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Writing: Common Mistakes

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Writing: Common Mistakes Revision

Common Mistakes

This page will highlight some key spelling and language mistakes to avoid so you can pass your writing exam!

Make sure you are happy with the following topics before continuing.

Common Mistakes – Spelling


Silent letters:

  • Some words have silent letters – this means that they are not pronounced!

Examples: gnome, knowledge, plumber


Shortened forms of words:

  • Try to use the full word rather than a contracted or shortened form of a word.

Examples: admin/administration, uni/university


Double-letter words:

  • Some words have 2 of the same letter next to each other. Watch out – only one letter is pronounced!

Examples: beginning, bubble, summer



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Common Mistakes – Similar Sounding Words and Their Different Meanings


Off/Of :

  • ‘Off’ is the opposite to ‘on’ – ‘Turn off the TV.’
  • ‘Off’ can also mean ‘away from‘ – ‘ Get off me!’


‘Of’ has many uses.


Here are some of the main ones:

  • To show possession/belonging – The capital of England is London.
  • To show position – ‘I feel on top of the world!’



  • ‘You’re’ is a contraction of ‘You are’ – ‘You’re the best football player I’ve ever seen!’
  • ‘Your’ refers to possession/belonging – ‘What’s your name?’




  • ‘To’ means ‘towards‘ – ‘I’m going to the shop on my lunch break.’
  • ‘To’ is also the standard form of a verb -‘ to eat’, ‘to kick’, ‘to jump
  • ‘Too’ can mean ‘too much/many‘ or it can mean ‘as well/in addition

For example:

  • That car costs too much.
  • I’m going to the party too.




  • ‘Their’ means ‘belonging to them‘ – ‘That is their problem, not mine.’
  • ‘They’re’ is a contraction of ‘They are’ – ‘I love the Beatles – they’re my favourite band!’

‘There’ has two main uses – to express a location and to introduce a sentence:

  • It’s raining there but not here.
  • There is no point in driving there! You may as well walk!



  • ‘Are’ is part of the verb ‘to be‘ – We are very good friends.
  • ‘Our’ refers to possession (belonging to us) – Our house is in the middle of the street.

To learn about this in more detail, please visit our Spelling page!

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Common Mistakes – Verbs


The verb must match the subject (the person/thing ‘doing’ the verb):

e.g., The dragon are called Cal – This is wrong because….


The dragon is a singular subject (i.e. there is only one dragon) but the verb is for a plural noun.


The dragon is called Cal – This is correct: the verb agrees with the subject.

Could’ve/Could of

  • ‘Could’ve’ is a contraction of ‘could have’ – it is grammatically correct.
  • ‘Could of’ is ungrammatical – it should NOT be used in your writing.


For example: ‘I could have been a professional footballer but I injured my knee.’

N.B. – The same applies to ‘might’ve’, ‘should’ve’ and ‘would’ve’!


Been & done


  • In your writing, always use the right form of ‘have’ before writing ‘been’ or done’.

e.g.  I been playing the guitar since I was 5 years old


This is wrong because…


There has to be a ‘have’/’has’ before the ‘been’ or a contraction form (‘I’ve’) – the sentence is NOT grammatically correct without it!


e.g., ‘I have done the work that needed to be completed’…


…NOT: ‘I done the work’

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Writing: Common Mistakes Worksheet and Example Questions

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Writing: Common Mistakes L1

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