Grammar Reference

Session 1 - Advanced Learner Mistakes: Part One

Here are two common mistakes that advanced learners can make:

1. Word order in WH word clauses

a) Advanced learners often automatically invert the subject and auxiliary verb after a WH word clause, as if it were a question. However these WH clauses are the same as normal sentences so the word order is the same too!

  • NOT: He realised what was he doing.
  • Correction: "He realised what he was doing. (OR: "He realised what he wasn't doing.
  • NOT: I can’t believe what have you done.
  • Correction: I can’t believe what you have done. (OR: I can't believe what you haven't done.

b) Advanced learners can forget that an affirmative clause after a WH word which uses the present simple or past simple tense does NOT use an auxiliary (Negatives still have two verbs)

  • Past Simple:
  • NOT: I don’t know where did he go last night.
  • Correction: I don’t know where he went last night. (OR: I don’t know where he didn't go last night.
  • Present Simple
  • NOT: They want to see what does he do.
  • Correction: They want to see what he does. (OR: They want to see what he doesn't do.

For information on 'the' check out this grammar reference.