18 Most Common Grammar Mistakes (Worst & Funny) We Should Avoid

common grammar mistakes

How much do you rate yourself in your English writing skills? I believe you would give full five stars to your talent. Isn’t it? But wait! Do you care enough to proofread your initial draft? If you do that and you find zero errors, your writing is indeed worthy of applause. Nevertheless, if you find some shortcomings, it is good to polish your skills and cut short those common grammar mistakes for the future. 

According to the statistic published by Statista in 2020, around 1.27 billion people speak English as a native or second language. This is approximately about 20% of the earth’s total population (the world’s population is 7.675 billion).

Statistic: The most spoken languages worldwide in 2019 (by speakers in millions) | Statista

You may use the ‘Spelling and Grammar check’ feature of MS-Word, Google Docs, or both to detect and correct the anomalies. Besides, free and paid versions of several grammar checker tools are also available to quickly fix your grammar mistakes. 

Ahead of these practices, it is always good to go through the content with your naked eyes and figure out the faults on your own. We have put together a list of English grammar errors that you often commit unknowingly. If they go unnoticed, your draft could leave an adverse impression on the reader. So it’s better to pay heed to them and bear the intended fruits from your creation.

18 Common grammar mistakes you should avoid repeating

Contractions and comparisons grammar mistakes

1. They’re vs. Their vs. There

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Since they’re putting up their best performance, there is still a hope for them to win. As you can infer from the sentence:

  • They’re is a contraction for they are.
  • Their is a possessive pronoun and it indicates something that belongs to a group of people; e.g., their best performance.
  • There is an adjective word.

So use the right word at the right place and make sure to cross-check. It’s a very repetitive error that you’d notice in anyone’s writing – and practicing it more frequently would help master the use of these contractions.

We’ve also put together a guide where we discuss about a series of terrible writing advices that you should always avoid, or at least, should double check before implementing it in your writing.

2. You’re vs. Your 

funny grammar mistakes
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  • You’re so beautiful and so is your dress.
  • Your place is far away, yet you’re so punctual to come on time every day

Notice the contraction, you’re used in place of you are, and the possessive pronoun “your.” Both are different.

This is a funny grammar mistake – as they both sound the same but can enter into a different horizon from a writing perspective. The best practice to avoid this grammar mistake in real life is to minimize informal communication and use the full or correct contraction. 

3. It’s vs. Its

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Using It’s, or its is among the most confusing writing practices. But, it is not that rocket science either. Consider this example.

It’s a trustworthy content writing company. Especially, its editors are the best in the business.

Here, the use of apostrophe in it’s, is a contraction of it is, or it has. The use of its shows possession of something or someone (here, the possession of editors by the company).

4. Let’s and Lets

The difference is easy to find out. Let’s is a shorter version for let us, and lets refer to the present tense of let. e.g., 

Let’s finish the assignment today itself.

Knowledge of technology lets you take care of your smartphone easily.

5. The use of an apostrophe 

grammar mistakes check

As you might have already sensed, possessive words are at times tricky to write; their inclusion depends much on the type of noun they accompany. Here are quick pointers.

a. For singular nouns, add apostrophe before s. 
E.g: The boxer’s gloves, the teacher’s lesson, my child’s to

b. For plural nouns, always add an apostrophe at the end of the word.
E.g: The workers’ compensation(compensation for many workers), the students’ union(union of many students

c. Several plural nouns do not have ‘s’ as their last letter. For such words, the rule is to put apostrophe before s.
E.g: The children’s day, women’s dresses 

Though it (apostrophe) doesn’t look to be an important element, it is one of the most common grammar mistakes English speakers commit while writing. If your goal is to be a champion in writing, then start mastering the apostrophe rule.

So close yet so different Spellings

6. Lose vs. Loose

top grammar mistakes
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Simply said, lose is a verb, and loose is an adjective. Here are the examples to clarify the meanings.

Lose: When you are unable to find something, or when you fail to win a contest, you lose it. E.g:

  • Let’s not lose this match.
  • The doctor asked her to lose weight.

Loose: When something is not tight, it is loose. E.g:

  • This new shirt seems too big for you, it’s loose.  
  • Your tooth is loose, it may fall anytime.

7. Compliment vs. Complement

grammar mistakes funny
Image Credit: Raph Comic

Despite similar pronunciations, both these words have different meanings. While compliment refers to admiring someone or something, complement means to complete or make something perfect. Let’s understand them through examples.

  • Complement: Both of you complement each other perfectly.Your glasses complement your dress flawlessly.
  • Compliment:Was that a comment or a compliment?Compliment your staff members for their hard work.

8. Emigrate vs. Immigrate

When you emigrate, you are coming from somewhere, and when you immigrate, you are going somewhere.

  • The birds emigrate from colder to warmer places during the winter season.
  • The birds immigrate to warmer places from the colder ones during the winter season.

9. Principal vs. Principle”

Principal is an important person, place, or thing. Principle is a rule, a concept of philosophy. As an easy trick to remember the difference, both rule and principle end with ‘le’, and both have the same meaning. 

These examples will clarify your doubts further. 

  • The school principal is very strict, and he follows the stipulated principles honestly.
  • Always pay the principal timely.Ensuring customer satisfaction must be the foremost principle of a business.

10. Stationary vs. Stationery

When something is fixed or unchanged, it is stationary. Likewise, the word stationery refers to the study or office materials like pen, paper, pencil, notepads, whiteboard, etc.

As an easy rule, always remember that both paper and stationery have ‘er’. Here are the examples.

  • Please buy a pen from that stationery shop.
  • We were stationary on the railway platform for an hour, as the train was late.

11. Affect vs. Effect

While Affect (verb) is an impact, effect (noun) is the outcome of that impact.

  • The flood affected the village heavily.
  • The effect of the flood was alarming. 

Words, often used wrongly

12. Literally

Incorrect Meaning: Very, figuratively, exaggerate. People often use it in the opposite sense. e.g.

I am literally dying of hunger. 

As common sense, if you have died, literally, you wouldn’t be alive to write this sentence, isn’t it?  

Correct Meaning: Exactly, precisely. e.g.,

  • There are literally countless stars in the galaxy.
  • There are literally many mistakes in this write-up. 

13. Factoid

Incorrect meaning: A small or minor fact 

Correct meaning: A fake or false fact. Here is the correct sentenceThe media today is so adamant at transforming a factoid to a fact.

14. Irregardless

Literally, irregardless is a wrong word; the correct word is regardless as it means ‘in spite of’.

  • Regardless of the quenching heat, the farmers work hard under the sun.
  • The batsman was stubborn at the crease regardless of the fierce pace bowling attack.

15. Boundation

Again, there is no word like boundation, but it is common to use it during conversations. People often consider this word as a synonym to ‘limitation’. e.g.

There is no boundation on the working hours in my office. 

The correct sentence should be.

There is no limitation on the working hours in my office. 

16. Infamous

Incorrect meaning: Famous

Correct Meaning: Notorious, or famous for a negative/undesirable reason 

  • Hitler is infamous for all the wrong reasons.
  • The infamous criminals have created a ruckus in the city.

Wrongly used Phrases

17. First Come, First Serve

grammar mistakes in real life

Grammatically, first come, first served should be the correct usage. If you think a little deep into ‘first come first serve’, you will find out that it means the person who comes first will serve first, instead of being served.

  • The storeowner is attending his customers on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Follow the first-come, first-served rule while allotting seats. 

18. Me and I

grammar mistakes check

People often get confused in the use of Me and I. In a sentence, when you mention yourself as a subject, use I. Likewise, when mentioning yourself as an object, use Me. e.g.

  • I went to the park yesterday(Notice the use of I as a subject pronoun)
  • My coach admired me for the excellent performance(Notice the use of me as an object pronoun)

Wrapping up the grammar mistakes guide

These are just a few occurrences where people often use wrong sentences or words. However, when you are writing a copy for your client, or for your selected audience, it is indispensable to correct these flaws before sharing your creation. 

Additionally, also check for the proper placement of punctuation marks like commas, periods, colons, semi-colons, hyphens, question marks, quotation marks, exclamation marks, etc.

Taking care of these will make your sentences more organized, structured, and interactive. Indeed, it will lead to a remarkable increase in your credibility and make your copy more readable. It’s all part of the learning process – and continuous practice would make you better at writing in time to come.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, experience, and tips in the comment section below. Please share some of the common mistakes you’ve made and how did you overcome them.