Even native English speakers can come unstuck with English. We have all confused count and non-count (particularly with "fewer" and "less") for example, so we at Unique have decided to pinpoint some of those grammar errors that you should really take heed of and try and work on during and outside of class:-
FEWER OR LESS
The Prime Minister of the UK David Cameron has made errors with this simple grammar point, as have most native English speakers. Cameron made the error during the stressful situation of Prime Minister's Questions, but we don't all have that excuse.
The rule is actually quite simple:-
Fewer is for countable nouns: "There are fewer bananas here than last time."
Less is for uncountable nouns: "There is less beer than there was a minute ago."
This is one of those grammatical quandaries that really angers some people, as shown in this news article about British supermarket Tesco.
LAY OR LIE
Simply, lay is a transitive verb (it takes an object) whilst lie is intransitive. Confusingly, the past tense of lie is lay.
"We will lay the table."
"He always lies down on the big bed."
See also Rise and Raise. Raise is transitive, rise isn't: You raise money, you don't rise it.
I HAVE BEEN...(SEVERAL) YEARS AGO
Even proficiency candidates struggle with present perfect/simple past and EFL trainers do emphasise this a lot...
If you add "years ago" to the end of a present perfect sentence, it no longer makes sense. Present perfect implies that something is still relevant to this moment, whilst simple past has already finished.
"I have been to New York recently."
"I went to New York two months ago."
If you would like to learn One-to-One English with our great EFL teachers, please contact us on 020 3566 0145, by e-mail or by filling out the form on this page.