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What Are The Most Common English Grammar Mistakes?

What Are The Most Common English Grammar Mistakes?

Grammar is crucial for clear communication, giving our language structure and credibility. Yet, common grammar mistakes can confuse others and weaken our message. Recognizing and correcting these errors is key to improving writing and speaking skills and by mastering grammar rules and practicing them regularly, we can express ourselves with precision and confidence.

In this article, we will continue the basic guide for beginners in grammar and explore the most common English grammar mistakes, highlighting what often happens when we write or speak in teaching our learners.

Most Common Grammar Mistakes in English

Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Subject-verb agreement means making sure the subject and verb in a sentence match in number and person. For example, we say "He likes" instead of "He like" because "he" (singular) requires the singular form of the verb "likes." In ESL teaching, it's crucial to emphasize this agreement to help students construct grammatically correct sentences.


  • Incorrect: The dogs barks loudly.

  • Correct: The dogs bark loudly.

EDGE Tutor Tip: Use relatable examples suited to ESL learners' interests or experiences. For instance, you could discuss a student's favorite activities and demonstrate how the verbs change based on singular or plural subjects. Additionally, employing visuals like pictures or diagrams can aid in understanding subject-verb agreement.

Pronoun Usage Mistakes

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns so we don't have to repeat them. But if we use pronouns wrong, it can make sentences unclear. For example, saying "She gave it to her" can be confusing if we don't know who "she" and "her" are. In ESL teaching, practicing using pronouns a lot and explaining them clearly can help students understand them better.


  • Incorrect: Mary told Susan that she lost her book.

  • Correct: Mary told Susan that Susan lost her book.

EDGE Tutor Tip: Engage students in activities such as role-playing scenarios where they can practice using pronouns in context. Encourage them to ask questions and seek clarification to determine their understanding of pronoun usage.

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Modifiers are words or phrases that provide additional information about other elements in a sentence. When modifiers are not correctly placed or are left dangling, they can create confusion or alter the intended meaning of the sentence. In ESL teaching, demonstrating how to correctly position modifiers through practical examples and guided exercises can aid comprehension.


  • Incorrect: She found a dress in the store that was on sale.

  • Correct: She found a dress that was on sale in the store.

EDGE Tutor Tip: Use visual aids such as drawings or animations to illustrate the relationship between modifiers and the words they modify. Encourage students to rewrite sentences with misplaced modifiers to practice correcting them effectively.

Run-On Sentences and Sentence Fragments

Run-on sentences happen when two sentences are put together without the right punctuation or joining words. Sentence fragments are parts of sentences that are not complete - they are missing either a subject or a verb. In ESL teaching, it's helpful to break down long sentences and show students how to put them together correctly or split them apart. This can make their writing better.


  • Run-on: She loves to dance she practices every day.

  • Fragment: Eating breakfast every morning.

EDGE Tutor Tip: Provide ESL learners with exercises that involve identifying and correcting run-on sentences and fragments. Encourage them to use conjunctions like "and," "but," or punctuation marks like commas and periods to create clear and concise sentences.

Comma Splices and Missing Commas

Comma splices happen when two complete sentences are joined with just a comma, without a connecting word. Missing commas can also make sentences confusing. In ESL teaching, it's important to explain how commas help separate different parts of a sentence, like ideas or clauses. 


  • Comma splice: I enjoy playing tennis, it helps me relax.

  • Missing comma: After dinner we went for a walk in the park.

EDGE Tutor Tip: Create ESL-specific exercises focusing on comma usage, such as identifying instances where commas are needed or correcting sentences with comma splices. Encourage students to pay attention to sentence structure and use commas appropriately to enhance readability.

Apostrophe Misuse

Apostrophes show ownership or shorten words, but using them incorrectly can cause grammar mistakes and make things confusing. In ESL teaching, it's important to explain when to use apostrophes clearly and give students practice. Creating exercises focused on apostrophes, like fixing sentences with mistakes or finding where apostrophes belong, can help students get it right. Use examples from real life that ESL learners can relate to so they understand why apostrophes are important.


  • Possession: The dog's tail wagged happily.

  • Plural: The dogs chased after their balls.

EDGE Tutor Tip: Make ESL activities that concentrate on apostrophes, such as correcting sentences with apostrophe errors or finding where apostrophes should go. Use examples from everyday life that ESL students can understand, so they see why apostrophes matter and how they're used.

Mastering Grammar: A Continuous Learning

It's important to remember that improving your grammar is a continuous process—it's something you keep learning over time and by practicing regularly, you can improve your writing and communication skills. 

Ready to enhance your grammar skills further? 

Join EDGE Tutor today for personalized learning and support!


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