Common Mistakes in English



1. No educative process is ever the end. It is always the beginning of more education, more learning and more living. In other words, it is a life-long process. Knowledge is power. Ignorance of law or any other thing is no excuse. So, guided by these words of wisdom, I am still learning, in spite of my old age, which is only four years away from being at age ninety. In fact, I am an oldie with a step to the grave. But, believe me, I am still learning.

2. In this article, I would like to, once again, make a positive critical assessment, not from an academician’s point of view but from a layman’s point of view. This is my third humble and honest article in alphabetical order.

B. (Commencement)
Believe in, not to.
Don’t say: We believe to God.
Say: We believe in God.
Note: To believe in means to have faith in. To believe (without the in) means to regard something as true: I believe everything he says.
Boast of or about, not for;
Don’t say: James boasted for his strength.
Say: James boasted of (or about) his strength.

Careful of, with or about, not for.
Don’t say: Elke’s very careful for her health.
Say: Elke’s very careful of/about her health.
Or. You should be more careful with your money.
Note: Take care of it. He takes care of his money.

Travel by train, etc., not with the train, etc.
Don’t say: He travelled with the train yesterday.
Say: He travelled by train yesterday.
Note: We say by train, by boat, by plane, by bike: also, by land, by sea, by air, by bus or on a bus; by car or in a car, by taxi or in a taxi, on horse-back, on a donkey, on a bicycle; on foot

Complain about, not for.
Don’t say: Annette complained for the weather.
Say: Annette complained about the weather.
Note: When talking about illness, we complain. We say: She complained of a sore throat.

Composed of, not from.
Don’t say: Our class is composed from thirty students.
Say: Our class is composed of thirty students.

Confidence in, not to.
Don’t say: I have great confidence to you.
Say: I have great confidence in you.
Note: In confidence: Let me tell you something in confidence ( = as a secret).

Conform to, not with.
Don’t say: We must conform with the rules.
Say: We must conform to the rules.
Note: comply takes with: We’ll comply with your request.

Congratulate on, not for.
Don’t say: I congratulate you for your success.
Say: I congratulate you on your success.

Consist of, not from.
Don’t say: A year consists from twelve months.
Say: A year consists of twelve months.
Note: Take great care never to use consists in the passive form.

Covered with, not by.
Don’t say: The Mountains are covered by snow.
Say: The Mountains are covered with/in snow.

Cure of, not from.
Don’t say: The man was cured from his illness.
Say: The man was cured of his illness.
Note: The noun cure takes for: There is no cure for that disease.

Depend on or upon, not from.
Don’t say: It depends from her.
Say: It depends on (or upon) her.
Note: Rely on or upon: I can’t rely on (or upon) him.

Deprive of, not from.
Don’t say: Nelson Mandela was deprived from his freedom.
Say: Nelson Mandela was deprived of his freedom.

Die of an illness, not from an illness.
Don’t say: Many people have died from malaria.
Say: Many people have died of malaria.
Note: people die of illness, of hunger, of thirst, of or from wounds; from overwork; by violence, by the sword, by pestilence; in battle, for their country, for a cause; through neglect; on the scaffold; at the stake.

Different from, not than.
Don’t say: My book is different than yours.
Say: My book is different from yours.

(1) A book of essential quotations.
(2) Common mistakes in English (new edition)


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