Common Errors with Verbs – Part II
December 3rd, 2009 in Common Mistakes, English Grammar, English Learning, ESL
Incorrect: He said to me to go.
Correct: He told me to go.
Incorrect: She said to me that she would be late.
Correct: She told me that she would be late.
We use tell when there is a personal object; we use say when there is no personal object.
She said that she would be late. (No personal object)
She told me that she would be late. (Personal object – me)
Incorrect: I asked my maid to bring water.
Correct: I told my maid to bring water.
Incorrect: I told the master to excuse me.
Correct: I asked the master to excuse me.
Use ‘I told him to…’ towards a person to whom you have a right to give an order.
I told my servant to prepare dinner.
I told the peon to bring me the file.
I told my subordinates to work hard.
Use ‘I asked him to…’ towards a person of whom you can or want to make a request only.
I asked my boss to let me go. (= I requested my boss to let me go.)
I asked the hostess to bring me a glass of water. (= I requested the hostess to bring…)
Incorrect: My foot is paining.
Correct: My foot is hurting.
Incorrect: My tooth is paining.
Correct: My tooth is aching.
The verb pain is transitive. It must have an object.
Incorrect: She gave a speech.
Correct: She made a speech.
Incorrect: She made a lecture.
Correct: She gave a speech.
Incorrect: She gave her examination.
Correct: She sat for her examination. OR She did her examination. OR She took her examination.
These are fixed expressions and should be used like that.
Incorrect: He puts his money in a silver box.
Correct: He keeps his money in a silver box.
Keep refers to a more or less permanent resting place. Put refers to a temporary resting place.
He put the money in his pocket. (Temporary)
He kept the money in a wooden case. (More or less permanent)
He put the book on the table. (The book won’t remain there for long.)