Welcome to EUROCENTRES blog

Are You Making These Common Mistakes in Your Writing?

Image representing students learning a language faster in-country

Making a mistake in your spoken English is easy enough to overlook – but when it happens in your writing, there’s no escape!

Thankfully, some of the most common mistakes out there are actually quite simple and straightforward. So pay attention – are you making any of these everyday errors? Look out for them and get them right.

Using apostrophes

When do you use an apostrophe correctly?

It can be pretty stressful to think about, especially when you’re not sure!

An easy way to remember whether or not you need to use an apostrophe is to think about contractions – these are words formed by combining or joining up two separate words.

For example – “you are” can be contracted to “you’re”.

But “you’re” does not mean the same thing as “your”.

Another common blooper is mistaking “its” for “it’s”. Like “you’re”, “it’s” is a contraction of “it is”, while “its” describes possession.

So how can you fix it? Try the sentence with the word in its full form. If it makes sense to use without the contraction – then you can use the shorter word, with the apostrophe.

To, too, or two?

Another glaring error we see all too often is the confusion between these three words.

Sure, they might sound the same – but they all mean something very different!

“To” is used as a preposition, or before a verb.

For example: “She is going to work, to discuss the new project.”

While “too” is used to describe something excessive – “she is too angry”.

Lastly, “two” is a number – definitely not a word to use in place of the other two!

Lose/Loose

Here’s another error that will easily slip through your spell checkers, so it’s important to pay close attention to it.

“Lose” and “loose” are sometimes used interchangeably – in fact this is completely incorrect and they mean very different things, despite the fact that they have a very similar spelling.

“Lose” is a verb to describe misplacing something, or failing at something.

For example: “He is going to lose this fight – he’s not prepared.”

Or: “I always lose my car keys!”

On the other hand, “loose” describes something being slack or not fully fastened, such as a loose knot, or a loose tie.

Could of, would of and should of

This mistake has become very commonplace because it sounds very similar when spoken.

“Could of” is often used to describe the past possibility of doing something. In fact, this is the incorrect way to write it – it should be “could have”!

When abbreviated, this is often reduced to “could’ve” – which admittedly sounds similar to “could of”.

The same goes for “would of” and “should of” – these should be written “would have” and “should have”.

So how can you use them? Let’s look at some examples:

“Could have” describes a past possibility: “I could have gone to the class after all – my train was on time.”

“Would have” describes something you would have done, usually, if something else did not happen instead: “She would have made first position if she had worked harder.”

“Should have” describes something you should have done in the past – but didn’t: “He should have tried avoiding an argument – it didn’t help the situation at all.”

So are you guilty of any of these common mistakes? Make sure you don’t make them again in future!