i’m trying to do the English stitch. It was much easier for me to grasp rather than the Continental. HOWEVER…a friend has pointed out to me that my regular knit stitch looks like a purl stitch, and I tried the purl and sure enough it does…
has anyone ever come across this, and any ideas of what i’m doing wrong?

Depends which side you’re looking at it - the back of a knit is a purl, the back of a purl is a knit. The difference is which side faces you and how you make the stitch. Knitting all stitches every row is garter and when not stretched out can look like purls on both sides. Look on the Tips page for videos on the Basic stitches which show garter, stockinette, ribbing, etc.