English Grammer – Error Detection

  We are prone to commit mistakes. It is because of our ignorance of the fundamental rules of grammar and current usage. On occasions even the knowledgeable, in their weaker moments. It is in fact slippery spot which demands of us a cautious approach. The following are some of the mistakes commonly made in the use of English language. You will do well to study them together with the clear explanations of how to correct these errors.

1. One of my friends are a doctor. (Incorrect)
One of my friends is a doctor. (Correct)

‘One of’ is followed by a plural noun phrase. It means ‘one of them’. It takes a singular verb because the subject is ‘one’.

2. (a) I don’t know nothing about him. (Incorrect)
I don’t know anything about him. (Correct)

(b) I couldn’t find him nowhere. (Incorrect)
I couldn’t find him anywhere. (Correct)

(c) He does not want none of that cake. (Incorrect)
He does not want any of that cake. (Correct)

The use of two negatives to express a single negative idea is wrong. Two negatives lead to a positive meaning. One negative word should, therefore, be used for the expression of a negative idea.

3. (a) I always like to closely examine every proposal. (Incorrect)
I always like to examine closely every proposal. (Correct)

(b) He plans to hurriedly complete this work. (Incorrect)
He plans to complete this work hurriedly. (Correct)

Both the sentences are examples of split infinitive. The infinitive is the “to” form of the verb, for example, “to sing”, “to dance”, “to finish”. If a word is placed between the two words (eg, “to closely examine”), the infinitive is said to be “split”. Such splittings are to be avoided.

4. (a) I wish I was as tall as my father. (Incorrect)
I wish I were as tall as my father. (Correct)

(b) If he was alive he would help me. (Incorrect)
If he were alive he would help me. (Correct)

The subjunctive mood is used in English specifically in two situations: (i) with the expression of a wish and (ii) to express a condition contrary to actual fact. The present subjunctive is conjugated as follows: I were; We were; You were; He were; They were.

5. (a) He is working hard with a view to win this match. (Incorrect)
He is working hard with a view to winning this match. (Correct)

(b) I look forward to meet my old friend next month. (Incorrect)
I look forward to meeting my old friend next month. (Correct)

The verb that follows the phrase ‘with a view to’ or ‘look forward to’ is to be always in the ‘-ing’ form.
with a view to V1 (ing) + ……
look forward to + V1 (ing) + ……

6. (a) He prides on his wealth. (Incorrect)
He prides himself on his wealth. (Correct)

(b) She absented from her class. (Incorrect)
She absented herself from her class. (Correct)

(c) I availed of this opportunity. (Incorrect)
I availed mysel f of this opportunity. (Correct)

(d) I enjoyed during the holidays. (Incorrect)
I enjoyed mysel f during the holidays. (Correct)
Or, I enjoyed the holidays. (Correct)

(e) He resigned to the will of God. (Incorrect)
He resigned himself to the will of God. (Correct)

When verbs like absent, apply, acquit, enjoy, overreach, resign, and pride are used reflectively (that is, when the subject of the verb is also the receiver of the action, the action is ‘reflected’) a reflexive pronoun (I—myself; you—yourself; We—ourselves; They—themselves; He—himself; She—herself; One—oneself) is used after it.

7. (a) I cut me shaving this morning. (Incorrect)
I cut myself shaving this morning. (Correct)

(b) We got out of the swimming pool and dried us. (Incorrect)
We got out of the swimming pool and dried ourselves. (Correct)

When the same person is the subject and the object, it is necessary to use the reflexive pronouns: myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, themselves, oneself.

8. (a) I, you and he are neighbours. (Incorrect)
You, he and I are neighbours. (Correct)

(b) You, they and we must work together. (Incorrect)
We, you and they must work together. (Correct)

When first, second and third person singular pronouns (I, You and He) are used together, they are placed in this order: Second person (You), third person (he) and then first person (I). In the case of plural pronouns ‘we’ comes first, then ‘you’ and then ‘they’.

9. (a) I have read Shakespeare’s works who was a great dramatist (Incorrect)
I have read the works of shakespeare who was a great dramatist. (Correct)

(b) Ravi’s dog who was my friend has died. (Incorrect)
The dog of Ravi, who is my friend, has died. (Correct)

Relative pronoun should be placed as close to its antecedent as possible.

10. (a) These books are for you and I. (Incorrect)
These books are for you and me. (Correct)

(b) Between he and I there is an understanding. (Incorrect)
Between him and me there is an understanding. (Correct)

When a pronoun is the object of a verb or a preposition it should be in objective case.