I constantly run into mistakes in English here and elsewhere that you'd think people would have got right eventually simply by listening or reading. Following are some examples. Got some examples that drive you nuts?

I use to drink too much.
In this sentence, "use" needs a final "d." This mistake is most likely made by people who learn their English from tweets or chats, not from reading actual literature, much less paying attention in class.

I would of helped, but I was pressed for time.
It should be "have" not "of." Otherwise, same speculation as before.

My intervention had the desired affect.
His unplaceable accent and hesitant way of walking gave him a strange effect.
They are somewhat confusing in that both "effect" and "affect" can be used as verbs as well as nouns, but the difference isn't all that hard to learn.

The city gave Mary many kudos for her efforts.
The Greek word "kudos" is singular, not plural. "The city gave Mary kudos for her efforts" is correct. Maybe it's simply best to use words that are familiar rather than going beyond your everyday vocabulary into the dark territory of foreign words, and Greek is much further into that dark territory than, say, Spanish or German.

If you want a price, ask the manager or myself.
Only use "myself" when you've already used "I." Otherwise, plain old "me" will do.

Me and Jeff are going to the concert together.
I typically remember that "me" needs a preposition: with me, for me, to me. In the example sentence, "me" should have been "I." "I and Jeff are going to the concert together " sounds wrong, you say. Well, it is, but only because of poor sentence construction. "Jeff and I are going to the concert together" or, better yet, "I am going to the concert with Jeff" are both correct in every way and won't have literate people wishing they could unhear what you just said.

Sign at cash register: Ten items or less.
When talking about a count or enumeration of things, it should be "fewer" not "less." "Less" is for a gross quantity not an enumeration. "Less sugar in my coffee next time" is an example of how to use "less."

Purple is different than/to violet.
We talked about this here recently. If "Purple is different from violet" sounds wrong to you, you need to go back to school and take English over again.

He returned to the scene continually.
The term "continually" refers to something done without interruption. When expressing that something happens repeatedly, "continuously" is the word to use.

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One of the many beauties of living in Mexico, was that the people there want to help you learn their language, and will correct your mistakes - it's easy to find that insulting, until you accept that they mean no offense. Here, to our detriment, we're too polite to do anything like that.

Two years ago I lived with an Indian (East Indian) engineer. His English, like that of most educated Indians, was very good. However, now and then he'd say something showing a gap in his knowledge of common and colloquial usage, and he actually loved being corrected.

Give in if you like, it jars me everytime I hear it, and I hear it far more often on TV, than in real life (whatever that is) - for a time, it was almost a buzz-phrase on most shows.

@Arcus - I like the pic. I have some freedom for you:

Lego is a brand name so it needs to be capitalized.

While I'm discussing Lego: the plural is Lego. If that doesn't feel right say "Lego bricks".

Well said.

A wise man would remain silent and let his critic hoist herself on her own petard.

What part of "remain silent" was unclear?


Down goes Feenstra!

Down goes Feenstra!


(No, wait... did I already use that material back about a year or so ago?)

RE: "I'm notorious for joking a little TOO MUCH." - for what it's worth, I can verify that --!

What gets me disheartened is when an individual's comments make it sound like the only barrier is their attitude of apathy or indifference.

I used to skype a lot with a group one of whom couldn't be bothered to enunciate, he'd mumble all the time.  (He was capable of it when pressed, so it's not a disability.)  Which was a shame because when I could read what he had to say he was very articulate.

This thread isn't devoted just to chat room or discussion board posts, though some mistakes even in an informal setting are still stomach-turning. It's more general than that.

I hear misuses of English by supposedly educated people on TV very frequently. And their misuse is made against a background of having probably heard correct usage many a time. It makes me wonder why.


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