the job unless I give the order (Standard).✅

NOTE: The word “except” is generally either a prepostion or a verb. It should never be used as a conjunction.

(8) He is not as tall as his father (Nonstandard).

He is not so tall as his father (Standard).

NOTE: The proper use the correlative conjunction “as…as” and “so. . . as” is very important though some authorities no longer insist on a distinction in the use of these forms. A precise and standard usage demands that “as . . . as” should be used in positive situations and “so . . . as” in negative situations.

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(9) John dances like I do (Nonstandard).❌

John dances as I do (Standard).✅

NOTE: The word “like” is either a verb or a preposition. It is never a conjunction.

(10) We were late due to the blowout (Nonstandard).❌

We were late because of the blowout (Standard).✅

Our lateness was due to the blowout (Standard).✅

NOTE: Whenever the expression “due to” is used, the word “due” must be a predicate adjective. The expression “due to” must not be used synonymously with the expression “because of,” which is a prepostional construction; that is, which does the work of a preposition.

(11) Our first brainstorming was scheduled prior to December 21, 2021(Nonstandard).❌

Our first brainstorming was scheduled before December 21, 2021 (Standard). ✅

(12) Prior to his matriculation, he got a good outfit (Nonstandard).❌

Before his matriculation, he got a good outfit (Standard).✅

NOTE: First of all, as it is true of “due to,” “prior to” can never begin a sentence. The expression “prior to” is similar to the expression “due to”; that is, when the expression “prior to” is used correctly, “prior” must be a predicate adjective. Also, the expression “prior to” cannot be used as a prepostional construction to be substituted for the prepostion “before.”

(13) If it were not because of my likeness for you, I would have given the job to another person (Nonstandard).❌
If it were not because of my liking for you, I would have given the job to another person (Standard).✅
NOTE: ‘Likeness’ means ‘resemblance’, and is followed by ‘to’; ‘liking’ is the right word here which means ‘love’, ‘affection.’
(14) I had never met him before, but he continued telling me how we used to dance together as kids (Nonstandard).❌
I had never met him before, but he kept on telling me how we used to dance together as kids (Standard). ✅
NOTE: One can only continue doing something if one were doing it before then stopped, after which one continued. As in: ‘He stopped and looked around to see if people were listening. Then he continued with the journey.’
(15) Conclusively, television has done more harm than good (Nonstandard).❌
In conclusion, television has done more harm than good (Standard).✅
NOTE: ‘Conclusively’ does not mean ‘finally’ or ‘in conclusion’ but ‘decisively’, ‘convincingly.’ As in: the fact was conclusively proved. 

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