Grammar Reference

Native speaker 'mistakes'

Native speakers often say things that don't follow the rules of standard English. This is due to regional variation, changes in formality and personal preference. Here are three typical native speaker 'mistakes':

Using past participles instead of past simple

Native speakers sometimes use a past participle instead of a past simple verb - or they forget to include 'have' to make the present perfect.

  • A: John, how was the test? Have you finished? B: Yeah! I done it!
  • CorrectionA: John, how was the test? Have you finished? B: Yeah! I have done it! / I did it.

Using 'me' instead of 'I'

Native speakers sometimes use the object pronoun me instead of the subject pronoun I and put these in the wrong order.

  • Me and John went to the shops.
  • Correction: John and I went to the shops.

Splitting infinitives

Native speakers often separate the 'to' from the 'infinitive' - normally by inserting an adverb.

  • I need to quickly stop at the bank.
  • Correction: quickly need to stop at the bank OR I need to stop at the bank quickly.

Note: A split infinitive is not always viewed as an error. Splitting an infinitive can make the meaning of your sentence clearer and more natural.

  • You need to really pay attention here.
  • I want our profits to more than double this year.