Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Improving Your English - Checklist to avoid Common Mistakes

(This is a sequence to " Common Errors in Malaysian English". It's not a lesson in grammar, nor is it complete as yet.)

Category 1.Single subject - Single verb (Verb-to-be) I am, you are, he/she is, we/they are, it is, They are - I/You have, he/she has. we/they have. (Verb, Present Tense)) I/You sit. he/she sits, we/they sit (Past Tense) I/You/He/She/We/They sat. (Future Tense) will sit (for all). (Past Perfect) has sat. have sat (Present Continuous) is sitting, are sitting. (Past Continuous) was sitting, were sitting.
(Very common mistakes include: I/You says, he/she sit, he/she have, yesterday they see the movie, has sit, was sat etc)

Category 2. Conjugation of Verb: Using the right Verb Complement : Present, Past, Future, Present Continuous, Past Continuous.
run, ran, will run, am running, is running, are running, was running, were running; go. went, will go. am going. is going are going, was going, were going, is gone, was gone, were gone; steal, stole, will steal, am stealing, is stealing, are stealing, was stealing, were stealing, was stolen, were stolen.
( Common mistakes include: is steal ( should be 'is stolen'), will be call ( should be 'will be called'), would be protect ( should be 'would be protected'), could be employ ( should be 'could be employed'. etc.)

Category 3. Other Forms
has been sitting, have been sitting, had been sitting; has been stolen, have been stolen, had been stolen; has been contacted, have been contacted, had been contacted; has been done, have been done, had been done, has been put, have been put, had been put ( put retains its form: putted is only used in golf).

Category 4. Verbal description: it is/was... (adjective, adverb)
It is/was surprising. it is/was interesting, it is/was overdue, it is/was lovely, it is/was difficult is/was highly valued, it is/was not usually done/seen/understood/acceptable; it must/will/would be wiped out/expunged/donated/promised/done etc. it will/would be fair/impossible/useless etc.
(Common mistakes include: It was surprise.. should be 'It was a surprise'; it is frustrate ( should be 'frustrating'), it will be excuse, would be evaluate etc.)

Category 5.Verb signifying future action - 'will', 'would', 'will be'. 'would be'. 'shall be'. 'should be'
will do, would do, will be done; would be doing, would be done; will place, would place, will be placed, will be placing, would be placing, would be placed, shall do, should do, should have done, should have been done ; will suffer, would suffer. will be suffering, will be suffered, would be suffering , would be suffered, shall suffer, should suffer, should be suffering, should have suffered; will die, would die, will be dead, would be dying, would be dead, would have been dead., shall die, should die, should be dead, should have died.
(Mistakes include: will/would killed, will/would placed, should be place, will/would mentioned, will/would be mention etc)

Category 6. Verb indicating Past Action 'Did'
'Did' is always followed by a verb in the present tense: did call, did mention, did come, did do, did return. The same for negative statement: did not ( didn't) come, didn't consider, didn't reject, didn't offer.
(Very common mistakes include: did came, did called, did noticed, did not came, did not told, didn't charged, etc.)

Note: See also Common Errors in Malaysian English.


rambomadonna said...

OK teacher hahaha

norzah said...

Like they say in Khutbah Jemaat ( Friday Lectures in the mosque). "This is a reminder to myself and you all..." Bukan mengajar ni, J, tapi catitan untuk diri sendiri dan anak-anak yg perlu bimbingan. Tapi, kalau selalu buat salah, kena 'ketuk; jugakan? Baru ingat, hehehe.Dlm entry Alice in Wonderland ada u sebut "should have stick". Look at Category 5. Must read 'should have stuck'. Syok cari salah orang salah sendiri tak sedar, kan?Gurau jer...

rambomadonna said...

Opppssss ... i memang lemah pun grammar nie Norzah. Even my mum pun selalu ketuk I for my errors. I admit that lah Norzah hehehe

norzah said...

No problem. J, once you note the mistake u can always correct it. That's why I use a checklist and offer it here for students who need help. We all have our weaknesses. I can't remember figures xcept the VC type perhaps, hohoho, coz it's natural.I'm a sucker for the beauty of nature.