Spot Your English Mistakes

by Ben W about a year ago in how to

Why being proactive with pointing out your, and others', mistakes will make you stand out as an English learner.

Spot Your English Mistakes

Once you have learned to embrace your errors, the next key part of being an editor of your written English language work is to spot the mistakes. You need to become proficient in catching your mistakes, understanding why they were mistakes, and then fixing them. You are bound to make some mistakes with your English writing, but the best way to get over that hurdle is to spot them, understand them, and fix them. It doesn’t even have to be your English, when it comes to spotting the mistakes.

Beyond your own work, look at the English language wherever you go, and see if there are any mistakes that other people have made. You may be able to help other writers, whether they are friends, family, colleagues, or fellow students by helping them spot their mistakes, and assisting them in getting them fixed.

Part of becoming proficient as an editor is getting that extra practice that comes with spotting errors in the English that others have put forward. You should always point out their mistakes in a polite and courteous manner, but you should be able to learn from their mistakes, in addition to your own. Peer editing is a crucial part of becoming a better English writer, and it will make you more adept as an editor too, when it comes to be time to review your own work.

Most of us go about our daily lives trying to not focus on the advertisements, or the notices that come across our path. However, another crucial way to boost your English language skills is to look closely at those words and phrases you see every day when you’re out and about. You may not notice it, but there are sometimes silly and easily fixable errors that are in these notices and advertisements.

When you spot them, take the time to snap a photo with your phone, and then, when you’re home later, you’ll be able to write down the incorrect word or sentence, and re-write it, so it is correct. In order to make this happen, you have to be observant, and you have to sometimes get close to the notice, advertisement, or posting in public, and really look carefully at it to see if the written English is right. What may be tedious at first may end up being a fun game of sorts that you can play with friends and family to improve your English.

Spotting errors does not only have to be with regards to advertisements, or public notices. Despite how well-edited written pieces of work are, you are likely to still find small errors in publications such as newspapers, journals, magazines, and even short stories.

If you have purchased any one of these items, you should take the time to highlight the errors you find, because there may be a few that have slipped the radar of the editor before it came time for publication. In addition to highlighting these errors, you should consider fixing the mistakes, and even making the publisher, and/or author, aware of the fact that there were some mistakes left in the final version of the written piece.

The last key component, when it comes to spotting English mistakes is having a way to document them, whether you found these mistakes either in public, or in private. It would be really beneficial to have a list of English mistakes that you have noticed and fixed, as well as what was the running theme that they may have had in common.

It would be wise to group those mistakes in categories whether they were grammatical errors, structural errors, or spelling errors. You could also write about the patterns of the mistakes in a journal, or a Word document, so you can keep track of where, how, and why you spotted those English errors.

Spotting the mistakes that you make with the English language is easy enough, but it takes a lot of hard work and effort to spot the mistakes of others. However, by doing so, you’ll develop the skillset necessary to be a good Editor not just for yourself but for other English writers. Having the chance to practice spotting errors and mistakes in writing will set you apart from other learners. You should not be afraid of challenging yourself, or your ego, to point out the mistakes that you, or others will inevitably make, and then fix them.

While doing so, keep a running tally of these mistakes, and understand if they are a pattern, and how you can overcome making the same mistake over and over again. As I have mentioned previously, you learn through making mistakes, and this is the case for both native English speakers, and for English as a Second Language learners. Nobody’s perfect, and we all have flaws in our language abilities. Instead of hiding from these mistakes, let us hold each other accountable, and bring them out into the open, so that we all may improve and become better English learners.

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Ben W
Ben W
Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Ben W

Ben helps students from around the world to improve their English language skills. Ben enjoys traveling around the world, developing his writing abilities, and reading good books.

See all posts by Ben W