Verbs: common errors
Incorrect: He is taking his food.
Correct: He is having his food.
‘Taking his food‘ is not wrong, but native English speakers rarely use this expression.
Incorrect: I take your leave.
Correct: I must say goodbye.
‘I take your leave’ is not wrong, but it is extremely formal.
Incorrect: He knows to swim.
Correct: He knows how to swim.
Incorrect: Do you know to cook?
Correct: Do you know how to cook?
Know cannot be followed directly by an infinitive. We use the structure ‘know how to’.
Incorrect: Students should not cut jokes in class.
Correct: Students should not make jokes in class.
Incorrect: He cut his pencil.
Correct: He sharpened his pencil.
Incorrect: Should I cut this word?
Correct: Should I erase this word?
Correct: Should I scratch out this word?
Incorrect: The prisoner’s head was cut.
Correct: The prisoner’s head was cut off.
When the cutting divides what is cut into pieces, use cut off, cut up and cut into.
Incorrect: My back is paining.
Correct: I have a pain in my back.
Correct: My back is hurting.
Incorrect: My tooth is paining.
Correct: My tooth is aching.
Pain is a transitive verb. It must have an expressed object. When there is no object, use other words like ache or hurt.