Common Mistakes In The Use Of Adjectives

In this lesson we will take a look at some of the most common errors in the use of adjectives.

Incorrect: These all mangoes are rotten.
Correct: All these mangoes are rotten.
Correct: All of these mangoes are rotten.

Articles (a/an, the), possessives (my, your etc) and demonstratives (that, these, this and those) are called Group A determiners. Quantifiers like all, some, both and half are called Group B determiners. A Group A determiner cannot be used directly before a Group B determiner.

If we have to put a group B determiner before a group A determiner, we have to use of. Note that of can be left out after all, both and half when they are followed by nouns.

Incorrect: The woman held the baby in the both hands.
Correct: The woman held the baby in both hands.
Correct: The woman held the baby in both her hands.

We do not use the before both.

Incorrect: They have no any children.
Correct: They have no children.
Correct: They don’t have any children.

Avoid the use of double negatives. Note that when have is the main verb in a sentence, questions and negatives are made with do.

Incorrect: Shakespeare is greater than any other poets.
Correct: Shakespeare is greater than any other poet.

Incorrect: Gold is more precious than any other metals.
Correct: Gold is more precious than any other metal.

Incorrect: Alice is taller than any other girls in the class.
Correct: Alice is taller than any other girl in the class.

Note that in this structure a singular noun should be used after any other.

Incorrect: Open your book at six page.
Correct: Open your book at page six.

Incorrect: He is in class ninth.
Correct: He is in class nine.
Correct: He is in the ninth class.

After a noun we usually use a cardinal number (e.g. one, two, three, ten etc.) instead of an ordinal number. Before a noun we use an ordinal number (e.g. first, second, fifth, tenth etc.)

Incorrect: You are becoming young.
Correct: You are becoming younger.

Incorrect: It is getting dark.
Correct: It is getting darker.

You are becoming young is of course correct English, but English has a fondness for the use of the comparative form when change is implied in a sentence.

Incorrect: Of the two routes this is the shortest.
Correct: Of the two routes this is the shorter.

Incorrect: Of the three solutions this is the better.
Correct: Of the three solutions this is the best.

We use the comparative adjective to make a comparison between two people or things. We use the superlative adjective to make a comparison between more than two people or things.

Incorrect: There is a best singer in my class.
Correct: There is a very good singer in my class.

When no comparison is implied the positive adjective should be used.

Incorrect: I have never seen a so intelligent girl.
Correct: I have never seen so intelligent a girl.

Incorrect: He was a so generous man that he donated all his wealth to charity.
Correct: He was so generous a man that he donated all his wealth to charity.

The correct structure is so + adjective + a/an + singular countable noun.

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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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