Community Tutor
Common Mistakes Made By ESL Learners

Common mistakes are mistakes that people make on a regular basis. The most common of these common mistakes include 'its or it's', 'two, to or too', 'would of instead of would have', and more. The best way to not make these common mistakes is to become familiar with them through a wide variety of examples like speaking, reading, writing etc. Here is one example of a common mistake. Take my classes and you can stop making mistakes like this one!


I live in the apartment, close to the supermarket.


Corrected Sentence:


I live in an apartment, close to a supermarket. (Note that I know the apartment and supermarket, but you, the listener / reader, do not.)


How many of you make mistakes like this on a regular basis? I'd like feedback on whether this is helpful. What do you think?



Jun 17, 2014 10:29 PM
Comments · 4

Yes, this thread could be quite helpful.  I'll give the explanation for the two common mix-ups I had mentioned:


its  =  belonging to it         <em>Example:</em>  The table has a top.  Its top is shiny.

it's  =  short form for it is   <em>Examples:</em>  It's already 7 o'clock!  /  It's a huge dog.


then  - used for time             <em>Example:</em>  I did this, and then I did that

than  - used for comparisons   <em>Examples:</em>  This is bigger than that.  /  It is better to be careful than to be sorry afterwards.

June 20, 2014

I do. I always forget the rules about articles. And I often miss an ‘s’ here and there but put ‘s’ where there shouldn’t be one. Threads like these talking about common mistakes are very helpful and thank you for starting one.

June 18, 2014

Actually I find that even many native speakers mix up 'its' with 'it's', and than with then.  I see these mistakes even in official websites or newspapers.

June 18, 2014

In my experience, native speakers more commonly confuse homonyms like 'two', 'to', and 'too' in their writing than non-native speakers of English.


For students nearing fluency in English, I feel that dependent prepositions might be the most difficult to master:


"to depend on"

"to ask for"

"to agree with"

June 17, 2014