Five stubborn common English errors
I CALL them stubborn because they refuse to go. We hear them everywhere, in the bank, queues, on the bus, radio and television, at home when we are relaxed and enjoying family communion, watching TV, in public speeches and debates and other presentations. We see these errors in newspapers, magazines and everywhere! We come across them in pupils’ and students’ essays and creative writing items like letters, reports, compositions — the list is very long.
Remember with radio lessons, what you consider to be repetition is actually revision or reinforcement to others.
In fact, to hundreds others what may be old and familiar to you, is new to hundreds more.
Experts say a habit gets into your bloodstream or becomes part of your DNA after 21 correct repetitions.
The five stubborn errors
The truck driver was overspending. That was the reason why the lorry veered off the road, hit a huge tree and overturned. Can you identify the two common errors in those two statements? Of course drivers never over-speed. They speed. Speeding is already beyond speed limits. It is already dangerous. The truck driver was speeding. You have already said it all.
“That was the reason the lorry veered off the road...” Not ‘the reason why! Use one of these (reason /why) but not both in one statement. If you do you are repeating yourself. ‘The reason...’ means ‘why’. So you say ‘That was why . . .’ or ‘that was the reason . . .’
The following error is notoriously common in writing. You cannot identify it in speech. Every day as two separate words and Everyday as one word. Both are correct but many students do not know the difference. Every day refers to each day of the week. Everyday is used as an adjective qualifying a noun immediately after it. It had become an everyday habit or joke or task or song or prayer etc. So long as you are describing or qualifying a noun, you used one word (everyday). I meet her every day (correct). I meet her everyday (wrong). It had become an every day prayer (wrong). It had become an everyday prayer (correct).
He was supposed to be operated. (wrong). He was supposed to be operated on (correct). We operate machines. Doctors operate on patients.
I am 45 years (wrong). I am 45 (correct) or ‘I am 45 years old’ (correct). I am 45 years of age (sort of rare, but correct). But please never say or write, “She was 19 years’’. Why not? Because it is not an English expression. Simple! If you listen carefully to what you are saying, your ears will tell you ‘something is wrong’ or ‘that’s not exactly what you want to say’. Enough for this week! That is your dosage of stubborn common errors in English. Tune in to The Radio Teacher every Thursday night on Diamond FM Radio at 21:30hrs for more. Your language power or communication skills will never be the same. Avoid embarrassing errors in your everyday communication.
They can seriously dent your image and reputation—even what people think about you. Is that necessary? For students, please listen! All your examination answers in all areas of learning heavily depend on your command of English language except indigenous languages learning.
Poor English language compromises your grade even if the marker tries all he or she can to shut the grammar eye. You cannot claim to be educated, erudite, learned, intellectual, well-read and academic, if your English language is suffering from common errors everybody else has learnt to avoid.