Common mistakes in IELTS – Miscellaneous examples (Part 5)

171. Using one and a half, instead of half past one, etc.

Don’t say: Lessons begin at eight and a half.

✓ Say: Lessons begin at half past eight.

In telling time, say half past one, half past two, half past three, etc.

172. Using as usually instead of as usual

Don’t say: As usually, he left his pen at home.

✓ Say: As usual, he left his pen at home.

173. Using according to my opinion instead of in my opinion

Don’t say: According to my opinion, she’s right.

✓ Say: In my opinion, she’s right.

Note: Avoid using the phrase as I think instead of I think. Say: He is lazy and I think he’ll fad, not as I think

174. Using at the end instead of in the end

Don’t say: At the end they reached the city.

✓ Say: In the end they reached the city.

In the end means finally or at last. At the end means at the farthest point or part –> There’s an index at the end of this book. There’s a holiday at the end of this month.

175. Using under the rain instead of in the rain

Don’t say: They played football under the rain.

✓ Say: They played football in the rain.

Note: Also in the tun and in the shade –> He was sitting in the sun (or in the shade).


Express the negative in the present + past simple in one of two ways:

1. By putting not (n’t) after the verb. Use this method with the following twenty-one verbs.

am, is, are, was, were; have, has, had; shall, should; will, would; can, could; may, might; must; need; dare.; ought… to; used … to.

Examples: I’m not ready. You mustn’t do that. He can’t write well. He oughtn’t to go.

In conversation, not is often shortened to n’t. We say don’t for do not, doesn’t for does not, didn’t for did not, hadn’t for had not, wouldn’t for would not, etc. (But we say shan’t for shall not. won’t for will not, can’t for cannot.)

2. Use do, does, did, with not and the present infinitive (without to). Use this method with all verbs except those twenty-one given above.

The word order is: subject + do (does, did) + not + infinitive

Examples: I don’t go there very often. He doesn’t teach English.They didn’t see the game.

3. Use other words of negative meaning to express negatives: no, nobody, no one, nothing, nowhere.

Example: They know nothing or They do not (don’t) know’ anything.

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