Learning and improving is not age bound. One should never stop learning and enhancing his/her knowledge. It becomes all the more important when you are learning English, as it is such a vast language that there is something new to learn every single day.
It is true that people learn from their mistakes. For instance, if you have the habit of mispronouncing a word, and one of your friends corrects you, you will always remember it and make sure that you pronounce the word correctly henceforth. This rule applies for all mistakes. There are very few people who can claim of speaking perfect, error-free fluent English. We all make mistakes when it comes to spoken English and a smart student is the one who learns and does not repeat the same mistake!
Let us look at some common mistakes a lot of us make, and how to correct them.
Some common English mistakes
· Then/ than: How many times have you read a sentence where the person has used ‘then’ instead of ‘than’, and cringed? This is one of the most common mistakes many people make. The spellings and pronunciation of the two words are very similar and it is easy to get confused. So how do you make sure that you do not make this mistake? Remember this rule: ‘Than’ is used when comparing things. ‘Then’ is to describe a chain of sequence. Do not mingle the two.
For example: The multiplex is not much further than the restaurant. We can watch a movie, and then have dinner.
This sentence clarifies how and when to use ‘than’ and ‘then’.
· You are done?: Many times we form a question, but make the mistake of framing it as a sentence. ‘You are done?’ is actually a sentence, but the question mark at the end makes it a question. This is one of the most common mistakes you will come across. Many people do not realize that you need to frame a question different from a sentence. The correct way of asking would be, ‘Are you done?’ The only way of avoiding such a mistake is to think before you speak. Frame your question in your mind and make sure you put the words in the right order. Then speak.
· Translating your thoughts: If your first language or mother tongue is not English, chances are you are making the mistake of translating sentences from your mother tongue into English – literally. That means you are saying sentences like – We all going to the movie. Or ‘You are sleeping?’ This happens because your thought process is still ruled by your mother tongue, and not by English. To avoid this mistake, you will have to consciously think in English. Only then can you form proper English sentences.
Therefore, the next time, do not say, ‘we all going to the movie’, rather it should be ‘we all are going for a movie’.
You cannot learn English in one day, or even a month. Learning English is a continuous process and you should do it one English lesson at a time.
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- By Chander Madan
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