Mastering grammar is essential for effective communication whether in writing or speaking. Be it your education or profession, correct grammar is crucial for creating materials, writing content, sharing information, emailing the team, submitting resumes, giving interviews, and many more. There are words, phrases, and sentences that sound fine in our head but are grammatically incorrect, which can cause a negative impression on the person listening to you or reading your text.

Even the most skilled writers and speakers can make common grammar mistakes that can change the whole meaning of their message and impact its clarity. Whether it’s less instead of fewer, its or it’s, subject-verb agreement errors, sentence fragments, apostrophes, unnecessary commas, or something else, everyone makes such grammar mistakes from time to time. However, it’s crucial to avoid common grammar mistakes to make your writing error-free, polished, clear, and meaningful.

You can’t avoid such mistakes unless you know what common grammar mistakes are. Once you know the Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid, you are more likely to catch them while writing and correct them. There is a plethora of Grammar Mistakes to Avoid, we will focus on the most prevalent ones with some examples to help you level up your English writing.

Subject Verb Agreement

One of the most common grammar mistakes many people make is subject-verb agreement, where the subject and verb do not match. When you write a sentence, it’s necessary that the verb must agree or match with the subject of the sentence in terms of number. In simple words, it means you have to use a singular verb with a singular subject and a plural verb with a plural subject. For example:

  • Incorrect: The cats is playing with the ball.
  • Correct: The cats are playing with the ball.
  • Incorrect: They has been practicing hard for the match.
  • Correct: They have been practicing hard for the match.
  • Singular Subject – The car needs an oil change
  • Plural Subject – The flowers bloom beautifully in the spring.

Moreover, the verb and subject should also be in the same tense. Ensure that the subject and verb in each sentence agree on the number and person.

  • Incorrect: They was playing soccer in the park yesterday.
  • Correct: They were playing soccer in the park yesterday.

As “they” is a plural subject in this case, the verb “was” should be “were” in order to preserve subject-verb agreement in the past tense.

Less vs. Fewer

It is one of the most common mistakes many people make while content writing , academic essays, emails, scripts, or any other piece of writing. It is important to understand that less is used to describe an uncountable number of items whereas fewer is used to describe a countable number of things.

Examples of Less are:

  • There is less water in the bottle.
  • She has less tolerance power than before.
  • They ate less food today.

Examples of Fewer are:

  • There are fewer items on the shelf.
  • Assam had fewer visitors this year.
  • He has fewer pens than his friend.

Here’s a contrast between the two:

  • Incorrect: There are less than 100 people in the room.
  • Correct: There are fewer than 100 people in the room.
  • Incorrect: I have less books than you.
  • Correct: I have fewer books than you.

“Less” is wrong in both situations since “people” and “books” are countable nouns; instead, “fewer” should be used.

Misplacing Apostrophes

Using Apostrophes is a little confusing, making misplacing it a common grammar mistake to avoid. To use apostrophes correctly, it’s important to understand the difference between possessive and plural forms. It is used to indicate the possession or something belonging to someone or he/she is the owner of something.

For example,

  • Something belongs to one person – the boy’s car
  • Something belongs to more than one person – the boys’ car

When there is only one owner, the apostrophe is placed before “S,” and when there is more than one owner, it is placed after “S.”

Besides that, it’s also used in contracted words such as Don’t, and Can’t, to indicate missing words “O” of do not, cannot, they’re to indicate missing word “A” of they are, etc. However, it should never be used to form plurals.

  • Wrong: The Horse’s are in the stable.
  • Right: The horses are in the stable.

Sentence Fragments

Sentence fragments mean a lack of subject, verb, or a complete thought that can give meaning to your message. They are incomplete clauses that do not serve any purpose alone as a sentence. A proper and complete sentence needs both a subject and a predicate. For example,

  • Fragment – walked to the store
  • Complete Sentence – She walked to the store to buy some grocery
  • Fragment: Climbed the mountain.
  • Complete sentence: He climbed the mountain in the evening to watch the sunset.

They basically occur when you write complex sentences with subordinate clauses and forget to use the main clause or verbs as well as appropriate punctuation marks to separate sentences.

For example:

  • Incorrect: Although they tried hard. They lost the game.
  • Correct: Although they tried hard, they lost the game.

Misplaced Modifiers

Language is boring or dull without modifiers as they add extra flair and creativity to the sentences and speech, making them more innovative and impactful. However, it’s essential that the modifiers are placed next to the word they aim to modify. Placing them too far from the word they intend to modify is a Common Grammar Mistake to Avoid. For example:

  • The beautiful sunset
  • The majestic mountains
  • The tall tree
  • The fearless lion, etc.

Now if you place them far away from the word they aim to modify, it can lead to confusion. For example:

  • Wrong: On her way back, he found a gold man’s ring.
  • Correct: On her way back, he found a man’s gold ring.

In these sentences, the word “gold” is a modifier that describes the ring. Placing it in the right place gave meaning to the sentence.

Missing Commas

Commas are important and versatile punctuation marks; placing them incorrectly can change the sentence’s meaning. They are used to create pauses, separate items in a list, join independent clauses in compounded sentences, setting off introductory elements, etc. Missing Commas is among the Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid. The simplest example of using a comma is in a list of items or as an introductory element. For example:

  • Incorrect – She went to the store for milk bread and butter.
  • Correct – She went to the store for milk, bread, and butter.
  • Incorrect: Additionally the flight was delayed.
  • Correct: Additionally, the flight was delayed.

Besides that, it is used to join independent clauses in compound sentences, but here, you may make the mistake of avoiding the coordinating conjunction. It’s important to take the help of a coordinating conjunction like and, but, or, etc., to ensure writing the correct version of the sentence that is grammatically correct. For example:

  • Incorrect: Daisy went to the store but she forgot her wallet.”
  • Correct: Daisy went to the store, but she forgot her wallet.”

Comma Splice and Run-on errors

Another common grammatical mistake is Comma Splice which means using commas to join two independent clauses. As per the rules of grammar, you should use a semicolon/a period, or a coordinating conjunction to join two independent clauses. For example:

  • Incorrect: She went to the gym, she worked out for an hour.
  • Correct: She went to the gym; she worked out for an hour.
  • Incorrect: Noah finished his homework, he played video games.
  • Correct: Noah finished his homework; he played video games.
  • Incorrect: Jake was tired, he went to sleep.
  • Correct: Jake was tired. He went to sleep.
  • Also correct: Jake was tired, so he went to sleep.

Run-on errors are similar to comma splices, with the difference that they have two or more independent clauses without the necessary conjunctions or punctuation to separate them. For example:

Example: I went to the store he bought some stationery.

A run-on sentence can be fixed by breaking up the clauses into independent sentences, joining them with a semicolon (;), or using a coordinating conjunction (like “and,” “but,” or “so”) and a comma. For example, the above sentence can be corrected as

  • Separate into two sentences:
    • “I went to the store. He bought some stationery.”
  • Use a semicolon:
    • “I went to the store; He bought some stationery.”
  • Use a comma and coordinating conjunction:
    • “I went to the store, and He bought some stationery.”

Using Incorrect Verb Tenses

Another common grammar mistake is using incorrect verb tenses or shifting the verb tense in the middle of the writing. Ensure consistency in verb tense throughout your writing and avoid unnecessary shifts in tenses unless appropriate as per the context. For example:

  • Incorrect: I am living in America since last year.
  • Correct: I have been living in America since last year.
  • Incorrect: By the time he arrives, we will finish our lunch.
  • Correct: By the time he arrives, we will have finished our lunch.
  • Incorrect: Lara watched the movie and laughs out loud.
  • Correct: Lara watched the movie and laughed out loud.

Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid: Untangling Confusing Homophones

English is a broad language, and no matter how proficient you are at it, you must be using certain words incorrectly. These words are called homophones – the words that sound alike but have different meanings or spellings. These words include:

“There,” “Their,” and “They’re”

“There” refers to a place, “their” refers to something owned by a group and “they’re” is a contraction of “they are”. All the 3 may have the same sound but have different uses. For example:

  • They would love to go there.
  • Emma and Jia are going to see if their children are back.
  • They’re going to the office.

“Its” and “It’s”

“Its” means something belongs to something that isn’t masculine or feminine and “it’s” is a contraction of “it is”.

  • It’s ideal weather for a picnic.
  • The table looks great with its new cover.

“Your” and “You’re”

“Your” is a possessive of you, meaning something belongs to you, and “You’re” is a contraction of “you are”. For example:

  • You’re my favorite actor.
  • Can I have your notebook for revision?

Farther vs. Further

Farther means actual distance, and “Further” translates to “more.” For example:

  • The island is farther than we thought.
  • We need no further discussion on this topic.

Affect vs. Effect

Affect is a verb which means to influence or make a change in something, and effect is a noun meaning the result or consequence of something. For example:

  • The rainy weather affects my mood positively.
  • The medicine had a positive effect on my health.

Everyday vs Every day

“Everyday” describes something that is common, habitual, or ordinary, and “every day” is an adverbial phrase that means each day.

  • He starts work every day at 9 a.m.
  • The Internet offers solutions to everyday problems.

Then vs. Than

“Then” denotes a sequence of events that come after another in time and “than” is used for comparing two things. For example:

  • She finished her work and then left for home.
  • Ria got more marks than Jake.


In conclusion, we can say that grammar is the basis of language, and it’s important to follow the grammar rules to ensure accuracy, clarity, and meaning in your writing. We have discussed some common grammar mistakes to avoid while writing anything from academic essays to business emails and website content. We have also mentioned the common and confusing homophones that many people use incorrectly, which change the meaning of the sentence. So, understand these common grammar mistakes and avoid them as much as possible to master this global language