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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are you afraid of making mistakes in English?

The best way to learn English is by losing your shame and the fear to be wrong; we’re all human and make mistakes. Moreover, as an additional language that you’re learning you should be less rigid about the potential for making mistakes as they’re likely to happen. Don’t think about a mistake as a step back but as something to learn from and by that improve your level of English.

Even people whose native language is English make mistakes. In order to illustrate it, we’ve selected a series of examples shown in a document written by Bernard Lamb, a lecturer at Imperial College London, which is considered as one of the top three colleges in England.

Some students that were awarded first-class honours degrees made mistakes like:

Mistakes in English
Put implicated for implementedWrong use of the word
Put peace for pieceWrong use of the word
Put defiantly for definitelyWrong use of the word
Confuse effect/affectWord confusion
Confuse where/wereWord confusion
Confuse their/thereWord confusion
Confuse compliment/complementWord confusion
Confuse infected/affectedWord confusion
Confuse infer/implyWord confusion
It incorporate how an organisms adapt toGrammar error. It should be: It incorporates how an organism adapts to
A womenGrammar error. It should be: a woman
In 3 different countryGrammar error. It should be: in 3 different countries.
Put it’s for itsPunctuation error
Put bieng for beingSpelling error
Put recieved for receivedSpelling error
Put usualy for usuallySpelling error
Put totaly for totallySpelling error
alotTwo words written as one: a lot
InfactTwo words written as one: in fact
InorderTwo words written as one: in order
More overOne word written as two: Moreover
There forOne word written as two: Therefore

And these are just some of the most eye-catching mistakes; there are many more. If you want to see the original document, you can download it from this link or this one.

Summing up, you need to lose the fear to make mistakes.

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Simon said...

Great post. We need to stop teaching and learning a language as if it were a science. Language is art, and even amongst native speakers it is subject to a lot of natural variation, and there is usually quite a high level of tolerance for error. The important thing is to develop a good instinct for what sounds right.

I like the way you practice what you preach with your comment at the end: "we need to lose the fear to speak...". Shouldn't it be "fear of speaking.." ;-) But I understood perfectly well anyway.

David García said...

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your comment. I thought that you could say “lose the fear to make mistakes”. I have googled “lose the fear to” (with the quotes) and it seems to be a structure broadly used.

Anyway, thanks for pointing it out!:) My native language is not English so I’m not afraid of making mistakes. From Learn English Online we try to show others how to use free Internet resources in order to improve their English level.


J said...

Great blog!



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