The WORST English mistakes native speakers make

The WORST English mistakes native speakers make

Even native English speakers make mistakes! In this video, you’ll learn five mistakes English speakers make that you should avoid. We’ll look at spelling, pronunciation, confused meanings, bad grammar, slang, and words that don’t exist! It’s okay to make mistakes, and when you’re learning a language, you’re going to make some. My goal in this lesson is to get rid of some common mistakes, so that you can sound smarter and be more confident with your English. Once you know these five mistakes, watch this other video on five other common native speaker mistakes:


“Swept up like a douche on the…” Uh, douche. Deuce, deuce, deuce. Hi. James from engVid. I just made a mistake in singing that song. I used the wrong words or lyrics. It happens all the time. People do it when they speak. And native speakers make certain mistakes that we don’t think of as mistakes, and sometimes even teachers, like myself, will do it. So, this particular lesson is how to not make the mistakes that we make, and we don’t even know we’re making them. I want to help you speak like a native speaker, but not make the same mistakes they do. Okay? So, we’re going to look at five different word pairs that are confused in English. But at the end of this lesson, you won’t be confused, and in fact, you should understand English a little bit better. Are you ready? Let’s go to the board. Okay. “Swept up like a douche”, what was I thinking? Are you ready?

So, look, Mr. E’s saying: “We all make mistakes!” And what mistakes does he want to point out today? Let’s take a look. “Literally” versus “figuratively”. “I literally fell down the stairs. Well, figuratively speaking, I fell down the stairs.” For you, it doesn’t make a difference, but there’s a huge difference. “Literally” in English means it actually happened. What I’m talking about happened. So, I literally got punched in the face. I got punched, literally, you can see it. But if it didn’t happen, maybe somebody said something to you that you didn’t like and you said: “It felt like I got punched in the stomach, like I was literally punched.” Well, no, they said something you didn’t like, that’s figuratively. So you could say: “Figuratively speaking” or “Figuratively put, it felt like I got punched in the stomach.” “Literally” means it has to happen, “figuratively” is a metaphor. It’s a way of using language to let someone know how you feel in a graphic way. Okay? So, you’re giving them something to feel with or work with, because it didn’t happen, but you can’t really explain how it felt. A punch in the stomach really hurts. Well, words don’t physically hurt you, but we all know what it’s… Well, maybe. We know what it’s like to get hit in the stomach, it’s not comfortable, so we understand what they’re saying. Right? Cool.

How about the next one? “Could have”, “could of”. Huh? Well, here’s the deal: It’s more about stress than anything else. This is something that we don’t pay attention to, because as English speakers, we know: “I could have done that”, it’s really a stress of the “v” from the “have”. Right? “Could have”, because we contract the word to: “could”, and it looks like this, we get rid of this and do that, and it becomes: “could’ve”. But because we say “v” and we stress that, people who are non-native think we’re saying “could of”. Now, it’s not really noticeable when they speak or we speak, because, you know, you can’t see words when I am talking. The problem comes when you write. An English speaker will write: “I could have done this”, and they will write either: “could have” or they’ll write “could”: “could’ve”, like this. But unfortunately, non-native speakers will actually write it with “of” because they’re confused by the words. Right? So this is a mistake more for writing, but be careful. Okay? You can have the same thing with: “could of”, “should of”, “would of”, the o-f. Okay? Cool. So that’s number two.

Let’s look at number three, another mistake that native people make sometimes, and you might make more often. “Who” versus “that”. This is a simple one. “Who” is used for people. “Do you know the guy who lives next door?”, “who” because “who” is a person. Easy enough. “That” is used for things. “Do you know the machine that sits on top of my counter?” Because it’s not a person, it’s a thing. And usually you remember this when we talk about: “Do you want this or do you want that?” You don’t refer to people with “this” or “that”, generally speaking. Okay? But sometimes…

Notice that I made a mistake. Huh? I’m going to go here. I made a little mistake. Sorry, guys. “Noticeable”, now that is much more noticeable, so don’t make my mistake. See? We all make mistakes.

Anyway, “who” versus “that”. Now, when I said “that” with a machine: “Do you know that machine on my desk?” it’s for things. Right? You wouldn’t say: “Do you know the machine who sits on my desk?”