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Old 19.06.2010, 10:45
swissbob
 
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The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

I've been increasingly irritated by non-native English speakers making simple mistakes and noticed that different groups are actually picking up these mistakes from each other such that it's almost becoming a lingua franca in Switzerland.

This thread, therefore, is meant as an aid to non-native speakers. It is not meant to be critical and might even be quite funny.

I will kick things off with the most amusing ones (to me) at the moment.

This was introduced by Indian English speakers and I recently found even Italians were using it.

Incorrect:

He said me it should be done this way.

Correct:

He told me that it should be done this way.
He said to me, that it should be done this way.


This one is brought about by a literal translation from the German and is used mostly by asian groups (by the way, this could also be viewed as ancient English from them days):

Incorrect:

I will do it today evening. I did it today morning.

Correct:

I will do it this evening. I did it this morning.
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  #2  
Old 19.06.2010, 10:49
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

Dear non-english speaker. I can see how it can happen but;
If I ask you how things are, don't be tempted to reply "it's going."
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Old 19.06.2010, 11:02
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

BTW, there are other forums that Mods normally "refer" mistakenly landed visitors from abroad to EF, such as to www.englishforums.com and www.englishforum.com - to name two.
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Old 19.06.2010, 11:31
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

The informal EU groups communicate in English with mistakes, that actually facilitate the communication. So, there is a thing called EU or Brussels English. What you are describing is a similar concept. The non natives bond together on understanding the concept albeit put in wrong English.

I think it is far too common to leave out articles and, as you mentioned, use incorrect prepositions. I also know people say "we cook with John" when they mean to say "I cook with John" thus making the audience believe the subject of the sentence is plural, not singular. Common thing in these neck of the woods is to actually put "h" in front of any vowel beginning word, "he hate", as "he ate", and vice versa, leave out the "h" where it is supposed to be: "e as it", that's supposed to be "he has it".

All this is very cute. The funniest thing is to hear "you will win a lot of money teaching" meaning you will make (gagner is make/win cash), haha..or "I arrived at it", meaning I managed. Very cute. I find these mistakes a great way to actually learn French and the nuances in collocation.
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Old 19.06.2010, 13:04
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

I know I shouldn't say anything at all on this thread since my English spelling isn't exactly the best, but I still always found it funny in a strange way when my ex did the direct translates from German to English

I learn you this...

[Puts something in his mouth] This smells good...
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Old 19.06.2010, 13:58
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

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I know I shouldn't say anything at all on this thread since my English spelling isn't exactly the best, but I still always found it funny in a strange way when my ex did the direct translates from German to English

I learn you this...

[Puts something in his mouth] This smells good...
Actually, my hubby gets smell and taste mixed up quite often, I blame the use of "aroma" to describe flavor as well as scent. The flavoring set I got around the holidays last year is labeled "Back-aroma"... in English "aroma" is always used to describe scent.

I used to tease him a bit when he'd come to visit and would comment on how he likes the way my shampoo "tastes"... I often had coconut or strawberry scented shampoo.

Last edited by Peg A; 19.06.2010 at 13:59. Reason: brain fart
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:04
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

The kids at my preschool have taken to asking:

"When I am going home today ?"

Rather than
"When AM I going home today ?

My husband gets 'what gives?' from kids when asking what's for lunch today...
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  #8  
Old 19.06.2010, 14:07
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

My favourite ones are:

StuffS
FurnitureS
AdviceS

I am NOT a native speaker and I have to admit I do make mistakes...still when I saw this sign at my Barcelona Hotel:"If you need to go to into town you can ask the help desk for advices"...I had to bit my tongue!


A

PS: Oh and my doctor "you will become this medicine" LOL I know it is a bad translation from German
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:10
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

"A friend from me is..." -> "A friend of mine is..."

"The friend from me was..." -> "My friend was..."
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:11
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

When talking about a country:

Incorrect: Swiss

Correct: Switzerland
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:16
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

Nearly all the Germans that I have met refer to having been 'so drunken'. I think they must all have been taught 'what shall we do with the drunken sailor ...?' Whilst not technically incorrect (I don't think) it is somewhat old-fashioned.

A lot of them also refer to snoring as snorkelling, for some unknown reason

Oh, and another German friend came up with the gorgeous word 'huggling' which is a kind of cute cross between hug and snuggling!

Last edited by NSchulzi; 19.06.2010 at 14:17. Reason: another
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:22
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

Native German speakers often ask:
"Can you borrow me a ___?"

Correct usage:

"Can you lend me a ___?"
"Can I borrow a ___ from you?"
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:25
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

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Native German speakers often ask:
"Can you borrow me a ___?"

Correct usage:

"Can you lend me a ___?"
"Can I borrow a ___ from you?"
Yes, and strangely enough an awful lot of English people still say 'can I lend your ...?' instead of 'can I borrow your ...?'

And it irritates the pants off me!!
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:30
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

and 'I could of gone if I'd known' instead of 'I could have gone if I'd known'.
I think we'll start another Thread 'Native English Common Mistakes'!

Where's DB?

I'm not too keen on giving the incorrect version and the correct one in the same font though. If I had been unsure of the correct phrasing to start with I'd now know that one version was wrong and one right, but I wouldn't know which was which! Back to square one.
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:30
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

confounding shadow and shade (why is this almost as difficult as Swiss and Switzerland?)
The French always use vacations (pl.)
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:45
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

Incorrect: This project needs to be done until next week.

Correct: This project needs to be done by next week.

Common German-speaker's mistake.
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:50
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

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Incorrect: This project needs to be done until next week.

Correct: This project needs to be done by next week.

Common German-speaker's mistake.
Absolutely - my husband says exactly that!
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:52
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

Who exactly are non-native English speakers? How do you recognize one?
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Old 19.06.2010, 14:57
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

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Actually, my hubby gets smell and taste mixed up quite often, I blame the use of "aroma" to describe flavor as well as scent. The flavoring set I got around the holidays last year is labeled "Back-aroma"... in English "aroma" is always used to describe scent.

I used to tease him a bit when he'd come to visit and would comment on how he likes the way my shampoo "tastes"... I often had coconut or strawberry scented shampoo.

My ex was hyper sensitive for corrections so he insisted that he actually did smell the food while he chewed it. So I just let him go through his life smelling everything and never taste anything.

But anyway, I make loads of mistakes myself, but usually I find it rather funny when I realize I wrote college instead of colleague, aria instead of area and so on Problem is that when I'm not sure about the spelling I put it into Word, and Word makes spelling correction alright but the meaning sometimes f* ups.
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Old 19.06.2010, 15:21
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Re: The Non-native English Common Mistakes Thread

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Who exactly are non-native English speakers? How do you recognize one?
They say things like "I'd be very grateful in case you can help me."
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