Fix 2 Common English Grammar Mistakes Ep 557

A group of young adults drinking at a table at night. Are you learning English? Stop making these grammar mistakes before it's too late!

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 2549 words ⏳ Reading Time 13 min


Test Your English Grammar - Do you make these mistakes?

Today we talk about 2 grammatical errors. Errors so common even native English speakers don’t realize they’re making them. We are going to identify, understand and fix these two English grammar mistakes, so you sound more fluent when speaking English. As always, we give you lots of examples to explain the problem and today we even have a quiz to check your understanding. So click play and start listening to learn English.

It is a challenge when you are learning English for the first time, because you often look at books for the answers, but books often ignore the real world grammar use of native English speakers. Native English speakers have bad habits, native English speakers often bend English grammar rules, to sound cool, or communicate more quickly or just because that’s the way everyone expects to hear English spoken in 2022. Common grammar mistakes have infiltrated our communication so thoroughly that they are truly part of the language at this point.

Even if you think you know everything there is to know about English grammar, you’re wrong. The English language has incorporated and inherited a lot of grammatical oddities from a lot of languages from around the world. English grammar gets confusing even for us teachers. So if you are learning English as a second language, you will make mistakes with your English grammar. It’s inevitable. Accept this and don’t let the fear of sounding odd hold you back.

I’d also say that making grammatical errors when you speak is less problematic. If you are trying to communicate something and you make a few grammatical errors, the listener is almost certainly going to understand what you are saying. Getting spoken English grammar wrong just makes you sound a little clumsy, it highlights your a learner, and that may or may not be something you want.

Most Unusual Words:

Infiltrated
Communicate
Clumsy
Worthwhile
Uncountable
Mastered

Most common 3 word phrases:

PhraseCount
Native English Speakers4
In The Kitchen2
A Lot Of2
Of The Language2
English Speakers Often2
We Give You2
My Friend And2

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Transcript: Fix 2 Common English Grammar Mistakes

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Hi there. Today I'm going to cover two points of English grammar, and this is English grammar that English speakers often get wrong.

Grammar, G R A M M A R means 'the structure of the language'. And normally with Adept English and our Listen & Learn approach, you learn grammar automatically through listening. But there are some places where the Helping Hand of Adept English - that's Rule Six of The Seven Rules of Adept English - where that Helping Hand is really important.

We give you help on the more difficult bits. So today I'm going to cover two points of grammar that English speakers get wrong. Then you can get them right!

There is or there are?

OK. So what are these two grammar points that English speakers get wrong? What do they mix up? ' There is', and 'there are'. So 'there is bread in the kitchen', but 'there are tomatoes' in the kitchen too.

My friend and I or my friend and me?

And do you say 'My friend and I', or 'My friend and me'? So examples would be 'John came with Sarah and me to the supermarket', as opposed to 'John, Sarah and I went to the supermarket'. Let's unpack this more. Let's understand the reasons for these differences.

📷

A photograph of a people shopping in a supermarket. A free guide to help you to avoid 2 common English grammar mistakes, in just 10 minutes.

©️ Adept English 2022


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Before we get onto this, just a word to say that if you would like to work on your English pronunciation, we have our English Consonants Pronunciation Course available on our website. This is a fairly new course and we're offering a discount code on it, a summer discount code. So just have a look down there and you will see the code.

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If you can't see video at the moment, then you need to go to YouTube or Spotify so that you can see the video and get that discount code! (HALFOFF) It will give you 50% off our course. So it is well worthwhile. So practise your English pronunciation with a structured course on English consonants.

'There is' or 'there are' demystified

OK. So 'there is', and 'there are' first of all.

Well, at one level it's quite simple. 'There is', and 'there are' are general statements to talk about 'what is there'. So you might say 'there is a cat in my garden'. Or 'there are some cats in my garden'. So 'there is', or 'there are' depends on how many cats there are. Are you using a singular or a plural? Are you describing a singular noun or a plural noun?

It gets a bit more complicated in English because we have these things called 'uncountable nouns'. So there are certain words that you might expect to be plurals, because they comprise many things, but actually it's singular. So 'traffic', T R A F F I C - 'the traffic' that would be a singular noun. It's an uncountable noun.

'Traffic' is made up of lots of cars and vans and buses and trucks, but we talk about it in the singular, 'the traffic'.

So we would say 'there is a lot of traffic on the road today'. We might say 'there is a lot of work to do'. That work may be made up of many tasks, but we talk about it as a singular substance. 'There's bread in the kitchen'. So we're talking there about 'bread' as an uncountable noun. There might be lots of pieces of bread, but 'bread' is an uncountable singular noun.

So other examples, 'tourism'. That's an uncountable noun. 'Custard', 'milk'. Those are uncountable nouns.

So you would say 'there is a lot of bread left'. And we break the rules slightly. And we would say 'there is lots of bread left'. So even though' lots' is plural in that sentence, we'd still say 'there is lots of bread' because, we are referencing that uncountable noun, 'bread'.

We tend to avoid those sorts of discrepancies in written English. We're more careful about our grammar here. But you'll hear 'there is lots of' many times in spoken English, even though it's incorrect. Similarly, you might hear someone say 'there's two reasons for this'. 'There's' is short for 'there is two reasons for this'. Somehow, because it's shortened, they're more likely to overlook the error there. Not many people would say 'there is two', 'there is two reasons', but it's easy to say 'there's two reasons'.

I think the reason why this happens is when you shorten 'there is' to 'there's', that's easy to say, but if you shorten 'there are' to 'there're'......'there're,' that's harder to say. 'There're two reasons'. People do say that, but it's harder to articulate.

So in summary, there, 'there is' for singular nouns and uncountable nouns, and 'there are' for plural nouns. So you just need to be careful and be sure which word in the sentence you're describing with 'there is' or 'there are'.

'My husband and I' or 'my wife and me' demystified

Second point of grammar today. Things that English speakers get wrong.

' My friend and I', or 'my friend and me'? Which one is it? Doesn't really matter who the other person is. It could be 'my husband and I', or 'my wife and me'. Sometimes people get this wrong and they use the wrong one, particularly in spoken English. So how do you know which is the right one to use? 'I or me'?

One of the things that you might notice about English and English nouns - they don't change. And the adjectives that describe the nouns don't change either. So we're not used to things that change their form, according to which part of the sentence they appear in.

Now, I studied Latin as my first degree and Latin is one of those European languages where the ending of the word changes quite a lot, depending upon which part of the sentence that word is in. You'll find this happens a lot in languages like German too. It's not just the Latin languages that do this.

But in English, we're not used to this. And one of the few places where there is a difference is in the use of pronouns. So this is one of the reasons why we get 'I and me' wrong.

The really simple answer here is that if you are the subject of the sentence, the person doing the main action, it's 'I, and if you're the person to whom the action's being done, or you've got a preposition in front of your pronoun, so it's 'to me', or 'for me', then obviously there it's 'me', rather than 'I.'

So 'I parked my car', but 'my car was parked for me'. 'I visited her' and then 'she visited me'. So you can see the difference there. We wouldn't get those ones wrong. What seems to confuse the issue though, is when we add another person into the mix. So if we're talking about my 'husband and I', or 'my friend and me', that's when it goes wrong for English speakers!

So you'll hear things like 'Sarah and me went out last night'. Or 'Ferdinand came out with Sarah and I last night'. But you wouldn't say 'me went out last night' or 'Ferdinand came out with I last night'! Those ones would sound wrong, but somehow, it doesn't sound as wrong when there's another person added into the mix and that's where the mistakes happen!

So to get this right, you apply a simple grammatical rule. If it's 'I', you're the subject of the verb. You're the one doing the action. And if it's' me', you're the object of the verb. You're the one to whom the action is being done by someone else. Or as I say, if you've got a preposition 'for me', 'to me', something like that, 'by me', then it's always 'me'. You wouldn't say 'by I'.

So if you like a good way to make sure you've got it right, is to remove that other person from the sentence and listen to it. It'll probably sound wrong. So 'me parked my car' is clearly wrong. 'Ferdinand came with Sarah and I' doesn't sound wrong, but 'Ferdinand came with I' certainly does sound wrong. So maybe just apply that as a test to see what sounds right.

20 Irregular Verbs To Make You A Better English Speaker With English Grammar Listening Practice

Just beware of the Passive Voice form of the verb

Also beware the Passive Voice. We can use verbs sometimes in the Passive Voice. This is when you have a verb where 'I' might be the person that the action's being done to, but 'I' is still the subject of the sentence. 'I am being asked to look after their dog'.

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It's still 'I' there because it's Passive Voice. Whereas 'they're asking me to look after their dog'.' Me' because I'm the object of the asking there, 'they' are the subject of the sentence. Another example of that 'I have been offered a new job'. So 'I' am the subject of the sentence there, whereas you could say 'they've offered me a new job'. So I'm there the object of the sentence. So a little bit of care there with Passive Voice. That can confuse things as well.

Let's do some speaking practice

Shall we practise with some sentences here? Repeat these sentences after me.

  • There is still one exam question left to practise.

  • There is still one exam question left to practise.

  • There are loads of tomatoes in the fridge.

  • There are loads of tomatoes in the fridge.

  • There at least three reasons why I changed my car.

  • There are at least three reasons why I changed my car.

  • My sister came with me to my friend's house.

  • My sister came with me to my friend's house.

  • I have been given a new lease of life by these vitamins.

  • I have been given a new lease of life by these vitamins.

  • Taking these vitamins has given me a new lease of life.

  • Taking these vitamins has given me a new lease of life.

Listen to this podcast a number of times

OK, so as normal, listen to this podcast, a number of times until you understand all the words. And when you've understood everything and mastered the grammar, listen, a couple of more times. You give yourself then, the experience of being able to understand everything in English. It feels good when you do that. And it's an important experience to have.

Goodbye

Let us know how you found this podcast. And if you want more grammar podcasts, let us know. If you've got particular questions about grammar - grammar that you find difficult - drop us an email, or give us a comment online.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com

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Hilary

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The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
Learn English wherever you are. This bundle of 50 English lesson podcasts is filled with fantastic lesson material containing back catalogue episodes 401 to 450.
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