Common Errors in English Usage

Today we are sharing some words that are seem to be same or closely related but their usage is different. This will help you to find errors more easily and quickly in exams.

USE OF UNLESS AND UNTIL

  • Unless  - except on the specified conditions or circumstances 
Example - Bank will not provide you loan unless you give them something as security.

  • Until - up to the time of
Example  - I lived with my parents until I was 20.

USE OF A FEW, FEW AND THE FEW

  • A Few - Not many (opposite of many)
Example - A few boys will pass in the examination

  • Few - some at least (positive)
Example -  There are few books in my room.

  • The Few - whatever there is (not many, but all of them) 
Example -  He lost the few friends he had.

USE OF THE NUMBER AND A NUMBER

  • The Number - Singular form
Example - The number of applicants for the course is fifteen.

  • A Number - Plural form (Several, Some)
Example -  A number of students have appeared for the test.

    USE OF LITTLE, A LITTLE AND THE LITTLE

    • Little - Hardly any
    Example - There is little hope of his recovery.

    • A Little - Some ( though not much)
    Example - We have got a little time before the train leaves.

    • The Little - Not much but all there is.
    Example - The little medicines that are in first aid box may be used for the patient.

    USE OF AMONG AND BETWEEN

    • Between - Used when items are distinct
    Example - I cannot decide between the green shirt, black shirt and white shirt.

    • Among - Used when items are not distinct; or for group
    Example - I cannot decide among these shirts.

    USE OF SINCE AND FOR

    • Since - Indicates point of time
    Example - It has been raining since last Monday

    • For - Length of time
    Example - He has been reading novel for two hours.

    USE OF ON AND ONTO

    • On - Location or Position on a surface
    Example - Your books are on the table.

    • Onto - Direction/Movement from one location to another or; Fully aware/ Informed
    Example - The cat climbed onto the table.
                      The Police are onto the Thief's plans.

    USE OF ELDER AND OLDER

    • Elder - Used for implying greater experience or knowledge. It is generally used for members of the family
    Example - He is my elder brother.

    • Older - Used to refer persons as well as things and is generally followed by than.
    Example - Saumya is older than all other girls of this area.

    USE OF RESPONSIBLE TO AND RESPONSIBLE FOR

    • Responsible to - Obligatory or answerable to 
    Example - The government is responsible to the people who elected them.

    • Responsible for - To carry out some action or doing something while at any ownership position.
    Example - He held himself responsible for his wife's death.

    USE OF LESS AND FEWER

    • Less - Used for Quantity
    Example - When I'm doing my work, I listen to less music.

    • Fewer - Used for Number
    Example - Fewer than thirty children are opting to study music related subjects.

    USE OF WHEN AND WHILE

    • When - Used for referring a time or periods of life.
    Example - When I worked as a teacher, I met a good friend.

    • While - Used for time during the process of doing a work.
    Example -While he was sleeping, I was working.

    USE OF SOME AND ANY

    • Some - Used to express quantity
    Example - He will buy some apples

    • Any - Used for interrogative and negative sentences
    Example - Have you bought any apples?

    USE OF EACH OTHER AND ONE ANOTHER

    • Each Other - Used for two subjects or objects
    Example - Ram and Sita have met each other.

    • One Another - Used for more than two subjects or objects
    Example - All the members of  the family love one another.

    MISCELLANEOUS

    INCORRECT
    CORRECT
    He told the truth
    He spoke the truth
    Though he is poor but he is honest
    Though he is poor, yet he is honest
    He is taking a bath
    He is having a bath
    Do not speak a lie
    Do not tell a lie
    It is raining, is it?
    It is raining, Isn't it?
    I respect him as he is my teacher.
    I respect him because he is my teacher
    Our team made a goal
    Our team has scored a goal
    He is such a writer that everybody should read his books.
    He is such a writer as everybody should read his books.

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