Advanced Mistakes (iv)


Source: Swan. M. 2005. Practical English Usage Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (2011).

Practical English Usage lists over a hundred common mistakes in the English language. Even advanced students of English make mistakes. Swan (2005) has listed a number of them.

“I nearly wish I’d stayed at home.” = I almost wish I’d stayed at home.
(43.2) We can use almost to mean ‘similar to, but not exactly the same’, and to make statements less definite. Nearly is not used like this.

“One speaks Italian in my town.” = We / They speak Italian in my town.
(496.3) One generally has a singular meaning: ‘any individual’; it is not used to refer to whole groups.

“The girl wants an own room.” = The girl wants her own room.
(4051) We only use own after a possessive word. It cannot directly follow an article.

“Couldn’t you help me?” = Could you help me? / You couldn’t you help me, could you?
(368.3) We do not usually use negative questions to ask people to do things. This is done with ordinary questions, or with negative statement + question tag.

“I’ll try to know when it starts.” = I’ll try to find out when it starts.
(313.5) Know is not normally used to talk about finding something out: to know something is to have learnt it, not to learn it. To talk about getting knowledge we can use for example find out, get to know, learn, hear, can tell.

“I love this so beautiful country.” = I love this country – it’s so beautiful.
(538.3) In an informal style, so can be used like very to give new information, when the speaker wishes to emphasise what is said. This structure is rather like an exclamation.

“It’s getting winter.” = It’s getting to be winter.
(223.6) Get + infinitive can suggest gradual development.

“Our flat is decorated this week.” = Our flat is being decorated this week.
(412.2) We normally make passive forms of a verb by using tenses of the auxiliary be followed by the past participle of the verb. The passive present progressive (continuous) verb form consists of am/are/is being + past participle.

“The Mont Blanc is 4808m high.” = Mont Blanc is 4808m high.
(70.17) Names of mountains vary. Most have no article.

See other: Notes On English Grammar

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