Yet More Mistakes That Native English Speakers Make

In this lesson we’re going to look at three more grammar errors that native English speakers routinely commit. These are the sorts of mistakes that native speakers hear growing up and end up unconsciously repeating. Learn to identify these errors, and make an effort to avoid incorporating them into your own speech and writing.


Could of, would of, should of

Could have, would have, and should have are often shortened into the contractions could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve. Native English speakers commonly slur these contractions in casual speech. The result ends up sounding closer to coulda, woulda, and shoulda or could of, would of, and should of. Native speakers get used to speaking and hearing these mispronounced contractions and often end up incorporating them back into their written English.


Confusing “if” and “whether”

The conditional words if and whether are not interchangeable. If expresses a condition where there are no alternatives. Whether expresses a condition where there are two or more alternatives. One way to tell which one you should use is to remember that whether is technically a correlating conjunction. It is always paired with an implied or stated or:


I don’t whether I’ll go to the movies tonight.

I don’t know whether I’ll go to the movies or stay home tonight.


The first sentence implies other possibilities besides going to the movies. The second sentence states two possible alternatives: going to the movies or staying home.


If I go to the movies tonight, I won’t be able to afford to go to the concert on Friday.


Going to the movies removes the option of going to the concert because the speaker doesn’t have enough money to attend both events.


One in the Same

The expression one and the same means that two ideas are identical or equivalent. While one in the same sounds similar, it literally means that something is inside of itself.


When Mary was a junior in high school, her history teacher and soccer coach were one and the same.


The same person was both Mary’s history teacher and her soccer coach.