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Common Mistakes
in English
with Exercises
b y T. J. Fitikides, B.A.. F.I.L.
Senior English Master
The Pancyprian Gymnasium, Nicosia
Author of Key Words for Easy Spelling
Lessons in Greek-English
Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below.
John Dryden
Pearson Education Limited
Edinburgh Gate, Harlow
Essex CM20 2JE, England
and Associated Companies throughout the world
This edition © Pearson Education Limited 2002
The right of Timothy Fitikides to be identified as author of
this work has been asserted on his behalf in accordance
with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the
express permission of the Copyright holders.
First published 1936
Second edition 1937
Third edition 1939
Fourth edition 1947
Fifth edition 1963
Sixth edition 2002
Printed in Malaysia
ISBN 0 582 34458 1
Formatted by CjB Editorial Plus
Preface to the first edition
This book has been designed to meet the requirements of
students whose mother tongue is not English, Its main
purpose is to help to correct the common mistakes to which
foreign learners of English are liable.
The method adopted throughout this work is uniform. All
the errors dealt with are singled out, for they have to be
recognised before they can be corrected: then correct forms
are substituted for incorrect ones; finally, simple
explanations are given wherever necessary to justify
particular usages. Exercises are set al the end to ensure that
the principles may become firmly fixed in the students'
!t is no! claimed that this manual is exhaustive.
Nevertheless, the difficulties tackled are real, and the
examples arc representative of the mistakes commonly
made by foreign students of English, being the result of
observations made over a long period of time.
Much care has been given to the preparation of the Index,
which it ?s hoped will make the book a useful work ol
My acknowledgements are due to MrVV. H G. Popplestone.
who has read my manuscript and made many valuable
T. .J. F
August J 9.3ft
Preface to the Sixth Edition
It is now more than 60 years since this book was first
published. It has gone through many revisions, and additions
have been made at different times in its history. With the
millennium approaching it was decided that there were some
points of usage which are no longer relevant and so this new
edition has been prepared. The content has been completely
reviewed in the light of modern English usage, and the typefaces and design up-dated for clarity.
And yet the original concept and, indeed, most of the
original mistakes listed, are still pertinent to students of
English even in the year 2000. This little book has sold
several hundred thousand copies all over the world and
seems likely to go on doing so.
The author's note on how the book should be used is on
page vti, with an addition for this edition.
Useful lists and summaries
Have another look at...
Prepositions after certain words
Use of the gerund
Use of certain tenses
Third person singular, simple present
Indefinite article
Verb TO BE
Definite article
Correct order of words
Use of certain prepositions
Use of will and shall
Singular and plural
Irregular verbs in everyday use
bear to He
light to write