23 Common Grammar Mistakes in English to Avoid From Now On

8 minute read

With each passing day, the English vocabulary is evolving. However, it can be embarrassing when someone finds a grammatical mistake in your content. After all, we often neglect some very common grammar mistakes in English such as punctuation marks, daily used English words, spelling errors, not knowing the difference between two similar words etc. To save you from the embarrassment, we have compiled a blog on common grammar mistakes in English that are made by people.

What is a Grammar Mistake?

A grammar mistake is an incorrect usage of a word or a punctuation when writing in English. In simple words, it is a deviation from pre-existing grammatical rules. To avoid making any mistakes, it is very crucial to understand the usage of each word.

Here are two sentences where one of them has a grammatical mistake. By looking at them, you will understand the usage of that word correctly.

Incorrect: Every student likes the teacher.

Correct:   Every student likes the teacher.

Quick Read: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your English Writing

List of Grammar Mistakes in English You Should Drop Right Away

Check the following list of the 30 most common grammar mistakes that you might be making in your everyday life and need to stop from today onwards.

  1. Who vs Whom
  2. Your vs You’re
  3. Who’s vs Whose
  4. Affect vs Effect
  5. That vs Which
  6. Then vs Than
  7. Me vs I
  8. Less vs Fewer
  9. May vs Might
  10. A lot vs Allot vs Alot
  11. Like vs Such as
  12. Farther vs Further
  13. Who vs That
  14. Each and every
  15. More than vs Over
  16. Past vs Passed
  17. Based off vs Based on
  18. Passive Voice
  19. Commas
  20. Semicolons
  21. Apostrophes
  22. Em dash vs en dash vs hyphen
  23. Misplaced Modifiers

How to Correct These English Grammar Mistakes?

By understanding the usage behind these grammar mistakes, no one can stop you from becoming a grammar nazi. To progress, you must learn the correct as well as incorrect grammar usage behind each word. Here is a further explanation behind all the common mistakes and how they should be used correctly. 

1. Who vs Whom

The main difference between these two is that ‘who’ is used as the subject of a sentence whereas ‘whom’ is used as the object of the sentence. Here are some examples which will help you avoid making this mistake.

Example: Who will be the host of tomorrow’s party?

Example: To whom should I address this email?

2. Your vs You’re

Both ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ are homophones. This means that they both sound the same when spoken but both have different meanings. Nonetheless, ‘Your’ is a possessive pronoun. It means that something belongs to a singular second person. While ‘you’re’ is a contraction of you are.

Example: You forgot your earphones at the office yesterday.

Example: You’re expected to be in the office by 10 am. 

3. Who’s vs Whose

‘Who’s’ is for to who is. Whereas, the word ‘Whose’ is a possessive form of who, which is a relative pronoun. 

Example: Who’s ready for the English exam on Friday?

Example: Whose laptop is this?

4. Affect vs Effect

Affect’ is used as a verb which means ‘to cause an effect’. The word ‘effect’ is a noun that symbolises the result that has happened. 

Example: What effect does the cold have on you?

Example: The passing of her rabbits affected her a lot.

5. That vs Which

The word ‘that’ is used to introduce a clause which adds necessary information to a sentence. The word ‘which’ is used to introduce something that adds details but isn’t important to the sentence. 

Example: One of my cats, the one that ate a rock needs to see the vet immediately.

Example: My other cat, which is a German Shepherd, also needs to see the vet. 

6. Then vs Than

The word ‘then’ is used in the future tense where something/ an action will occur. Whereas, the word ‘Than’ is used for comparing people or things. 

Example: First we’ll go over the coursework; then we’ll study.

Example: My brother is taller than me.

7. Me vs I

Both ‘I’ and ‘Me’ are first-person singular pronouns. The usage of ‘I’ in the sentence is done when you’re the subject of the sentence. ‘Me ‘ is used in the sentence when you (yourself) are the subject in the sentence. 

Example: It was almost midnight, so I didn’t stop to pick up my clothes. 

Example: You want me to come with you?

8. Less vs Fewer

Less’ is used in sentences to describe an abstract or uncountable amount of items. ‘Fewer’ is used for something/items that can be counted.

Example: The students had less time to work on the assignment. 

Example: Fewer people used disposable plates to eat at the function. 

9. May vs Might

Generally, ‘may’ is used in the present tense to ask for permission and to indicate that something is likely to happen. ‘Might’ is used in the past tense to describe that things will most probably not happen.

Example: May I bring a glass of water for you?

Example: There might be some time left for questions at the end of the discussion. 

10. A lot vs Allot vs Alot

The word ‘A lot’ can be both a pronoun and an adverb. It speaks of something that happens ‘often’ or in ‘large amount’ While ‘allot’ is a verb which means ‘to distribute’. Finally, ‘alot’ is not a word. It should be avoided in writing. 

Example: There are a lot of fish in the ocean.

Example: Each student was allotted one seat each.

11. Like vs Such as

Like’ is used to make a comparison while ‘such as’ is used to provide examples.

Example: That couch has black and white spots like a Dalmatian dog.

Example: We have many pizza toppings, such as pepper, capsicum, pineapple etc.

12. Farther vs Further

Farther’ is for literal distance. ‘Further’ on the other hand, is used when something is happening in a lot of quantity. 

Example: The island is quite near than it looked farther.

Example: We want no further communication with him.

13. Who vs That

Who’ is used for a person. ‘That’ is used to symbolise an inanimate object or can be used for a group of people.

Example: My sister is the one who solved the mystery.

Example: We’re part of the organisation that promotes climate change.

14. Each and every

Each’ is used in sentences when one wants to talk about individual items in a group. On the other hand, ‘every’ is used to talk about two or three items or groups as a whole.

Example: Each of my children makes me Mother’s Day cards every year.

Example: Every one of my coworkers is going to the corporate dinner. 

15. More than vs Over

More than’ indicates the literal quantity of things which are being talked about. ‘Over’ describes an object’s physical position or a figurative amount larger than the other one as mentioned in the sentence.

Example: He owns more than 10 pants.

Example: She came over to my house.

16. Past vs Passed

Past’, as the word suggests is used for something that has already taken place. This word can be a noun, a preposition, an adjective or a preposition. ‘Passed’ is a verb.

Example: My grandmother used to tell us stories in the past.

Example: The Mercedes passed on our right.

17. Based off vs Based on

Based off’ is a new word that is currently not considered grammatically correct, but will, one day. Till then, ‘based on’ is the correct word which should be used. However, both these words are used to indicate the facts or circumstances that led to a particular conclusion. 

Example: Based on today’s weather forecast, I have decided to carry an umbrella with me. 

18. Passive Voice

Using passive voice in sentences isn’t inherently incorrect but many writers use it when the active voice would be more clearer and accurate. 

Example: Dinner was prepared by me.

19. Commas (,)

Commas are one of the most used punctuation marks, so it becomes very easy that they might be used incorrectly. They are used to create short pauses within sentences, such as for lists.

Example: I went to the grocery store to buy vegetables, tissue rolls, and milk.

20. Semicolons (;)

Semicolons are frequently used in English sentences to separate independent clauses. They’re also used to separate a list of items that are used in a serial order along with their punctuation. 

Example: Mark is taking ten credits this semester; his goal is to graduate early.

Example: I need the weather forecast for the following cities: London, Paris, Scotland; Perth and France.

21. Apostrophes (‘)

Apostrophes are used to create a few types of words. 

22. Em dash (—) vs en dash (-) vs hyphen (–)

These three are often mixed up in the English language. ‘Em dash’ is used to function like a comma, parenthesis or a colon. They set off extra information such as examples, supplemental facts etc. ‘En dash’ is used to show a date or time in sentences. While a ‘hyphen’ is used for connecting words. 

Example (em dash): She is afraid of two things — spiders and senior prom.

Example (en dash): We’re open Monday-Saturday.

Example (hyphen): Antonio Luis–Rodríguez just finished writing his most attention–grabbing novel yet.

23. Misplaced modifiers

A misplaced modifier is a word or a phrase that’s too far from the noun, hence, modifying. When used in a sentence can confuse readers. 

Example: Emma adopted another dog named Peter

So, Emma has adopted a dog named Peter? Is that what is being indicated?

The correct way to say this would be, Emma adopted a dog and named it Peter.

Check out other blogs!

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Editing ExercisesChecklist for English-Speaking Books 2024!
Precis WritingPersonification


What are some of the most common mistakes in English?

Some of the most common mistakes made in English are: Present and Past tense, there/their/they’re, confusing similar spellings and words, overuse of adverbs and several others. 

How to correct grammar mistakes?

When writing a piece, one needs to check the finished piece and check for any grammatical errors like spelling mistakes, misinformation etc. 

What is a sentence error in English grammar?

A sentence error in English grammar is when appropriate punctuation is not used correctly. 

To advance your grammar knowledge and read more informative blogs, check out our Learn English page and don’t forget to follow Leverage Edu.

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