What common mistakes do learners make in English?

Angel Reales

How to avoid typical mistakes in English. Learn useful tips to improve your speaking

Here at Avalon School we have students from many different countries who speak many different languages. We find that students make mistakes that are particular to their own language, and most students who speak that language all make the same mistakes. We are happy to share a few of these common mistakes that our students make, so that you can improve your own English.

Enjoy the article, have fun reading and let’s learn English better!


Spanish speakers 

Here are a few mistakes that Spanish speakers make.

Often they use “make” instead of “take”.


For example, “Can I make a photo?” instead of “Can I take a picture?”

Also, Spanish speakers often confuse /b/ and /v/ sounds. For example, they mispronounce the word “verb” to sound like “berb”, “verv”, or “berv”.


Korean speakers

Sometimes Koreans, especially beginners, are not able to pronounce some sounds such as /k/ or /z/. Here few examples:

“Question” becomes “kestion” because it is really difficult for them to pronounce the /kw/ sound.

It also happens with /z/: “Zane” becomes “Jane”.


Italian speakers 

Here are two of the most common mistakes that Italians make. It’s always easy for Italians to confuse “do” and “make”. For example:

“I did a mistake” instead of “I made a mistake”. It’s the same for them.

Second, for Italian speakers, it’s really hard to pronounce /h/ because in Italian it is always mute.  So for example “have” become ave”.



Japanese speakers

Japanese speakers find it really difficult to pronounce /r/. One of the most difficult words is “generally”, which becomes “genwary”.

Also, many English verbs can be followed by adjective complements. The Japanese equivalents have adverbial complements:

“It looks tastly” instead of “It looks tasty”.


Portuguese speakers

People from Portugal and Brazil usually misunderstand negative sentences. This happens because the negative form in Portuguese is marked by placing the word “não” before the main verb, independent of tense.

For example:

“He no would like it” instead of “He wouldn’t like it”

Another mistake that Portuguese speakers, and Latin speakers in general,  make, is to use the word “actually” to mean “right now”. Instead, “actually” means “the truth is..”


French speakers

French uses the equivalent of “take” in expressions where English speakers would use “have”. For example:

“Let’s take a drink” instead of “Let’s have a drink”

Other common mistakes made by French speakers are misunderstanding the meaning of words as:

“Advice”: for them this means “opinion”, instead of “giving some information or recommending something”.


“Essence”:  for them this means “petrol”, instead of “substance“, or “a particularly good smell”.

Homer Mistakes


We hope you found some useful information here about the mistakes you might make because of your first language.

Here at Avalon School, we believe that studying English is always important and useful.  If you can speak English, you will be able to talk to people from all over the world and have more success in your life. Study English abroad, and especially in London, is always the best option, as you will have full immersion in the language!

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