10 mistakes in English that even people with good language skills make
To speak English, stop panicking with every mistake. Edition Lifehacker collected 10 errors in the English language, which are worth paying attention to and worry a lot.
1. Use Past Simple instead of Past Perfect
Past Perfect is when something happened so long ago that no one remembers why you should use this particular time. If a bunch of past exercises don't help, just hone Past Simple. And relax. In most cases, it is enough to tell all your adventures from the past.
You can remember the main function of Past Perfect: something happened earlier than something else. She had learnt Italian and then moved to Rome. “She learned Italian before moving to Rome.” Past Perfect will help you make a temporary accent. But nothing will change globally if you say She learnt Italian and moved to Rome. - She learned Italian and moved to Rome.
2. Say good instead of well
Confuse these words without a twinge of conscience - in most cases, the meaning will not change. You can navigate like this: good is used as an adjective, that is, it answers the question “Which?”. He's a good singer. - He is a good singer. At the same time, well is an adverb and answers the question “How?”. He sings well. - He sings well.
Sometimes the difference is so subtle that it is difficult to see. He did a good job. - He did a great job. He did the job well. - He did a good job. And only in some cases the value changes, for example, Be good! means "Behave well," and Be well! - this is a wish for health.
3. Confuse the phrasal verb
Sneaky phrasal verbs change meaning depending on the preposition. Say pass away (die) instead of pass out (lose consciousness) - this is for yourself. But according to the reaction of a person, you will understand that you were mistaken. The situation where you break a couple because you confused make up (make up) with make out (kiss passionately) is also quite mythical. Most likely, you will simply be asked what you had in mind.
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The main thing is not to avoid phrasal verbs because of fear of saying the wrong excuse. Firstly, everyone understands that this is not an easy topic. Secondly, such verbs allow you to briefly and succinctly express your thoughts and make you cool.
4. Lose the article
Articles are a strange thing, obscure to Russian-speaking people. At first everything seems to be clear: you need to put a / an or the in front of the noun, if we are talking about something specific. But then exceptions, abstract concepts, names of rivers and lakes, stable phrases and the desire to close the textbook and throw it all out of my head.
In secret: even if you forget the article, you will still be understood. To add it where it is not necessary is also not a big trouble. Much more important - do not be shy to speak instead of being silent and trying to remember the rule. There is a little trick: when possible, use the possessive pronoun where you doubt the article. For example, my apple instead of the apple or an apple.
5. Wrong to pronounce the name
Try reading these names of British cities: Loughborough, Leicester, Worcester, Hawick. Oops And here is how these words are pronounced: Loughborough, Leste, Wust, Hoyk. It is impossible to know exactly how all proper names are read. So do not reproach yourself if you make a mistake with the city, the name or even the name of the person. Just ask how to say it right.
Even in ordinary words, it can be difficult to perfectly pronounce everything the first time. For example, the same combination of letters is read differently in the words tough (tough), though (zo) and neighbor (neubo). But English phonetics should not confuse you: if you knew how many foreign tears were shed over our letters u, w, t, and h. And hard and soft signs in general completely discourage the desire to climb into the wilds of Russian.
6. To screw up with gerund
Gerund is a verb with the ending -ing, which is used as a noun. There is no exact analogue to gerund in the Russian language. Remember the main thing: both I like to read books, and I like reading books means that you like to read. Just the option with gerund emphasizes that you are pleased with the reading process itself, and not just that you learn something new from books. Only linguistic nerds pay attention to this.
But sometimes the insidious gerund can still change the meaning of the sentence. For example, Go on reading the article - continue reading the article, and Go on to read the article - go on reading the article after another lesson. She quit working here means that she no longer works here. But She quit to work here - that she quit her previous job to work here. This is a difficult language moment, but over time you will learn to notice the difference.
7. Confuse singular and plural
Here you should definitely understand the basic rules: when to add s to the word (spoiler - almost always), and when es. And learn exception words that don't change shape, like fish. The rest of the more complex nuances can be recognized endlessly. In English, many nouns that appear to be singular are actually used in the plural. And vice versa. For example, the word “police” is plural: The police are coming. “The police are on their way.” At the same time, “news” must be singular: The news is good. - Good news.
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The word “money” is also always in the singular: Money is never enough. - There is not much money. Stock market experts say monies mean “amount of money,” but it's professional jargon. Do not try to repeat this at home. Few people know that the names of football clubs are also often used in the plural. If you are a Chelsea fan, you have to say: Chelsea are the best football club in the world.
8. Do not understand the established expression
Idioms are an incomprehensible thing from another culture, and there is nothing shameful in not knowing all the expressions. Even an ideal Russian-speaking foreigner can be stupidized with phrases such as “give a tooth” or “kill a worm.” The same situation with English. If you do not understand that to pull somebody's leg is not to pull someone by the leg, but to play a joke, nothing bad will happen. In a conversation you can always just ask what exactly a person means. And if a strange expression is found in the series - google translation.
Keep a separate idiom dictionary and re-read entries. Gradually, you will remember that the phrase “It's not rocket science” is not about spaceships at all, but about something easy to understand. And to hang somebody out to dry means to leave a person without help, and not dry. To beat around the bush is also not about beating bushes. The expression means "beat around the bush," "avoid the main topic."
9. Not knowing when to say whom instead of who
To correctly ask the question “Who are you going on vacation with?”, You need to say: Whom are you going on vacation with? But few people remember this. When it comes to choosing between who and whom, even native speakers themselves can get confused. You can help yourself this way: if the answer is a nominative case, then in the question you need to put who. For example, Who is taking the dog out today? He is. “Who is walking the dog today?” Is he". If the answer needs to be told to him, then the question is whom. For example, Whom do you believe? I believe him. “Who do you believe?” I believe him".
In colloquial English whom is often omitted. Therefore, although it will be grammatically correct To whom are you talking ?, most people will say Who are you talking to? But if you use the official style, you should not forget about whom. For example, the phrase in the letter “To present at the place of demand” in English sounds To whom it may concern.
10. Choose the wrong future tense
It seems that in English there are so many ways to say about the future that it is easier to live in the present. Do not tell anyone, but the difference in future tenses is often insignificant. So you will be understood correctly anyway. The only way to understand the nuances is to try, make mistakes and try again.
You can start orienting yourself without going into details:
- Future Simple most often means a spontaneous decision.
I will cook chicken for dinner tonight. “I just thought I'd make chicken for dinner.”
- Present Continuous describes the exact plan.
I am cooking chicken for dinner tonight, you should come over! - Today I am cooking chicken for dinner, come visit!
- To be going to emphasizes your intention.
I am going to cook chicken for dinner tonight, unless my husband got us something else. “I'm going to cook chicken for dinner today if my husband hasn't bought something else.”
- Future Continuous focuses on the duration of the action.
Don't bother me for the next two hours, I will be cooking. - Do not bother me in the next two hours, I will cook.
- Future Perfect says the action will end in the future.
Talk to me in two hours, I will have cooked dinner by then. - We’ll talk in two hours, I’ll just get dinner.
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