Common Errors

February 18, 2016
Is my accent a problem?
February 18, 2016
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Common Errors

Small mistakes: big impact

I could list dozens of errors that people make when speaking and writing in English. However, language development is a lifetime process, so let’s not worry too much about the entire English vocabulary. Let’s first eliminate the most common recurring errors we see. Most of my interactions with overseas born professionals will contain at least one of these mistakes.

Résumé (noun) is pronounced…

rez-yoo-mey / ‘rez.ju:.mei/

(a brief written account of professional experience and education used in job applications)

‘His résumé had several grammatical errors.’


Resume (verb) ri-zyoom / rɪˈzjuːm/

‘We will have a break at 10am and resume at 11am.’


The following words refer to both single and multiple items.

We say…

Equipment not equipments

Software not softwares

Training not trainings

Machinery not machinerys



Advice (noun): ‘I would like to offer you some advice.’

Advise (verb): ‘I advise you to network widely in Australia.’


Capitals are used:

  • At the start of a sentence
  • For acronyms and some abbreviations
  • For proper nouns
  • To indicate shouting (not for job applications, of course)

They are not used for emphasis or common nouns

Bold font is used for emphasis – headings/sub-headings. The more bold-font you use, the less impact it has.

Australian spoken English is very informal in comparison to language conventions in many other countries. We don’t have as many markers of respect, and generally people speak to each other as equals.

In conversation, it is generally not appropriate to use:

  • ‘Sir/Mr/Madam’. Just use the person’s first name.
  • ‘Moreover…’

I am frequently asked to review somebody’s resume and, do the needful. I don’t think twice about this request anymore because I see it so often in the emails from my clients. The only other time I can remember seeing the phrase was while reading Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (written in 1845). Some English words used in the sub-continent are considered archaic because of their lack of use over time and will raise the odd eye-brow if they are used here on a building construction site, for example.

Anyway, enough of being a pedant.

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