Common mistakes with verbs
Incorrect: I am living in Bangalore.
Correct: I live in Bangalore.
Incorrect: He is working in a factory.
Correct: He works at a factory.
Use the simple present tense to talk about facts or permanent states. Use the present continuous tense to talk about actions or situations that are going on at the moment of speaking.
Incorrect: He lives with his parents, isn’t he?
Correct: He lives with his parents, doesn’t he?
When the verb is in the simple present tense, we use ‘do/does’ in the question tag.
Incorrect: I have watched an interesting movie yesterday.
Correct: I watched an interesting movie yesterday.
Do not use the present perfect tense with adverbs referring to the past. For example, you cannot use the present perfect tense with expressions like yesterday, last year, last month or in the morning.
Incorrect: The postman has already gone.
Correct: The postman has already been.
Use ‘been’ for completed visits. For example, the sentence ‘The postman has already been’ means that the postman has come and gone away again.
Incorrect: Rahul has been, so we can start work.
Correct: Rahul has come, so we can start work. (= Rahul has come and is still here.)
Incorrect: I have gone to Mumbai three times this week.
Correct: I have been to Mumbai three times this week. (= I went and returned three times.)
Incorrect: James has been to Australia, so we have to wait until he returns.
Correct: James has gone to Australia, so we have to wait until he returns.
Incorrect: She said that she will help me.
Correct: She said that she would help me.
When the verb in the main clause is in the past tense, the verb in the subordinate clause too should be in the past tense. There may be some exceptions to this rule.
Incorrect: I am seeing that painting.
Correct: I am looking at that painting.
It is possible to see a thing without looking at it. But if you really want to see something you need to look at it.
Incorrect: He has left smoking.
Correct: He has given up smoking.
To give up a habit is to break it.
Incorrect: He asked me where was I going.
Correct: He asked me where I was going.
In indirect questions, the subject goes before the auxiliary verb. In direct questions, the auxiliary verb goes before the subject. An indirect question is not a question. It is a subordinate clause that serves as the object of the verb in the main clause.