10 Common Mistakes in Spoken English

Learning the common mistakes in spoken English is one of the most important things you can do when you’re trying to improve your English speaking skills.

Speaking English fluently and correctly is not a skill that comes easily, it takes lots of practice!

common mistakes in spoken English

Here are Some Common Mistakes in Spoken English

You can be fluent in English but if you don’t know when you are making mistakes, it can cause big problems.

The best way to improve this skill is to:

  • get someone to highlight your mistakes and explain them to you
  • learn some of the common mistakes in English speaking that people often make

We’ve created a list of the top 10 common English mistakes our students make while speaking in our online English conversation class.

So if you’re not sure if you should describe your boss as stressed or stressful, read on!

stressed or stressful boss

Is my boss stressed or stressful? (Maybe both?)

(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

10 Common Mistakes in Spoken English

Common English Speaking Mistake #1: “Ed-adjective” & “Ing-adjective”

One of the most common mistakes in spoken English for our students is to mix up “-ed” and “-ing” adjectives.

So they say “My job is tired” when they mean “My job is tiring” .

bored and boring

Only boring people get bored?

(Photo by Becca Correia from Pexels)

“Ed-Adjective”

  • Ed-Adjectives” usually describe our feelings.
    • I am bored in class” describes how I feel about class.
    • I am terrified of my sister” describes how I feel about my sister.

“Ing-Adjective”

  • “Ing-Adjectives” describe a situation.
      • My class is boring” describes how class makes me feel
      • “My sister is terrifying” describes how my sister makes me feel.

A: Do you like your new teacher?

B: No, she is bored.

A: Do you like taking the train?

B: Yes! At first I was confusing, but now I am used to it.

A: Do you like your new teacher?

B: No, she is boring.

A: Do you like taking the train?

B: Yes! At first I was confused, but now I am used to it.

Common English Speaking Mistake #2: “Scary” & “Scared”

Another common mistake in spoken English is to mix up “scared” and “scary“.

So they say “I had a car accident and I was scary” instead of “I had a car accident and I was scared” .

scary tightrope walker

Scary!

(Photo by Marcelo Moreira from Pexels)

“Scared”

  • “Ed-adjectives” describe my feeling.
    • “I am scared of spiders” describes my feelings.
      • Remember to use “of” after “scared”

“Scary”

  • “Scary” describes how something makes me feel
    • “Spiders are scary” describes how spiders make me feel.

A: Do you like Halloween? 

B: No, it’s too scared

A: Do you have any pets?

B: No, I’m scared about dogs.

A: Do you like Halloween? 

B: No, it’s too scary

A: Do you have any pets?

B: No, I’m scared of dogs.

Common English Speaking Mistake #3: “Stressed” & “Stressful” 

A super common speaking mistake is to confuse “stressed” and “stressful“.

Sometimes our students say “I am moving to a new apartment and I’m stressful“, when they should say “I am moving to a new apartment and I’m stressed” .

stressed kid

This kid is stressed!

(Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)

“Stressed”

  • “Ed-adjectives” describe my feeling.
    • I have been stressed at work” describes my feeling at work.

“Stressful”

  • “Stressful” describes the situation.
    • “Work has been stressful lately” describes how work makes me feel.

A: How was the wedding? 

B: It was fun, but planning was stressed.

A: Why do you sleep so much?

B: I’m stressful!

A: How was the wedding? 

B: It was fun, but planning was stressful.

A: Why do you sleep so much?

B: I’m stressed!

Common English Speaking Mistake #4: “Fun” & “Funny” 

Another spoken English mistake is to confuse “fun” and “funny”.

“I had a funny weekend” is a very rare sentence, unless you spent your whole weekend with a comedian.

fun and funny clown

This funny clown is lots of fun?

(Photo by Sachin Bharti from