Common errors found in applications

18th June 2013 at 01:00

Common grammatical mistakes to avoid



OK, I know you don't want this.  


So if you also think that you don't need it, then go straight back to the Jobseekers forum.


On the other hand, if you would like to ensure that your application doesn't go straight onto the REJECT pile, read on!


Grammatical errors, or spelling errors, are a very common reason for rejecting an application.  Sometimes one can be charitable and think it's a typo; could happen to anybody.  But even a typo is not a good idea in an application for any job.  How less acceptable are grammatical errors from a candidate for a teaching post?

Here are some common errors seen on the TES Forum.  Make sure that you don't put them in an applicationnor on the board during an interview lesson.


Common error number 1:  writing "alot" as all one word.  It is two words.

 "A lot"  is an expression of quantity, and is two words.  Or three words: "a lot of".  Just like other expressions of quantity.


  • A bottle of wine
  • A packet of biscuits
  • A pound of apples
  • A bag of sweets
  • A lot of teachers


Common error number 2: writing "you and I" when it should be "you and me".

Yes, this probably goes against all you have been ever told.


But whereas it is correct to say: You and I have had too much to do today, it is incorrect to say   He gave it to you and I. You wouldn't say: He gave it to I, but He gave it to me. Therefore you say He gave it to you and me.


So before automatically saying "and I", stop and think: if the other person wasn't there, would I say "I" or "me". That will show you which is correct.


Common error number 3:  writing "it's" for "its"

Most (but not all) possessives have an apostrophe + s.  This book is Theo's, and that one is Jane's.


But some don't: This is hers, that one is yours.  People rarely have a problem here.  Where there is a problem is with "it's" and "its".  "it's" is the abbreviation for "it is".  It's freezing cold in here!". 


But its, without an apostrophe, is a possessive.  The dog licked its puppy.  The sheep raised its head.  The computer and its uses today.  Although it's (!) a possessive, you must not put in an apostrophe - it's as bad as Apple's 69p per kilo.


Common error number 4: writing "your" for "you're"

"Your" is the possessive.  It shows what belongs to you.   My class and your class.


"You're" is the abbreviation for "You are".   You're coming with your class, aren't you?


Common error number 5: mixing up “there”, “they’re” and “their”

 “There” is a place – the opposite of “here”.  You don’t write “over heir”, so you don’t write “over their”. 


“They’re” is the abbreviation of “They are”.  Just like “we’re” is short for “we are” and “you’re” is short for “you are”.


“Their” is the possessive – it’s the plural of “his” and “her”.  And if you are not following it with a noun (e.g. their car), you say “theirs”.  I bought mine and theirs too.


All in one:  Where are the children?  They’re over there, with their teacher.


Common error number 6: writing "of" instead of "have"

It is not "I should of", nor "We might of" , nor "He could of", nor "they would of" nor even  "you ought to of".


In all those examples, it is the verb have that you need.  This is so bad an error, and cannot possibly be considered a typo, that in most schools it would be a deal-breaker, and your application would go in the bin.


I should have warned him,  We might have done it.  He could have arrived earlier.  They would have done it, if they had known.  You ought to have told him immediately.


Common error number 7:  mixing up who's and whose

"Who's" is an abbreviation, meaning either who is or who was or who has.


"Whose" is the possessive.


Who's that over there?  It's the man whose wife has just won the prize. The one who's got the first prize? Yes, that's her.


Common error number 8:  Incorrect use of Hyphens

When a compound functions as an adjective before a noun, it is usual to write it with a hyphen even though it would not take hyphens elsewhere.


  • An up-to-date report.  The records are not up to date.
  • A well-known fact.   The facts are well known.
  • A common-sense approach to studying.   She lacks common sense.
  • The twentieth-century artist Hockney.  In the twentieth century.
  • A late-nineteenth-century novel.   Novels of the late twentieth century.


I have developed a whole-school procedure.  The whole school has participated in this initiative.


I monitor in-school variation of attainment on a half-termly basis.


Common Error number 9:

One criterion, two criteria

Whereas data and media are now acceptable as singular or plural, criteria is a plural whose singular is criterion. Similarly one phenomenon, two phenomena.


The main criterion for selection is....... The main criteria for selection are .....


So you should NOT write  X"The criteria for pupil success is . . ."X


Common Error number 10: 


In British English one does not follow outside with of.   

I have many interests outside school which I would be keen to share as a club.


 Please do not write: X"Outside of school, I also . ." X


Happy applications!


5 common errors in applications   


Best wishes