Common Errors - 1


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To improve the learners’ ability to understand eight common types of errors found in their spoken
and written English.

1. Subject – Verb Agreement:

The verb and subject must agree with each other. If the subject is singular, then the verb must be singular.
If the subject is plural, then the verb must be plural.

i. If a singular subject is separated by a comma then the following sentence         remains    singular:

1. The child, together with his grandmother and his parents, is going to the beach. (Right)

2. Frank, accompanied by his student, were at the studio. (Wrong)
3. Frank, accompanied by his student, was at the studio. (Right)

2. Collective nouns, such as family, majority, audience, and committee are singular when            they act
as one group. They are plural when they act as individuals.

1. A majority of the shareholders wants the merger.
2. The jury were in disagreement.

3. All phrases separated by and are plural; phrases separated by or are singular.

1. Ted, John, and I are going.
2. Mary, Sheela and Peter are waiting at the reception.

4. Neither/nor and either/or are a exceptional case. If two subjects are joined by or or nor, the verb
should agree with the subject that is near to it.

1. Neither the supervisor nor the staff members were able to calm the distressed client.

2. Neither the staff members nor the supervisor was able to calm the distressed client.

5. Choose the right subject in sentences in which the verb comes before the subject.

1. There is many reasons why I can't help you. (Wrong)

2. There are many reasons why I can't help you. (Right)

2. Modifiers:

1. Use of Adjectives and Adverbs in correction of sentences.

           An Adjective describes a noun and gives explanations for questions like how many, which one
            and what kind

She is a good tennis player. (What kind of tennis player?)

           An Adverb describes a verb or an adjective and explains the questions beginning with when,
           where, why, in what manner,
and to what extent.

            i. She plays cricket well. (She plays cricket how?)

               ii. This problem is reasonably simple. (How simple?)

Generally adverbs do end with -ly to the adjective, like, "She sang melifluously."

She is a real good swimmer. (Wrong)

She is a really good swimmer. (Right)

"really" is acting as an adverb to modify the adjective "good"

The new student speaks bad. (Wrong)

The new student speaks badly. (Right)

"Badly" changes how the student speaks.