The Most Common Mistakes You Make.

The Most Common Mistakes You Make.

So, you’ve got a lecture or class to take in English next week. Maybe you’ve got an interview coming up for a job that requires English. You want to improve your basics fast and cut out those silly mistakes so you don’t sound like an idiot. What about those English emails at work? They aren’t going to correct themselves and you told your boss you can speak and understand English, right?

You need to know two things. One, what are the mistakes you’re making. Do you know? I bet you know some of them, but others you are not even aware of. Two, how do you correct those mistakes and bad habits (like forgetting to put an S on the end of verbs for he/she/it etc.) and how do you remember them?

Now, you know me. I like mistakes, it shows that you’re trying and not afraid. That’s great  of course, but, if you really want to improve quickly, one thing you can do is correct a few of those nejběžnější chyby v angličtině. I’m sure I made plenty of mistakes in my last post, which I wrote in Czech.

Luckily for you, over the last five years I have made notes on the most common mistakes that my students make and I’ve made a great, online, video course to help you correct many of those English mistakes. You can sign up for the mini course for FREE here and find out about your most common mistakes and how to fix them. Enter your email and I’ll send you the link. Entry is via email link only so sign up now or you might miss out.

Today, I’m going to focus on one of your most common mistakes. Confusing when to use come and go, and came, got and went.  An example of a typical mistake would be when we are sitting in a cafe and you say to me, “I came home from work at 6pm yesterday.” This is wrong because we are not in your home, we are in a cafe and where you are dictates which verb to use. You could remember to ‘come here’ and ‘go there’ but it’s not as simple as that.

In order to ‘come’ you usually need to be in the place you are referring to. I came home at ten yesterday.’ This means you are at home now.

If you are not at home we would naturally say ‘I got home at ten yesterday. (not ‘I came home’) but you can also use got if you are at home.

Of course, this being English, there are exceptional cases. If I have planned to meet some friends in a restaurant and I also want to invite you, I would say ‘Why don’t you come and join us? Or, ‘Come to the restaurant tomorrow.’ In this instance I am not in the restaurant now but I am planning to be there before you arrive and you will therefore come to meet me.

However, if you are talking about the time that you left somewhere (not the time you arrived home) then we would use went. ‘I was at the party but I went home (left the party) at midnight.’

go-sign-16620If you want to send somebody somewhere (away) and you will not be with them then use go. ‘Go to the cinema on your own, I don’t like Star Wars.’ (not come to the cinema). If you are inviting me to go with you to the cinema then you can use either come or go. ‘Will you come/go to the cinema with me tomorrow?’

Compare these similar situations:

‘Will you come to my house for the party next week?’ (I will be there)

‘Will you go to my house to pick up my keys please?’ (I have forgotten my keys. I left them at home. I am not there now and I will not be there when you get there to pick up the keys.

‘I went home at 11.’ (You are not at home now and you are talking about the time you left somewhere else)

‘I came home at 11.’ (You are at home now)

‘I got home at 11.’ (You could be either at home or not at home)

If you want it explained in Czech, has a good explanation here.

Next week, ‘What are the best ways to correct your most common mistakes and other ways to learn?’ video-player-richard-hill-english

I’ll talk again about learning styles and if you liked today’s content but prefer video to reading then take my FREE Most Common Mistakes Mini Course. Remember, admission to this free course is available to everyone on my email list but you need to sign up for it by sending me an email from this box below. I will send you the link when the course opens in the next few days.

I know that you will get massive value from this course and it will benefit you in many ways, not least, making your English sound a little more native, smoother and more intelligible.

That’s all from me for today. Remember, ‘every day’s a school day’ so let me learn from you by telling me what you think are the most common mistakes Czechs and Slovaks make when speaking English. Leave a comment below and sign up for the course above.



Muj Špatný Češtinu

Muj Špatný Češtinu

Pamatujete že ja jsem Anglický rodilý mluvčím?  Tak že, tadz mám problěm protože dneska musím napsát vaše blog v Čestině. Asi, ne, určitě, poynáte že muj řada slovu je jako Anglickz.

Ahhh… musím vzpnout 4esk7 kl8visnice kvůli muj y a z je správný.

Pokračuju… Zkouším napsát bez používajici slovník i překládač tak uvidíme jestli umíte mi rozumět. A, proč udělám Český blog kdzž vždycky psám v Angličtině?  Odpovězda je ukázat že nemusíte být perfektní být rozumění.

Jestli vaše gol je být rozumění je to duležitý jenom že máte důvěra zkoušit ynova a znova (Sakra!)  Mnohu Český lidi vubec říct ani nic protože “to není perfekt”, “to není dobrý”. Slište mě! ear-clip-art-McLLy6RXiNe bude lepšit bez zkoušení. Nevadí jak špatně vás Angličký jazýk, většinu rodilý mluvčí vy pomoc s trpělivostem.

Dneska ten blog bude krátký protože pro mě napsát na počitač trvalo mi hodně dlouhá. Měl jsem nějáký knihy se učit Česky ale pro mě nefungovat. Ja vím že dělám hodně chyby. Máte nějaký jiný nápady pro mě? Doufám že ano. Dolu mužete mi pomoc v commentsu. Dík. 🙂

Přes přístí dva týdnu budu napsát o vaše nejběžnější chyby a jak je opravit. Těšte se na videa mini kurz Zdarma.

Dolu řeknete mi co myslíte co je nejběžnější chyby.

Čau for now.

P.S. Mužete mi  sledovat kliknutím na FOLLOW.


Where’s My Television?

Where’s My Television?

Me and my big ideas!  I have long been extolling the virtues (saying how good something is) of a TV-free home (not having a TV) and often suggested to my family the idea of removing the television from our house.

Click here for a vocabulary list of the words and phrases in bold.

I’m sure the benefits are obvious to most of you; more quality time spent with your family, more meaningful conversations, less distractions and increased ability to concentrate etc. It was with all this in mind that last week I again made the suggestion that we could try a week without television as an experiment.  No Minimax corrupting my children’s brains with adverts for plastic crap they really don’t need, no Ordinace v Ružové Zahradě killing my wife’s brain cells with its mindnumbingly boring stories and personally less time wasted pretending I’m learning something by watching repeated episodes of TimeTeam on the History channel and bike races from Azerbaijan I have no real interest in on Eurosport.

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kid in front of tv

In English we use the word programme to mean a show ie. The Simpsons, Československo Má Talent. When you program in Czech we say channel eg. Nova Cinema, CT1, Prima Cool. Česká Televize is a TV station.  In short:

  • A TV Station broadcasts the shows and it may have more than one channel.
  • A TV Channel is the frequency being used.
  • A serial is a programme with one story split into many episodes.
  • An episode is díl in Czech.
  • A TV series has the same characters every week but different plots (stories).
  • A season is a collection of episodes.


So, as an example; the BBC is a station, BBC1 is a channel, Lost is a serial and Lost has six seasons. The Big Bang Theory is a series and in season 9 there were 24 episodes. Got that? (Do you understand?)

Anyway, back to the case in point and two days ago Radka said to me “OK!, Yes, let’s do it.” So, we decided to remove the TV from the living room the following day (yesterday).  It was then that I realised my mistake…

tv football

I love football, it’s one of my main interests; I play it, I go to stadiums and most importantly for this blog post, I watch it on TV. Those of you who are football fans will already see my error.  Starting today is the European Championships in France. Usually, for these big tournaments (the Euros and World Cup) I watch every game, not just the England and Czech Republic games.  So what am I to do now?  Our gogglebox is hidden away at my request and with it the chance to watch the best footballers in Europe fight it out for the title of Champions of Europe. I can’t believe I didn’t think this through properly.

Does anyone want to invite me to their house to watch a game?

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My Bad Habits

My Bad Habits

So we’re into the swing of things in the new year and hopefully those new year’s resolutions haven’t fallen by the wayside. I managed to cut out the beer for two weeks before lowering my guard and succumbing to a night out and I know why this happened, I hadn’t replaced the need for social company (involving drinking beer) with something else. Having a break from beer through January was the goal and I will continue to not drink for the remaining week and a half but I must find a substitute habit to fill the void. It’s not all doom and gloom though oh no!

As a new feature to my blog you can click on the bold words to go to vocabulary logowhere I have created a page with a definition and an example sentence for each word. There is also audio pronunciation and a practice spelling bee!  Idioms and phrases in italic are also linked to a definition.

The Good News

I have however, kept up the smaller task of running once a week and this is down to (because of) my ingenious plan of starting a running group. Not only does this create the regular habit of running every Wednesday (Anyone living near Rynholec is welcome to join us!) but it adds to it a support structure of other like-minded people and it’s much more fun than running on my own.

running legs

I am motivated by the social aspect as well as the fitness. Starting something is always harder than doing it once you’ve got going and is why so many of us procrastinate about so many things. Starting the group from my house means I have to be prepared as other people are now counting on me.

Furthermore, I have been running on my own at least twice in each of the last three weeks because of this new found enthusiasm and the will to be fit enough to run with other people.

How to Change Your Habits

In his book, ‘The Power of Habit’ Charles Duhigg talks about the habit loop. Put simply this is a three part process; 1. The Cue, 2. The Routine, 3. The Reward.

cue routine reward

The cue is the thing that triggers the feeling of need, if you’re a smoker that might be the smell of a cigarette, the sight of one on TV or it’s 11.15 and time for your break. The routine is the habit you want to change, in this case, reaching for the cigarettes. The reward is the little high you get from the nicotine and a chance to socialize out of the office. Identifying the reward is the key. If you like the social aspect of standing outside smoking you could substitute that routine with a walk (around the office or outside) a chat with a colleague or friend on the phone. If you think ahead and plan for it, when you get the cue you can substiute the routine with anything else that also gives you a similar reward; 30 press-ups, 5 mins of internet surfing, making a coffee etc.

Your English Habits

So, in terms of your English learning resolutions, have you developed any habits to help you along the way? If you want to learn quickly then you simply must develop the habit of regular and continuing practice.

How can you develop the habits that will help you to learn regularly, frequently and effectively? Here are a few ideas…

dictionaryPut a dictionary (yes, it’s old school I know!) next to your bed. Every morning when you wake up, randomly open the book and pick out a word. Create a mnemonic (See my recent post) for it such as a visual image or word association hook and then go about your normal day.

Richard Hhill English

Start your own conversation group with friends, the same day and time every week.


Choose a time when you are always free and set an alarm to spend 5 minutes learning something new.

metro logo.pngListen to an English podcast when commuting on the metro or in your car.

Share your own ideas with us here in the comments below and help others to improve their English quicker too. Remember, I read all your comments.