Conversations Gone Wrong

Take the time to help your child be sensitive to common mistakes made in spoken English. You can have him or her tell you about the things that happened in school. This will help sharpen his/her senses to spot common mistakes made in everyday conversations.

To help you get started, try role-playing this conversation between Ming and John in the school canteen. Spot and correct the answers together.


Ming:    I ever play basketball for the school team you know?

John:    Is it? I never see you play before.

Ming:    Just last last month got play with our next door school.

John:    Difficult or not?

Ming:    Not yet start playing a bit scare, but when playing not so. Got training so not so difficult.

John:    I think maybe next time I also try to play in school team.

Ming:    Come. Very easy one.


Getting It Right

Did you spot all the mistakes? Here’s a suggested recap of the conversation, with the errors corrected in bold.


Ming:    Did you know that I used to represent our school in basketball?

John:    I have never seen you playing at any competition.

Ming:    I just did two months ago / the previous month. We played against / competed against the school next door.

John:    Was it a difficult / tough game?

Ming:    I was a little nervous / scared before the game began. But when we started playing, it wasn’t all that bad. We have been training hard so it wasn’t too tough for us.

John:    I think I should try out for the team the next time round.

Ming:    Sure, it is easy.


Source: Edited from “Grammar Matters” a series of handbooks by RELC.

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