Common language mistakes: avoid incorrect word use
During your life you will have to write texts at different times. This can be for your work or education, but do not think too simple about other written matters such as submitting complaints, communication with your doctor, lawyer, the tax authorities or of course an application. You want them to take you seriously. First of all, your text or letter should not contain any spelling errors. Many people think they are already there. However, that is not enough, on the contrary. Your text can be full of language errors and incorrect word usage. After reading this article you will be able to find and correct your own mistakes in your text.
While formulating your text, you may need to refer to a person, event or action. In this case you use a referral word.
Tip: The referral word can also be very useful to create cohesion in your text!
In two cases there is an incorrect reference:
- unclear reference
- wrong referral word
He and his brother are going to stay with his father and uncle. He has to whistle an important football match and they want to be there. Is he?? in this case the father or the uncle?
Error reference word
In short, two things are important here. First, the word gender and second, the number referred to. Word gender means that a noun is masculine, feminine or neuter. Number refers to whether the noun is singular or plural. Example: They think I’m fat. Must be, they think I’m fat.
Tip: In masculine and feminine nouns the article ?? de ?? used. Neuter nouns have the article ?? het ??. So always pay attention to the noun in the previous sentence when referring to that word.
Error connection word
Connecting words often function as a signal word in a text. You use a linking word to indicate a connection. The conjunction ?? because ?? do you use for an explanation or reason and the word ?? however ?? for another contrast. Errors in linking words are often made.
Example wrong connection word
- Error: Because one whole chapter is missing in your text, it is not possible to give you a pass.
- Good: Because one whole chapter is missing in your text, it is not possible to give you a pass.
Tip: Do not start a sentence with ?? and ??, ?? but ?? or ?? because ??! These conjunctions are supposedly secondary and have the function of connecting two sentences into one compound sentence.
Exchange and contamination
Exchange and contamination are closely related. Both are related to confusion. We speak of confusion when you misuse certain words and phrases that are similar in meaning. After all, this can lead to contamination. Contamination occurs when you put two words together into one whole. You can improve contamination by using one of the two original words.
- Wrong: The car is expensive.
- Good: The car costs a lot of money or The car is expensive.
Pleonasm and Tautology
Also called the ?? double-up expressions ?? mentioned. You can then still distinguish between partial and complete repetition of meaning.
- We speak of pleonasm when there is a partial repetition of meaning.
- We speak of tautology when there is a complete repetition of meaning.
- Wrong: He feels compelled to inform you that he was unable to complete his part of the report in time.
- Good: He feels compelled to inform you that he was unable to complete his part of the report in time.
Example of tautology
- Wrong: There will be many changes, because the program is moving.
- Good: There will be many changes, because the program is moving.
Barbarisms are words or sentence constructions that are integrated in the Dutch vernacular but are not aligned with the Dutch written language. This may be because a particular sentence is structured differently in another language. We know Germanism (German), Gallicism (French) and Anglicism (English).
Example of barbarism
- Wrong: The discussions take a lot of time. (anglicism: to take much time)
- Good: The discussions take a long time.
While writing a business text, you cannot make a bigger mistake than a style break. Mistakes in style arise because people’s spoken language changes over the years. In a business text you will have to use a formal writing style. So watch out with colloquialisms.
Example of a break in style
- Wrong: I think it would be nice to be part of the Philips sales team.
- Good: It seems like a challenge to be part of the Philips sales team.
Now that we have discussed all forms of incorrect word usage, you are now able to remove and correct the mistakes in your text. As you have read, a mistake can easily be made. In order to be taken seriously when it comes to a business text, it is essential not to make these kinds of mistakes.