Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Natives make grammar errors all the time!

Some of these matter on the IELTS exam, and some don’t.

Today we discuss a few of the most common native grammar errors.

You likely hear these all the time!

We’ll tell you which to watch out for so you can impress the Examiner.

Which grammar mistakes matter on the IELTS exam?

You can make some “native slips” and still get a 9.

It says this in the scoring rubric that Examiners look at.

Jessica knows because she looked at it for 14 years!

When do you hear these native errors?

Immersing yourself in English is the best way to improve your overall English.

As you do this, listening to podcasts, television shows and movies, you will hear natives make grammar errors.

In speaking with friends and coworkers who are native English speakers, you will likely also hear them.

Often the correct grammar sounds wrong to natives because they hear it incorrectly so often!

Native error #1: Incorrectly switching word order

  • “Depending on what’s my mood, I’ll decide whether to go or not.”

Natives shorten phrases like this often.

The correct usage is, “Depending on what my mood is…”

This is one native error that will make the Examiner dock your score.

Native error #2: Irregular verb mistakes

  • “I have drank a lot of water today.”

Natives often use the incorrect past participle, sometimes to the point that the correct one sounds wrong!

The correct usage is, “I have drunk a lot of water today.”

Natives also often make mistakes with lay, lie, laid and lain.

  • “I’m going to lay down on the couch.”

The correct usage is, “I’m going to lie down on the couch.”

These you could say and still get a 9.

Many natives might even disagree with you because they have said it wrong for so long.

The Examiner might not even notice!

Native error #3: Subjunctive

Natives often use the past simple tense when they should use subjunctive.

  • “If I was President, I would…”

The subjunctive tense is used to describe hypotheticals and things that are unlikely.

The correct usage is, “If I were President, I would…”

If you make this mistake, your grammar score will not be decreased as much as common mistakes like missing articles.

However, if you use this correctly on Writing Task 2 or on Speaking, the Examiner will be impressed!

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Native error #4: Double negatives

We intentionally used a double negative in the title of this episode.

  • “I don’t know nothing about that!”

When you use two words that negate, they cancel each other and it is actually a positive.

The correct usage is, “I don’t know anything about that.”

On the IELTS exam, only use a double negative as a joke in Speaking Part 1.

If you use this one, you would then say, “Just kidding, that’s a double negative! I actually know a lot about that!”

Native error #5: Collective nouns

Aubrey just posted an IELTS Energy YouTube video about collective nouns.

She shared how to use a few of the trickiest ones: plethora, myriad and multitude, along with example sentences for each.

An extremely useful tip is to force a plural by adding “the members of” if you aren’t sure what verb to use.

  • “The members of the group are all happy.”

This error does matter on IELTS, and can affect your grammar score.

Native error #6: Confusing subject and object pronouns

Natives mess this up all the time, unsure if the subject of the sentences is “I” or “me.”

The subject pronoun is “I” and the object pronoun is “me.”

However, when the subject is “we”, natives don’t always know if they should say “my friend and I” or “my friend and me”.

It doesn’t matter what the other pronouns or nouns are, the correct personal pronoun will always be the same.

Use I at the beginning of the sentence and me at the end.

This error also can affect your grammar score, so be sure to use these pronouns correctly!

Native error #7: Adverbs and adjectives

The most common is using “good” instead of “well.”

  • “I am good.”

The correct usage is, “I am well.”

Because you are describing the verb, you should use an adverb.

However, this mistake is generally accepted, especially with the popularity of the slang phrase, “I’m all good” or “It’s all good.”

Do not worry about this one, as it will not lower your grammar score.


You will hear natives make grammar errors, because it happens all the time!

Some of these errors are so common that they won’t affect your Grammar score if you make them on the IELTS exam.

However, some of these will affect your Grammar score!

It is vital that you have access to information from IELTS experts so you know these details!

To join our online study course created by an Examiner of 14 years, visit

And click here if you want to know what score you would get today!

You’ll also receive free information made specifically for your level.

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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