Indians are excellent, well-versed English speakers. Our English is appreciated for its clarity and proper diction. However, English is not the native language of Indians. English is taught in schools, and students learn it by use. However, in this learning process, through other people’s speeches and vocabulary, we also learn and adapt several mistakes that these speakers make. Therefore, one must be very careful to escape the error scope and be alert and conscious while using the language.
Let us look at the five most common errors made in the English language:-
1.You’re and your: – Probably the most common mistake people make while speaking or writing English. ‘You’re, or you are’ refers to saying something to an individual, whereas ‘your’ is a pronoun suggesting the possession of something.
Example: – Your bag is lying on the table. (Possession)
You’re a valuable part of our team. (Referring to someone)
Special note: – Whenever you say welcome, it is “you’re welcome” and not “your welcome.”
2. Affect and effect: – This confusing pair of words is good enough to wobble the confidence of even the most prominent writers and speakers. ‘Affect’ means influencing and changing, whereas ‘effect’ means the result or outcome of an event.
Example: – The heavy rains affected the roads, and the roads are now blocked.
The firefighter tried every possible way to end the fire, but all his efforts had no effect.
3. Then and than: – A rather different and easier conflict; it gets a little confusing at times. ‘Then’ means afterward or at a particular time, whereas ‘than’ is used for comparison.
Example: – Early humans had to walk long distances as there were no cars then.
Chelsea is better than Manchester United.
4. Their and there: – These two words are also often interchanged, which changes the entire meaning of a sentence. ‘Their’ is the possession of they, and ‘there’ is used to locate something.
Example: – India won the match. Their efforts and hard work paid off.
There is no way to go to Australia by road.
5. Fewer and less: – A sleeper mistake that goes unnoticed even in the case of well-known English speakers and writers. Fewer is used when things can be counted, while less is used when the things are uncountable.
Example: – There are fewer books in my cupboard than on the bookshelf.
There is less water in the lake now.
Significant mention: – Another common mistake is the use of the word “alright.” Alright is not even a word. The word is ‘all right,’ and this is often written as alright, which is grammatically incorrect.
The above mistakes are very common, and it takes a grammar nazi to get it all right. But now that you have read this article, I hope that most of your doubts have been clarified. The best way to remember the difference is to use these words as much as possible and ensure that you use the right words each time. It is very important to use and keep a check on these words, or you may end up being more confused. Another suggestion is to correct people and teach them whenever possible. Teaching is the best method to learn anything, however, make sure that you are doing it right!