This week on the Art of Business English I am going to share a very valuable lesson with you. We will start a two part series looking at some of the most common mistakes that people make in English, 30 of them in fact. This week in episode 77, I will be covering the first 15.
The best thing about this episode is that someone will actually be explaining to your the mistakes you typically make. What usually happens with language learners is that they make common mistakes and they are not even aware that they are making them. In these cases you need someone to specifically point out the mistake to you.
I have decided to take it one step further, I point out the mistake and then give you the explanation behind why you typically make this mistake and in doing so give you the tools to help you actively fix it.
Let's take a look at the first 15 common mistakes in English.
Why? Because in Spanish it is "depende de". The fact that the preposition "de" comes after "depende" in Spanish often confuses people and tricks them into using "of" instead of "on".
Why? People get confused with close to, which means the same thing as near. They then mix near and close to, and form near to. This is not correct.
Why? Because in Spanish we say "pensando en", as a result Spanish speakers assume that because the preposition in Spanish is "en", then in English it must be the same. The verb think can only be followed by the prepositions "of" and "about".
- Suggest us go/Suggest to go
Why? Because suggest/recommend only have two structures. You can use, suggest + s + v + o, or, suggest + verb –ing. These are the only two ways to structure these verbs. They are commonly confused because in Spanish you don't use a gerund form after recommend.
- I suggest you try the fish, it is a great dish.
- I suggest trying the fish, it is a great dish.
- Active voice: They made me
togive a presentation
Why? Because make someone do something is obligar and it has a different structure in active and passive. I am not talking here about the verb "hacer" I am talking about when you force or compel someone to do something. Look at the following examples, you can see that in the active form we don't use "to", yet when we say the same thing in the passive form we reintroduce the "to":
- Active: They made me give a talk (without “to”)
- Passive: I was made to give a talk (with “to”)
Watch the lesson below
- Throw to my face/Threw the ball him
Why? Throw must be followed by a dependent preposition depending on who is receiving the object. Most commonly we use the preposition "at" when we use the verb throw. Meaning we throw things "at" people or other objects. Take a look at the following examples:
- He threw the ball at me.
- Throw the ball to me.
- What do you do on Monday afternoons? I used to go to the gym.
Why? "Used to" means “solía” and this is often confused with "usually" meaning “suele”. When we are talking about past actions that we did repeatedly we use "used to". When we are talking about action that we do frequently in the present we use "usually".
- This summer I went to the beach all the days.
Why? Todos los días (in plural) means everyday, but todo el día (in singular) means all day.
- I swam at the beach everyday this summer.
- I spent all day at the beach today.
- My childrens are two and five
Why? Child is singular and children is plural. This is an irregular noun. Make sure you avoid pluralising both child and children.
- My fathers are retired
Why? In Spanish “padres” is the plural form and it is masculine. In English fathers, means two male dads. So we need to say parents (unless you have two fathers).
- Often confused
Collocation with Do
- Do a mistake/party/photo/friends
Why? Because in Spanish many of these verbs collocate with the verb “hacer” and so people easily confuse them. The correct collocations are:
- Make a mistake
- Hold a party
- Take a photo
- Make friends
- I am agree with you.
Why? In Spanish we say “Estoy de acuerdo” so people naturally form the verb “to be” in front of "agree". In English we only say “I agree”. Try and treat it like any other verb and imagine it is "yo acuerdo", "te acuerdas" etc...
On the one hand
- In the one hand
Why? People often confuse the preposition "on" with "in", it is only on the one hand.
Despite/In spite of
- Despite of
Why? "Despite" and "in spite of" mean the same thing, so people often mix despite with the preposition "of". Despite works alone with no preposition. So, "despite" is one word that means "a pesar de" and "in spite of" are three words, which also mean "a pesar de".
OK, so there are the first 15 most common mistakes in English in the first part of my 2-part series on 30 common mistakes in English.
If you want to improve your collocations and range of expressions in English then why don't you take a look at the 500 business collocations for everyday use.
Well, let me know what you think and please share this episode with you friends, family and colleagues. Please feel free to leave me a comment below with any questions.
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