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Old 12th March 2010, 04:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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10 Common English Mistakes

Happen to chance upon this...I find it quite interesting, so I decided to share it here =)

1. Practice / Practise

In US English, practice is used as either a verb (doing word), or noun (naming word). Hence, a doctor has a practice, and a person practices the violin. In UK english, practice is a noun, and practise is a verb. A doctor has a practice, but his daughter practises the piano.

2. Bought / Brought

Bought relates to buying something. Brought relates to bringing something. For example, I bought a bottle of wine which had been brought over from France. The easy way to remember which is which is that bring start with ‘br’ and brought also does. Buy and bought start with ‘b’ only. This is one of those difficult ones that a spelling checker won’t catch.

3. Your / You’re

Your means “belonging to you”. You’re means “you are”. The simplest way to work out the correct one to use is to read out your sentence. For example, if you say “you’re jeans look nice” expand the apostrophe. The expanded sentence would read “you are jeans look nice” – obviously nonsensical. Remember, in English, the apostrophe often denotes an abbreviation.

4. Its / It’s

As in the case above, the apostrophe denotes an abbreviation: it’s = it is. Its means “belongs to it”. The confusion arises here because we also use an apostrophe in English to denote possession – except in this case; if you want to say “the cat’s bag” you say “its bag” not “it’s bag”. “It’s” always means “it is” or “it has”. “It’s a hot day.” “it’s been fun seeing you.”

5. Two / To / Too

With a ‘w’ it means the number 2. With one ‘o’ it refers to direction: ‘to France’. With two ‘o’s it means “also” or refers to quantity – for example: “There is too much money”. A good way to remember this one is that too has two ‘o’s – ie, it has more ‘o’s than ‘to’ – therefore it refers to quantity.

6. Desert / Dessert

This is a confusing one because in English an ’s’ on its own is frequently pronounced like a ‘z’ and two ’s’s are usually pronounced as a n ’s’ (for example: prise, prissy). In this case, desert follow the rule – it means a large stretch of sand. However, dessert is pronounced “dez-urt” with the emphasis on the second syllable – ie, something we eat as part of our meal. To make matters worse, when a person leaves the army without permission, it is spelt desert. So, let’s sum up:

desert (pronounced dez’-it): dry land
desert (pronounced dez-urt’): abandon
dessert (pronounced dez-urt’): yum yum! – remember, two ’s’s because you want second helpings!

Oh – one more thing – another very common mistake is using the word dessert (two ’s’s) to mean pudding – pudding is a sweet course, often consisting of some kind of cake or icecream. Dessert is fruit or cheese – normally taken after the pudding course.

7. Dryer / Drier

If your clothes are wet, put them in a clothes dryer. That will make them drier. A hair dryer also makes hair drier.

8. Chose / Choose

This is actually quite an easy one to remember – in English we generally pronounce ‘oo’ as it is written – such as “moo”. The same rule applies here: choose is pronounced as it is written (with a ‘z’ sound for the ’s’) – and chose is said like “nose”. Therefore, if you had to choose to visit Timbuktu, chances are you chose to fly there. Chose is the past tense, choose is the present tense.

9. Lose / Loose

This one is confusing. In this case, contrary to normal rules of English, the single ’s’ in loose is pronounced like an ’s’ – as in wearing trousers that are too loose. Lose on the other hand, relates to loss – for example: “I hope we don’t lose this game”. A good way to remember this is that in the word “lose” you have lost the second ‘o’ from loose. If you can’t remember a rule that simple, you are a loser!

10. Literally

This one is not only often used in error, it is incredibly annoying when it is used in the wrong way. Literally means “it really happened” – therefore, unless you live on a parallel universe with different rules of physics, you can not say “he literally flew out the door”. Saying someone “flew out the door” is speaking figuratively – you could say “he figuratively flew out the door” but figuratively is generally implied when you describe something impossible. Literally can only be used in the case of facts – for example: he literally exploded after swallowing the grenade. If he did, indeed, swallow the grenade and explode – that last sentence is perfectly correct. It would not be correct to say “she annoyed him and he literally exploded” unless she is Wonder Woman and her anger can cause people to blow up.

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Old 12th March 2010, 04:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 10 Common English Mistakes

Oh,I have something to add to the list.

Though/through/thorough
Veh commonly misspelled or used in the wrong context.

Though is used when to mean even when something something...

Through is well,to go through something,to pass into something,get by,e.t.c.

Thorough on the other hand would mean very clear,very precise,very through and through.

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Old 12th March 2010, 06:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 10 Common English Mistakes

Haha cool! ^^
I like the explanation for the last one xD

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Old 13th March 2010, 01:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 10 Common English Mistakes

May I add one more, off the top of my head?

'Their' (as in "their bags") is pronounced exactly like 'there' and 'they're'... and not "thee-AH", like many Singaporeans tend to pronounce it.

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Old 13th March 2010, 01:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 10 Common English Mistakes

Hate it when people expand "would've" into "would of" instead of the intended meaning, which is "would have". (i find Americans do this a lot..)

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