14 Most Common Mistakes in Written English

Below are some of the most common mistakes that are generally seen in the majority of the English speakers, kindly follow the below mistakes to correct yourself if you too are committing them.

To start with let’s see how the punctuation marks change the complete meaning of a sentence.


Ravi, Hemachandra is in your room

Ravi, Hemachandra, is in your room

Now, let us talk the other mistakes we make in our day to day usage.

Mistake 1

Please avoid full stops in abbreviations. Because it is omitted internationally.

E.g. The USA, The USSR, WHO, UNO

Mistake 2

When the question mark is used to indicate a date, the question mark is enclosed in a bracket (?)

E.g. Amit’s dates are 14th – 15th of Feb (?)

Similarly, when the question mark is used to make fun, it is also put in brackets (?)

Similarly, never give a question mark to the interrogative sentence, when no answer is expected, instead replace it with exclamatory mark(!).

In the same way, there is nothing wrong in giving two question marks separated by a capital letter.

E.g.: Did ram come? Where did he go?

Mistake 3

We all know that apostrophe is used to show possession. But when there are two are more people in the subject only the last person takes the apostrophe, but not everyone.

For E.g.: Ravi, Ramu and Hari’s studio

If the plural nouns end with s, then apostrophe is given after the s’

For E.g.: Students’ protest

Mistake 4

Not using apostrophe in counting numbers

For E.g.: In the 1990’s, 1980’s

Mistake 5

An Apostrophe is also used for words that don’t have a standard plural form.

E.g.: when’s, where’s, them’s and that’s.

Mistake 6

Never use an apostrophe for possessive pronouns such as ours, yours, theirs.

Mistake 7

Add an apostrophe (‘s) only to the last word of a compound noun

Eg: Brother-in-law’s, Someone else’s

Mistake 8

If the compound word ends in s, just add the apostrophe towards its end.

Eg: Sergeant-at-arms’

Mistake 9

Brackets usage, they are used to enclose some information with the direct flow and also to give reputed authors name and to give [sic] = thus it is.

Mistake 10

Don’t capitalize on a common noun such as table, pen, car but always capitalize a proper noun such a name of a place and a person.

Mistake 11

Always capitalize the first letter of every word in the title.

Also, all the proper noun derivatives should be capitalized

e.g.: Spanish, French, European but not history, botany.

Mistake 12

When you have to give a quotation within a quotation, always give single quotes inside and double quotes outside.

Similarly, when you want to highlight compound words in a sentence, give quotations to the first compound word and italicize the second compound word.

And, when you use some unacceptable expressions please put them in quotes.

Mistake 13

Use hyphen when you write compound numbers

Eg: twenty-one to ninety-nine.

Similarly, Hyphen is also used with two words that are not normally presented together.

And It is also used with certain combination of words/letters.

E.g.: Pre-election results, Re-evaluate.

Hyphen is generally used as a prefix to certain words such as…!

Well-known, Fair-minded, Good-natured.

Mistake 14

Always use a comma with the dependent clause to separate it from the independent clause.

But the same is not required if the sentence starts with an independent clause.

Eg: If he was an invigilator, he would be more severe.

He would be more severe if he was an invigilator.

Hope, you’ll correct the above mistakes if you too are committing and be more confident with your write-ups and speeches.

-E.Hemachandra Prasad

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