Spotting Errors

5 minute read
Spotting Errors

Spotting errors is a skill that comes in handy very often no matter if you are a student giving an English exam in school, a government exam or SAT or any English proficiency exams. It is essential that a candidate builds up a good command over English grammar and vocabulary to be able to ace error spotting. In error spotting you have to spot an error in the sentences provided. The error can be anything like nouns, to pronouns or any other grammatical mistake in the sentence. We will explain the common errors and give you tips on how to get better at it in this blog.

Common Errors

We have provided a list of the common errors which can be seen in these types of questions –


A noun is used to identify a place, person and things. It can be singular and plural but the verb used for them differ from singular to plural.

  • Certain nouns being a singular form represent plurality and take a plural verb in a sentence for example – police, clergy, people, peasantry, cattle etc.
  • Certain nouns take the plural verb because of their plural form for example – Clothes, Scissors, trousers, amends, spectacles etc.
  • When a noun denoting weight, number, money, length or measure is following a number the noun form does not change as long as another noun or pronoun follows it for example –  Million, pair, meter, year, dozen


A pronoun is a word which refers to the noun in the sentence in case of possession.

  • When the pronoun ‘one’ is used it should be maintained throughout the whole sentence.
  • For living people ‘whose’ is generally used and for things that are non-living ‘which’ is used.


An adjective is a word which represents the specialty, merits, demerits, quality and fault of a person, place or thing.

  • Instead of ‘who’ or ‘which’, the relative pronoun ‘that’ is used after adjectives in the superlative degree
  • ‘As’ is used both before and after the adjective to show equality.

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Adverb is a word which modifies the meaning of an adjective or verb. Some of the adverbs have the same meaning and create confusion in people’s mind. These words include less and fewer. ‘Fewer’ is used for denoting number while ‘Less’ is used for denoting quantity and some adverbs such as little, a little, the little, are used in different places

Make sure all these parts of speech are correctly used in the sentence.

 Other Errors to Spot

  • The different words in the sentence performing the same function should be in the same format. For example –

All business students should be learning word processing, accounting and computer programming. (Correct)
All business students should be learning word processing, accounting, and how to program computers.(Incorrect)

  • Modifiers modify the subject and have to be placed next to the subject. They change the meaning of the sentence. For example –

Covered in mud, Mark helped the puppy.(Incorrect)
Covered in mud, the puppy was helped by Mark. (Correct)

  • Correct words should be used in the correct places. For example-

See you later (Correct)
See you latter (Incorrect)

  • Avoid the needless repetition of the same idea. For example –

We will return back on Monday.(Incorrect)
We will return on Monday. (Correct)

  • The question tag is positive and the sentence is negative and vice versa. For example

It’s a bit early, is it? (Incorrect)
It’s a bit early, isn’t it? (Correct)

  • ‘Though’ is always followed by ‘yet’ in a sentence and not by ‘but’. For example –

Though he is rich but he is kind. (Incorrect)
Though he is rich, yet he is kind. (Correct)

  •  ‘Not’ is never used with ‘unless’ because ‘unless’ expresses a condition that is always used in the negative sense. For example –

Unless you do not pay the fine, you will not be excused.(Incorrect)
Unless you pay the fine, you will not be excused. (Correct)

  •  ‘While’ implies the time duration of doing something and ‘When’ denotes a general sense. For example –

When learning how to box, the technique is of utmost importance.(Incorrect)
While learning how to box, the technique is of utmost importance. (Correct)

Also Read:

Some Practice Questions 

We have provided some questions so that you may practice all that you have learnt. Spot the errors in the sentences given below –

  • The Company were founded in the year of 2000.
  • Each student must bring their umbrellas. 
  • A little milk in the pot might prove useful.
  • The trousers is missing
  • This is a 15-meters scale.
  •  One must help his neighbours.
  • Which laptop is kept on charging?
  • Though he is rich but he is kind.
  • Unless you do not pay the fine, you will not be excused.
  • Mathematics are a difficult subject.

Tips for Spotting Errors

For the benefit of the students we are providing a few tips you can use in the exam to be better at spotting errors. Here are the tips –

  •  Read. Reading always helps improve your grammar. Read good novels and English newspapers like The Hindu and The Times of India.
  • Go through some standard grammar books.
  • Read the sentence carefully and maybe more than once before proceeding to answer.
  • Try to understand the meaning, objective and the message of the sentence that is being conveyed to the reader.
  •  Practice and practice because practice makes perfect right? You can practice from the previous year papers and mock tests.
  • Lastly do not panic in the exam. Take a deep breath when you feel overwhelmed, calm your mind and give it another try.

Also Read:


How do you use spotting error in a sentence?

Read the sentence carefully and try to find what looks like it doesn’t match the rules that you have learnt in grammar.

How do I learn spotting errors?

We have provided information for that and other things you can do for improving are practice and reading a lot.

How do I prepare for error correction in English?

We have provided a list of tips you can use to prepare for your exam. Do remember to practice and revise the grammar rules so that you do not forget them in the exam.

How do you find the common error?

We have provided common errors that are seen in these types of questions. You can use them to find errors and while practicing try to remember them.

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We hope our blog about spotting errors helped you in learning how to get better at it and probably even ace it in your exam. To browse courses, colleges, universities and exams check out our other blogs at Leverage Edu. Our experts also provide counselling and guidance to the students who need it so please contact us because we are always happy to help in whatever way you need us to.  

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