100 COMMON MISTAKES IN ENGLISH MADE BY GREEK SPEAKERS
What follows is a list of one hundred common errors that Greek speakers typically make when speaking English, which are generally based on word-for-word translation from Greek into English. Following each incorrect sentence there is an analysis of what the mistake is and supplementary information on what is correct in English.
1. She fell down of her bed.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She fell out of bed.
A) fall down = to fall from a vertical position: the tree fell down in the storm.
B) fall out of = to fall from something which is holding or containing you: the baby has fallen out of the pram.
C) when we talk of “bed” as a place where we sleep etc, we don’t use the definite article: she was in bed; he found them in bed together; I am going to bed. When we consider the bed as a piece of furniture, we use the article: the bed had not been made; they sat on the bed; there is a spider in the bed.
2. She is elder than me two years.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She is older than me by two years./She is two years my elder.
A) elder is a comparative adjective which must stand in front of a noun, and refers to people’s age in comparison with someone else’s age: this is my elder brother. The superlative is eldest, and it indicates the oldest person in a group: John is the eldest boy in the class. It is most commonly used to refer to members of a family, although not exclusively.
B) elder is also used as a noun in the following phrase: she is five years my elder; he is six months your elder.
3. The bad was that he could not to go fishing.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The bad thing/The pity was that he could not go fishing.
A) The bad really means Bad people (remember the film, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?), as when we place the definite article in front of an adjective of quality or class, it becomes a plural noun:
The poor are given hampers of food at Christmas by the Government.
Many of the uneducated in this country can’t read or write.
B) After could you cannot use the full infinitive (to + verb).
4. I reached to the office early and knocked the door.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I reached the office early and knocked on the door.
A) reach is not followed by a preposition. It is a useful synonym for the verb arrive, which is followed by a preposition (at, on, or in according to the situation).
B) knock is followed by the preposition on when it means to hit with your hand to make a noise. If it is used without a preposition it means to hit accidentally:
As I was parking the car I knocked the car behind and broke its headlight.
I knocked into an old gentleman in the street and he fell over. = bumped into him
5. Yesterday in the night I saw a nice dream.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I had a nice dream last night.
A) Time references should stand at the end of a sentence, unless there is a special reason for them to be emphasised - then they stand at the beginning. Yesterday in the night is not proper English.
B) In English we have dreams, we don’t see them!
6. Eventually the dog it managed to rich the park.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Eventually, the dog managed to reach the park./The dog finally managed to reach the park.
A) Eventually should be followed by a comma at the beginning of the sentence.
B) Pronouns are used to replace their nouns, not straight after them.
C) rich is an adjective, not a verb, and although its pronunciation is similar to reach, they should not be confused.
7. She is thinking to go to University.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She is thinking of going to University.
A) The phrase used for óêÝöôïìáé íá... is I am thinking of + gerund.
8. Do not do so many typing errors.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Do not/Don’t make so many typing errors/mistakes.
A) We say make an error/a mistake, not do.
9. Your car is not very clear.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Your car is not very clean.
A) clear means êáèáñüò with the idea of äéáõãÞò or Üäåéïò:
The sky was lovely and clear - not a cloud in sight.
The mountain water is completely clear and refreshing.
B) clean means not containing impurities, or not covered in dirt.
Use SuperKleen washing powder for absolutely clean clothes.
10. I had breakfast. After I went for jogging.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I had breakfast. Afterwards OR After that, I went jogging.
A) after is a conjunction which cannot begin a sentence. If it is used as a preposition it must be followed by a noun, not a verb. Afterwards is a suitable word for the beginning of a sentence to show that what comes next follows chronologically what happened in the previous sentence.
B) activities which are expressed with the verb go are in the gerund form, without a preposition:
go shopping, go fishing, go skiing, go cycling, go swimming, go running, go jogging,
go sailing, go hang-gliding
11. He did not happy when he herd the news.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He was not happy when he heard the news.
A) happy is not a verb, so it can’t be introduced by did not !
B) herd, pronounced exactly the same as heard, means êïðÜäé.
12. She looks an angel.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She looks like an angel.
A) we express appearance by comparison with the verb look like, which has resemble as a synonym.
13. Georgia is an experienced typewriter.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Georgia is an experienced typist.
A) although typewriter looks like a word to describe a person (cf. writer, driver), it describes the machine. Another common mistake of this sort is the word cooker, which is the machine not the person - he/she is a cook.
14. I didn’t say you to do it.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I didn’t tell you to do it.
A) the expression tell somebody to do something is used in English, not say.
15. A day I went a run.
CORRECT SENTENCE: (One day) I went for a run./I went running (one day).
A) A day is unemphatic, while One day means ÊÜðïéá ìÝñá.
B) There are a number of phrases of the form go for a...:
go for a drink, go for a drive, go for a walk, go for a run, go for a jog, go for a swim
go for a ride (on a horse or bicycle), go (out) for a meal, go for a ski
16. Would you like a peace of cake?
CORRECT SENTENCE: Would you like a piece of cake?
A) You should not confuse peace (= åéñÞíç) with piece (= êïììÜôé), even though they are pronounced the same.
17. This windows are not cleans.
CORRECT SENTENCE: These windows are not clean.
A) Don’t forget that this has a plural form, these, and that has those as its plural.
B) Adjectives do not show plural form in English.
18. We were discussing about his behaviour.
CORRECT SENTENCE: We were discussing his behaviour.
A) The verb “discuss” is NOT followed by a preposition. However, it MUST be followed by an object - it is never used without one. Moreover, it indicates quite a formal, serious conversation, not simply a friendly chat.
19. My grades are the same with your.
CORRECT SENTENCE: My grades/marks are the same as yours.
A) “the same” is followed by “as”, NEVER “with”. “As” is a preposition, so if you wish to place a verb after it, the verb has gerund form:
Watching a football match on television is not the same as watching it from
the stands in the stadium.
B) “your” is a possessive adjective, so it stands in front of a noun. “Yours” is a possessive pronoun, so it does not stand in front of a noun; it replaces a noun.
20. I felt asleep in class.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I fell asleep in class.
A) Do not confuse the following verbs:
feel felt felt áéóèÜíïìáé, íéþèù
fall fell fallen ðÝöôù
lose lost lost ÷Üíù, δε βρίσκω
miss missed missed äåí ðñïëáâáßíù/μου λέιπει
loose loosed loosed áðåëåõèåñþíù (æþá)
shoot shot shot ðõñïâïëþ
shout shouted shouted öùíÜæù
21. Weather of England is often rainy.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The weather in England is often rainy/wet.
A) Although “weather” is an uncountable noun, it must be preceded by “the” here, because we are referring to particular weather - English weather.
B) Countries are preceded by the preposition “in”, not “of”.
22. I have lived hear since four years.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I have lived here for four years.
A) Do not confuse “hear” (áêïýù) and “here” (åäþ).
B) “Since” is used before expressions which say when an action started (such as “last Monday”, “three o’clock”, “1962” and “I was a child”). “For” is used in front of expressions which show how long something has been happening (such as “six days”, “two hours”, “several months”, “a hundred years”).
23. I am old enough to drive a car she said me.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She told me (that) she was old enough to drive a car.
OR: “I am old enough to drive a car,” she said./she told me.
A) The verb “say” is used when we don’t mention who hears what is said. Occasionally it is used in the form of “he said to me”, but this is not followed by what is said. However, it is acceptable to place the form “he said to me” after direct speech enclosed in inverted commas:
“It is time to go,” he said to her.
It is more usual to follow the form “he told me”, remembering that you must not put the preposition “to” after “tell”.
B) If you use reported speech, make sure that you apply all the necessary changes (tenses, pronouns, adverbs of time and place, etc.).
24. They asked each to the other for favours.
CORRECT SENTENCE: They asked each other for favours.
OR: They asked favours of each other.
A) Follow the form “ask somebody for something”, which means “æçôþ êÜôé áðü êÜðïéïí”. Remember that “ask somebody something” means “ñùôÜù êÜôé áðü êÜðïéïí”.
B) Don’t forget that there is a parallel, older form: “ask something of somebody”, which means “æçôþ êÜôé áðü êÜðïéïí”, and which is generally used when you are asking somebody to do something for you. Examples:
I asked his advice of him. (= I asked him for his advice.) He asks little of his wife. (= He doesn’t
ask his wife to do much.)
C) Remember that “we do a favour for others”.
25. He went at the forest to cut a wood.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He went into/to the forest to cut some wood.
A) A very basic mistake is the use of “at” for movement. It is almost always wrong! Use “to” and its associated prepositions (into, upto, out to, onto etc).
B) “A wood” is “Ýíá äÜóïò”. “Wood” as an uncountable noun means îýëï/îýëá. ¸íá îýëï is “a piece of wood”, “a stick” or “a plank” according to the context. The phrase “Ýöáãå îýëï” is “he got/received a beating”.
26. In the way to the cinema I met my friend.
CORRECT SENTENCE: On the way to the cinema I met my friend.
OR: On the way to the cinema I met a friend of mine.
A) “in the/my way” means “óôï äñüìï ìïõ” = “ìå åìðïäßæåé”:
I couldn’t get out of the car park because someone had parked in my way.
while “on the/my way” means “óôï äñüìï ìïõ” = “åíþ ðÞãáéíá”.
B) “I met my friend” refers to a particular friend whom you expected to meet. “I met a friend of mine” refers to a friend whom you didn’t expect to meet. Remember the form of the second phrase: He is a friend of mine/yours/his/hers/ours/theirs/John’s/the Smiths’/the manager’s.
27. For his surprise the film was cancelled.
CORRECT SENTENCE: To his surprise the film was cancelled.
A) Learn the following prepositional phrases if you don’t already know them:
to my surprise
to her horror
to our shock
to their delight
to your astonishment
to their relief
They all hold the meaning of “êáôÜ (ìåãÜëç) ìïõ Ýêðëçîç” etc.
28. She has many works to complete.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She has a lot of work/jobs to do.
A) Don’t forget that work is both countable and uncountable, but the meaning differs according to which form is used. “A work” usually refers to a piece of art (visual, audio or written), “work” (uncountable) refers to the work we do (äïõëåéÜ), and “works” (plural) can refer either to pieces of art, or to such ideas as Public Works (roadworks, for example). “The Works” can also mean “the factory” in a town where the factory employs a lot of people.
B) Remember that “we do jobs or work”, and that “we do homework (uncountable) and housework (uncountable)”.
29. He was too angry when I told him to leave.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He was very angry (He was furious) when I told him to leave.
A) Don’t forget that “too” means “more than desirable”. It is found in the form “too adjective or adverb to do something”.
B) Remember (and use!) adjectives which improve your expression. Using basic words is not wrong, but using more complicated vocabulary dramatically improves your expression in a foreign language. This is also true for your mother tongue...
very hot = boiling, sweltering
very cold = freezing, parky
very angry = furious, beside oneself
very fast = speedy (adj.), speedily (adv.)
very slow(ly) = sluggish (adj.), sluggishly
very tired = exhausted
very noisy = deafening
very quiet = silent
very interesting = fascinating
All limit adjectives are qualified by “absolutely”
30. The bus ran fastly so that the passengers arrived quickly in the city.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The bus drove fast so that the passengers arrived in the city quickly.
A) “Fast” is both an adjective and an adverb, without any change in form. Another such adjective/adverb to remember is hard. Don’t forget that hardly means “almost not at all”.
B) Remember that the normal word order of an unemphasised sentence (subject - verb - direct object - indirect object - how? - where? - when?) is changed if the verb indicates movement, and the order of the adverbial phrases at the end of the sentence becomes where? - how? -when?.
31. In the contrary to my friends I study hardly.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Unlike my friends I study hard.
A) “On the contrary” is an adverbial phrase, and is usually followed by a comma to separate it from the body of the sentence. It means “Opposite to what has just been mentioned”:
Pigs are said to be dirty animals. On the contrary, they are very clean.
“Contrary to...” is used in a similar way, and means “Despite...”:
Contrary to what people say about pigs being dirty animals, they are very clean.
So both expressions show a contrast where one idea contradicts another. That is why neither is suitable in the original sentence. “Unlike” simply means “different from”.
B) See 30.A) for information about “hardly”.
32. There is many people hear today.
CORRECT SENTENCE: There are many/a lot of people here today.
A) “People” is a plural noun when it means “Üíèñùðïé”, “êüóìïò”. It is singular if it means “ëáüò”.
B) See 22.A) for information about hear/here.
C) “Many” is usually used in negative or interrogative sentences, although not exclusively. It is more common in positive sentences when these are more formal.
33. He left from his work early today afternoon.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He left work early this afternoon.
A) “Leave” is not followed by “from”; this is a common, but serious mistake!
B) When we refer to the place where we work as “work”, it is not preceded by an article or by a possessive adjective:
I was going to work
He is at work
I left my keys at work
C) Remember the phrases this morning, this afternoon, this evening. British English speakers usually pronounce these phrases as the smorning, the sarfternoon, the seevening, without a preposition.
34. She borrowed me her comb.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She lent me her comb.
OR: She borrowed a/my comb (from me).
A) Don’t forget that “borrow” and “lend” are opposites! They follow the form “borrow something from somebody” and “lend something to somebody” (or “lend somebody something”).
35. Do not do a noise.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Do not/Don’t make a noise.
A) Remember that “we make a noise”.
B) The negative imperative is most commonly expressed by “Don’t + infinitive”, although “Do not + infinitive” is more emphatic.
36. He was said to try very hardly.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He was said to have tried very hard.
A) After passive expressions with verbs of speech, we use an appropriate infinitive to show time and aspect. The four infinitives are (using the verb “work”):
Present Infinitive Simple work
Present Infinitive Continuous be working
Past Infinitive Simple have worked
Past Infinitive Continuous have been working
Present and Future tense ideas use Present Infinitives (with the important exception of Present Perfect ideas, which use Past Infinitives). Past tense ideas use Past Infinitives.
B) See 30.A) for information on hard/hardly.
37. She said me much lies.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She told me many/a lot of lies.
A) The correct phrase is “tell somebody lies/a lie”.
B) “much” is used for uncountable nouns, and like “many” is usually used in negative and interrogative sentences (see 32.C) ).
38. He told to her to don’t disturb him.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He told her not to disturb him.
A) As was mentioned in 23.A), “tell” is not followed by the preposition “to”.
B) The form of “tell” here is “tell somebody (not) to do something”. Remember that “not” stands before “to”, which is the opposite of Greek word order (íá ìçí...).
39. She did not leave me to play.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She did not/didn’t let me play.
A) “Leave” does not have the meaning of “åðéôñÝðù”. The form you should use is “let somebody do something”. Remember not to use a full infinitive with “to” (*let somebody to do something), which is a very common, but serious mistake.
40. She is the best friend of hers.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She is her best friend.
A) You cannot use the definite article with phrases such as “friend of mine”, you must use the indefinite article. Look at the following examples:
This is a painting of Picasso’s.
I have found a book of yours.
Meet a colleague of mine, Keith Houseman.
41. Nobody said nothing for the traffic accident.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Nobody said anything about the traffic/road accident.
A) Nobody said nothing is a double negative, unacceptable in standard English, although commonly heard in uneducated speech.
B) Greek ãéá is translated as “about” when it is synonymous with “ðåñß”, as here.
42. The weeds in the yard have grown up a lot.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The weeds in the yard have grown a lot.
A) “Grow up” is used for people, with the idea of “become taller, older and more mature”, “grow” (without “up”) means become taller or generally bigger in size, and can be used widely, not just for people.
43. The vegetable’s are not ripe.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The vegetables are not ripe.
A) Incorrect use of the apostrophe to express a plural, a common mistake of uneducated native speakers when writing. Remember also the difference between “its” and “it’s”.
B) “Ripe” is a little unusual in this sentence, and maybe “ready” would be more suitable. “Ripe” tends to be used for fruit. “Mature” is used for cheese, wine and humans! However, a ripe cheese is one which is tasting too strong because it hasn’t been kept in ideal conditions…
44. She likes not to travel with a plane.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She doesn’t like travelling by plane.
A) The negative Simple Present verb should need no comment.
B) The verb “like” is followed by a full infinitive if it refers to specific occasions, and by a gerund if it refers to a general like. The same goes for “dislike”, “love” and “hate”.
C) The preposition “by” is used before the names of vehicles to indicate how someone travels, provided that no other word stands between “by” and the name of the vehicle.
45. For my good luck I have a hole collection of charms.
CORRECT SENTENCE: To my good luck I have a complete collection of charms.
A) Even the correct sentence is a little strange! Notice the phrases To my (good) luck, to my horror, to my delight, to my surprise, to my astonishment and others.
B) Don’t confuse the words “hole” and “whole”, even though they are homophones.
C) the words “whole” and “collection” do not go well together, use “complete”.
46. Everybody in the circus were funny.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Everybody in the circus was funny.
A) Compounds of some, any, no and every are singular.
47. He did not obey to the policeman when he said “stop”.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He did not obey the policeman when he told him to stop.
A) The verbs “obey” and its opposite “disobey” are not followed by a preposition.
B) Written language doesn’t reflect spoken language, and you must write more formally than you speak. It may be acceptable to say the expression “when he said “stop”, but written language requires the more formal “when he told him to stop”.
48. The boy wich work at the store does this kind of things.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The boy who works at the store does this kind of thing.
A) “Which” is not used for people. The misspelt “wich” is a common error.
B) Omission of the final -s in the third person singular of the Present Simple is also a common error, and one to be avoided at all costs.
C) After the phrases “kind(s) of”, “sort(s) of”, “variety/ies of”, “type(s) of” you should use a singular noun.
49. I could not unplugged the kitchen’s sink.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I couldn’t unblock the kitchen sink.
A) After modal verbs some form of the infinitive is used, full or bare. The Simple Past is never used.
B) “Unplug” means to remove the (electric) plug, not to remove the plug from a sink, which is expressed by the phrase “take the plug out”.
C) Many expressions using a noun as an adjective exist, such as car door, door key, pen top and so on. It is usually wrong to use the genitive instead of these particular phrases.
50. The crazy man laughed loud.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The madman laughed out loud.
A) “crazy” is not used as commonly as Greeks seem to think. Ï ôñåëëüò is “the madman”.
B) Notice the phrase “out loud”.
51. She was hearing the song from the stereo.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She was listening to the song on the stereo.
A) “Hear” means áêïýù ôõ÷áßá, while “listen to” means áêïýù ìå ðñïóï÷Þ.
B) Notice that we say ON the stereo, the video, the television, the radio.
52. Before a week I won her at tennis.
CORRECT SENTENCE: A week ago I beat her at tennis.
A) “Before” is used in this way only in reported speech.
B) The verb “win” means êåñäßæù (áãþíá, âñáâåßï), while “beat” means íéêþ (ñåêüñ, áíôßðáëï).
C) Notice that we beat someone else AT an activity.
53. The arsonist put fire to the house.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The arsonist set fire to the house.
A) The phrase âÜæù öùôéÜ is “set fire to”.
54. She went at work without to take a shower first.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She went to work without taking a shower first.
A) The preposition “at” is not used for movement.
B) “Without” is a preposition, so it is followed by a noun or a gerund, not an infinitive. Only the prepositions “but” and “except” can be followed by infinitives.
55. The teacher wanted to make us a frighten.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The teacher wanted to frighten us.
A) There is no such phrase as “to make someone a frighten”.
56. Yesterday were many snows.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Yesterday there was a lot of snow.
A) All verbs must have a subject, which must stand before the verb, unless the sentence is a question.
B) “Snow” is an uncountable noun, unlike in Greek.
57. She has not succeed to get a date for Friday night.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She has not succeeded in getting a date for Friday night.
A) The Present Perfect form should not cause any problems at this level.
B) The verb “succeed” is followed by “in” and a noun or a gerund, never an infinitive.
58. Her illness prevent her for working.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Her illness prevented her from working.
A) The verb “prevent” is followed by the preposition “from” and a noun or a gerund.
59. She said me she buyed a dresses.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She told me she had bought some dresses/a dress.
A) Care is needed with the verbs “say” and “tell”. See sentence 23.
B) The rules of tense change for reported speech must be followed in English, unlike in Greek.
60. I stopped out the restaurant to rest for a minute.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I stopped outside the/a restaurant to rest for a minute.
A) The preposition “out” refers only to movement, while “outside” refers both to movement and position.
61. She was enjoyed her travel very much.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She enjoyed her trip very much.
A) The verb “enjoy” is not a passive verb, and is rarely found used in the passive.
B) The noun “travel” is uncountable, and means the experience of travelling, whereas “trip” or “journey” indicates a specific movement from one place to another. The plural noun “travels” means exotic journeys, adventures, as in the phrase “He has written a highly successful book about his travels”.
62. Our lifes have been changed by the experience.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Our lives have been changed (better: altered) by the experience.
A) Care is needed in forming the plural of nouns ending in -f or -fe, as some nouns do not follow the rule whereby the -f becomes a -v when -es is added. The most notable examples of this are roof - roofs, cliff - cliffs, chief -chiefs, safe - safes, dwarf -dwarfs.
63. The man was laying at the bed.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The man was lying on the bed.
A) The verbs lie and lay cause problems. Here are their forms and meanings:
1 2 3 4 5
lie lied lied lying ëÝù øÝìáôá
lie lay lain lying âñßóêïìáé, êåßôïìáé
lay laid laid laying ôïðïèåôþ, âÜæù óå ïñéæüíôéá èÝóç
1 = Infinitive, 2 = Past Simple, 3 = Past Participle, 4 = Present Participle, 5 = Meaning in Greek.
B) The preposition “at” is generally used to indicate the activity taking place at a certain place, rather than for position. Therefore, its use is incorrect here.
64. Let’s go for a walk in the car.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Let’s go for a drive in the car.
A) Let’s go for a walk means literally that: a walk using your feet. Notice other phrases: go for a run, go for a ride (on a bike, a motorbike or a horse), go for a swim, go for a jog, go for a fly (in a small plane), go for a ski.
65. When I will return at home I will go to the bed.
CORRECT SENTENCE: When I return home I will go to bed.
A) Do not use a future tense in a Time Clause.
B) “At home” refers to position, while “home” without a preposition refers to movement.
C) The phrase ðçãáßíù ãéá ýðíï is “go to bed”.
66. As usually, our mother explained us behave.
CORRECT SENTENCE: As usual, our mother explained to us how to behave.
A) Notice the phrase “as usual”, which means “as she usually does”. “As usually” is WRONG.
B) The verb “explain” has the following syntaxes: “explain sth to sb” (NEVER “explain sb sth”), and “explain to sb how to do sth”. Exceptionally, when the “sth” is a long list of phrase, we use the syntax “explain to sb sth”.
67. He tryed to fit the luggages in the car.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He tried to fit the luggage in the car.
A) “Try” is followed by an infinitive if it means “ðñïóðáèþ”, and by a gerund if it means “äïêéìÜæù”.
B) “Luggage”, like “baggage”, is an UNCOUNTABLE noun.
68. The bank was stoled in Saturday.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The bank was robbed on Saturday.
A) The verb “steal - stole - stolen” means “to take something which does not belong to you”, while “to rob” means to remove something from somebody or from a building illegally. The syntax is “steal sth from sb”, “rob sth/sb of something”. Other verbs worth remembering are “mug sb”, “burgle a building (usually a house)”, “shoplift sth (from a shop)”.
B) Be careful with prepositions for time phrases:
The following phrases are as they are spoken:
“On Saturday, the fifth of June, nineteen ninety-two”
“On the fifth of June, nineteen ninety-two”
“In June, nineteen ninety-two”
“In nineteen ninety-two”
69. She dresses good and has nice cloths.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She dresses well and has nice clothes.
A) “good” is not an adverb but an adjective, so it cannot describe an action.
B) “cloth” means “ýöáóìá” when it is uncountable, and “ðáíß” when it is countable.
70. She was laying in the park when I looked her.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She was lying in the park when I saw her.
A) See sentence 63 for information on “lie” and “lay”.
B) “Look” is followed by the preposition “at”, but here the meaning requires “see”, which means “to see by chance”.
71. I am getting my hairs cut today.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I am getting/having my hair cut today.
A) “Hair” is uncountable with the meaning “ìáëëéÜ”, and countable with the meaning “ôñß÷á”.
B) Both the verbs “get” and “have” are used to form the causative voice, but “get” indicates a more active role on the part of the subject.
72. She was very hurry so she raised from the dinner table without say anything.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She was in a (great) hurry so she rose from the dinner table without saying anything.
A) Notice the phrase “I am in a (great) hurry”.
B) The verb “raise” means “õøþíù, óçêþíù”, while “rise - rose - risen” means “õøþíïìáé, óçêþíïìáé”.
C) “Without” is a preposition, and as such it must be followed by a noun or a gerund, never an infinitive.
73. I knew from the beginning nothing helped.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I knew from the start/outset that nothing would help.
A) Notice the phrases “from the start” and “from the outset”.
B) Be careful to follow the rules for tense changes in reported speech, which must be used in almost all cases.
74. I opened light for to read my book.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I switched on the light in order to/so as to/to read my book./so that I could read my book.
A) “Open” and “close” are not used for starting and stopping the function of electrical appliances.
B) “For to” is not the way we express purpose. If the subjects of both parts of the sentence are the same, then use “in order (not) to”, “so as (not) to”, or just “(not) to”, but if the subjects are different you should use “so that” or “in order that” and an appropriate tense.
75. The car was running very quick.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The car was travelling very quickly/fast.
A) Cars do not “run”, because they do not have legs!!
B) “Quick” is an adjective, not an adverb, so it cannot describe an action.
76. We have no time to loose.
CORRECT SENTENCE: We have no time to lose.
A) “Loose” as a verb means “áðåëåõèåñþíù (æþá)”, and as an adjective it means “÷áëáñüò”.
77. Occasionally when it happens the weather to be bad I do not go for baths.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Occasionally, when the weather happens to be bad, I do not go swimming.
A) “Occasionally” at the beginning of a sentence should be followed by a comma.
B) “Happen” with the meaning of “ôõ÷áßíù” is not an impersonal verb in English.
C) “Baths” means “ìðÜíéá” - the thing you sit in in your bathroom!
78. The fire result a very big damage.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The fire resulted in/caused serious damage.
A) The verb “result” is followed by the preposition “in”.
B) “Damage” is an uncountable noun, and is usually found with the adjective “serious”. The plural noun “damages” does not mean “æçìéÝò”, it means “áðïæçìéþóåéò”.
79. I heard the bomb to explode and run for cover.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I heard the bomb explode and ran for cover.
A) Verbs of perception such as “hear” are followed by the bare infinitive, if the whole action is perceived, or by a present participle if the action is repeated or only partially perceived. The full infinitive is not used after them.
B) Be careful to ensure that all verbs have a tense.
80. It is not a so easy thing to get to Australia with a car.
CORRECT SENTENCE: It is not such an easy thing/task/It is not so easy to get to Australia by car.
A) Care is needed with the rules for the use of “so” and “such”.
B) Avoid using the phrase “with a car/lorry/plane etc/.
81. Where should I put all these furniture?
CORRECT SENTENCE: Where should I put all this furniture?
A) “Furniture” is an uncountable noun.
82. I run very fast but still I lost the bus.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I ran very fast but I still missed the bus.
A) Be careful to ensure that all verbs have a tense.
B) “Still” stands in front of verb groups, but after the subject of the verb group. If the verb group is positive, still stands in the position of the adverbs of frequency. If the group is negative, still stands in front of the whole verb group:
He is still doing his homework.
I still haven’t found what I am looking for.
C) “Lose” means “÷Üíù êáé äå âñßóêù”, “miss” means “÷Üíù, äåí ðñïëáâáßíù”.
83. He passed terrible the holiday.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He had a terrible time on holiday.
A) Notice the phrase “have a great/terrible/fantastic etc time”. “Pass” does not means “ðåñíþ” in the phrase “ðåñíþ êáëÜ”, which would be “I am having a great time”.
84. I ate a lot because the other day I was going to do a diet.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I ate a lot because the next day I was going to go on a diet.
A) “The other day” means “ôéò ðñïÜëëåò”.
B) “ÊÜíù äßáéôá” is “go on a diet” or “start a diet”, or “be on a diet” if it has already started.
85. I waited Paul to be a tall man and dark.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I expected Paul to be a tall, dark man.
A) The verb “wait” is followed by the preposition “for”. “Expect” means “áíáìÝíù”.
B) Adjectives are only joined by “and” if their meanings are associated:
It was a cold and windy night.
He was a sly and cunning boy.
The wet and miserable dog slunk in through the door.
86. She is the girl who she saw the murder.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She is the girl who saw/witnessed the murder.
A) When “who”, “which” or “that” is the subject of the following verb, it must be immediately followed by the verb (or an adverb and the verb). If a pronoun or noun stands before the verb, then “who”, “which” or “that” must be the object of the verb.
B) Don’t forget that a relative clause is surrounded by commas if the information it presents is not essential for the meaning of the main clause:
France, which is a hexagonally-shaped country, lies between
Germany and the Atlantic Ocean.
87. I have two months to go in England.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I haven’t been to England for two months.
A) The original (incorrect) sentence directly reflects the Greek “έχω δύο μήνες να πάω στην Αγγλία”, but is completely incorrect in English
88. He understood his mistake
CORRECT SENTENCE: He realised his mistake.
The verb “understand” means to begin to know something that is explained to you, whereas “realise” means that something suddenly comes to you, maybe by someone telling you and maybe not.
89. She told me she will dance and so she did
CORRECT SENTENCE: She told me she would dance/was going to dance and she did so.
A) The rules of Reported Speech as regards the change of tense are usually kept in English, so the verb has to go “once tense back” from what was actually said.
B) “she did so” is a phrase used to repeat a verb already mentioned, for example:
I have decided to get fit and I am determined to do so.
90. The evening I went at a concert with a friend of me.
CORRECT SENTENCE: In the evening I went to a concert with a friend of mine.
A) Remember the phrases “in the morning/afternoon/evening” and “at night”.
B) The preposition “at” is generally not used for verbs of movement. If it is combined with a verb of movement, the idea of an attack is implied:
I threw the ball to my friend BUT I threw the stone at the window.
I drove to the garage BUT The joyriders drove the stolen car at the policeman.
C) In English we say “a friend of mine”, where “mine” means “my friends”. So the idea of the phrase “a friend of mine” means “ένας από τους φίλους μου”. If a noun is used, or a name, the correct form is “a friend of my uncle’s” and “a friend of Dave’s”.
91. He hanged the mirror in the wall.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He hung the mirror on the wall.
A) The verb “hang” exists in two forms: hang - hung - hung, which means to suspend an object from a hook, nail etc. Hang - hanged - hanged means to kill a person by hanging them by the throat.
B) “in the wall” would suggest that the mirror was inside the wall, not on its surface.
92. She did a mistake to her work.
CORRECT SENTENCE: She made a mistake in her work.
A) The verbs “make” and “do” need special care - there are particular collocations (combination of two or more words) which you should learn.
Ask me to give you a list from the computer if I haven’t already done so.
93. Except what I tell you, you must also buy soap.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Apart from what I have told you, you must also buy some soap.
A) The preposition “except” requires the preposition “for” when it stands at the beginning of a sentence:
Except for John, everybody here speaks French.
When placed elsewhere in the sentence, the preposition “for” is optional.
Everybody here speaks French, except (for) John.
The form “except for/except” means “not including”.
“Apart from” means “including/as well as”:
Apart from French, I also speak German and Italian.
B) “Soap” is uncountable, therefore it requires an article when we are not talking about all the soap in the world!
94. The inspector controlled my ticket.
CORRECT SENTENCE: The inspector checked my ticket.
A) “Control” means restrict the way something operates so that it operates in the way that you want. “Check” means to look at something to make sure that it is correct.
95. Last night I listened a bad new.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Last night I heard some bad news.
A) “Listen” requires the preposition “to” if it has an object:
I listened to some Mozart as I worked.
“Hear” means to hear something which is in the sound around us, as the sound from the radio or television is. If “listen” were used it would mean that you already knew that there was this news beforehand and listened to the report especially.
B) “News” is uncountable. It therefore takes the articles “some/any/no” and a singular verb.
96. He opened the radio entering into the car.
CORRECT SENTENCE: He turned on the radio/He turned the radio on when he got into the car.
A) “Open” is used to express the idea of movement of one surface from another (such as opening a book or door). “Turn on” and its opposite “turn off” refer to putting into operation a device, usually electrical.
B) “Enter into” means “begin” and is principally used in formal phrases, such as “The USA has entered into negotiations with Russia over economic aid.” “Enter” with the meaning of “go into” is not followed by a preposition: “He entered the room quietly.”
However, with cars, we use the form “get into” and its opposite “get out of”. If “get into/out of” are used with buildings (houses, shops etc) it means “to enter/leave by using force”: How did the thieves get into the shop?” “The man managed to get out of prison by digging a tunnel”.
97. Look in page 3 on line 6.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Look at line 6 on page 3.
A) Note the prepositions, and the fact that we put the most restrictive item first.
98. A lot of friends is hear.
CORRECT SENTENCE: A lot of friends are here.
A) A simple mistake - putting a plural noun with a singular verb.
B) Another simple mistake - misspelling “hear” and “here”. Another common error is confusing “there” and “their”.
99. Anybody did not to tell the truth to me.
CORRECT SENTENCE: Nobody told me the truth.
A) “Anybody” as a subject means “whoever/any person who/everyone who”:
Anybody who sees the criminal should call the police.
B) The form of “tell” is “tell somebody something”.
100. Everyday on holidays I was playing at the garden.
CORRECT SENTENCE: I played in the garden every day on holiday.
A) A frequent action is indicated here, therefore the verb must be Past Simple.
B) The preposition “at” is used before words indicating place provided that a particular activity always happens in that place. A good example is “at the bus-stop”, where clearly a particular activity (waiting for a bus) takes place.
C) Words and phrases indicating the time an action happens occur at the end of the sentence, or at the beginning when they are emphasised.
Written by Bryan Hollamby