The Sunday News
TRY the following exercises which include the most common language errors which examiners’ reports reveal annually. Isolate the ones which give you most trouble and get rid of them. Keep a personal list of errors from your classwork and make sure that you fully understand the correct usage.
In the following sentences choose the correct words from the brackets:
1. When he saw me, (I/a/are) waved to him to come across.
2. James asked Alice (we/were/where) she had been.
3. I had left my (purse/pace) at home (so/saw) I could not buy any groceries in town.
4. If you (sell/sale) rotten meat, there will be (complains/complaints).
5. We (had/heard/hard) a loud (crash/crush) coming from the (shed/shade).
6. My father (lives/leaves) a (quiet/quite) life and is trying to (save/serve) money.
7. The child could not (accept/excerpt) that his (hill/heel/heal) would not (hill/heel/heal) in an (instance/instant).
8. (What/Want) (distance/distant) do we have to travel to reach (they/their/there) house?
9. I (hope/trust) I pass my exams as I don’t want to repeat this year.
10. I (favour/prefer) to (stay/live) in Harare.
11. After supper, I decided to (go to bed/sleep).
12. There were many (women/woman) (including/and) children (at/on) the market.
13. The teacher asked me to (carry/ bring) his books to the staffroom.
14. My father said he was (bored/upset) with our behaviour at (launch/lunch).
15. I (arrived/reached) early and (said/told) that I was (smart/fine).
16. Mrs Ncube spoke to (his/her) husband about a hob at the local (mine/mine factory).
17. Mr Moyo was (marketing/buying) chickens at the market while (his/her) wife was (going for shopping/shopping).
18. Please could you (lent/lend) me the (hole/hall/whole) amount of money.
19. Even though I am a prefect (I don’t/but don’t like) the rule about not talking during dinner.
20. When I heard my mother, I decided to (wake up/get up).
21. The doctor gave me good (advices/advice) and said he (did not thought/did not think) I should (be playing/play) football.
22. We cannot find (some/any) of our books but we will give you those we have.
Go through these sentences and check your answers with those which will be given in later articles or ask for your teacher’s help. There are many more examples you can work on which are of great help in eliminating common errors. Practice makes perfect. To get rid of most common errors you need to have a lot of practice correcting language errors and sentences. You will have practice through exercises like choosing the sentence which is correctly expressed from a pair.
Examples: Out of a sudden, the dog jumped over the gate. This sentence is wrongly expressed. Compare it to the following which is correctly expressed: All of a sudden, the dog jumped over the gate. Consider the following, the first is wrongly expressed and the next is correctly expressed: I used to wear a trouser to church. I usually wear trousers to church. I asked my sir the most thing he liked to do in his leisure time.
I asked my teacher what he most liked to do in his leisure time.
Every time my brothers go for hunting. My brothers always go hunting. When she loose her bag, she went at the market to pick it. The correctly expressed sentence reads as follows: When she lost her bag, she went to the market to find it. His hairs was untidy and he wear a short.
Correct expression — His hair was untidy and he was wearing a pair of shorts.
It was very hot that I couldn’t sleep. It was so hot that I couldn’t sleep. My sister and I we went to town. My sister and I went to town. Now that you have gone through these exercises and seen the sort of common errors that you might make, you should have a better idea of how to identify other errors that you may make in your written work.
Reports show that it is very often short or commonly used words which are most frequently misspelt. Experts also say, often too, spelling is related to mispronunciation or confusion of homophones (words which sound the same but have different meanings). Again if you build up a personal list of spelling errors, you will go a long way towards overcoming bad spelling which could affect your examination results.
Below is a short exercise involving some of the most commonly confused words. Choose the correct words from the brackets: He has a (new/knew) (pair/pear) of shoes. We (were/where) not (allowed/aloud) out in the bad (whether/weather). I tried in (vein/vain/vane) to take his pulse. She grabbed the (rain/reign/rein) as the horse ran (past/passed) her but it broke (lose/loose). The (staff/stuff) at our school are very (patience/patient). (Jealousy/Jealous) is a bad thing.
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