Common mistakes in English-(Part 2)

Here is the 2nd part of my post about “Common mistakes in English “:

Apart vs a part

Apart (adv) separated by distance or time.

For example: I always feel so lonely when we’re apart.

A part (noun) a piece of something that forms the whole of something.

For example: They made me feel like I was a part of the family.

Been vs Gone

been is the past participle of be

gone is the past participle of go

Been is used to describe completed visits. So if you have been to England twice, you have travelled there and back twice. If you have gone to England, you have not yet returned.

Now you’ve been and gone and done it!

Beside vs besides

beside is a preposition of place that means at the side of or next to.

For example: The house was beside the Thames.

besides is an adverb or preposition. It means in addition to or also.

For example: Besides water, we carried some fruit. = “In addition to water, we carried some fruit.”

Bored vs Boring

bored is an adjective that describes when someone feels tired and unhappy because something is not interesting or because they have nothing to do.

For example: She was so bored that she fell asleep.

boring is an adjective that means something is not interesting or exciting.

For example: The lesson was so boring that she fell asleep. 

!Note Most verbs which express emotions, such as to bore , may use either the present or the past participle as an adjective, but the meaning of the participles is often different.

Borrow vs Lend

To lend:

Meaning: to hand out usually for a certain length of time.

Banks lend money.

Libraries lend books.

For example“My mother lent me some money, and I must pay her back soon.”

To borrow:

Meaning: to take with permission usually for a certain length of time.

You can borrow money from a bank to buy a house or a car.

You can borrow books for up to 4 weeks from libraries in England.

For example“I borrowed some money off my mother, and I must pay her back soon.”

! For a happy life – Never a borrower nor a lender be.

Bought vs brought

bought past tense of the verb to buy
For example: “I bought a newspaper at the newsagents. 

brought past tense of the verb to bring
For example: “She brought her homework to the lesson.”

!There is an ‘r’ in brought and an ‘r’ in bring = they belong together.

By vs until

Both until and by indicate “any time before, but not later than.”

Until tells us how long a situation continues. If something happens until a particular time, you stop doing it at that time.

For example:

They lived in a small house until September 2003.
(They stopped living there in September.)

I will be away until Wednesday.
(I will be back on Wednesday.)

We also use until in negative sentences.

For example:

Details will not be available until January.
(January is the earliest you can expect to receive the details.)

If something happens by a particular time, it happens at or before that time. It is often used to indicate a deadline.

For example:

You have to finish by August 31.
(August 31 is the last day you can finish; you may finish before this date.)

We also use by when asking questions.

For example:

Will the details be available by December?
(This asks if they will be ready no later than December.)

Check vs control

To check means to examine. To make certain that something or someone is correct, safe or suitable by examining it or them quickly.

For example: “You should always check your oil, water and tyres before taking your car on a long trip.”

To control means to order, limit, instruct or rule something, or someone’s actions or behaviour.

For example: “If you can’t control your dog, put it on a lead!”

What you shouldn’t do is use the verb control in association with people and the work they do.

For example: “I check my students’ homework, but I can’t control what they do!”


In Business English there is often a lot of confusion because of the term control in accounting.

In most organizations the controller is the top managerial and financial accountant. The controller supervises the accounting department and assists management in interpreting and utilizing managerial accounting information.

Come over vs overcome

Come over is a phrasal verb, that can mean several things.

To move from one place to another, or move towards someone.

For example: “Come over here.”

To seem to be a particular type of person.

For example: “Politicians often come over as arrogant.”

To be influenced suddenly and unexpectedly by a strange feeling.

For example: “Don’t stand up too quickly or you may come over dizzy.”

Overcome is a verb, which means to defeat or succeed in controlling or dealing with something.

For example: “Using technology can help many people overcome any disabilities they might have.”

Complement vs comliment

Complement is a verb, which means to make something seem better or more attractive when combined.

For example: “The colours blue and green complement each other perfectly.”

Compliment is a noun, which means a remark that expresses approval, admiration or respect.

For example: “It was the nicest compliment anyone had ever paid me.”

Tip! Having problems with your spelling? Try these mnemonics:-

If it complements something it completes it. (With an e.)

like compliments. (With an i.)

Don’t have to vs mustn’t

Don’t have to = Do not have to We have to use don’t have to to say that there is no obligation or necessity to do something.

For example: “You don’t have to do the exercises at the end of this page.”

Mustn’t = must not is a modal verb used to show that something is not allowed. When you use mustn’t you are telling people not to do things. It has the same force as don’t , as in: Don’t do that!

For example: “You mustn’t drink if you’re going to drive.”

Driving test vs test drive

A driving test (also known as a driving exam) is a procedure designed to test a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle.

A test drive is when you drive an automobile to assess it, usually before buying it.

!Note – you need to have passed your driving test in order to take a test drive.

E.g vs I.e

e.g. stands for exempli gratia = for example.

For example: “I like fast cars, e.g. Ferrari and Porche”

In the sentence above you are simply giving an example of the kinds of cars you like – Ferraris and Porches.

i.e. stands for id est = that is (in explanation).

For example: “I like fast cars, i.e. any car that can go over 150mph.”

In this second sentence you are giving an explanation of what you consider to be fast.

Everyday vs every day

Every day – here every is a determiner and day is a noun.

When you say every day you mean each day without exception.

For example: You have been late for school every day this week.

Everyday is an adjective.

When you say everyday you mean ordinary, unremarkable.

For example: My culture pages offer an insight into the everyday life of Britain. 

Excited vx exciting

Excited is an adjective that describes when someone feels happy and enthusiastic about something.

For example: She was so excited that she couldn’t sleep.

Exciting is an adjective that means something is making you excited.

For example: The football match was so exciting that she couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. 


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