Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hey guys, today we're going to show you some words that people often use incorrectly. Even native speakers will often mix these words up, or use them in the wrong way, so let's get into it. Hi guys, my name is David Harling, and on this channel, we teach you practical English for general conversation and business. As we mentioned at the beginning, we're looking today at common mistakes that even native speakers make. The first one is this: 'I'd love to visit Australia, but I'm scared of all the poisonous snakes and spiders!' Okay, so what was wrong with that sentence? Well, do you know the difference between poisonous and venomous? 'Poisonous' means something that will cause illness or death through eating or drinking So, you might say: 'The adventurer was lost in the forest, he hadn't eaten in days, and he really wanted to eat the berries that he had found, but he didn't know if they were poisonous.' So, 'poisonous' means something you eat or drink can cause you illness or death. But a snake or spider bite is different. If an animal uses venom as a defence, such as through a bite or a sting, then the animal would be described as 'venomous'. It is 'venomous'. So, let's go back to that first scene and see what should've been said: 'I'd love to visit Australia, but I'm scared of all the venomous snakes and spiders!' Our next mistake that native speakers often make is deciding which word to use to mean the opposite of 'more'. Should it be 'less' or 'fewer'. Let's look at an example: 'There are less people visiting shops this year because of COVID.' 'I'm so glad the airport is closed; there is fewer noise now that there are no airplanes flying overhead!' Okay, so what was wrong with those sentences? Well, there is a simple rule to follow when deciding which word to use. We use the word 'fewer' for countable nouns, and we use 'less' for uncountable nouns. A countable noun is a thing that you can count. So, for example, children. You can count children; you can say there are five children. you can say there are 30 children, you can count their number. But what is an uncountable noun? Well, noise is a good example. How do you count noise? Stress could be another example of an uncountable noun - you cannot easily count it. So, when we are talking about an uncountable noun, we use the word 'less'. So, for example, you would not say that there is fewer stress in my new job, you would say that there is 'less' stress in my new job. Let's look at those first two sentences again and see what they should have been. There are fewer people visiting shops this year because of COVID. I'm so glad the airport is closed; There is much less noise now that there are no airplanes flying overhead. And finally, we're going to look at a word that people get wrong all the time: The word is 'literally'. The word 'literally' is one of the most misused words in the English language. Let's have a look at some examples. 'When I heard the phone ring, I literally flew across the room.' 'I literally had a heart attack when I heard the news.' 'They were literally over the moon when they heard the good news.' The word 'literally', means something that is actually true, something that is without exaggeration. Unfortunately, today most people use this word when they are exaggerating, so unless you sprouted wings and took flight across the room you should not say that you literally flew across the room. If you heard some news and you actually had a heart attack, you ended up in the hospital, then in that case you can say that you literally had a heart attack when you heard the news. If you did not actually have a heart attack, then what you meant to say was that you figuratively had a heart attack, or you can say I nearly had a heart attack, but do not say 'literally'. You did not literally have a heart attack. So, there you have just three of the common mistakes made by native English speakers. I hope this short lesson has been interesting for you, and if you liked it then you know what to do: hit that like button, and while you're there consider subscribing to the channel for more content like this. I'll see you in the next one.