Common mistakes in IELTS – Miscellaneous examples (Part 1)

               Miscellaneous examples

134. Confusion of gender

Don’t say: The door is open, please shut her.

√ Say: The door is open, please shut it.

In English only names of people and animals have gender (masculine or feminine). Inanimate things are neuter, and take the pronoun it in the singular.

Note: It’s possible to use masculine or feminine pronouns when inanimate things ate personified –> England is proud of her navy.

135. Using the possessive ’s with inanimate objects

Don’t say: Her room’s window is open.

√  Say: The window of her room is open.

With inanimate objects we usually use the of structure  “The door of the car. The leg of the table. The surface of the water .” With the names of places and organizations we can use either London’s streets = The streets of London = Italy’s climate = The climate of Italy = The school’s main office = The main office of the school

Note: However, we do say a day’s work, a night’s rest, a week’s holiday, a pound’s worth, etc .. especially with similar measures of time

136. Using the objective case after the verb to be

Don’t say: It was him.

√  Say: It was he.

The pronoun coming after the verb to be must be in the nominative case, and not in the objective in written composition. However, the objective case is now usually used in conversation –> It’s me, it was him/her/them, etc

137. Using the objective case after the conjunction than

Don’t say: My sister is taller than me.

√  Say: My sister is taller than I (am).

The word than is a conjunction, and can only be followed by a pronoun in the nominative case. The verb coming after the pronoun is generally omitted.

Note: Use the objective case in spoken English  –> You’re much taller than me.

138. Using the subject pronoun after between

Don’t say: It’s a secret between you and I.

√ Say: It’s a secret between you and me.

Between is a preposition, and all prepositions take the objective case after them.

139. Using an object pronoun before a gerund

Don’t say: Him laughing at her was what made her angry.

√ Say: His laughing at her was what made her angry.

When we use an -ing verb as a noun, the preceding noun or pronoun must be observed.

140. Using an object pronoun in a double genitive

Don’t say: A friend of him told us the news.

√ Say: A friend of his told us the news.

We use the double genitive: of + name + ‘s, his, mine, etc; when we want to emphasize the person who possesses rather than the thing which he possesses –> A friend of his is simply another way of saying one of his friends.


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