Common Errors


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this is a lesson on the common errors made by students of graduate classes in andhra pradesh, india. the lesson is made exclusively for a television presentation on Mana TV and was presented on may 19, 2010.

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  • Good morning everyone. The objective of this TV lesson is to give you an idea of the various kinds of errors we make while writing and speaking English. Instead of focusing on any one kind of errors and remedial measures to overcome that, the lesson focuses on a variety of errors to help you become aware of them.
  • Let us take a quick look at why, in the first place, errors occur. Our students do not get enough opportunity either in the classroom or outside of it to use what they have learned. The most effective form of learning a language is by using it and without that opportunity, students are bound to make mistakes. In some cases, the models that students have – their peers, friends, parents and even teachers – may themselves be not good at English. Another important factor that conributes to our mistakes is the differences between our mother tongues and English. There are a some helpful rules to learn good English, but unfortunately, many of these rules have exceptions to them and each one of them needs to be learnt individually. In some cases, standards of acceptability differ from one variety to another, one situation to another. Finally, each student is an individual and has a different pattern of making mistakes. This is very obvious when we consider pronunciation errors.
  • Within the scope of this lesson today, I plan to consider all these kinds of errors that we make. Look at this list. Each one of these is an example of the type of that error. Let us consider each type in a little detail in the following slides.
  • Let us first look at some very common errors that we make with English spelling.
  • Here is a list of examples for various types of mistakes that we make with English spelling. Adviser and advisor are both correct. The dictionary lists both of them. But they are two variations of the same word. In such cases, the one principle that we should keep in mind is that of consistency. Whichever spelling we choose to use for whatever reason, we should use the same spelling all through. If I use color in one place and colour in another, that is an instance of inconsistency. The second example is that of two different, but identical, words. If we use one in place of another, the meaning is lost. The third problem is because of inflexions. When words such clear, pronounce become other parts of speech, the spelling changes. Be wary of them. Copywrite is an common error because we mistake it do something with writing. Begining, paralel, are some frequently misspelt English words. Then there is this problem with unknown words. Because of the divergence between the letters of the English alphabet and the sounds of English, we cannot predict the spelling of words, when we first hear them.
  • There are, of course, rules to help us. Let us consider one example. When the letters i and e occur together in a word, the rule says, use ei after the letter c and ie after other letters. Look at the examples here. But even such useful rules have several exceptions. Look at the list. Even if we refine the rule and say that the rule works only when the sound is a long ee, there are still exceptions such as in foreign. Nevertheless, rules are a great help.
  • Mnemonics is a great help to remember spelling. Create your own tricks.
  • Here are some helpful suggestions to master English spelling. Learng to look at words closer and to take mental pictures of words. Spellcheck is a really helpful tool, but is not a complete substitute to learning spelling.
  • The next category of errors relate to using words.
  • Errors relating to words occur because of any of these reasons.
  • Wait and weight are homophones. So also are carat, carrot and karat.
  • Differed and Deferred are homonyms. Idle, idol and ideal are often misused for one another.
  • Talk and speak are not the same, though they are synonyms. Stench and fragrance may be synonyms in a sense, but there is a huge difference between their meanings.
  • Many a time students use a completely different word and convey an unintended meaning. People are hanged and things are hung. Raise is a transitive verb and rise is intransitive. Marketing and shopping mean two different things – one is selling and the other one is buying. All of a sudden is the standard expression, and we cannot change it.
  • Be careful with your words.
  • These mistakes are usually because of the mother tongue influence.
  • The first sentence should be ideally two different simple sentences or one complex sentence with no comma and an adverb. The second sentence is incomplete. Wants is a transitive verb and needs an object after it.
  • Last night refers to past time. Have is not used in the continuous, when we use it to refer to possession. For a long time, needs a verb in the present perfect, or present perfect continuous. The subordinate clause, in this structure, cannot be in the future.
  • Each is singular. My friend and my philosopher are two different people. My friend and philosopher is one person. The reference is to one of them, not all.
  • Consider these sentences with commas in the right places and without commas.
  • Which one do you choose for what level of formality? The last one is perfectly acceptable in a very highly informal situations.
  • Females as a noun is offensive or derogatory. Chairman is gender bias. Handicapped is again derogatory. Physically challenged is the polite expression. Someone may have diabetes and so is a diabetic, but not necessarily suffering from it.
  • Common Errors

    1. 1. m nagaRAJU eror errror erroor eerror rror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror yeror errror erroor eerror rror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror eror errror erroor eerror rror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror eror errror erroor eerror yaerror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror eror errror erroor eerror rror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror eror errror erroor eerror rror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror eror errror erroor eerror rror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror eror errror erroor eerror yrror yerar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror eror errror erroor eerror rror erar errorr errroor arror airror errwor earror aerror yeror errror erroor eerror yarror erar errorr yerror yarror ayeor
    2. 2. <ul><li>Insufficient opportunity to use English </li></ul><ul><li>Not enough good models </li></ul><ul><li>Differences from the mother tongue </li></ul><ul><li>Exceptions to rules </li></ul><ul><li>Various standards </li></ul><ul><li>Personal error patterns </li></ul>m n RAJU
    3. 3. <ul><li>Speling </li></ul><ul><li>Ward </li></ul><ul><li>Sen>tence </li></ul><ul><li>pun.ctu,a-tion </li></ul><ul><li>Ap(proper)riateness </li></ul><ul><li>Pronounceiation </li></ul>m n RAJU Spelling Word Sentence Punctuation Appropriateness Pronunciation
    4. 4. <ul><li>Spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Word </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation </li></ul>m n RAJU
    5. 5. <ul><ul><li>Adviser/advisor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calendar/calender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clearify /clarify </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copywrite /copyright </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beginning/ begining </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parallel/ paralel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rendezvous </li></ul></ul>m n RAJU
    6. 6. <ul><li>There are some rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>achieve, brief, hygiene, priest, patience, friend </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ceiling, conceive, deceive, receipt, perceive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But even those rules have exceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>n ei ghbor, w ei ght, v ei n, ei ther, for ei gn, h ei ght </li></ul></ul>m n RAJU
    7. 7. <ul><li>Mnemonics </li></ul><ul><li>hear/here: </li></ul><ul><li>You H EAR with your EAR </li></ul><ul><li>desert/de ss ert: </li></ul><ul><li>The sweet one has two sugars </li></ul><ul><li>principal/principle: The princi PAL is my PAL ; A princip LE is a ru LE . </li></ul><ul><li>When 2 vowels go walking, the first does the talking. </li></ul><ul><li>Ea t </li></ul>m n RAJU
    8. 8. <ul><li>Look – say – write - check </li></ul><ul><li>Use dictionary/spellcheck </li></ul><ul><li>Break into syllables </li></ul><ul><li>Visualize </li></ul>m n RAJU
    9. 9. <ul><li>Spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Word </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation </li></ul>m n RAJU
    10. 10. <ul><li>Homophones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sound alike, different meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Homonyms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>look alike, different meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wrong synonyms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>wrong shade of meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wrong words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>completely wrong meaning </li></ul></ul>m n RAJU
    11. 11. <ul><li>I will weight for you till noon. </li></ul><ul><li>This carat halwa is delicious. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    12. 12. <ul><li>As he did not have money, he differed the payment. </li></ul><ul><li>Ooty is an idle holiday destination. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    13. 13. <ul><li>Can you talk Latin? </li></ul><ul><li>Feel the stench of these roses. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    14. 14. <ul><li>The curtains were hanged . </li></ul><ul><li>Please raise for the prayer. </li></ul><ul><li>Mom went marketing for vegetables. </li></ul><ul><li>All of the sudden, the TV went off. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    15. 15. <ul><li>Check Dictionary/Thesaurus </li></ul><ul><li>Enrich your vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise caution with words </li></ul><ul><li>Edit what you write </li></ul>m n RAJU
    16. 16. <ul><li>Spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Word </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation </li></ul>m n RAJU
    17. 17. <ul><li>Word Order </li></ul><ul><li>Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Tense </li></ul><ul><li>Verb Agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Fragments </li></ul><ul><li>Redundancy </li></ul>m n RAJU
    18. 18. <ul><li>I was last night at the theatre. </li></ul><ul><li>You are eating? </li></ul><ul><li>The teacher gave to the students an assignment. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    19. 19. <ul><li>I like our Physics teacher , he explains concepts clearly? </li></ul><ul><li>My sister wants . </li></ul>m n RAJU
    20. 20. <ul><li>Last night, I watch TV for an hour. </li></ul><ul><li>Our new teacher is having a big car. </li></ul><ul><li>Rekha wait here for a long time. </li></ul><ul><li>Anita will start crying, if we will tease her. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    21. 21. <ul><li>Each of the girls, as well as the boys, have problems. </li></ul><ul><li>My friend and my teacher guides me. </li></ul><ul><li>One of those parrots are bluish. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    22. 22. <ul><li>He gave them gifts. Or money. </li></ul><ul><li>I would stop here. If I could. </li></ul><ul><li>Myself Amarnath . My village Pregnapur . My age 19 . </li></ul>m n RAJU
    23. 23. <ul><li>He fell down from the top of the house. </li></ul><ul><li>I saw the boy and his sister both in the garden. </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps, he may be right. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    24. 24. <ul><li>Study </li></ul><ul><li>Practise </li></ul><ul><li>Edit what you write </li></ul>m n RAJU
    25. 25. <ul><li>Spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Word </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation </li></ul>m n RAJU
    26. 26. <ul><li>Apostrophe vs Plural </li></ul><ul><li>Comma Splice </li></ul><ul><li>Missing Comma </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple Punctuation Marks </li></ul>m n RAJU
    27. 27. <ul><li>My father name is Salman. </li></ul><ul><li>The boy’s will go school tomorrow. </li></ul><ul><li>The monkey ate all the banana’s . </li></ul><ul><li>The door’s colour </li></ul><ul><li>1970 ’ s </li></ul>m n RAJU
    28. 28. <ul><li>The Indigo Manza is a luxury car , I am going to buy it. </li></ul><ul><li>I am hungry , I cannot eat while I am on TV. </li></ul><ul><li>She stopped dancing , he entered the room. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    29. 29. <ul><li>When we finished eating the dog barked. </li></ul><ul><li>Eats shoots and leaves. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    30. 30. <ul><li>This is amazing! !!!!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>She remained silent. …… </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean? ???? </li></ul>m n RAJU
    31. 31. <ul><li>Be careful </li></ul><ul><li>Pause when you speak </li></ul><ul><li>Edit what you write </li></ul>m n RAJU
    32. 32. <ul><li>Spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Word </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation </li></ul>m n RAJU
    33. 33. <ul><li>Level of Formality </li></ul><ul><li>Jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Biased language </li></ul>m n RAJU
    34. 34. <ul><li>Wait a minute. </li></ul><ul><li>Hold on a minute, will you? </li></ul><ul><li>Could you wait for a minute, please? </li></ul><ul><li>Sir, I have a nasty headache. </li></ul><ul><li>He don’t mean nothin’. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    35. 35. <ul><li>Pursuant to the Commissioner’s instructions, I am presenting this lesson. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    36. 36. <ul><li>There are five females in the room. </li></ul><ul><li>Her mother is the chairman . </li></ul><ul><li>He is handicapped . </li></ul><ul><li>She suffers from diabetes. </li></ul>m n RAJU
    37. 37. <ul><li>My friend Tony died in a traffic accident. </li></ul><ul><li>May I borrow your phone. </li></ul><ul><li>Would you mind posting this letter for me? Yes, certainly . </li></ul>m n RAJU
    38. 38. <ul><li>Suit your audience </li></ul><ul><li>Match the purpose </li></ul>m n RAJU
    39. 39. <ul><li>Spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Word </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation </li></ul>m n RAJU
    40. 40. <ul><li>Sounds </li></ul><ul><li>Wrong Pronunciation </li></ul><ul><li>Stress </li></ul><ul><li>Intonation </li></ul>m n RAJU
    41. 41. <ul><li>M /ɛm/ </li></ul><ul><li>Z /zi or zɛd/ </li></ul><ul><li>Poor </li></ul><ul><li>Junior college </li></ul>m n RAJU
    42. 42. <ul><li>English /’ɪŋglɪʃ/ </li></ul><ul><li>Cassette /kə’sɛt/ </li></ul>m n RAJU
    43. 43. <ul><li>Sponge /spʌndʒ/ </li></ul><ul><li>Jewelry /dʒuəlri/ </li></ul><ul><li>Buffet /bəfeɪ/ </li></ul><ul><li>Bury /bɛri/ </li></ul>m n RAJU
    44. 44. <ul><li>Listen to good models </li></ul><ul><li>Use a dictionary </li></ul><ul><li>Record & Rehearse </li></ul><ul><li>Practise </li></ul>m n RAJU
    45. 45. <ul><li>Articles </li></ul><ul><li>Prepositions </li></ul><ul><li>Adjectives </li></ul>m n RAJU
    46. 46. m n RAJU Listener knows Listener does not know Speaker knows May I use the car? I saw an expensive car. Speaker does not know Have you bought a car. I want to buy a new car.
    47. 47. <ul><li>No Rules </li></ul><ul><li>Memorize </li></ul>m n RAJU
    48. 48. <ul><li>The usual order of adjectives: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Article or determiner ( a, an, the, my, these ) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Judgment ( beautiful, unjust, nasty, silly ) </li></ul><ul><li>3. Size ( huge, small, little, large ) </li></ul><ul><li>4. Shape ( round, long, oval, square ) </li></ul><ul><li>5. Age ( old, young, modern, ancient ) </li></ul><ul><li>6. Color (b lack, blue, purple, magenta ) </li></ul><ul><li>7. Nationality ( Indian, Russian, Chinese, Polish ) </li></ul><ul><li>8. Material ( cotton, wooden, plastic, paper ) </li></ul>m n RAJU