Posts Tagged ‘english’

Common Errors with Verbs Part III

December 23rd, 2009 in Common Mistakes

Incorrect: He denied to go.
Correct: He refused to go.


‘To deny’ is to say that something is not true. ‘To refuse’ is to show unwillingness.

Incorrect: All day I was putting on a sweater.
Correct: All day I was wearing a sweater.


‘To put on clothes’ refers to the act of dressing. Example: He is putting on his shoes. Once the act of dressing is over we use ‘to wear’ to express the act of carrying clothes on the body.

He wore a black shirt.
She always wears expensive clothes.
It took me ten minutes to put on the socks.

Incorrect: I shot the deer but missed.
Correct: I shot at the deer but missed.
Correct: I missed the deer.


The sentence ‘I shot the deer’ means that I hit the deer and probably killed it.

Incorrect: He stood first in his class.
Correct: He was first in his class.


‘He stood first in his class’ is of course correct English, but Englishmen rarely use this expression.

Incorrect: Columbus invented America.
Correct: Columbus discovered America.
Incorrect: James Watt discovered the steam engine.
Correct: James Watt invented the steam engine.


‘To invent’ is to create something which did not exist before. Examples are: computer, TV, telephone etc. ‘To discover’ is to find something which existed without man’s knowledge. For example, people can discover countries, new stars, galaxies, mineral deposits etc.

Who discovered Antarctica?
Who invented the computer?

Incorrect: He prevented him from harm.
Correct: He protected him from harm.


‘To prevent’ is to stop something from happening.
Rain prevented them from going out.

‘To protect‘ is to keep somebody or something safe.
An umbrella protects us from the sun and the rain.

Incorrect: Open the light.
Correct: Turn on the light.
Incorrect: Shut/close the light.
Correct: Turn off the light.

Incorrect: My leg has been operated.
Correct: I have had an operation on my leg.


In a surgical sense, the verb operate is only used in the active voice followed by on.

The doctor operated on the patient.
The patient has had an operation. (BUT NOT The patient has been operated.)

Incorrect: I must revenge my brother.
Correct: I must avenge my brother.


The verbs avenge and revenge are often confused.’ To avenge my brother’ is to punish someone who has hurt my brother.

Incorrect: I must revenge my enemy.
Correct: I must take revenge on my enemy.