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Common Mistakes in Speaking and Writing

Posted by sandhyaravii on May 27, 2012

Common Mistake 1

Common error especially in speaking for the Cambridge or for the iBT (TOEFL) test is

INCORRECT:
“I would prefer to study by my own rather than study with others.”

CORRECT:
“I would prefer to study on my own/by myself rather than study with others.”

EXPLANATION:
Prepositions are such a pain in the you-know-what, aren’t they? I always tell advanced level students that prepositions are the last thing to master in English. These little words (in, on, at, by, for, to, and so on) quickly mark people – even those who have lived in the U.S. for decades – as foreign-born  (including British English speakers, e.g., ‘on the weekend’ vs. ‘at the weekend’). 😉

Common Mistake 2

Students need to be able to express their opinions. Of course, the easiest way to start off your sentence is to say, “In my opinion, …..” However, there are other ways to begin a discourse about your personal views.

INCORRECT:
In my point of view, we should raise taxes on gasoline.”

CORRECT:
From my point of view, we should raise taxes on gasoline.”
In my view, we should raise taxes on gasoline.”

To try to give a visual image of how to use these last two expressions correctly, I often draw a mountain peak with a little person standing on top. From that point, the person can see a lot, but (s)he is not in that point.

I hope this helps you to improve your speech so that you sound more native.

 

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