Common English Mistakes (Grammar – ESL/EFL)

34 Common English Mistakes Made by ESL/EFL Students

Here is a list of common English mistakes my intermediate, upper-intermediate, and advanced ESL students make. Generally, these are grammar mistakes.

> Students, take a look at the sentences (each has a common English mistake) and try to correct the errors.

> Teachers, download the common English mistakes file here for use in class: Common-English-Mistakes-ESL.doc

I have added explanations to most of the mistakes. If you have any questions, leave a comment below. Good luck!

1. There is very cold in the summer.


It's very cold there in the summer.

Explanation: In the above sentence, 'there' is an adverb (a place). An adverb cannot be the subject of a sentence.

2. According to me, that's true.


[In my opinion, / I think] that's true.

3. If I will be late, I'll call you.


If I am late, I'll call you.

Explanation: This is the first conditional (Future Real).

4. I am used to wake up early on weekdays.


I am used to waking up early on weekdays.

Explanation: the phrasal verb be used to is followed by a gerund (verb in ~ing form).

5. She sat in the end of the table.


She sat at the end of the table.

6. I stopped to smoke cigarettes because it was unhealthy.


I stopped smoking cigarettes because it was unhealthy.

Explanation: stop + gerund describes the activity you no longer do. stop + infinitive describes the reason why you stopped.

7. It is very good weather.


The weather is very good.

Explanation: It = the weather.

8. I need to concentrate myself on my homework.


I need to concentrate on my homework.

Explanation: You cannot use a reflexive pronoun after concentrate.

9. Did you ever read the book "Moby Dick?"


Have you ever read the book "Moby Dick?"

Explanation: When talking about a non-specific time in the past, use the present perfect tense (have + past participle).

10. Brian is so stupid man.


Brian is such a stupid man.
Explanation: so changes to such when it is describing a noun. See lesson plan here.

11. In Spain are many nice beaches.


There are many nice beaches in Spain. / Spain has many nice beaches.

Explanation: The above sentence needs a subject.

12. I told that I will come back later.


I said that I would come back later.

Explanation: The object of the verb tell is a person. The object of the verb say are the words/message you say.

13. In my city, bars are closing at 10 p.m. on weeknights.


In my city, bars close at 10 p.m. on weeknights.

Explanation: Use the present simple here to describe a regular action.

14. Let's have a dinner together sometime.


Let's have dinner together sometime.

15. Do you know where is the nearest police station?


Do you know where the nearest police station is?

16. I often do mistakes when I speak English.


I often make mistakes when I speak English.

Explanation: make is an act of creation. There was no mistake until you created it (made it).

17. I can't find nothing in my neighborhood.


I can't find anything in my neighborhood.

18. I've seen that movie last Thursday.


I saw that movie last Thursday.

Explanation: last Thursday is a definite time in the past. Therefore, you should use the past simple tense.

19. How does your new painting look like?


What does your new painting look like? / How does your new painting look?

20. I look forward to see you next month.


I look forward to seeing you next month.

Explanation: The phrasal verb look forward to is followed by a gerund (verb in ~ing form).

21. Can I have a question?


Can I ask a question?

Explanation: Why do you want a question?

22. The news on TV are always sad.


The news on TV is always sad.

23. What means this word?


What does this word mean?

24. The capital of the United Kingdom is the London.


The capital of the United Kingdom is London.

Explanation: Countries that are groups of states (republics, unions, kingdoms, emirates, or states) have the definite article the before them. Secondly, never use the before a city name.

25. Doctor is a hard job.


Being a doctor is hard. / Being a doctor is a hard job.

Explanation: A doctor is a person, not a job. A job is something you do (a verb, an action). What is hard? Not the doctor (the person) -- it's the action (= being a doctor).

26. Surprising is that no one was hurt.


It's surprising that no one was hurt. / The surprising thing is that no one was hurt.

Explanation: an adjective cannot be the subject of a sentence.

27. I suggested to buy a new car.


I suggested buying a new car.

Explanation: We use a gerund (verb in ~ing form) after the verb suggest

28. My teacher is a 34-years old woman.


My teacher is a 34-year old woman.

Explanation: '34-year old' is an adjective in this sentence which describes woman. We don't pluralize (add 's' to) adjectives.

29. If I would be taller, I'd play basketball.


If I were taller, I'd play basketball.

Explanation: This is the second conditional (a present unreal situation).

30. That's not that bad idea.


That's not that bad (of) an idea.

Explanation: ideas are countable, so you need an article (an). 'Of' becomes a preposition of the noun 'idea'.

31. One of my roommate is from Brazil.


One of my roommates is from Brazil.

32. It depends on countries.


It depends on the country.

Explanation: Always use the definite article (the) and then (usually) a singular noun after depends on

33. Even I was tired, I went to the party.


Even though I was tired, I went to the party.

34. I explained her the problem twice.


I explained the problem twice to her.

Explanation: The object of the verb explain is what you explain, not whom you explain the problem to.


How can you improve your English? The best way is to practice speaking and writing with a teacher who can give you feedback on your mistakes. If you don't have a teacher, there is also free software such as Grammarly that can give you grammar feedback while you type.

If you'd like to try some more common mistakes, please visit these related pages:

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47 comments on “Common English Mistakes (Grammar – ESL/EFL)

  1. aafia khizar (Posted on 11-16-2012 at 14:42) Reply

    I think is a comprehensive list of common mistakes made by ESL learners. good job

  2. Angelica A. (Posted on 10-17-2013 at 19:49) Reply

    I liked this kind of excercises because I have a lot problems with the connections.
    I always made a mistakes.
    I am not consisten in talking.

  3. Pingback: English competition – class 8 | SIRIKT 2010

  4. Rohana Sumanasekara (Posted on 2-18-2014 at 03:12) Reply

    A very good exercise based on important aspects of Grammar. Thanks a lot.

  5. Aylin (Posted on 4-23-2014 at 07:24) Reply

    The exercise is really usefull,  So in a short time,  I noticed the wrongs I made by speaking or writting.

    To sum up,  Thank you a lot from Turkey….. :) <3   ^.^

    1. Kobe Bryant (Posted on 3-1-2020 at 23:21) Reply

      Kinda weird quiz

  6. N.L.srinivas (Posted on 9-29-2014 at 02:00) Reply

    very useful. students can easily learn their mistakes.better give brief explanation also which will be useful to students why they are wrong

  7. Freddy (Posted on 10-3-2014 at 22:12) Reply

    Is a better tool to understand English. Thank you!

    1. justine (Posted on 10-11-2016 at 22:48) Reply

      It is a better tool

  8. Rodeeboy Madrid (Posted on 11-11-2014 at 14:01) Reply

    The topics are all good.

  9. Alexandra (Posted on 3-4-2015 at 16:28) Reply

    Thanks a lot. This exercise is fun to fill out and it is very useful.

  10. khaled taha (Posted on 9-7-2015 at 14:59) Reply

    I Thank YOU for your effort

  11. Saba jannat (Posted on 10-5-2015 at 13:57) Reply

    Helpfull…wish it had more exercises

  12. shokria (Posted on 12-1-2015 at 18:51) Reply

    this is very good and useful page.
    thanks inded

  13. Anonymous (Posted on 5-14-2016 at 18:58) Reply

    It was helpful,thanks i learned a lot.

    1. Elly Chiu Delynn (Posted on 12-14-2020 at 23:38) Reply

      Why I can’t submit this quiz?

      1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-15-2020 at 09:14) Reply

        There isnt’ really a submission. There is just an expandable section under each question that will show you the answer.

  14. neeta (Posted on 6-12-2016 at 09:22) Reply

    this worksheet is very useful for learning and very convenient to understand the root of problems.thanks.

    1. Anonymous (Posted on 3-25-2018 at 22:36) Reply

      yea i like it

  15. Dany From Rwanda (Posted on 10-10-2016 at 07:45) Reply

    I can’t real say how helpful I’ve found this exercises thank you guyz you are doing a nice job

  16. russoll (Posted on 11-2-2016 at 06:31) Reply

    common mistakes in sentence : we do not wait the train to arrive on time

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 11-2-2016 at 14:16) Reply

      We do not wait FOR the train to arrive on time. This sentence sounds a bit strange in the present simple tense, though. Are you sure that you don’t want to use the past tense? (We did not wait for the train to arrive.)

  17. Emmanuel Kouamou (Posted on 12-21-2016 at 04:00) Reply

    A very good exercise for ESOL classes. Thanks.

  18. Medha uday joshi (Posted on 9-21-2017 at 08:09) Reply

    Even after being an avid reader and language person , lost my skill so this is really handy as you hv put up reasons n rules too. Common errors are common, I ,sometimes, feel that the grunge and shortcut linguistics made me a dull girl…. I must thank you for what u hv compiled as it is a huge benefit for us to revise and polish. __/\__

  19. Jimmy (Posted on 3-1-2018 at 12:02) Reply

    that was very easy for me I didn’t make mistake
    in these things .

    1. Nuwen Nethma (Posted on 4-19-2020 at 05:22) Reply

      i can tell that by readying your comment.

  20. Ashmy thomas (Posted on 4-4-2018 at 02:12) Reply

    I have studied so many things from this. thank you.

  21. Ammu Sara Mathew (Posted on 4-4-2018 at 02:14) Reply

    OMG! No these exercises are very hard

  22. Nilgun Canıkoglu (Posted on 11-11-2018 at 14:05) Reply

    Number 27, we might say : I suggested on her/his/your/their buying a new car

    Am I wrong?

  23. Nilgun Canıkoglu (Posted on 11-11-2018 at 14:12) Reply

    I realized that I am wrong:)

  24. Alima (Posted on 12-15-2018 at 00:10) Reply

    1.Besides a laptop, he has a PS4.
    2.You can contact the manager for further information.

    What are errors in the above these sentences

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-15-2018 at 12:47) Reply

      Hello. I don’t see any. Can you tell me?

  25. Nuwen Nethma (Posted on 4-19-2020 at 05:19) Reply

    This makes me think that english is very easier than I thought. What a language?

  26. Jennifer (Posted on 5-31-2020 at 07:06) Reply

    Thank you for this lesson. I’m an English teacher in Germany and I think my students can learn a lot from this. May I ask what software you used to create it? Thanks!

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 5-31-2020 at 14:39) Reply

      Hello. This website was created using WordPress. This webpage, like many webpages, are a combination of HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

  27. Moritz (Posted on 11-5-2020 at 03:13) Reply

    Was good and easy

  28. Emelie (Posted on 11-5-2020 at 03:18) Reply

    The quiz was a bit difficult

  29. Dr.NithyanandAradhya (Posted on 12-10-2020 at 10:25) Reply

    Very useful exercises with answers and explanations for learners .

  30. Ren (Posted on 9-15-2021 at 06:54) Reply

    Always use the definite article (the) and then (usually) a singular noun after depends on.
    It depends on countries.

  31. Renn (Posted on 9-15-2021 at 06:56) Reply

    Hi, how come It depends on countries incorrect?

    1. MB (Posted on 9-15-2021 at 11:20) Reply

      Hello. The phrase “Depends on” is almost always followed by ‘the’ + a singular noun. This is why we say ‘It depends on the person’ instead of ‘It depends on people’. Why? I suppose in a sentence like “it depends on the person/country”, we are referring to _that_ particular country/person, and in that sense, we aren’t speaking generally but referring to the individual characteristics of that one, specific country/person.

  32. Ibrahaim Omar (Posted on 12-11-2021 at 04:26) Reply

    My friend helped me somehow these english homework.

  33. JULIAN TELLEZ (Posted on 12-21-2021 at 15:39) Reply

    it is very useful to know the common mistakes to try not to make them.

  34. Linnéa Thelander (Posted on 3-11-2022 at 02:06) Reply

    It was quite easy

  35. doggo (Posted on 7-30-2022 at 03:41) Reply

    good job

  36. Chris WOng (Posted on 10-19-2022 at 16:04) Reply

    My answer may be correct too so it is quite confusing that only one answer for each question is accpeted.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 10-20-2022 at 14:05) Reply

      If you want to post your answer below I can check.

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