86 Noticeable English Common Errors in English


Errors are persistent derivations from norms. Common errors in English, therefore, are the most noticeable derivations from norms of English usage as it relates to many Nigerian users of English as the second language.

1. Incorrect: I took my breakfast

Correct: I had my breakfast

2. Incorrect: Don’t dribble around, please

Correct: Don’t order me around, please.

3. Incorrect: He is in problem.

Correct: He had a problem or he is in trouble

4. Incorrect: I heard what you said in your letter

Correct: I understand what you said in your letter

5. Incorrect: Mrs. Ade displayed his wares here

Correct: Mr. Ade exhibited his wares here.

6. Incorrect: Did you get my letter?

Correct: Did you receive my letter?

7. Incorrect: They have packed to their new house.

Correct: They have moved to their new house.

8. Incorrect: I can’t go there.

Correct: I won’t go there.

9. Incorrect: They used five days in Lagos.

Correct: They spent five days in Lagos.

10. Incorrect: He returned back yesterday

Correct: He returned yesterday.

11. Incorrect: I laid down and sleep

Correct: I lay down and sleep.

12. Incorrect: She puts on her glasses to read

Correct: She wears her glasses to read.

13. Incorrect: That bus tumbled twice yesterday

Correct: That bus somersaulted twice yesterday.

14. Incorrect: I told you but you didn’t hear.

Correct: I told you but you didn’t listen.

15. Incorrect: I look forward to see you next week

Correct: I look forward to seeing you next week.

16. Incorrect: He wished he is there at that time

Correct: He wished he was there at that time.

17. Incorrect: If I am mum, I will take the green one

Correct: If I were mum, I would take the green one.

18. Incorrect: It is high time we leave for home

Correct: It is high time we left for home.

19. Incorrect: I saw him danced that afternoon

Correct: I saw him dance that afternoon.

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20. Incorrect: I will like a cup of tea

Correct: I would like a cup of tea.

21. Incorrect: The teacher made me to see reason

Correct: The teacher made me see reason.

22. Incorrect: They are use to receive visitors.

Correct: They are used to receive visitors.

23. Incorrect: Soaps

Correct: Two bars/ a cake of soap

24. Incorrect: Milks

Correct: Two tins or three tins of milk

25. Incorrect: Sugars

Correct: A packet of sugar

26. Incorrect: I have works to do

Correct: I have a piece of work to do.

27. Incorrect: Equipments

Correct: An item of equipment

28. Incorrect: Furnitures

Correct: A piece of furniture

29. Incorrect: Advices

Correct: A piece of advice/some advice

30. Incorrect: We play pianos

Correct: We play piano

31. Incorrect: Four-men panel

Correct: Four-man panel

32. Incorrect: Five-year-old children

Correct: Five-year-old children

33. Incorrect: A cheater

Correct: A cheat

34. Incorrect: A troubleshooter

Correct: A trouble maker

35. Incorrect: She is a gossiper

Correct: She is a gossip.

36. Incorrect: Bola was the Chairlady

Correct: Bola was a Chairperson/Lady in Chairman

37. Incorrect: He was employed as a watch night

Correct: He was employed as a night watch

38. Incorrect: She is a duper

Correct: She is a dupe.

39. Incorrect: They searched all nooks of it.

Correct: They searched all nooks and crannies of it.

40. Incorrect: Birds of the same feather flock together

Correct: Birds of a feather flock together.

41. Incorrect: To bite more than one can chew

Correct: To bite off more than one can chew.

42. Incorrect: I will catch the bus

Correct: I will catch the train

43. Incorrect: I will board the train

Correct: I will board the bus.

44. Incorrect: Cold beer/water

Correct: Iced/chilled beer/water

45. Incorrect: Hot drink

Correct: Hard drink

46. Incorrect: She has a long leg

Correct: She has a very long arm

47. Incorrect: They will retouch their hair today

Correct: They will have their hair retouched today.

48. Incorrect: I came but I met you absent

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Correct: I came but I didn’t meet.

 49. Incorrect: I shall see you next tomorrow

Correct: I shall see you in two days’ time.

50. Incorrect: Don’t blow your own trumpet

Correct: Don’t blow your trumpet.

51. Incorrect: If one comes late, she must pay a fine

Correct: If one comes late, one must pay a fine.

52. Incorrect: The time is against us, hurry up

Correct: The time is running out, hurry up

53. Incorrect: From now henceforth, don’t come here

Correct: Henceforth, don’t come here or From now on, don’t come here

54. Incorrect: The drivers should horn before overtaking

Correct: The drivers should press the horn before

55. Incorrect: I don’t need iced water, give me ordinary one.

Correct: I don’t need iced water, give me an un-iced one.

56. Incorrect: My business is moving fine

Correct: My business is booming or flourishing

57. Incorrect: I am feeling hungry

Correct: I am hungry

58. Incorrect: I passed out in that school in 2000

Correct: I finished that school in 2000

59. Incorrect: They stroke around

Correct: They stroll around

60. Incorrect: Don’t useless your youthful days

Correct: Don’t misuse/spoil your youthful days

61. Incorrect: I am selling market at Ikeja, Lagos

Correct: I am selling goods at Ikeja, Lagos

62. Incorrect: The pen is sold for ten-ten naira

Correct: The pen is sold for ten naira each.

63. Incorrect: I am looking for an employment

Correct: I am looking for a job.

64. Incorrect: The boy got an accident

Correct: The boy had an accident or the boy was involved in an accident.

65. Incorrect: Tell the gateman to come

Correct: Tell the gatekeeper to come

66. Incorrect: Buy the drugs at the chemist

Correct: Buy the drugs at the chemist’s shop.

67. Incorrect: This boy is rascal

Correct: This boy is rascally

67. Incorrect: All our sportmen are performing well

Correct: All our sportsmen are performing well.

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68. Incorrect: Your English is not correct.

Correct: Your expression is not correct.

69. Incorrect: The man consumed the company’s money.

Correct: the man embezzled the company’s money.

70. Incorrect: I don’t have chance to go there now.

Correct: I don’t have time to go there now.

71. Incorrect: You don’t need to crack your brain before you answer.

Correct: You don’t need to rack your brain now before you answer.

72. Incorrect: I don’t like him and I don’t like his subject too.

Correct: I don’t like him and I don’t like his subject either

73. Incorrect: Ade is very quiet for my linking.

Correct: Ade is too quiet for my liking.

74. Incorrect: She stabbed him on the back

Correct: She stabbed him at the back.

75. Incorrect: He shouted with a loud voice.

Correct: He shouted in a loud voice.

76. Incorrect: Pick the children in school at 2:00pm

Correct: Pick the children up in school at 2:00Pm

77. Incorrect: Tolu ordered for a plate of rice with chicken.

Correct: Tolu ordered a plate of rice with chicken.

78. Incorrect: Nigeria played with Ghana last week.

Correct: Nigeria played against Ghana last week.

79. Incorrect: They went there by foot.

Correct: They went there on foot.

80. Incorrect: Draw more closer to me.

Correct: draw closer to me.

81. Incorrect: The man is very trickish.

Correct: The man is very tricky.

82. Incorrect: His wife is black in colour.

Correct: His wife is dark-skinned.

83. Incorrect: Tolu is the most gay of them all.

Correct: Tolu is the gayest of them all.

84. Incorrect: Don’t make noise.

Correct: Don’t make a noise.

85. Incorrect: I shall put up an appearance at the meeting.

Correct: I shall put up an appearance at the meeting.

86. Incorrect: Tuneade has a good knowledge of Mathematics.

Correct: Tunuade has good knowledge of Mathematics.

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