+7 (919) 164-29-55
10.00 - 22.00 (UTC+4)
Request a callback
Russia, St. Petersburg, Fedor Abramov st., 8
See our location on map

Mistakes are our best teacher: my list of top 8 mistakes English learners make

printer-friendly version

Making mistakes is a normal part of any educational process. It's more than ok, I would even say it is great! We learn something new and then have better chances to  memorise it when correcting our mistakes.

Based on the most common mistakes my students make (of shall i say - made!), I created this list.

Go through it and check yourself. Let’s start!


Last time

Some learners use this phrase when they try to describe something which happened not long time ago , but last time actually describes one most recent event, e.g. : last year, this is the last time I did it and so on.

If you want to tell about some recent events, you need to use recently or lately.

I have been working a lot recently.


In the other hand

(I've also come across such versions as   in the other side, on another hand

ESL learners often  use this phrase instead of the set expression  On the other hand, which is a part of the phrase On the one hand, on the other hand which is used when we want two discuss two conrastistig facts or opposite ways of thinking.

You can’t change anything in this prase! It’s an idiom and the only way to learn idioms is to memorise them (and then practice).

Here is an example for you:

I like dogs, but on the other hand they require too much attention.


Another with plural nouns

Another can ONLY be used with singular countable nouns. That’s it. Whereas if you have in your sentence plural nouns, you have to use other: Other people.

Imagine that the word another is made up of two words: indefinite article an, which only goes with singular countable nouns, and the word other. And these two make the word another.

I have had one ice-cream but I still want another one .


Meet a new word / phrase / expression, etc.

My students sometimes tell me something like:

Oh, I met a new word

And it is usually followed with my reply:

How cool! Did you meet in the street or somewhere else?

Do you want to know why I ask this? Well, it is quite simple. In English the verb to meet is used with people: to meet someone. But with things we have to use the phrasal verb to come across.

So next time you read something and see interesting new words, you should say:

I came across many new words in this text .


Haven’t something

Occasionally ESL learners say things like I haven’t time.

Just no. Don’t say it this way. You should either say

I don’t have (time), or I haven’t got time.

The only phrase where you still can use haven’t is haven’t  a clue :

I haven’t a clue - I have no idea.


Can to, should to, must to, will to

After the verbs will, should, must, can you can’t use the preposition to:

I will come

I must finish it today


And here is a couple of example of mistakes in pronunciation


Sometimes I think that this words suffers the most. I can’t even tell you how often I hear students’ attempts to pronounce a sound which, in their opinion, is represented with the letter W. Don’t do it. Look at the transcription:

British English [ˈɑːnsə(r) ]

American English [ˈænsər ]


Fiancé & Fiancée

When ESL learners see these words, more often than not they will do their best trying to think  of the way to say them differently. I have a surprise for you! Even though they mean slightly different things (of shall i say, genders), they are pronounced in the same way:

British English  [fiˈɒnseɪ]

American English [fiˈɑːnˌse]


Similar articles

79 Reading ideas for young learners Reading is a great way to explore our mazing world, and young learners have plenty of opportunities to do it through books. Millions of stories, fairy tales, novels, audiobooks will engage a child, ...   130 How to teach a child read and understand texts in English easily? Reading in English opens up a lot of opportunities and makes teaching children much easier. Just imagine how many fairy tales are out there, how fascinating it can be to follow main characters’ ...   741 HOW TO GET BACK IN THE GROVE OF LEARNING A LANGUAGE AFTER THE WINTER BREAK The holidays are over, and we are sure you had a great time, but it’s time to get back on track with your studies. It is just natural to think ‘I don’t remember anything’ or ...   2524 Top 25 applications for learning English! Hello there! Keen on English but you just don’t have enough time for regular classes? We have a solution for you - mobile apps! There are different kinds of apps for learning English. Some of ...   16105 TOP-50 SLANG WORDS IN ENGLISH Do you enjoy watching series? What about Youtube? Have you ever tried to understand Offset or Cardi B’s rap, or maybe you want to know what Taylor Swift is singing about? If you answered ...   2666 English for travelling: WHAT SHOULD YOU LEARN 2 months BEFORE the TRIP Nowadays, to master a foreign language is not a luxury but a necessity. People can misunderstand you. Do you want to be in such an awkward situation? But what do you do if you have not been learning ...   4416 A complete guide on the right way to watch films in English We can’t deny that textbooks, grammar rules and lessons are a major part of language learning. Even though it might not be as interesting as learning with ‘natural sources’, such as ...   4191 of learning a foreign language by Skype. Being able to speak foreign languages is essential in the modern world. Before we used to study them in person, for example, at school and university, we attended some courses or had a private ...  
Follow the blog on social networks:
Follow the blog on social networks:


Subscribe to updates

Get information about new articles, phrasebooks, promotions and other news from our school!
Thank you! Your message has been successfully sent, the form is successfully sent.
*All fields are required, by clicking the "Submit " button you accept conditions for personal data processing
Next Similar articles
Back to top