Grammar Exercise: Find the Mistakes! (Intermediate ESL)

Note: This page is for students. Teachers, you can download this exercise as a worksheet here: Fix the Mistakes (Speaking Activity)

This exercise is for intermediate-level students. Each of the below 20 sentences has a mistake. Rewrite the sentence without the mistake, and then click on 'Answer' to check your answer. Explanations have been added to the answers that are not obvious.

Let's begin!

1.     It is raining when I got home last night.


It was raining when I got home last night.

* Use past progressive for a longer action that was interrupted by a shorter action in the past.

2.     My sister is annoying today, but usually she is nice.


My sister is being annoying today, but usually she is nice.

* Use a progressive tense (present progressive is used here) for actions and (some) adjectives that are temporary. Your sister is not annoying; she is only being annoying today. For adjectives, this generally applies to adjectives that require an action (e.g. being silly, being rude) and not states (dead, tired).

3.     I have not ate anything today.


I have not eaten anything today.

4.     If I am a child, I would play outside.


If I were a child, I would play outside.

* Second conditional = If + past tense, subject + would/could/might. The second conditional is used for unreal situations. Fact: You are not a child. But, if you were a child, you would play outside. Review conditionals here.

5.     Everyone have seen that movie.


Everyone has seen that movie.

6.     If we will be late, they will be angry.


It we are late, they will be angry.

* Being late is a real possibility, so you should use the first conditional. First conditional = If + subject + present simple, subject + will.  Review conditionals here.

7.     My father is thinking that I should stop smoking.


My father thinks I should stop smoking.

* In this sentence, the verb think is a state verb. It is generally not used in the progressive (~ing) tense. See our lesson on state verbs.

8.     Look! It is snow.


Look! It is snowing.

* Use the present progressive tense if you want to describe what is happening now.

9.     I fell asleep while I watched TV.


I fell asleep while I was watching TV.

*After while use past progressive. Again, this is a longer action (watching TV) that was interrupted by a shorter action (fell asleep).

10. I have lived in Canada since 10 months.


I have lived in Canada for 10 months.

  • For describes a duration. Since describes when an action began.

11.     There is a warm country.


It is a warm country. / That country is warm.

*In the above sentence, 'There' is an adverb that indicates a place. An adverb should not be the subject of a sentence. Instead, use 'It' as the subject. It is a pronoun.

12.     I have not an iPhone.


I do not have an iPhone.

* People do not say "I have not (something)" anymore. This is old-fashioned English.

13.     I haven't ever been to Korea.


I haven't been to Korea. / I have never been to Korea.

* Ever is only used with the present perfect in questions. It is not used in statements.

14.     The students have a good time in class today.


The students are having a good time in class today.

* The verb have is a state verb, so it shouldn't be used in the progressive (~ing) tenses. However, to 'have a good time' is an expression (just like have a baby, have a party). These expressions are actions, so they can be used in the progressive tense.

15.     John probably isn't going to come to school tomorrow.


John probably won't come to school tomorrow.

* Use will for predictions. Use be + going to for plans that are already decided.

16.     If the world ended tomorrow, I will be very sad.


If the world ended tomorrow, I would be very sad.

* This is the second conditional. It is for a present unreal condition. There is a very low chance the world will end tomorrow. The speaker does not believe it will happen. Therefore, to show that it's not a real possibility, we use the second conditional.

17.     I still did my homework at 10:30 pm last night.


I was still doing my homework at 10:30 pm last night.

* Use past progressive for actions that were in progress at a specific time in the past.

18.     He can speak Japanese because he was born in Canada.


He can speak Japanese even though/although he was born in Canada.

* These ideas contrast each other, so we should use 'even though/though/although'.

19.     Lee afraid of snakes.


Lee is afraid of snakes.

* afraid is an adjective. A verb is still needed.

20. The students were not interested in the lesson because it was bored.


The students were not interested in the lesson because it was boring.

* An explanation of this answer can be found here.

common mistakes in English

How many answers did you get correct? If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below.

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 see some more common mistakes, please visit these related pages:

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57 comments on “Grammar Exercise: Find the Mistakes! (Intermediate ESL)

  1. LOLa (Posted on 5-2-2015 at 09:48)


    1. Anonymous (Posted on 11-27-2016 at 20:44)

      I love them, hugs and kisses.

  2. ij (Posted on 6-13-2015 at 10:35)

    its really goog to learn english.

  3. anonymous.... (Posted on 7-9-2015 at 15:00)

    Sir, please try to provide explanation of answer..
    It will be really beneficiary for all…

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 7-10-2015 at 10:56)

      Hello. I have added explanations as you requested.

  4. XD (Posted on 8-27-2015 at 07:26)

    Thanks but you must add scores.

  5. khaled taha (Posted on 9-7-2015 at 15:26)

    It is agood way to learn english

    1. Anonymous (Posted on 9-18-2015 at 07:23)

      OHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REALLY

  6. aryaman mukherjee (Posted on 10-24-2015 at 05:47)

    out of the total number of questions how many did i get right?

  7. mohammed (Posted on 10-24-2015 at 08:28)

    Keeb going

  8. Rana (Posted on 10-30-2015 at 03:42)

    You CAN use “There” as a subject of a sentence. like in “There is no one on the line” or “There is an empty table” ..

  9. Moridiat Elemosho (Posted on 11-4-2015 at 15:50)

    It helps me with my home work

  10. Rokibat Elemosho (Posted on 11-4-2015 at 15:54)

    Thanks soooooooooo much my family and friends will love it thanks soooooooooo much again

  11. Abby (Posted on 11-4-2015 at 16:01)

    My wife will love it thanks soooooooooo much ❤xxxxxxxxxx

    1. Anonymus (Posted on 4-25-2016 at 04:38)

      Naughty boy!

  12. Preeti (Posted on 12-10-2015 at 02:02)

    Thank you soooo much !Answers with detail explanation are really helpful.

  13. Matt (Posted on 1-16-2016 at 03:19)

    Thank you so much! It is useful!

  14. Khải Nguyễn (Posted on 1-22-2016 at 02:30)

    These exersices are very useful for English learners

  15. tu cainal (Posted on 1-28-2016 at 10:29)

    how can I know my grade??? I dont find it

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 1-28-2016 at 14:48)

      Click on the red ‘Answer’ link. It will show you the answer. Then you can compare your answer to the correct answer.

  16. Kambiz (Posted on 2-3-2016 at 14:19)

    About the question 19, 1- may we say ” lee does afraid of snakes?”
    2- “is afraid ” should not have “ing” ? Why not?
    3- if we say “does” don’t need to add ing, but with “is” , I think something is wrong if we don’t add.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-3-2016 at 16:27)

      1 – No. ‘Does’ is used as an auxiliary verb in making questions. ‘Lee is afraid of snakes.’ is the correct sentence. (Afraid is an adjective)
      2 – Afraid is not a verb. It is an adjective.
      3 – I’m not sure what you mean. We use ‘is’ with present progressive (I am typing). We use ‘Does/do’ when making questions in the present simple. For example, ‘Do you understand? / Does he have a dog?’

  17. shyam (Posted on 3-3-2016 at 01:44)

    good i liked it

  18. Jesse (Posted on 4-19-2016 at 02:11)

    Not impress with my grammar.

    1. Anonymous (Posted on 6-1-2016 at 15:09)

      Not impressed*

  19. Levi (Posted on 6-1-2016 at 15:10)

    It was quite easy for my experience. But there were a few tricky ones like nr. 2

  20. ahmed samer HAssn (Posted on 6-2-2016 at 16:38)

    “Don’t blame me.Nothing can’t be done about it”

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-2-2016 at 19:37)

      Nothing is used with an affirmative (positive) verb.

  21. limikami (Posted on 7-5-2016 at 22:02)

    don not worry. I will give you some medicines and you will feel better soon

  22. Anonymous (Posted on 7-17-2016 at 04:32)

    I don’t speak to him since last summer

    1. mb (Posted on 7-17-2016 at 11:45)

      Yes, that is a mistake. You should use the present perfect with ‘since’

  23. Dee Hagerty (Posted on 7-31-2016 at 04:52)

    Creative post – I was enlightened by the analysis . Does anyone know if my assistant would be able to obtain a fillable a form version to fill in ?

  24. Anonymous (Posted on 8-13-2016 at 02:27)

    you should all make turns to discuss this problem (find the mistake)

  25. LOL (Posted on 8-17-2016 at 05:59)

    Thx for the explanation

  26. Salma (Posted on 9-28-2016 at 12:26)

    I want to put my sentences and you answer me! How i do that!

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 9-28-2016 at 15:01)

      I don’t understand. Can you explain what you mean?

  27. Anonymous (Posted on 10-12-2016 at 07:23)


  28. Gangagowri (Posted on 10-29-2016 at 23:45)

    English language is very easy

  29. Jamaima (Posted on 11-28-2016 at 16:01)

    I love to do grammar correction.

    1. Anonymous (Posted on 12-10-2016 at 22:23)


  30. Anusha (Posted on 12-10-2016 at 22:18)

    Spot the errors are always quite confusing. But they are interesting!

  31. Anusha (Posted on 12-10-2016 at 22:23)

    “Two and two make four.”Is there any mistake in this sentence??????

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-11-2016 at 00:08)

      No, it’s correct.

  32. Anonymous (Posted on 12-10-2016 at 22:27)

    This exercise is very easy.

  33. Nirosha (Posted on 12-30-2016 at 00:23)

    Kala is tallest girl in the class

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-30-2016 at 03:25)

      Good. But put “the” before tallest. — She is the tallest girl in the class. (We put ‘the’ before superlatives).

  34. Maaz (Posted on 1-18-2017 at 11:50)

    the children were lying in bed for a long time.
    (Find the error

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 1-18-2017 at 12:16)

      Just capitalize ‘The’ and it looks okay.

  35. Anonymous (Posted on 2-25-2017 at 02:33)

    What is the right englis ? You has a company tonigh

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-25-2017 at 09:31)

      “You have company tonight.”

  36. Arju (Posted on 4-4-2017 at 07:32)

    Plzz….tell where is error in d sent.

    The three first iinstallments of the rent taken in advance because it is the policy company.

  37. Bimby (Posted on 4-8-2017 at 21:10)

    I don’t know who gave this to me, but thank you for this!

    My sentence is correct or not?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 4-9-2017 at 02:37)


  38. amam (Posted on 5-19-2017 at 22:04)

    does your bus reach at 6.30a.m?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 5-21-2017 at 02:14)

      No. Does yours?

  39. x (Posted on 5-22-2017 at 11:56)

    one of the boy is there (pls correct this)

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 5-22-2017 at 13:07)

      One of the boys is there.

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