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Top Mistakes in English Grammar

What are the most common English Grammar mistakes that everyone makes, well, almost everyone.

English grammar can be almost as confusing as trying to figure out if a mouse is a male or female! So, if you are just beginning to learn the English language and find that you are constantly making grammar errors, do not feel bad or put yourself down. The reality of English grammar is that even us native speakers make serious grammar mistakes, and we have been listening to, speaking, and writing in English for our entire lives! Even as a writer, I still make mistakes that are seemingly simple even though they don’t feel simple; they feel downright confusing! The worst mistakes do not deal with comma or other symbol placements, but instead with specific words. Below you will learn more about these words and how to (try) to avoid making the same mistakes that lifelong English speakers are still continuing to make.

Here are my favorite grammar mistakes:

Lay and Lie

Many people find these two words and their usage to be highly confusing. In fact, the errors made with these words have come to be known as the crown jewel of all English grammar mistakes! The word lay is a verb that is transitive. That means that it is required to have at least one direct subject and one, two or more objects. The word lie is just the opposite as it is an intransitive verb. Mistakes are made when you use the transitive lay in the past tense form when the word lie is what the sentence really calls for.


The word moot is constantly misused. Many people will use it in this way: “Since it is not going to happen anyway, the point is moot.” The majority of English-speaking people would insist that this is the correct way of using the word but they would be incorrect. When a subject is said to be moot, it means that it is a topic that is still open for discussion or is disputable. If you are a native English speaker, this may be brand new news to you as well!

That and Which

I still have problems with these two words and I am an English major! This is another very commonly made mistake when it comes to writing and speaking in English. The word that is a restrictive pronoun; a noun that refers to a subject. Which is a word used to introduce a clause and lets in a qualifier that might not even be essential.  Which is a more ambiguous word though, and depending on its meaning, it can be used flexibly. For example, “The car, which is broken down, is mine” or “The care that is broken down is mine.” If it still sounds confusing, you are not alone. These types of English grammar can take quite a long time to get down pat, and for some people there will always be a struggle on some level or another.

Who and Whom

These two words are often thought of as one in the same and are used interchangeably. In fact, it was years before I realized that using whom was not just a fancy way of speaking and writing! I still have trouble in this area and must look back on the rules sometimes, so let’s see how well I can explain it to you. The word who is nominative/subjective pronoun. It goes right along with the words she, he, it, they and we. Who is used when the pronoun is acting as the clauses subject. Now for whom; this is an objective pronoun and is used with words such as her, him, them, it and us. Whom is used when you refer to an object of subject of a sentence. If you are in doubt of which word to use, go with who along with subjective pronouns like she or he. In a similar way you can use the word whom with pronouns that are objective such as her or him.

Other common English grammar mistakes: Continual and Continuous, Envy and Jealousy, May and Might, Whether and If, Fewer and Less, Farther and Further, Since and Because, Disinterested and Uninterested, Different Than and Different From, Bring and Take, Affect and Effect and Irony and Coincidence.

What is your most common English Grammar mistake?


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