Tag: common mistakes

Common mistakes – present simple
Common mistakes – present simple

After teaching present simple to my elementary students, we wrote a test and I collected the most common mistakes my students made. I analysed the mistakes and prepared games and exercises to help my students learn from their mistakes.

In this post there is an infographic with all the mistakes, their corrections and explanations. Then there is a worksheet with 4 exercises, two games and an online quiz to practise the most difficult aspects of the present simple tense.

Common mistakes – present simple – infographic

In the following infographic there are all the most common mistakes my students make in the present simple tense. I have divided the mistakes into three categories. First, my students struggle with questions (they often forget to use DO/DOES). Second, their negative sentences frequently miss something. And last but not least, they still do not stick to the SVOMPT word order.

In the mind map there are all the wrong sentences, their corrections and in blue ink there is an explanation why the sentence was wrong.
[showmyads] Common mistakes in the present simple tense

Common mistakes – present simple – worksheet

Some might find it attractive to start the lesson with the mind map but I do it differently. I use an activity which I found in the book by Scott Thornbury called Teaching Unplugged. I copy all the wrong sentences – each on a separate piece of paper – and I place the sentences around the classroom. Students take a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil and go around the classroom. Their task is to copy and correct the sentences on the sheet. They can help each other. I stop the activity after ten minutes and then I elicit their corrected sentences.

Only after this activity I display the infographic and explain the mistakes.

Then it is time to hand out the following worksheet:

Common mistakes in present simple tense worksheet

In the worksheet there are four exercises. The first one is slightly unusual. First the students have to decide where the verbs go and then they have to put the words into the correct order. The rest of the exercises are all standard exercises.

Common mistakes – present simple – games

The first game is called Penalty Shootout. In this game you should choose the correct form and then try to score a goal. Good luck.
As the game is in Flash, it will only play on desktop computers.
[showmyadsa] Present simple – Penalty game

To practise the present simple tense you can play the following game. Its name is En Garde. Your task is to choose the correct answer and then stop the target as close to the centre as possible. Hopefully, you will be faster and more accurate then your opponent. The game is in Flash and will play only on desktops:

Present simple – En Garde game

The following quiz can help your students practise the past simple tense at home. The quiz consists of two parts. In the first part, students should put the words into the correct order. In the second part, students have to put the verbs into the correct form. Students will be rewarded with a game after each part of the quiz they pass. The quiz is in HTML5, so it will play on all desktops and mobile devices.

Present simple tense – quiz
Common Mistakes in English
Common Mistakes in English

Mistakes that students make should serve as an opportunity to learn. But more often than not students just look at or listen to your correction and pass the opportunity. And that is a pity. As I do not want my students to miss this precious opportunity any more I have come up with a lesson plan which does not allow the students just to pass the common mistakes they make in English, but gives them a fair chance to learn from them.
[showmyads] In this post you will find an infographic, a game and a worksheet with the most common mistakes my students made in their essays.

Common mistakes in English – beginning

Print the following worksheet and give a copy either to each student or ask the students to work in small groups and give a copy to each group. Ask the students to look at the first exercise. That the sentences come from the essays written by other students and that they should correct the red places.

Common Mistakes in English – worksheet

Common mistakes in English – infographic

First elicit the mistakes students have found and corrected.

Then display the following infographic and explain the mistakes and the corrections.

Common mistakes holiday 2

You can hand out the infographic if you think your students might profit from it. Once you have explained everything (as we always do), it is time to give your students a chance to use the knowledge. Now they have to do the exercise 2 and complete the sentences with the words from the infographic.

At the end check their answers – be open to more than one correct answer.

Common mistakes in English – game

The second game is in Flash and will play only on desktop computers. It is called On Target, and your task is to choose the correct option and then shoot all the bad cows and ducks. You can shoot one of the bottles on the wall to get a bonus. Enjoy.

Common Mistakes – On target game
Common mistakes – holidays
Common mistakes – holidays

The mistakes students make are ideal for learning. They are much more complicated than any mistakes in textbooks and it is more motivating to correct your own mistakes. Moreover, students often make mistakes in areas not covered by textbooks or covered on a place which is remote from the time when the student makes the mistake. That is why I collect my students’ mistakes and try to deal with them.
[showmyads] This collection of mistakes comes from my students┬┤ essays about their last holidays. I hope that they will help you or your students avoid these mistakes in the future.

Common mistakes – mind map

There is the collection of the mistakes in a mind map. In the first column there are the wrong sentences. In the second column there are the corrected versions of the sentences. The third column contains the explanations.
Common mistakes connected with holiday

If you use this mind map in a classroom it might be a good idea to explain the mistake yourself and ask the students to fill in the explanations in their own words into the mind map below.
Common mistakes connected with holidays with empty gaps

Common mistakes – games

I have produced two games to practise the correct versions of the wrong sentences. The first game is called Basketball and your task is to choose the correct answer and then stop the sliders in the middle of the basket. Can you score ten time?
Common Mistakes Basketball
The second games is a simple quiz. Answer the questions correctly and then play the game called Word boggle. All the answers are based on the mistakes from the mind maps above.
Common Mistakes Quiz

Common mistakes – Classroom ideas

I love using the following activity with my classrooms. It comes from the book Teaching Unplugged by Scott Thornbury and Medding. Before the lesson I write each sentence on a separate slip of paper and I hang them around the classroom (do not forget to number the slips). Then I ask my students to take a piece of paper and write the correct versions of the sentences on the paper. They can help each other as much as they feel necessary.
Once most of the class have finished, I elicit the correct version of each sentence. It is a nice and really useful activity.

You can find some interesting activities connected to holidays at British Council pages.
If you prefer a game-like activities, there are several at British Council pages again.

Common mistakes – Share

It is a common problem that many teachers have interactive whiteboards but no internet connection. You can download the games here and use them offline or on your webpages. However, you are not allowed to sell any of the activities on this site.

Common mistakes holiday

Common mistakes – present perfect
Common mistakes – present perfect

Students make a lot of mistakes in present perfect tense. I have tried to collect the most typical ones and I have put them into a mind map and tried to explain the rules there. Moreover, I have added two games to give the students a chance to practice the grammar one more time.
To be able to form the present perfect tense correctly, it is necessary to know the past participles. Students can learn the past participles in the following posts:


Common mistakes – Mind map

I have collected the following mistakes my students make:

Common mistakes present perfect tense

In the first bubble there is the wrong sentence, then there is the correct sentence and at the end of each branch there is the explanation.
For teaching purposes it might be a good idea to leave the end of the branch empty and ask the students to come up with their own explanation. You can find the mind map here:
Common mistakes present perfect tense - em

Common mistakes – Games

All the mistakes can be divided into three categories:

  1. bad knowledge of the past participles
  2. Not using has
  3. wrong subject in the answers.

If you feel that you have problems with the past participles I recommend the following video:

If you need more practise of past participles and irregular verbs go to Irregular verbs straightforward and Irregular verbs straightforward#2.
To deal with problems 2 and 3 I have prepared two games. The first one is an HTML5 quiz and your task is to answer the tasks correctly. At the end there is a game as a reward for your effort.

Common mistakes – present perfect quiz
[showmyadsa] The second game is more game like, but it is in Flash and it will work only on your desktop. It is called On Target and your task is to answer the questions and then shoot the bad ducks.

Common mistakes – present perfect On Target

By now you should know the grammar well.

Common mistakes – Share

If you would like to use the games in a classroom with no internet connection you can download the following files. You can share these games on your website too.

Common Mistakes_present perfect (Web)

Common Mistakes_present perfect_ontarget

Common mistakes in English
Common mistakes in English

This post is about common mistakes in English. There are two pieces of interesting research into learning and teaching English. One of them says that students learn more if someone else is corrected by the teacher than if they are corrected. The other found out that students learn and remember more vocabulary if the words are not connected in any way (they do not create so called lexical set).



Combining these two findings it seems logical that students could learn and remember a lot if they were presented with a haphazard collection of someone else’s corrected mistakes. So, during an exam I collected several mistakes which I will present in a mind map and correct them and explain. I hope that students will learn a lot from these.

The post contains a mind map and two games to give the students a chance to learn from the mistakes other students made.

Common mistakes – mind map

Here are six mistakes my students made during an exam. The mistakes are in the bubbles closest to the center. In the second bubble there is the correct version of the given sentence and there is an explanation at the end of each branch.


If you think you will never make these mistakes, you can try the following games:

Common mistakes – games

The first game is an HTML5 quiz. Try to choose only the correct sentences and if you pass the test you can play the game called Tower Defence. Both of these can be played on your mobile phone or iPad.

If you want to display the quiz in a new window click on the button below:

Common mistakes – Quiz

The second game will play only on your desktop as it is in Flash. It is called Hoopshoot and your task is to choose a correct sentence and then score a basket. Good luck.