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Common Errors: Examples and Handout

By Jessica Aggrey

As humans, it’s natural to want to avoid mistakes. We don’t want to be wrong or look stupid. However, it’s essential for language learners to become comfortable with the fact that mistakes are an unavoidable part of the journey to fluency. In fact, there is a lot to be learned from the mistakes a learner makes. An important skill learners develop as they gain more awareness and fluency in the language is the ability to self-correct, so as teachers, this is also something we should be helping to foster in our students.


One way I try and do this is by having students work together to analyze mistakes in a sentence that I’ve taken from their own homework assignments (anonymously of course). I think seeing examples and being guided through the process of error correction is a great way to help get students doing this on their own.


I’ve recently started keeping a master list of common errors I see, so my students can use it to review and become more skilled at error correction. For example, if I see that a student is constantly making the mistake of not including a subject, I can point that student to the list to review examples of the error and how to correct it.


You can access this document here. It’s a live document that will continue to grow as I add more examples. You can view the table of contents below and click on any error to be taken to see examples. I also created a printer friendly static version that has a few examples per common error type. This is great to pass out to students. You can download it below.



List of Common Errors Made by English Learners PDF 5 pages 194 downloads

This is a handout that I created for my students to use to help them see how to fix...

Index of Common Errors

Verb Errors

Missing Verb

Subject Verb Agreement

Verb Form is Incorrect

Incorrect Verb Tense

Wrong Verb

Word Errors

Missing Articles

Missing Subject

Missing Object

Possessive form Error

Wrong Word Form

Wrong Pronoun

Number Errors

Needs to be Plural

Needs to be Singular

Punctuation Errors

Comma Splice

Run-On Sentence

Fragment / Incomplete Sentence

Miscellaneous errors

Complex Error Correction

Syntax (word order) Mistakes

Grammar Topic Specific Errors

Simple Present Errors

Present Progressive Errors

Simple Past Errors

Modal Errors

Grammar Mistakes by Speakers of Specific Native Languages

Mistakes Made by Spanish Speakers

Mistakes Made by Nepali Speakers

What are some strategies you use to help your students develop their autocorrect skills? Share them below in the comment box. If you found this resource helpful, support TESOL Planner by subscribing and following us on social media.

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2 responses on "Common Errors: Examples and Handout"

  1. Jessica,

    I like this! It’s clearly organized. I think it is helpful to make students aware of what common mistakes they make when they speak or write. Somewhere I have a list of common mistakes Russian speakers make and will pass it on if I can find it. I will also take notes of what mistakes my students in Level 2 are making. Repeating mistakes over and over leads to the fossilization that some of our students get stuck in.


    • Hi Judy,

      I’m so glad you found this useful. Definitely pass on any examples you have. I’d be more than happy to add them to the list. I think it would be useful to add a category by level as well, so I’d definitely be interested in seeing examples from your level 2 class.

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