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Common Errors in English Language

Common Errors



This aspect is aimed at exposing errors that students commit in their day-to-day spoken and written English. Also, efforts are made here at providing the correct forms and usage of these expressions. Below are some of the errors, their correct versions and analysis or explanation on each of the erroneous statements corrected.

1. Incorrect: My shirt is rough

    Correct: My shirt is rumpled

‘Rough’ cannot collate with shirt because no shirt can be smooth in relation to its texture


2. Incorrect: He owns a barbing salon

   He owns a barber’s shop

The word ‘barbing’ is non existent in the English Language.


3. Incorrect: My landlord gave me a quit notice.

   Correct: My landlord gave me a notice to quit.

‘Quit notice’ is non existent in the English Language. It is “notice to quit” i.e to stop occupying a room.


4. Incorrect: I have Apollo

   Correct: I am suffering from conjunctivitis

A painful disease of the eyes with redness and swelling is called ‘conjunctivitis’ not ‘Apollo


5. Incorrect: My father gave me $5 but it a chickenchange compared to what I need.

   Correct: My father gave me $5 but it is a chickenfeed compared to what I need.

‘Chickenfeed’ (not chicken change) means a very small amount of money.


6. Incorrect: My teacher has k-leg

   Correct: My teacher is knock-kneed.

We cannot describe human leg as ‘k’


7. Incorrect: I am lacking behind in Mathematics

   Correct: I am lagging behind in Mathematics.

‘Lack’ means ‘not having enough’ while ‘lag’ means ‘not able to meet up’.


8. Incorrect: I cracked my brain, but I could not remember his name.

Correct: I racked my brain, but I could not remember his name.

To ‘rack’ one’s brain means to think very hard or for a long time about something. ‘Crack’ means to break something.


9. Incorrect: The man is a furniture maker.

Correct: The man is a cabinet maker

A maker or repairer of the furniture is a cabinet maker, not a furniture maker


10. Incorrect: I can learn the poem off hand

   Correct: I can learn the poem by heart.

To ‘learn something by heart’ is to commit it to memory.

Content created and supplied by: Olawuyisemilore (via Opera News )

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