The Most Common Mistakes In English Grammar That Non-Native Speakers Make

Reference & EducationLanguage

  • Author Olivia Baum
  • Published June 21, 2019
  • Word count 322

Studying English might be not an easy task if you weren't born in an English speaking country. Especially, if your native tongue doesn't belong to the West Germanic language group. In this article, we have gathered a list of the most tricky grammar issues that often cause troubles and confusion.


It's very common to confuse these three words that are so much alike at first sight. "You" is a personal pronoun. How do you do? I'm worried about you. "You're" is a contraction of "you" and "are". You're so smart. "Your" is a possessive pronoun, it answers the question "whose". I like your house very much (whose house). Your brother called me yesterday (whose brother).

"To" after a modal verb

It's important to avoid using "to" after modal verbs. Can you help me, please? But not "can you to help". You shouldn't go there alone. Not "you shouldn't to go".

Since and for

Another common mistake is the wrong choice between "since" and "for". She has been working here for two months/for eight weeks/for three years. I have been waiting for two hours/forty minutes. As you can see, "for" is followed by a time measurement unit. She has been working here since April. I haven't had anything since lunch. He's been on vacation since Monday. "Since" indicates a time point in the past.

Prepositions of time

Sometimes it might be complicated to pick up the right preposition. The train leaves in 15 minutes. That means: it will leave after 15 minutes are gone. The train leaves at 12:32. We use "at" to speak about time on a clock.

Of course, there are many more classical mistakes that learners commit. But we know a good way to get rid of them: the website called Lingbase. You can choose a specific topic which is problematic for you or maybe needs some refreshment, read the explanation and thoroughly practise it in exercises.

A useful resource for all English learners: English grammar online on Lingbase.

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