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Mind Your Language: Avoid these 10 common grammatical mistakes in English

Do you know the difference between “affect” and “effect” and how to use them in a sentence? Let’s find out



A grammatically correct, error-free sentence is what you need to properly articulate your thoughts. Else, even the most potent idea can lose its meaning if not written using correct grammar. Having said that, grammatical mistakes in English language are common and one must be very careful to avoid making errors.

Shveta Sharma, an English teacher from Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, Jalandhar said: “Writing and speaking in English as a non-native speaker has its own set of problems. Grammatical errors come in many forms and can easily confuse and obscure meaning. Some common errors are with prepositions most importantly, subject-verb agreement, tenses, punctuation, spelling, and other parts of speech.”

Also Read: Mind your language: 8 easy tips from a teacher to remember spelling of English words

The teacher takes us through some of the commonly confused words when it comes to the English language and what students must keep in mind:

Your vs You’re

The word “your” is used when you refer to something you own. The word “you’re”, on the other hand, is a contraction of “you are.”


“You made it around the track in under a minute — you’re fast!”

“Where is your bag?”

Affect vs Effect

When you are talking about the act of changing — the verb — you’ll use “affect.”


“That book affected me greatly.”

Effect, with an “e,” isn’t used as a verb the way “affect” is. When you’re talking about the change itself — the noun — use “effect.”

“That book had a great effect on me.”

Me vs I

The meaning is known to all but the words cannot exactly be used interchangeably.


“Once you are done with the assignment, can you send it to him and I?”

The sentence above is actually wrong.

You would never ask someone to send something to “I” when he or she is done. Note that “I” should not be used in objects. In that situation, you’d use “me.”

So, what’s the correct sentence?

“Once you are done with the assignment, can you send it to him and me?”

i.e. vs. e.g.

Wondering how they are different? Remember “i.e.” stands for “that is” or “in other words,” while “e.g.” means “example given” or “for example.”

Then vs. Than

Consider these:

“Your artwork is better then mine.”


“Your artwork is better than mine.”

Which one did you think is correct?

The conjunction “than” is used to make comparisons. On the other hand, “then” is mainly an adverb used to situate actions in time:

“Finish your task and then go to play.”

Assure vs. Insure vs. Ensure

The words “assure” and “ensure” are more commonly mistaken to mean the same thing. However, they aren’t interchangeable.

When you promise or say with confidence, use “assure”.


“I assure you that he will do his work properly.”

“To ensure” means to make sure of something. 

“Ensure you complete the task on time.”

Finally, “to insure” means to protect against risk by regularly paying an insurance company.


“I have to insure my car.”

Compliment vs Complement

While the words have the same pronunciation, their meanings are entirely different.

If something “complements” something else, that means it completes it, enhances it, or makes it perfect.


“A wine selection can complement a meal.”

The word “compliment” is used when you praise someone or something or express admiration. You can compliment your friend’s new look or a new dress, for example.

Between vs. Among

The word “between” is used to refer to two or more things that are clearly separated. The word “among” is used to refer to things that are part of a group or mass of objects.

So, you choose “between” a red shirt and a black shirt, but you choose “among” all your shirts.

Lose vs. Loose

When people mix up “lose” and “loose,” it’s usually just because they’re nearly similar spelling. The definitions are completely different.

According to Merriam-Webster, “lose” is a verb that means “to be unable to find (something or someone), to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.), or to fail to keep or hold (something wanted or valued).”


“Why do you keep losing your key?”

“Loose” is an adjective that means “not tightly fastened, attached, or held.”

“I prefer loose clothing.”

Who vs Whom vs Whose vs Who’s

“Who” is used to identify a living pronoun.

“Who are you going out with?’

“Whom” is a little trickier. It’s usually used to describe someone who’s receiving something, like a letter — “To whom will it be addressed?” But it can also be used to describe someone on the receiving end of an action.


“Whom did we consult for this job?”

“Whose” is used to show ownership.

“Whose shirt is that?”

“Who’s,” is s a contraction for “who is”.

“Who’s dancing tonight?”

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.