6 common mistakes in English … that are easy to correct!
Learning a language is a gradual process. The best way to do this successfully is to establish a strong base and then to build step by step on this base. The problem is that many students make mistakes without realizing it. This is a list of six of the most common mistakes that students make without realizing it.
#1 MISTAKE: I am agree …
Students often translate Estic d’acord/Estoy de acuerdo into English directly, but this is incorrect. The correct form is:
(Technically you could say “I am in agreement” but it sounds strange)
Estic d’acord amb tu / Estoy de acuerdo contigo
I agree with you
#2 MISTAKE: Say me
There are two possible ways to translate dir / decir into English…”to say” or “to tell.” It depends on the sentence, but of these two, “to tell” is much more common. Students often translate these verbs into English using “to say” because this is usually the first form that they learn. In this case, however, the correct form is:
(Technically to say to me would also be correct but it sounds too formal)
Digues-me / Dime
#3 MISTAKE: to take a coffee
This is a direct translation from pendre un café/tomar un café. The English equivalent uses the verb, “to have.” The correct form is:
To have a coffee
Vols pendre un café? / ¿Quieres tomar un café?
Do you want to have a coffee?
#4 MISTAKE: People is…
This mistake is caused by direct translation. In Catalan and in Castilian, “people” is singular. In English is it plural. The correct form is:
La gent és estranya / La gente es rara
People are strange
MISTAKE #5: I can to go
“Can” is a defective verb and defective verbs are used like auxiliaries. They are followed by the verb (go) and not the infinitive (to go). The same is true of “must.” The correct form is:
I can go
Podem anar al cine la setmana que ve / Podemos ir al cine la semana que viene
We can go to the movies next week
#6 MISTAKE: Is important
In English you must use the subject with the verb. In Catalan and Spanish it is possible to omit the subject but in English it is not. The correct form is:
(Technically it is possible to say, “It is,” but the contracted form is much more common)
És important estudiar / Es importante estudiar
It is important to study