‘I’m so boring’ and other common English mistakes we hear all the time

  • Grammar can be tricky - here’s a guide to errors we consistently see in letters and stories, or hear in conversation
  • It’s normal to mix up phrases, and everyone makes mistakes sometimes
Susan Ramsay |

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How many of these common English mistakes do you find yourself making?

Because we at Young Post are native English speakers, when we see writers repeating the same mistake in English, we want to help them out.

Here are some we see very often in letters and stories, or hear in conversation.

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I’ll see you one month later

Even professionals make this mistake. The right phrase is “in one month’s time”. “Later” is an adverb talking about something that will happen in the near future.

So we can say “I’ll see you later this month” when talking about an event in the same month.

I’ll come back to school ... (when you haven’t left school)

When we are leaving a place and will return the same day, we can use “back” to say “I’ll be back later”, or “I’ll be back soon”. But if we have not yet reached the place, we would say “I will be there soon”.

For daily activities, like going to school, we use “I’ll be back later” if we were already at school, left school, and intend to return that day.

English is a weird language - we totally understand if you're confused.

I am response to

This is a mix up of two phrases, either, “I am responding to” or “I am writing in response to”. We have to choose one.

I’m so boring

This is a very common mistake - understandably. If something is “boring”, it means it is not interesting or exciting. We don’t want to say that about ourselves!

What we mean - hopefully - is that we’re bored - we think something is not interesting or exciting. It describes how we feel.

The same is true with eg “tiring” and “tired”, “interesting” and “interested”, and “annoying and “annoyed”. The “-ed” word describes how we feel, while the “-ing” word describes a thing or situation.

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Raise up your hand

We can say either “raise your hand” or “put up your hand”. The word “raise” already means to lift up, so it is repetitive to write “up” after it.

Could you help me ...?

When a native English person hears this, they think we want them to physically assist us in doing something together.

So saying “Could you help me switch off the light”, does not make sense. Switching off a light does not take two people - either we can do it, or they can.

What we want to say instead: “Would you mind switching off the light for me?” or “Could you please switch off the light?”

(People often also say, for example, “I’ll help you get your vaccine”, when they mean “I’ll give you your vaccine.”)

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My teacher let me understand maths better

“Let” is used incorrectly because it means to give permission. Teachers don’t need to give us permission to learn.

What we mean to say is “My teacher helped me have a better understanding of maths” or “My teacher taught me maths in a way that I could understand”.

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