Common mistakes in IELTS – Miscellaneous examples (Part 2)

141. Misuse of – self forms

Don’t say: Michael and myself are here.

√ Say: Michael and I are here.

Use the male personal pronouns I, you, he, etc. if no emphasis is necessity.

Note: Use the – self pronouns in two ways –> She herself was hurt. She hurt herself.

142. Using hisself or theirselves instead of himself or themselves

Don’t say: They fell down and hurt theirselves.

√ Say: They fell down and hurt themselves.

The refexive pronouns, third person, are himself and themselves and not hisself and theirselves.

143. Misuse of noun/verb homonyms

Don’t say: Becky played a good play of chess.

√ Say: Becky played a good game of chess.

Some verbs and nouns do have the same form and analogous meaning in English –> The police fight a hard fight. Heather dreams long vivid dreams. If you lie the lie will catch you out! The company danced an African dance. However, we seldom use the same word like this. Usually we try to avoid it in some way: She fought a long battle with them. If you lie you will be caught out. The company did an African dance.

144. Using the relative pronoun which for persons

Don’t say: I’ve a brother which is at school.

√ Say: I’ve a brother who is at school.

Only use which as a relative pronoun for animals or things. The right pronoun to use for people is who (whose, whom)

145. Using what or which after everything, etc

Don’t say: I heard everything which (or what) he said.

√ Say: I heard everything (that) he said.

Don’t use the relative pronouns which and what after everything, all, something, anything, a lot, (not much), little, or nothing. We can use that after these words, or it can be omitted.

146. Who and whom

Don’t say: I saw the woman whom you said lived next door.

√ Say: I saw the woman (who) you said lived next door.

We rarely use whom in modern English. We still use a after prepositions to, by, with, after, on, etc. For example, “The girl to whom you were speaking is Nigerian.” We prefer to avoid this nowadays by changing the order of the sentence “The girl you were speaking to is Nigerian.” You can also use that in place of who:  “The girl that you were speaking to is Nigerian.”

147. Using who, whom. or which after the superlative, instead of that

Don’t say: It’s the best which I’ve seen.

√ Say: It’s the best (that) I’ve seen.

Use the relative that (not who, whom, or which) after a superlative. It can, however, be omitted.

148. The same as/same that

Don’t say: Amelia bought the same bag that me.

√ Say: Amelia bought the same bag as me.

After the same we use as unless it’s followed by a subordinate clause, in which case we use that, or omit it –> Mr Smith ordered the same clothes that he ordered before.

Note: Sometimes we use that instead of who or which after same –> He wore the same clothes that he wore on Sunday.

149. Using who? or what? instead of which?

Don’t say: Who of the two boys is the taller?

√ Say: Which of the two boys is the taller?

Use the interrogative pronoun which? for both people and things, asks for one out of a definite number.

Note: The interrogative pronoun what? doesn’t imply choice –> “What s your telephone number?” it’s also use to ask for a person’s profession “What’s your father? – He’s a lawyer.”

150. Who? and Whom?

(a) Who?

Don’t say: Whom do you think will be chosen?

√ Say: Who do you think will be chosen?

(b) Whom?

Don’t say: Who do you think I saw yesterday?

√ Say: Whom do you think I saw yesterday?

In sentence (a) who is the subject of will be chosen, do you think is a parentless. In sentence (b) whom is the object of I saw, do you think is a parentless.

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