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Blog : difficult

Five Frequent Mistakes

Five Frequent Mistakes

O.K. O.K, I know you aren’t all grammar lovers and for one reason or another we have been taught to loathe grammar but I am going to try to make this fun because, as you know, I effing love GRAMMAR!

There a dozens of common mistakes that even native English speakers make and while I am not exactly a grammar Nazi, I do cringe when I hear them. So, let’s get down to business.

Let the count down begin!

5. Insure, ensure or assure?

Let’s make this short and simple. Insure is about the Benjamins. What I mean is, it has to do with money. Dolla dolla bill ya’ll. You insure your car, your house or your life so that, in the case you crash, get robbed or die, someone gets cash retribution.

Ensure is all about guarantee – notice that guarantEE has two ‘E’s. That is how you remember the difference. So if you want to ensure a good grade on the TOEFL, you should study. A lot!

Finally, assure is when you take away doubt. So, picture this: you are super nervous about the exam. You come to me and say, «Teacher, I am panicking! I am so nervous about the test!» and what do I do? I speak inspiring and uplifting words to assure you that you will do marvelously!

4. Affect vs Effect

This one happens often, and I must confess, I always double check my writing to make sure I have used the correct form but the easiest way to remember is:

Effect is a noun. So something or someone had an effect on you.

Her speech had a huge effect on me. 

Affect is a verb. We use it when we are talking about the act of changing.

Staying up all night is really affecting my health. 

So the effects of staying up late are affecting my health.

Get it? Got it? Good!

3. Lose vs Loose

Lose is a verb. It is the oppose of win.

I never lose my temper. (Remember, lose is an irregular verb!)

Loose is an adjective that means the opposite of tight.

If you are trying to lose weight, you should wear loose clothing to help your circulation. 

2. Then vs Than

O.K. kids, this is happening all too often!

Then is in reference to time.  

Let’s eat then we can go for a walk.

Than is used for comparisons.

Her house is bigger than mine. 

1. Lay vs Lie

This one is so frequently committed that even native English speakers and rock gods like Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan can’t seem to remember the difference.

Lay is always used with an object. That means you have to lay SOMETHING down.

Everyone on lay your guns on the ground! 

Lie is the an action that you do all on your own. For example, I lie down every day after work. 

But chaos begins when you have to use the past tense and past participle.

Do you have your thinking caps on?

So the past tense of lie is lay and the past participle is lain.

Wait, WHAT?! Yep, that’s right.

I lie down every day after work but yesterday I lay down at work, I have never lain down at work before.

The past tense and the present perfect tense of lay is laid.

The dog always lays his bone on the doorstep but today he laid it on the couch. He has never laid it on the couch before. 

This last one takes time to remember, but I can assure you that the effects of practicing will pay off!