Skip to main content

English Usage - 100 Rules with Examples

Compiled by Swapnil Patil

Spotting error is a common test and forms a part of almost all t he important examinations that have objective English test on their syllabi, it requires an awareness of the basis rules of grammar – parts of speech, noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, genders, infinitives, participles, subject – verb accord, form of tense, use of articles and certain exceptional usages. Hence, it is necessary that all candidates taking up these examinations brush up their essentials of grammar with the help of the grammar books that they have read at their intermediate level. After this initial exercise they should learn or revise the following rules that are given below in the form of practical tips with illustrative examples. The practice test must be done carefully and repeatedly to ensure full competence confidence.


1. Some nouns always take a singular verb.

Scenery, advice, information, machinery, stationery, furniture, abuse, fuel, rice, gram, issue, bedding, repair, news, mischief, poetry, business, economics, physics, mathematics,  classic, ethics, athletics, innings, gallows.

(A) The scenery of Kashmir are enchanting.  (Incorrect)                              
(B) The scenery of Kashmir is enchanting.    (Correct)

(A) He has given advices.    (Incorrect)
(B) He has given advice.     (Correct)

(A) The Indian team defeated the English by innings.         (Incorrect)
(B) The Indian team defeated the English by an innings.    (Correct)

(A) Mathematics are a difficult subject.      (Incorrect)
(B) Mathematics is a good / difficult subject.   (Correct)

Note if you have to indicate that the number of news, advice, information or furniture is more than one, the examples listed below can be followed:

I have a lot of news to tell you.    (Incorrect)
He has sold many pieces of his furniture.   (Correct)

2. Some nouns are singular in form, but they are used as plural nouns and always take a plural verb.

Cattle, gentry, vermin, peasantry, artillery, people, clergy, company, police.

The cattle is grazing in the ground.      (Incorrect)
(B) The cattle are grazing in the ground.   (Correct)

(A) The clergy is in the church.       (Incorrect)
(B) The clergy are in the church.    (Correct)

3. Some nouns are always used in a plural form and always take a plural verb.

Trousers, scissors, spectacles, stockings, shorts, measles, goods, alms, premises, thanks, tidings, annals, chattels, etc.

(A) Where is my trousers?      (Incorrect)
(B) Where are my trousers?   (Correct)

(A) Spectacles is now a costly item.       (Incorrect)                                   
(B) Spectacles are now a costly item.     (Correct)

4. There are some nouns that indicate length, measure, money, weight or number. When they are preceded by a numeral, they remain unchanged in form.

Foot, meter, pair, score, dozen, head, year, hundred, thousand, million.

(A) It is a three – years degree course.     (Incorrect)
(B) It is a three – year degree course.       (Correct)

(A) I have ten dozens of shoes.   (Incorrect)
(B) I have ten dozen of shoes.     (Correct)

5. Collective nouns such a jury, public, team, committee, government, audience, orchestra, company, etc. are used both as singular; otherwise the verb will be plural

(A) The jury was divided in this case.   (Incorrect)
(B) The jury were divided in this case.  (Correct)

(A) The team have not come as yet.   (Incorrect)
(B) The team has not come as yet.     (Correct)

6. Some nouns have one meaning in the singular and another in the plural:

Advice      =   counsel                    advices          =   information

Air            =   atmosphere             airs                =   proud

Authority  =   command,                authorities     =   persons in power

Good        =   wise                         goods            =   property

Iron          =   metal                        irons             =   fetters, chains

Force        =   strength                   forces            =   army

Content    =   satisfaction,             contents        =   things contained

Physic       =   medicine                   physics          =   physical sciences,

Respect    =   regards                     respects        =   compliments

Work         =   job                            works            =   compositions, factories,.

Earning     =   income                      earnings        =   sowings

Quarter     =   one – fourth             quarters         =   houses

(A)  Air is necessary for human life.
(B)  It is bad to put on airs.

(A) I have eaten one quarter of the cake.
(B)  I live in the government quarters.  

7. People are often confused or they commit mistake in the use of certain nouns.

(A) Lecturership is wrong: lectureship is correct.

(a) There are twenty candidates for lecturership.    (Incorrect)
(b) There are twenty candidates for lectureship.  (Correct)

(B) Freeship is wrong; free – studentship is correct.

(a) Ramesh has applied for freeship.  (Incorrect)
(b) Ramesh has applied for free – studentship.  (Correct)

(C) Boarding is wrong; boarding house is correct.                      

(a) Mohan lives in a boarding.      (Incorrect)
(b) Mohan lives in a boarding house.    (Correct)

(D) Family members is wrong; members of the family is correct.

(a) Vivek and Ramesh are my family members.   Incorrect

(b) Vivek and Ramesh are the members of my family.  Correct

(E) English teacher is wrong; the teacher of English is correct.   

(a) Dr. Raina is our English teacher.    Incorrect

(b) Dr. Raina is our teacher of English.  Correct

(F) Cousin – brother or sister is wrong; only cousin is correct.

(a) Geeta is my cousin sister.   Incorrect

(b) Geeta is my cousin.    Correct

(G)  Room in a compartment or a bench means unoccupied set.

(a) There is no room on this bench.    Correct          

(H) Our, yours, hers, theirs are correct.

(a) This house is our’s.    Incorrect 

(b) This house is ours.    Correct

Note:  The same principle applies to ‘yours ‘, ‘hers’ and ‘theirs’.

(I) Wages means punishments when used in singular.

(a) The wages of sin is death.

(J) It also means charges for the labour when used in plural sense.

(b) The wages of daily workers have been raised.

8. Also remember the subtle difference in the usage of these pairs of nouns

(A) The noun ‘habit’ applies only to an individual whereas ‘custom’ applies to a society or country.

(a) Poor children often become a victim of bad habits.

(b)  Tribal in India have many interesting customs.

(B) ‘Cause’ product a result, while ‘reason’ explains or justifies a cause.

(a) Scientists try to find out the cause of a phenomenon.

(b)  You have a good reason to be pleased with your students.

(C) ‘Man’ is used in ordinary sense while ‘gentleman’ is a man of character.

(a)  Man is mortal.

(b)  He is a gentleman at large.

(D) ‘Men’ - plural of man: ‘people’ is used for persons.

(a) There are five men in the room.              

(b)  The people of Bihar are simple.

(E) ‘Shade’ – a place sheltered from the sun; ‘shadow’ – the shade of a distinct form or object.

(a)  The villagers sat under the shade of trees.

(b) He is even afraid of his own shadow.

(F) ‘Cost’ – amount paid by the shopkeeper; ‘price’ – amount paid by the customer.

(a) The cost of production of automobile items has gone up.

(b) Sometimes the buyers have to pay higher price for necessary items.

(G) ‘House’ – a building to live in: ‘Home’ – one’s native place.

(a) Quarters area houses allotted to us for a definite period.

(b) My home town is Muzaffapur.

(H) ‘House’ – a building to live in; ‘Home’ - one’s native place.

(a) The shopkeepers welcome customer with smiles.

(b)  The lawyer discusses the cases of his clients.

9. A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in person, number and gender.

For example:

Every man must bring his luggage.

All students must do their home work.

Each of the girls must carry her own bag.

Each students must bring their books.

Each student must bring his books.

10. White using ‘everybody’ ‘everyone’, ‘anybody’, and ‘each’ the pronoun of the masculine or the feminine gender is used according to the content.

I shall be happy to help each of the boys in this practice.

But when the sex is not mentioned, we use the pronoun of the masculine gender.

Anyone can do this job if he tries.

Each of the six boys in the class has finished their tasks.   Incorrect

Each of the six boys in the class has finished his task.   Correct

11. The pronoun ‘one’ must be followed by ‘one’s’.

One must finish his task in time.     Incorrect

One must finish one’s task in time.    Correct

12. Enjoy, apply, resign, acquit, drive, exert, avail, pride, absent, etc., when used as transitive verbs, always take a reflexive pronoun after them. When ‘self’ is added to ‘my’, ‘your’, ‘him’, ‘her’, and ‘it’, and ‘selves’ to our and them – they are known as reflexive pronouns.

He absented from the class.

He absented himself form the class.

13. ‘Who’ denotes the subject and ‘whom’ is used for the object?

Whom do you think won the award?     Incorrect

Who do you think won the award?        Correct

Who area you talking to?                       Incorrect

Whom are your talking to?                     Correct

14. When two or more singular nouns are joined together by ‘either or’; ‘neither nor’, ; and ‘or’, the pronoun is singular.

Either Ram or Shyam will give their book.   Incorrect

Either Ram or shyam will give his book.      Correct

15. When a singular and a plural noun are joined by ‘or’, ‘nor’, the pronoun must be plural.

Either the engineer or his mechanics failed in his duty.                Incorrect

Either the engineer or his mechanics failed in their duty.              Correct

16. ‘Whose’ is used for living persons and ‘which’ for lifeless objects.

Which book did you select?      Incorrect

Whose photograph is lying there?   Correct

What book do you read?    Incorrect

Which book do you read?   Correct

17. ‘Each other’ is used when there are two subjects or objects and ‘one another’ when there are more than two.

Rameo and Juliet loved each other

Those five friends, who are sitting there, love one another.

All the students of the class are friendly; they love each other.    Incorrect

All the students of the class are friendly.                                    Correct

18. When a pronoun stands for a collective noun, it must be in the singular number and in the neuter gender if the collective noun is viewed as a whole.

The jury gave ‘its’ verdict.

Here the ‘jury’ gives the idea of one whole.

If the collective noun conveys the idea of separate individuals comprising the whole, the pronoun standing for it must be plural.

The jury were divided in their opinions.

Here, the ‘jury’ gives the idea of several individuals.

The team are divided in this opinion about playing on Sunday.    Incorrect

The team are divided in their opinion about playing on Sunday.   Correct

19. If pronouns of different persons are to be used together in a sentence, the serial order of persons should be as follows; second person + third + first person in a good normal sentences. But in fault is to be confessed, the order will be; first person + second person + third person.

You, he and I have finished the work.                                         Normal sentences

I, you and he are to blame.                                                        Confession

Ram, I and you have finished our studies.                                  Incorrect

You, Ram and I have finished our studies.                                  Correct

20. ‘Some’ is used in affirmative sentences to express quantity or degree. ‘Any’ is uses in negative or interrogative sentences.

I shall buy some apples.

I shall not buy any apples.

Have you bought any apples?

But ‘some’ may be correctly used in interrogative sentences which are, in fact, requests.

Will you please give me some milk?

I shall read any book.                                                                Incorrect

I shall read some book.                                                             Correct

Have you bought some apples?                                                 Incorrect

Have you bought any apples?                                                    Correct

21. The use of ‘few’, ‘a few’’ and ‘the few’ should be used with care. They denote ‘number’.

‘Few’ means ‘not many’. It is the opposite of many. A ‘few’ is positive and means ‘some at least’. It is the opposite of none. ‘The few’ means ‘whatever there is’.

A few men are free from fault.     Incorrect

Few men are free from fault.       Correct

Here the sense is negative and thus ‘a few’ is wrong.

Few boys will pass in the examination.           Incorrect 

A few boys will pass in the examination.         Correct

Here the sense is positive and thus ‘few’ is incorrect.

I have already read a few books that are on the bookshelf.          Incorrect

I have already read t he few books that are on the bookshelf.      Correct

Here the sense is ‘whatever there is’.

22. Use of ‘less’ and ‘fewer’

‘Less’ denote quantity and ‘fewer’ denote number.

No less than fifty persons were killed.          Incorrect

No fewer than fifty persons were killed.       Correct

There are no fewer than five litres of water in the jug.      Incorrect

There are no less than five litres of water in the jug.         Correct

23. Use of little, a little, the little.

‘Little’ means ‘hardly any’

There is a little hope of his recovery.   Incorrect

There is a little hope of his recovery    Correct

‘A little’ means ‘some’, though not much.                                   

Little knowledge is a dangerous thing.        Incorrect

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.      Correct

‘The little means ‘not much but all there is’.

The little milk that is in the pot may be used for the patient.         Incorrect

The little milk that is in the pot may be used for the patient.         Correct

24. Use of elder, older.

‘Older’ refers to persons as well as things and is followed by ‘than’.

Ram is elder than all other boys of this area.     Incorrect

Ram is older than all other boys of this area.     Correct

‘Elder’ is used for members of the family.

Suresh is my older brother.        Incorrect

Suresh is my elder brother.        Correct

25. normally ‘than’ is used in the comparative degree, but with words like superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior, posterior and prefer ‘to’ is used.

Shelley is junior than Wordsworth.      Incorrect

Shelley is junior to Wordsworth.          Correct

I prefer reading than sleeping.            Incorrect

I prefer reading to sleeping.                Correct

26.  when a comparison is made by using a comparative followed by ‘than’, the word ‘other’ must be exclude the thing compared form the class of things with which it is compared.

He is stronger than any man.                    Incorrect

He is stronger than any other man.           Correct

‘Any man’ includes the man himself and thus the sentences will be absurd.

27. In some cases, the comparison is subtle and must be given proper attention.

The climate of Ranchi is better then Gaya.                         Incorrect

Here the comparison should be between the climate of Ranchi and the climate of Gaya.

The climate of Ranchi is better than the climate of Gaya.    Correct


The climate of Ranchi is better than that of Gaya.               Correct

‘That of’ means ‘the climate of’

If the traits are in plural, it will be ‘those of’.

The clothes of DCM are better than those of Mafatalal.

The scenery of Kashmir is better than Shimla.                             Incorrect

The scenery of Kashmir is better than that of shimla.                  Correct

28. ‘many a’ is always followed by the singular verb.

Many a man were followed by the singular verb.                         Incorrect

Many a man was drowned in the area.                                        Correct

29. If the subject is ‘the number of’ the singular verb is used.

The number of students are very small.                                      Incorrect

The number of students is very small.                                        Correct

30. When ‘as well as’, ‘along with’, together with’, ‘no less than’, ‘in addition to’ and ‘not’ and ‘with’ join two subjects, the verb will be according to the first subject.

Ram, as well as his ten friends, are going.                                  Incorrect

Ram, as well as his ten friends, is going.                                    Correct

The teacher, along with the students, were going.                        Incorrect

The teacher, along with the students, was going.                         Correct

31. ‘A great many’ is always followed by a plural noun and a plural verb.

A great many student has been declared successful.                  Incorrect

A great many students have been declared successful.               Correct

32. If two subjects are joined by ‘either or’, ‘neither nor’, the verb agrees with the subject that is near.

Either Ramesh or I are to do this work.                                       Incorrect

Either Ramesh or I am to do this work.                                       Correct

Neither he nor his friends is reading.                                           Incorrect

Neither he nor his friends are reading                                          correct

33. When two singular nouns joined by ‘and’ point out the same thing or person, the verb will be singular.

Bread and butter make a good breakfast.                                   Incorrect

Bread and butter makes a good breakfast.                                 Correct

The collector and the District Magistrate are on leave.                 Incorrect

The collector and District Magistrate is on leave.                         Correct

34. ‘One of’ always takes a plural noun after it.

It is one of the important day in my life.                                      Incorrect

It is one of the important days in my life.                                    Correct

35. Use of ‘not only’ and ‘but also; examine the sentences given below:

He not only comes for swimming but also for coaching the        

learners.                                                                                    Incorrect

He comes not only for swimming but also for coaching the

learners.                                                                                    Correct

36. ‘Scarcely’ and ‘hardly’ are followed by ‘when’ and not by ‘than’.

I had scarcely entered the room than the phone rang.                  Incorrect

I had scarcely entered the room when the phone rang.                 Correct              

37. ‘Though’ is followed by ‘yet’ and not by ‘but’.

Though he is poor but he is honest.                                           Incorrect

Thought he is poor, yet he is honest.                                          Correct

38. ‘No sooner’ is followed by ‘than’.

No sooner had I entered the class when the student stood up.     Incorrect

No sooner had I entered the class than the students stood up.    Correct

39. ‘Lest’ must be followed by ‘should’.

Read regularly lest you will fail.

Read regularly least you should fail.

40. ‘such’ is followed by ‘as’.

He is such a writer that everybody should read his books.           Incorrect

He is such a wrier as everybody should read his books.              Correct

41. ‘So’ is followed by ‘that’.

Sarita was popular with her classmate that she always had          incorrect

 Some people coming to her for advice.

Sarita was so popular with her classmate that she always had     correct

Some people coming to her for advice.

42.  ‘Unless’ express a condition. It is always used in the negative sense. Thus ‘not’ is never used with ‘unless’.

Unless you do not labour hard, you will not pass.                       Incorrect

Unless you labour hard, you will not pass.                                  Correct

43. until expresses time. It has a negative sense and thus ‘not’ should never be used with it.

Wait here until I do not return.                                                     Incorrect

Wait here until I return.                                                               Correct

44. ‘Since’ indicates a point of time and ‘for’ stands for the length of time.

He has been reading the book since two hours.                          Incorrect

He has been reading the book for two hours.                              Correct

Two hours is a length of time and thus ‘for’ is correct.

It has been raining for Monday last.                                            Incorrect

It has been raining since Monday last.                                        Correct

45. ‘as if’ used to convey the sense of pretension. When ‘as if’ is used in this sense, ‘were’ is used in all cases, even with third person singular.

He behaves as if he was a king.                                                 Incorrect

He behaves as if he were a king.                                                Correct

The sense of time and tense is also very important. Certain important rules are listed below.

46. A past tense in the principal clause is followed by a past tense in the subordinate clause.

He saw that the clock has stopped.                                            Incorrect

He saw that the clock had stopped.                                            Correct

There are, however, two exceptions to this rule:

(1) A past tense in the principal clause may be followed by a present tense in the subordinate clause, when it expresses a universal truth.

The teacher observed that the Earth moved round the sun.          Incorrect

The teacher observed that the Earth moves round the sun.          Correct

(2) When the subordinate clause is introduced by ‘than’, even if there is past tense in the principal clause, it may be followed by any tense required by the sense in the subordinate clause.

He helped him more than he helped his own children.                  Incorrect 

He helped him more than he helps his own children.                    Correct

47. if two actions in a sentence are showing happing in the past, one after the other; the tense of the action happening first should be past perfect and that of the second should  be past indefinite.

The patient died before the doctor arrived.                                 Incorrect

The patient had died before the doctor arrived.                           Correct

48. Two actions in the past, one depending on the other, should have the sequence as follows:

Past perfect + future perfect

Had + past participle + would + have +   past participle

If you had worked hard, you would have succeeded in the examination.  


Had you worked hard, you would have succeeded in the examination.    

If you would had practiced regularly, you would won the match. Incorrect

If you had practiced regularly, you would have won the match.    Correct

49. If, in a sentence, two actions are indicated and both are to take place in future, the sequence of tense will be as follows:

The principal clause in present indefinite; and the subordinate clause in future indefinite.

If I go the Delhi, I shall attend the seminar.

‘If I go to Delhi’ is the principal clause and ‘I shall attend the seminar’ is the subordinate clause.

If it will rain, I shall not attend the meeting.                                  Incorrect

If it rains, I shall not attend the meeting.                                      Correct

50. When an action has taken place in two clauses of a sentence, it is used in both the clauses according to the requirement.

My brother has and is still doing excellent work for his

organisation.                                                                             Incorrect

M y brother has done and is still doing excellent work for his

Organisation.                                                                            Correct

51. When there is a sense of continuity, that is, when a thing has taken place in the past and still continue in the present, the prefect continues tense form of t he verb should be used.

Indian is independent for the last forty – six years.                      Incorrect

Indian has been independent for the last forty – six years.           Correct

The use of article is also an important matter and one must be careful about it.

52. before a consonant ‘a’ is used.

A boy, a horse, a woman.

But ‘a’ is also used before words like university, useful, unicorn, union, European, and one, etc., because these words began with a consonant sound.

Here is an university.                                                                 Incorrect

Here is a university.                                                                   Correct

An European lives in my area.                                                    Incorrect

A European lives in my area.                                                      Correct

It is a one - rupees note.                                                            Incorrect

It is a one – rupee note.                                                             Correct

Words like ‘hour’, ‘honest’, ‘heir’, etc, take ‘an’ before them as they begin with a vowel sound.

I have been waiting for him for a hour.                                        Incorrect

I have been waiting for him for an hour.                                      Correct

53. Some important points to remember regarding the omission of a/an/the:

1. Before a common noun used in its widest sense, e.g.

Man us mortal.

2. before names of materials.

Bronze is a useful metal.

3. Usually before proper names.

Patina is the capital of Bihar.

4. Before abstract nouns used in general sense.

Beauty fascinates people.

5. before language.

English is a very popular   language in the Delhi University.

6. Before ‘school’ ‘college’, ‘church’, ‘bed’, ‘table’, ‘hospital’, ‘market’,   and ‘prison’,  when these place are visited or used for their common    purpose.

My Christian friends go to church every Sunday.

But ‘the’ is used with these words when we refer to them as a definite place, building or object rather than to the normal activity that goes on there.

I met my friend at the church.

7. before names of relations, like ‘father’, ‘mother’, ‘aunt’, ‘uncle’, ‘cook’ and ‘nurse’.

Father is very happy today.

8. before predicative nouns denoting a unique position that is normally held at one time by one person only.

He was elected chairman of the Board.

54. Uses of ‘the’

1. When the object is unique.

The earth, the sky, the equator.

2. before superlatives

 The best, the finest, the most

3. with proper nouns like ‘seas’, ‘rivers’, ‘group of island’, ‘chains of mountains’, ‘deserts’, ‘newspaper’, ‘buildings’, ‘religious  books’, ‘gulfs’,.

The Arabian sea, The Ganges, The Taj Mahal,

4. before a proper noun, when it is qualified by an adjective.

The immortal Kalidas.

5. before an adjective, when the noun is hidden.

The rich should be kind and helping.

6. before musical instruments.

I know how to play the harmonium.

7. with a class of things.

The crow is a clever bird.

8. ‘The’ should be used before both comparative degrees when they are used in a sentence for proportion.

Higher we go, cooler we feel.                                                     Incorrect

The higher   we go, the cooler we feel.                                        Correct

55. ‘What to speak of’ is incorrect; the correct expression is ‘not to speak of’.

What to speak of running, he cannot even walk.                          Incorrect

Not to speak of running, he cannot even walk.                            Correct

56. When there is the sense of dislike, hesitation, risk, etc., in a sentence, we should use a gerund instead of a verb. A gerund is that form of the verb which ends in ‘ing’ and can be used in the place of a noun.

I dislike to see a film late in the night.

I dislike to seeing a film late in the night.

Young girls hesitate to talk to strangers.

Young girls hesitate talking to strangers.

57. ‘Cent per cent’ and ‘word by word’ are wrong. ‘Hundred per cent’ and ‘word for word’ are correct expressions.

You are never cent per cent sure of your success in a competitive examinations.      incorrect

You are never hundred per cent sure of your success in a competitive examination.           correct

I can reproduce this lesson word by word.                                  Incorrect

I can reproduce this lesson word for word.                                 Correct

58. ‘Since’, ‘because’, ‘as’, ‘for’, - all means ‘because’, but there is a different in their degree. ‘Since’ and ‘because’ are used for stronger cases and ‘as’ and ‘for’ for weak cases.

I respect him as he is my teacher.                                              Incorrect

I respect him because he is my teacher.                                     Correct

59. Use of ‘when’ and ‘while’: Proper attention must be paid to these words. ‘when’ indicates a general sense and ‘while’ implies a time during the process of doing a work.

When learning to swim, one of the most important things is to relax.  incorrect

While learning to swim, one of the most important things is to  relax   correct

60.  Sometimes the error lies in the use of words. Proper attention must therefore, be given to appropriateness of words.

Prakash was leading a happy and leisurely life after his retirement from his service. Incorrect

Prakash was living a happy and leisurely life after his retirement from his service.

61. If in a sentence an apposition has been used, the verb will follow not the apposition but the noun or pronoun preceding it.

You, my son, is a good boy.                                                     Incorrect

You, my son, are a good boy.                                                   Correct

62. Proper, abstract and material nouns have no plural except when they are used as common nouns.

The house is built of bricks.                 Incorrect

The house is built of bricks.                 Correct

63. Clauses in sentences beginning with a relative pronoun (who, which, that) take a verb according to the noun or pronoun preceding the relative pronoun.

It is I who has done it.                                                                Incorrect

It is I who have done it.                                                              Correct


64. The relative pronoun should be near as possible to its antecedent so that no ambiguity arises.

The boy is my cousin who stood first in the mile race.

The boy, who stood first in the mile race, is my cousin.


65. When two singular nouns joined by ‘and’ are preceded by ‘each’ or ‘every’ the pronoun used for them is singular.

Each man and each boy is responsible for their action.              Incorrect

Each man and each boy is responsible for his action.                 Correct

66. Sometimes a pronoun is used w here it is not required at all.

He being an M.A., he is qualified for the post.                            Incorrect

He, being an M.A., is qualified for the post.                                Correct

67. If a pronoun comes after a preposition it should be used in the objective case.

Between you and I neither of us is correct.                                  Incorrect

Between you and me neither of us is correct.                              Correct

68. When a pronoun come after ‘like and unlike’ it takes objective case.

A man like I will not do it.                                                           Incorrect

A man like me will not do it.                                                       Correct

69. A pronoun takes an objective case after ‘let’.

Let I do it.                                                                                 Incorrect

Let me do it.                                                                             Correct

70. Pronoun joined by ‘and’ remain in the same case.

He had her brother and sister.                                                    Incorrect

He and she are brother and sister.                                              Correct

He and me are friends.                                                              Incorrect

He and I are friends.                                                                  Correct

71. When pronouns of second person and third person are used as subjects, the pronoun following them will be according to the second person pronoun.

You and he must bring his books.                                              Incorrect

You and he must bring your books.                                            Correct

72. When pronouns of second person and first person are used as subjects, the pronoun following them will be first person plural form.

You and I must finish your work in time.                                      Incorrect

You and I must finish our work in time.                                       Correct

73. ‘But’ is also used as a relative pronoun. When a sentence has a negative noun or pronoun, ‘but’ can be used with it. In this case ‘but’ means: who not; that not.

Here was none but laughed to see the joker.

Here the meaning of ‘but laughed’ is ‘who did not laugh’.

There is no bird but flies.

‘But files’ means ‘that does not fly’.

74. The relative pronoun ‘that’ is used in preference to ‘who’ or ‘which’ after adjectives in the superlative degree.

The wisest man who ever lived made mistakes.                           Incorrect

The wisest man that ever lived made mistakes.                           Correct

This is the best which we can do.                                               Incorrect

This is the best that we can do.                                                  Correct

75. The relative pronoun ‘that’ is also used in preference to ‘who’ and ‘which’ after the words ‘all’, ‘same’, ‘none’, ‘nothing’ and (the) ‘only’.

He is the same man who he has seen.                                        Incorrect

He is the same man that he has seen.                                         Correct

Man is the only animal who can talk.                                           Incorrect

Man is the only animal that can talk.                                           Correct

76. The same rule applies after the interrogative pronoun ‘who’ and ‘what’.

What is there which I do not know?                                             Incorrect

What is there that I do not know?                                                Correct

77. When there are two antecedents, a man and an animal or two things before the r elative pronoun, we should use ‘that’.

The man and his dog which passed through this road were killed.         Incorrect                                   

The man and his dog passed through this road were killed.        

78. The case of the noun or pronoun preceding or succeeding the verb ‘to be’ should be the same.

It is him who came to see us.                                                     Incorrect

It is he who came to see us.                                                       Correct

It is me who caught the thief.                                                     Incorrect

It is I who caught the thief.                                                         Correct

79. when two qualities of a person or thing compared ‘ more’ or ‘less’ is used before the adjective and the adjective following them take positive degree.

Suman is better than brave.                                                       Incorrect

Suman is more good than brave.                                               Correct

80. When two or more adjectives are used to show the qualities of the same man or thing, al the adjectives must be in the same degree.

Sita is more intelligent and wise than Rita.                                  Incorrect

Sita is more intelligent and wiser than Rita.                                 Correct

81. ‘Very’ is used with adjectives in the positive degree and with present participles.

He is much stronger man.                                                          Incorrect

He is a very strong man.                                                            Correct

It is a man interesting book.                                                       Incorrect

It is very interesting book.                                                          Correct

‘Much’ is used with adjectives in the comparative degree and with past participles.

He is very stronger than I am.                                                     Incorrect

He is much stronger than I am.                                                   Correct

I am very obliged to my friend.                                                  Incorrect

I am much obliged to my friend.                                                 Correct

82. To show equality ‘as’ is used before and after the adjective.

I can run as fast, if not faster, than you.                                     Incorrect

I can run as fast as, if not faster, than you.                                 Correct

83. Certain adjectives do not admit of comparison and thus they always remain in the ‘positive degree’.

‘Absolute’, ‘annual’, ‘chief’, ‘circular’, ‘complete’, ‘entire’, ‘extreme’, ‘excellent’, ‘full’, ‘impossible’ ‘perfect’, ‘right’, ‘round’, ‘unique’, ‘universal’, ‘whole’, etc.

84. ‘More than one’ indicates a plural sense, but it is treated as a sort of compound of one. Thus it agrees with a singular noun and takes a singular verb.

More than one employees were killed in the accident.                  Incorrect

More than one employees was killed in the accident.                   Correct

85. A verb must agree with its subject and not with the complement.

Our only guide at night were the stars.                                        Incorrect

Our only guide at night w as the s tars.                                       Correct

86. If the plural subject denotes a definite amount or quantity taken as a whole, the verb is singular.

Forty miles are a good distance.                                                Incorrect

Forty miles is a good distance.                                                  Correct

Two – thirds of the book were rubbish.                                       Incorrect

Two – third of the book was rubbish.                                          Correct

87. The plural ‘heaps and ‘lots’ used colloquially for a great amount take a singular verb unless a plural noun with ‘of’ is added.

There are lots of book.                                                              Incorrect

There is lots of book.                                                                Correct

There is lots of books to read.                                                   Incorrect

There are lots of books to read.                                                 Correct

88. When qualified by ‘each’ or ‘every’ two singular subjects, if even connected by ‘and’, take a singular, if even connected by ‘and’, take a singular verb.

Each boy and every girl were given rewards.                               Incorrect

Each boy   and every girl was given rewards                               correct

89. The following Vern are always followed by an infinitive:

‘decide’, ‘plans’, ‘expect’, ‘fail’, ‘hope’, ‘intend’, ‘learn’, ‘promise’, ‘refuse’, ‘want’, ‘agree’, ‘consent’, ‘try’, ‘love’, etc.

I refuse meeting him.                                                                 Incorrect

I refuse to meet him.                                                                  Correct

90. the following verbs and  phrases should be followed by gerund which is a verbal  noun: ‘enjoy’, ‘admit’, ‘deny’, ‘appreciate’, ‘regret’, ‘avoid’, ‘consider’, ‘stop’, ‘looking forward to’, ‘accustomed to’, ‘is used to’, ‘do not mind’, ‘object to’, etc.

I am looking forward to receive your replay.                                Incorrect

I am looking forward to receiving your replay.                             Correct

He is used to work hard.                                                            Incorrect

He is used to working hard.                                                        Correct

91. The word ‘to’ is frequently used with the infinitive, but is not an essential part of it. For example, after certain verb (‘bid’ ‘let’, ‘make’, ‘need’, ‘dare’, ‘see’, ‘hear’,) we use the infinitive without ‘to’.

Bid him to go there.                                                                   Incorrect

Bid him go t here.                                                                      Correct

Make him to stand.                                                                    Incorrect

Make him stand.                                                                        Correct

I saw him to cry.                                                                        Incorrect

I saw him cry.                                                                            Correct

92. The infinitive is used without ‘to’ after ‘had better’, ‘had rather’, ‘would rather’, ‘sooner than’, and ‘rather than’,

You had better to ask permission form him.                                Incorrect

You had better ask permission from him.                                    Correct

93. ‘Than’ should be used after ‘no other’.

I met on other man but Mr. Roy.                                                 Incorrect

I met no other than Mr., Roy.                                                      Correct

Ram has no other claim except his degrees.                               Incorrect

Ram has other claim than his degrees.                                       Correct

94. After the word ‘know’, ‘how’ or ‘when’ should be used before using an infinitive.

I know to write French.                                                               Incorrect

I know to write French.                                                               Correct

95. A verb may take an infinitive or a gerund according to its implication. If the verb indicates a purpose, an infinitive should be used and if the verb indicates a cause, a gerund should be used.

He went to school for seeing the principal.                                 Incorrect

He went to school for see the principal.                                      Correct

He was turned out to copy answers.                                           Incorrect

He was turned out for copying answers.                                     Correct

96. adverb ‘as’ is  not used with verbs like ‘appointed’, ‘elected’, ‘considered’, ‘called’, but it is used with ‘regard’,

He was elected as President of our society.                               Incorrect

He was elected President of our society.                                    Correct

I regard Ramesh my friend.                                                        Incorrect

I regard Ramesh as my friend.                                                   Correct

97. After the verb ‘doubt’ ‘that’ should not be used. ‘if’ or ‘whether’ should be used in its place.

I doubt that Ravi will come.                                                       Incorrect

I doubt if Ravi will come.                                                           Correct

98.  Often a mistake is committed in the use of adjectives and adverbs. An adjective is correctly used with the verb when some quality of the subject, rather than of the action of the verb, is to be expressed.

The flowers smelt sweetly.                                                         Incorrect

The flowers smelt sweet.                                                            Correct

99. It is a common practice is conversation to make a statement and ask for confirmation; as, ‘It’s very hot, isn’t it? Two points are to be kept in mind. If the statement positive, the pattern will be

Auxiliary + n’t + subject.


It is raining, is it?                                                                       Incorrect

It is raining, isn’t it?                                                                    Correct

Your are not busy, aren’t you?                                                   Incorrect

You are not busy, are you?                                                        Correct

The point to note here is that the question tag will always have the same verb from which we have in the main statement:

I have finished my work, didn’t I?                                                Incorrect

I have finished my work, have n’t?                                              Correct

100. There are certain common errors which should be avoided.

(a) ‘The two first’ is a meaningless expression for it implies that two things may be first. We should say ‘the first two’.

The two first chapters of the novel are dull.

The first two chapters of the novel are dull.

(b) ‘Only’ should be placed immediately before the word it qualifies.

He only lost his ticket in the stampede.                                       Incorrect

Only he lost his ticket in the stampede.                                       Correct

(c)  An infinitive verb should not be spit.                                    

I request you to kindly to help me.                                              Incorrect

I request you kindly to help me.                                                  Correct

(d) Care should be taken in the use of verbs.

The doctor saw the pulse of the patient.                                   Incorrect

The doctor felt the pulse of the patient.                                    Correct

He told the truth.                                                                       Incorrect

He spoke the truth.                                                                   Correct

Do not speak a lie.                                                                     Incorrect

Do not tell a lie.                                                                         Correct

Our team made a goal.                                                              Incorrect

Our team scored a goal.                                                            Correct

He is taking a bath.                                                                   Incorrect

He is having a bath.                                                                  Correct

I tell my prayers in the morning.                                               Incorrect

I say my prayers in the morning.                                              Correct