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Interactive video lesson plan for: BBC Masterclass: Native-speaker 'mistakes'

Activity overview:

You may think that all native speakers are perfect and they never make mistakes in English - but it's not true! Dan's here to tell you about three 'mistakes' that native speakers commonly make (except him of course!)
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Hi guys. Dan for BBC Learning English here. In this Masterclass we’ll be taking a look at the 'mistakes' that native speakers commonly make. Are you ready? Here we go.

Behold native speakers in their natural environment. Observe how they interact verbally – filled with deep and meaningful communication. They are social, verbose, articulate and always always ALWAYS 100% grammatically correct. Worship them in all their glory.

Rubbish! Native speakers make mistakes too – not me, I’m fantastic, but everybody else.

Now guys, it’s important to remember that as we continue that these mistakes are only mistakes according to the rules of standard English. But the rules of standard English don't allow for regional variation, changes in formality and personal preference, which is of course very important. So please bear this in mind as we continue. Are you ready?

Number 1. Using past participles instead of past simple.

A: John, how was the test? Have you finished?

B: Yeah! I done it!

Stop stop stop! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this. In this case a person has used a past participle either as a past simple verb like 'I did it' or they've forgotten to include 'have' to make the present perfect. 'I have done it'. If the action is completed and in the past they should use the past simple 'I did it', and if the action is completed in the past and but is still important in the conversation now, they should use 'I have done it'. No!

A: John, how was the test? Have you finished?

B: Yeah! I have done it!

Number 2. Using 'me' instead of 'I'

So, it's quite common to hear people say 'Me and John went to the shops'. But technically this is wrong. 'Me' is an object pronoun, but in the sentence 'me and John went to the shops', 'me' and 'John' are subjects. That means that 'me' should be 'I'. Secondly, in English it is considered impolite to put yourself before someone else, so they should switch the pronouns around. Not 'I and John' but 'John and I'. Got it? No!

Number 3. Splitting infinitives

A: Ok, we’ve got the shopping…is there anything else?

B: Yes, I need to quickly stop at the bank.

So a full infinitive is a construction of 'to + a verb'. Many would argue that 'to' and the verb should never be separated and this usually happens when an adverb intrudes. For example, 'I wanted to violently punch him in the head!' What we should do is move the adverb to the position after the verb or the position before. So, in this sentence 'I need to quickly stop at the bank' we should say 'I quickly need to stop at the bank' or 'I need to stop at the bank quickly'. Got it? No!

Remember guys, that spoken communication is usually more informal and more relaxed than written communication and it's more important to be clearly understood than to stick to rigid grammar rules. Go out there and do your best, that's the most important thing and remember that no one, but no one is perfect… except me! See you next time.

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