Errors are persistent derivations from norms. Common errors in English therefore are the most noticeable derivations from norms of English usage as it relates to many Nigerian users of English as the second language.
1. Incorrect: I took my breakfast
Correct: I had my breakfast
2. Incorrect: Don’t dribble around, please
Correct: Don’t order me around, please.
3. Incorrect: He is in problem.
Correct: He had a problem or he is in trouble
4. Incorrect: I heard what you said in your letter
Correct: I understand what you said in your letter
5. Incorrect: Mrs Ade displayed his wares here
Correct: Mr Ade exhibited his wares here.
6. Incorrect: Did you get my letter?
Correct: Did you receive my letter?
7. Incorrect: They have packed to their new house.
Correct: They have moved to their new house.
8. Incorrect: I can’t go there.
Correct: I won’t go there.
9. Incorrect: They used five days in Lagos.
Correct: They spent five days in Lagos.
10. Incorrect: He returned back yesterday
Correct: He returned yesterday.
11. Incorrect: I laid down and sleep
Correct: I lay down and sleep.
12. Incorrect: She puts on her glasses to read
Correct: She wears her glasses to read.
13. Incorrect: That bus tumbled twice yesterday
Correct: That bus somersaulted twice yesterday.
14. Incorrect: I told you but you didn’t hear.
Correct: I told you but you didn’t listen.
15. Incorrect: I look forward to see you next week
Correct: I look forward to seeing you next week.
16. Incorrect: He wished he is there at that time
Correct: He wished he was there at that time.
17. Incorrect: If I am mum, I will take the green one
Correct: If I were mum, I would take the green one.
18. Incorrect: It is high time we leave for home
Correct: It is high time we left for home.
19. Incorrect: I saw him danced that afternoon
Correct: I saw him dance that afternoon.
20. Incorrect: I will like a cup of tea
Correct: I would like a cup of tea.
21. Incorrect: The teacher made me to see reason
Correct: The teacher made me see reason.
22. Incorrect: They are use to receive visitors.
Correct: They are used to receive visitors.
23. Incorrect: Soaps
Correct: Two bars/ a cake of soap
24. Incorrect: Milks
Correct: Two tins or three tins of milk
25. Incorrect: Sugars
Correct: A packet of sugar
26. Incorrect: I have works to do
Correct: I have a piece of work to do.
27. Incorrect: Equipments
Correct: An item of equipment
28. Incorrect: Furnitures
Correct: A piece of furniture
29. Incorrect: Advices
Correct: A piece of advice/some advice
30. Incorrect: We play pianos
Correct: We play piano
31. Incorrect: Four-men panel
Correct: Four-man panel
32. Incorrect: Five year old children
Correct: Five-year-old children
33. Incorrect: A cheater
Correct: A cheat
34. Incorrect: A trouble shooter
Correct: A trouble maker
35. Incorrect: She is a gossiper
Correct: She is a gossip.
36. Incorrect: Bola was the Chairlady
Correct: Bola was a Chairperson/Lady in Chairman
37. Incorrect: He was employed as a watch night
Correct: He was employed as night watch
38. Incorrect: She is a duper
Correct: She is a dupe.
39. Incorrect: They searched all nooks of it.
Correct: They searched all nooks and crannies of it.
40. Incorrect: Birds of the same feather flock together
Correct: Birds of a feather flock together.
41. Incorrect: To bite more than one can chew
Correct: To bite off more than one can chew.
42. Incorrect: I will catch the bus
Correct: I will catch the train
43. Incorrect: I will board the train
Correct: I will board the bus.
44. Incorrect: Cold beer/water
Correct: Iced/chilled beer/water
45. Incorrect: Hot drink
Correct: Hard drink
46. Incorrect: She has a long leg
Correct: She has a very long arm
47. Incorrect: They will retouch their hair today
Correct: They will have their hair retouched today.
48. Incorrect: I came but I met you absent
Correct: I came but I didn’t meet.
49. Incorrect: I shall see you next tomorrow
Correct: I shall see you in two day’s time.
50. Incorrect: Don’t blow your own trumpet
Correct: Don’t blow your trumpet.
51. Incorrect: If one comes late, she must pay a fine
Correct: If one comes late, one must pay a fine.
52. Incorrect: The time is against us, hurry up
Correct: The time is running out, hurry up
53. Incorrect: From now henceforth, don’t come here
Correct: Henceforth, don’t come here or From now on, don’t come here
54. Incorrect: The drivers should horn before overtaking
Correct: The drivers should press the horn before
55. Incorrect: I don’t need iced water, give me ordinary one.
Correct: I don’t need iced water, give me un-iced one.
56. Incorrect: My business is moving fine
Correct: My business is booming or flourishing
57. Incorrect: I am feeling hungry
Correct: I am hungry
58. Incorrect: I passed out in that school in 2000
Correct: I finished in that school in 2000
59. Incorrect: They stroke around
Correct: They stroll around
60. Incorrect: Don’t useless your youthful days
Correct: Don’t misuse/spoil your youthful days
61. Incorrect: I am selling market at Ikeja, Lagos
Correct: I am selling goods at Ikeja, Lagos
62. Incorrect: The pen is sold for ten-ten naira
Correct: The pen is sold for ten naira each.
63. Incorrect: I am looking for an employment
Correct: I am looking for a job.
64. Incorrect: The boy got an accident
Correct: The boy had an accident or the boy was involved in an accident.
65. Incorrect: Tell the gateman to come
Correct: Tell the gatekeeper to come
66. Incorrect: Buy the drugs at the chemist
Correct: Buy the drugs at the chemist’s shop.
67. Incorrect: This boy is rascal
Correct: This boy is rascally
67. Incorrect: All our sportmen are performing well
Correct: All our sportsmen are performing well.
68. Incorrect: Your English is not correct.
Correct: Your expression is not correct.
69. Incorrect: The man consumed the company’s money.
Correct: the man embezzled the company’s money.
70. Incorrect: I don’t have chance to go there now.
Correct: I don’t have time to go there now.
71. Incorrect: You don’t need to crack your brain before you answer.
Correct: You don’t need to rack your brain now before you answer.
72. Incorrect: I don’t like him and I don’t like his subject too.
Correct: I don’t like him and I don’t like his subject either
73. Incorrect: Ade is very quiet for my linking.
Correct: Ade is too quiet for my liking.
74. Incorrect: She stabbed him on the back
Correct: She stabbed him at the back.
75. Incorrect: He shouted with a loud voice.
Correct: He shouted in a loud voice.
76. Incorrect: Pick the children in school at 2:00pm
Correct: Pick the children up in school at 2:00Pm
77. Incorrect: Tolu ordered for a plate of rice with chicken.
Correct: Tolu ordered a plate of rice with chicken.
78. Incorrect: Nigeria played with Ghana last week.
Correct: Nigeria played against Ghana last week.
79. Incorrect: They went there by foot.
Correct: They went there on foot.
80. Incorrect: Draw more closer to me.
Correct: draw closer to me.
81. Incorrect: The man is very trickish.
Correct: The man is very tricky.
82. Incorrect: His wife is black in colour.
Correct: His wife is dark skinned.
83. Incorrect: Tolu is the most gay of them all.
Correct: Tolu is the gayest of them all.
84. Incorrect: Don’t make noise.
Correct: Don’t make a noise.
85. Incorrect: I shall put up appearance at the meeting.
Correct: I shall put up an appearance at the meeting.
86. Incorrect: Tuneade has a good knowledge of Mathematics.
Correct: Tunuade has good knowledge of Mathematics.