How to Stop Making English Errors and Language Mistakes

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Do you know the difference between mistakes and errors in English? Learn how to improve your communication skills by understanding how to resolve errors and mistakes in English.

If you've been with me for a while now, then you'll often hear me say and encourage you to make mistakes in English because when we make mistakes, That means that we're taking risks. That means that we're trying on the language in a way that allows us and forces us to get out of our comfort zone. And why is that important?

Because it takes us from one level to the next. It allows us to level up. And I think for many of us in life, the goal is to be better than we were yesterday, right? With so many things. And in this case, with English language communication. So making mistakes is a big thing, and it's something that I know that a lot of people are afraid of.

I know that it can feel daunting. It can feel uneasy when you are making mistakes when you feel like you don't have the best grip on the language or the best grip on an expression or your pronunciation, you feel like you're incongruous with. In one instance, you're speaking in the way that you want to be speaking, and then in another instance, you're pronouncing the word in a different way that you don't want to be pronouncing it in.

We talk a lot about the importance of taking risks and then being mindful of mistakes. Now that being said, I want to bring to your attention to camps of faults, right? 

So today I wanted to share the distinction between. Making mistakes and making errors because these are actually two different types of inaccuracies or faults. So they're not all mistakes. And we're going to talk about why. And the reason I'm sharing this information is because I firmly believe that it's going to help you assess your own English language communication.

To be able to address what needs improvement and what you're doing well, and just with that information, be able to take it to the next level and slowly and surely level up in the way that you want to. If you're ready, let's get into it.

All right, so the first one, errors. Errors are the faults that we make when we actually don't know what the correct thing should be. We don't know the correct word for it. We don't know the correct expression for it. We don't know the correct verb tense.

We don't know the correct syntax. We don't know the correct grammar or the pronunciation, whatever it might be. That's when you didn't explicitly, directly, clearly learn something. You might have just picked it up, right? And when we pick up something, that could be that we overheard it, that could be that we heard it on a series that we're watching, but we never really internalized it or really got the full understanding of it.

So this is what happens when we pick up something, which is absolutely fine to do, but then it's a good idea to follow up with it afterwards. So for example, if you were watching a movie and you were watching it without subtitles and you heard a word, it's a good idea to pause to put the subtitles back on or put them on for the first time if you hadn't had them on.

And then to re-listen and look at what's being said and that way you're sure of what you heard, and then go up and look at that word. Look it up in the dictionary. You can just look it up on your phone if you have your phone with you at that moment, and then you directly learn it.

So that's one way of avoiding that thing from becoming an error, because now you didn't just pick it up, you then took it to the dictionary. Looking it up in the dictionary and starting to put it in your vocabulary, at least putting it into your mind. Let it be in your brain space. Okay, so that's an error.

 The other way to solve this, solve the errors, resolve them, is to start becoming better at noticing. Noticing is a very powerful tool at our disposal, particularly as language learners. I've used it in my journey as a language learner with French, with Turkish, with Greek, and I will use it with the other languages I learn over the years.

The point with noticing is that you understand what you're doing, you understand your language use and then you're trying to align it with the language use that is the correct language use. And so when you notice a discrepancy or a difference, then that should alert you, oh, I'm saying it this way, but it really should be said this way.

Or I'm pronouncing it this way, but the correct pronunciation is this. And so then you start to notice where you're aligning and where you're misaligning, and with the misalignments, you catch them so that they don't become errors. Because if you notice something, then you are going to have the ability to remedy it, to fix it.

So that's one way of letting something not fester and learning something the wrong way. For example, when you're picking up something, you want to pick it up, but then you want to make sure that it is correct and that you understood the correct pronunciation or the correct grammar, or the correct word.

A famous one could be eavesdropping, right? If somebody just picks that up, they might hear ears dropping, and so then going forward in conversation, they talk about ears dropping, and then people wonder what's ears dropping? I've never heard of that. What is that? Can you tell me what that is? But that's because that person learned it incorrectly.

They picked it up, which is a great thing. But then the next step would've been to confirm that, right? Am I really picking this up in the correct way? And they will have noticed that it's not ears dropping, it's eaves dropping. But they sound so similar, so you can't fault this person, right?

You can't fault them for thinking that it's that. So it's really important to start noticing and start to be aware of where there's gaps, and then to address those gaps.

The other thing you can do is to ask for feedback. If you have a hunch that you're not saying something correctly or you're not really sure if it's an error, because a lot of the times the difficulty with errors is that we don't know that we're actually making an error. Because that's the definition of an error.

An error is a mistake that we're making that we don't know is a mistake because again, we just think it's ears dropping, but it's actually eaves dropping, but we think we're saying it correctly, so it might not even be on our radar. That thing is incorrect. So one great way is in addition to noticing, in addition to picking something up, but then confirming it, we can ask for feedback.

I love this. I love asking for feedback because it shows that you are not afraid to put yourself out there. It shows that you're not afraid if you're making a mistake and you are receptive to feedback to make yourself better to progress. There's no shame in that. In fact, if anything, it shows that you are someone who is seeking progress that you're interested in bettering yourself.

And so there's a lot to be said about someone who seeks out feedback. So you might have a friend who is a good person to ask about certain things, and you might bring up something that you maybe said, or maybe they're a technology expert and you weren't sure about a term, and you're not sure if you're using that term correctly.

You can always ask them, right? So being selective, but also being open to asking people for feedback, for help, for advice, that is all fine. In fact, it is going to reflect well on you cuz it shows that you're someone who is searching for improvement.

And the next thing that you can do is find support in communities. So finding support in communities, and this is a really important one because you're going to be surrounded by people who are on similar journeys in similar transition states and being able to voice your concerns, your opinions, your thoughts, and getting feedback from the group as well as the community leader.

So I'm super excited to say that I have my own community and I would love for you to join if that is something that you're interested in doing and joining me and the others on this journey for full support and encouragement and lots of learning opportunity. So that would be a great way for you to participate, for you to level up and to get feedback on things that you really are curious about getting feedback on, and also bringing things to your attention that you might not have even thought about.

All right, so now we have mistakes. So mistakes, unlike errors are things that we've actually learned. And that we know the correct version of. So in other words, we actually know what the correct word is supposed to be, but we're saying the incorrect version of that. Or we know that the pronunciation should be this way, but we're saying it that way.

So sometimes errors just happen when you're not thinking, or you might be tired or you might be stressed, or you might feel social anxiety. Maybe you're giving a speech and you have a fear of public speaking, as do many people. So you would not be alone in that, of course. But maybe in that setting, you feel just all this anxiety bubbling up that you can't concentrate on what you're saying or what the message is, but you're struggling to, to get your words out.

Of that fear of public speaking, but it's also very present in social anxiety. So people who have social anxiety might be experiencing this too. So a lot of times the mistakes that happen are actually just things that we're not thinking about that we're too stressed to focus on because we're dealing with social anxiety or public speaking fears or something else that's top of mind.

So you just have to pay attention to that. And what I will say is you don't want to keep making the same mistake over and over again because then you're not addressing it. And we want to address it no longer is a mistake, but also don't beat yourself up over it. If you notice that in some situations you make that mistake, but in others you don't, then I would say it's a stress related response.

So then what I would say is look at the situation that fosters that. So if it's public speaking, then maybe address the public speaking concerns. Or maybe if it's just every time you talk with your boss you mispronounce the words that you don't want to mispronounce or you use different grammar that you don't want to use, then that would be okay.

Maybe it's about lowering your anxiety specifically when you're interfacing with your boss. So the way to resolve this issue of making the mistakes. Is to start understanding in what environments do these mistakes surface? Is it all the time? With what frequency is it? Is it just sometimes, is it every once in a blue moon?

Is it every Tuesday? Is it every time you talk to your boss? Or is it just, something that is random that you just can't really put your finger on it? It just. So start keeping a journal of that. So frequency, what kind of a mistake is it? Is it pronunciation? Is it grammar? Is it syntax? Is it vocab?

Is it an expression? Is it prody? Is the intonation on a different vowel? What kind of mistake are you making? With whom are you making the mistakes? Is it predominantly in work settings? Is it predominantly when you're just super relaxed that you're not even thinking about your language skills.

You're just so relaxed that it's like the opposite of having social anxiety. So what environments create that situation for you to then make that mistake. This is a very important thing to do. It's self analytical. You really need to think back. I would highly encourage you to jot it down as soon as it happens.

Maybe put it on your phone in a note app, note taking app. Or if you have a small notebook or a little post it or something that you carry with you that you can just jot it down as it happens so that it's fresh on your mind. That will be super useful when you're doing this analyzing.

So once you've analyzed, you've put down everything that you can about the frequency with whom you're talking with, what state of mind you're in, just whatever. Seems to come to mind when you're making these mistakes and the frequency, like we said, you have all that information, then you want to keep your mistakes top of mind.

What I mean by that is if you mispronounce the word camera, and in some situations you pronounce it one way in, some in a different way, but you seem to make that mistake quite frequently and you know what situations you make that mistake in, then you want to keep that top of mind. You want it to be fresh on your mind, you want to be on high alert for those specific mistakes. That is going to help you take that mistake and actually resolve it, and it will become a thing of the past. You will no longer make that mistake anymore if you address it. That's the key point here. So to address it, we've analyzed it and then now it's top of mind.

So we're using it, we're practicing it, and we're practicing it in the correct way. And because we know what situations, what state of mind we're in when it happens, then we can pay extra attention to when we're in those types of scenarios or interacting with certain people. And lo and behold, you are now addressing that mistake.

 Another thing is to record yourself. Record it, play it back, listen for the incongruities, and then go from there. I also really like this idea of keeping a progress journal or a progress chart. That way you can see, in what timeframe you are improving. Or is it with less and less frequency that you're making the mistake or with greater frequency?

Then that's an issue that will have to be resolved, obviously, because it's a mistake and you don't want to keep making the same mistakes. It's okay to make mistakes. That's not the issue, because again, that's reflective of you having the courage to try on the language and to level up. That's obviously a very important part of getting better at a language and communicating better, but then you don't want to keep making the same mistakes again and again because then you're not progressing, you're digressing.

So that's why we do want to address the mistakes without obsessing over them, obviously.

And lastly, you can join a community again, because this is an important way of holding yourself accountable and seeing what other people are doing and having that inspire you. And a lot of times people are on very similar journeys as yours. They're in similar transitional states as yours, life periods.

So it's really nice to be part of something. Is more than just you, that you are with a lot of other people on a very similar journey, and you can learn from each other, discuss it and see what's working for them and what's working for you, and share your points and knowledge transfer and exchanging ideas.

These are all beautiful things, so I highly recommend you join a community. If you would like to join my community, I would be more than welcome to. Welcome you. Very welcome to join. Information to that is in the link below. So definitely check it out if this is something that you are interested in.

Amazing. So now that you know the difference between a mistake and an error, and how to start approaching these two different types of faults and the ways of correcting them and the ways of addressing them, then you are on your way. The most important thing is for you to start to be aware and to take action. And don't be afraid. This should not deter you. Making a mistake ever again. That's not the point here. The point is to keep making those mistakes, because that means the point is to keep taking those risks, even if it means making mistake. And then addressing those mistakes, addressing those errors, and then being able to level up from there.

So it's a nice, you're thinking about it as workshopping something, right? So you put something out there, you get the feedback, you workshop it, you work on it, you put it back out there, you get the feedback.

It gets a gold star, and then you make it part of your communication toolkit. You add it to your vocabulary, you add it to your expression bank, whatever it is, and then from there, you just keep doing that and keep doing that and go on and on until you feel like you're in a really good place and you're happy with where you are, but you're also still hungry for more progress. And that's a beautiful thing because nobody is perfect. There is no such thing as perfect, but we can still strive to be even better than we were yesterday. So with all of this in mind, I really encourage you to keep taking those risks, like I said, and to be flexible.

Don't feel like you have to always be perfect or on, on your a game. And once you've, gotten over a mistake that you can't ever make the mistake again. No, of course not. That's not how it works. But you do want to be, strict with yourself in that, okay, if you notice that you're making the mistake and you really just, it annoys you, but if it annoys you and you're not doing anything about it, then that would be a little bit problematic because then you're just giving up, right? You're just saying, oh, I don't care if I make the mistake, whatever. But instead, if you take it with, okay, you say I'm going to try my best. It's okay if sometimes I make the mistake even though I'm working really hard on it. But every now and then it just, I slip up with my pronunciation.

That's okay. You have some grace, right? You leave some room for improvement, but you also give yourself some grace where it is due and not be too hard on yourself. There's no fun in that. You can be disciplined, you can be committed to a goal, but you don't have to beat yourself up over something if you don't get it right every single time. That would not be a nice way of treating yourself.

So I really want you to keep that in mind too, because I know perfectionists out there might be a little bit hard on themselves. So please be kind to yourself. Keep doing the work, keep making progress. But again, it's not a linear path to success. There's ups and downs, and you gotta be in it for all of it.

All right. Thank you so much for joining me advanced English learners. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope you enjoyed it. I will see you in the next one where we're going to continue advancing your English together. Until then, keep up the awesome work and I will see you very soon.

Bye for now.