Can you find the mistakes in these English sentences? In today’s lesson, you’ll review 8 grammar rules of correct English sentences. You’ll get to practice correcting sentences with me in the video. Once you learn these easy grammar rules, you’ll avoid making common mistakes and improve your marks on English essays and exams like IELTS, TOEFL, and TOEIC. To test if you really understand these rules, take the quiz. Good luck with your English!
Hi, my name’s Rebecca. For the next few minutes, let’s pretend you are the English teacher and you’re correcting your student’s homework. Let’s look at some of these sentences and see if you can find some of the errors in these English sentences.
Okay, the first sentence:
“My mother she works in a bank.”
Is that okay?
Well, let me tell you right now that actually none of these sentences are okay; there is a mistake in every sentence. So see if you can find the mistake. Okay?
“My mother she works in a bank.”
What’s the mistake? Okay… Here, “she”, all right? I’m just going to grab a different marker. So what happened here is we said: “My mother she works in a bank.” So we cannot repeat the subject. The mistake here is that we had a double subject; the subject was mentioned twice. In English, you can’t do that. You just mention the subject once. So this sentence, in order to be correct, would need to be: “My mother works in a bank.” Or: “She works in a bank.” If you know who “she” is. Right? But you can’t say both. So no double subjects.
“John is an engineer”
What’s wrong with that? Look carefully. Well, what’s wrong is that it’s missing the punctuation. All right? Part of a correct sentence is correct punctuation. So here, there was no period at the end of the sentence, that’s what was wrong.
“The manager of my department”
What’s wrong with that? Well, what’s wrong is that it’s not a sentence because it doesn’t have any verb, there’s no verb there. Okay? And, of course, you need to continue this sentence, and then eventually you’d need to have some punctuation as well. But basically, there is no… This is a sentence fragment. This is called only a part of a sentence. It is not a complete English sentence or a correct English sentence. There is no verb. Missing verb.
“we enjoy watching old movies.”
Okay? Again, look carefully. What’s wrong there? Well, it has a subject, it has a verb, but this is the problem. The first letter in the first word of an English sentence has to be capitalized and that’s what was missing here. You see, we didn’t have that problem before. Okay.
“I like very much Chinese food.”
Okay? Maybe that sounds okay to you, but doesn’t sound okay to me. It’s close, but not quite. What’s wrong? Well, what’s wrong here is this, the word order. Not only do you need to have certain elements, you need to have the words in the right order. So in English, the correct order for this sentence would be: “I like Chinese food very much.” Okay? Not: “very much Chinese food.” “I like Chinese food very much.” Okay?
“Maria need help with her hw.”
“Maria need help with her homework.” What’s wrong there? Okay? So the mistake is here, the mistake is in subject-verb agreement. The verb has to agree with the subject. Right? And if we say: “Maria”, it’s like: “she”, and we would have to say: “She needs”. “Maria needs help with her hw.” So the error here was in subject-verb agreement.
“delivered the package yesterday”
Okay? “delivered the package yesterday” What’s wrong here? Well, it’s similar to this one, except here, we had a sentence fragment and we had the subject. Here, we have a sentence fragment, and we have a verb, but we don’t have a subject. We have a missing subject. So this is also a sentence fragment. “Fragment” means only part. It is not a complete sentence.
“We recieved your letter.”
“We recieved your letter.” Sounds fine, but if you’re an English teacher, you’re going to look really carefully at each of the words. And what’s wrong is here, the mistake is here. It’s a spelling mistake. Okay? The word “received” is one of those tricky words with the “e” and the “i”, and the “i” and the “e” that you have to learn very well.
So spelling mistakes will also bring down your marks. If you’re doing the IELTS, if you’re bring… Doing the TOEFL, any errors of this kind will bring your marks down. Okay? So even though they seem very basic, I know from experience that students make all of these mistakes. Be very careful not to make them.
Let’s look at what principles apply to correct English sentences. Okay? So, an English sentence must express a complete thought and it must express it with certain elements. Now, just because a sentence must express a complete thought, it doesn’t have to have a lot of words; it doesn’t have to be a very long sentence.