PDA

View Full Version : Japenglish: Shit that's wrong in textbooks.



Gizmotech
June 19th, 2014, 12:32
Sooo...

Today I found two horrible pieces of English:
#1
SVOC explanation
I think it unlikely that bob did such a stupid thing.

To me, think is in no way an SVOC verb (as I cannot replace It and Unlikely with sam and happy)

#2
He was seen to enter the building

To me, this must be seen entering the building, but again, they treat see + O + action as some special beast, when it's actually see + (thing seen) and object agreement.

ihatefall
June 19th, 2014, 12:57
This is the type of thread 2chan should be translating

happytime
June 19th, 2014, 14:29
This is the type of thread 2chan should be translating

Agreed! Rather than our dirty laundry, which no~ one is interested in. Yup. Although bad grammar/bad examples are funny, juicy gossip is even funnier.

I wouldn't say the first one is a horrible piece of English -- it's a well-formed sentence that unfortunately doesn't illustrate the structure!

The second one, however... man. Do they ever get these books checked by native speakers (isn't there almost always at least one foreign name attached to those textbooks?)?

Gizmotech
June 19th, 2014, 14:50
Agreed! Rather than our dirty laundry, which no~ one is interested in. Yup. Although bad grammar/bad examples are funny, juicy gossip is even funnier.

I wouldn't say the first one is a horrible piece of English -- it's a well-formed sentence that unfortunately doesn't illustrate the structure!

The second one, however... man. Do they ever get these books checked by native speakers (isn't there almost always at least one foreign name attached to those textbooks?)?

Well funny enough, the first one is actually grammatically inaccurate. It should be "I think it's unlikely that s+v".

The second one actually is relatively well shown in corpus, but it's only used in certain meaning sets which makes it essentially useless for the kids.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
June 19th, 2014, 14:56
Well funny enough, the first one is actually grammatically inaccurate. It should be "I think it's unlikely that s+v".

Isn't there a rather anachronistic special rule about the combination of think / consider and 'it'?

Gizmotech
June 19th, 2014, 15:00
"consider" absolutely is an svoc construction verb. I consider the book interesting.

Think is not. Think does not work with stative constructions. It must always have a fully developed subordinate phrase, not a reduced subordinate with it's function words removed and no tense.

happytime
June 19th, 2014, 15:02
Well funny enough, the first one is actually grammatically inaccurate. It should be "I think it's unlikely that s+v".

The second one actually is relatively well shown in corpus, but it's only used in certain meaning sets which makes it essentially useless for the kids.

No way! Good gracious, I guess I need to brush up on my English before I go. I can't find anything in COCA for that second phrase, but Google is giving me a few legal/news-style hits. Which corpora do you use?

Also! Although the first one is ungrammatical(?), in my defense, I'm not the only "educated" person (http://books.google.com/books?id=wich23SBcEwC&pg=PA198&lpg=PA198&dq=%22I+think+it+unlikely+that%22&source=bl&ots=2wrHZeTDA1&sig=m3RYQKTc9fW4pxgweND_wRQub1s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CnyiU8jgLNSwyASikYKACA&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22I%20think%20it%20unlikely%20that%22&f=false)to have thought it grammatical. >w> Don't hate me Gizmo~ as fellow cat avvies we must strive to live in harmony~

Edit: Oh! Snow! You saved me. I guess it's not completely ungrammatical. ;w; Wai Ingrish so haado?

Gizmotech
June 19th, 2014, 15:06
No hate at all, I fully realize number two is seen from time to time, and has been used in many a document. That does not necessarily make it correct but rather an overused error.

The way you know it's an error is you can't freely replace it with contextually similar words and still consider the sentence grammatical. IE, change it first to likely. okay. change it to commonly. boom fail.

Replacement tests are always the means to determining if it's an idiomatic construction (exception) or if it's an actual rule.

As for corpora, I was using the new web 2012-2013 corpus they added to corpus.byu.edu recently. It's hosted on the same site as the COCA search engine. Like you found, I saw it in legal/ overly official news constructions.

coop52
June 19th, 2014, 15:08
He was seen to enter the building- type sentences usually only come up in stories about crimes, but they usually take the gerund rather than the infinitive (or at least the ones I've seen). Using the passive tense like that in that case makes sense, since you don't want to seem like you're accusing someone who might be innocent. I think it~ type sentences, though, I've only seen in fairly old works. It probably was grammatically correct at one point but has fallen out of use. It wouldn't be the first out of date grammar pattern that is taught in Japan, though.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
June 19th, 2014, 15:09
"consider" absolutely is an svoc construction verb. I consider the book interesting.

Think is not.

Gotcha. Thanks Gizmotech!

Gizmotech
June 19th, 2014, 15:12
He was seen to enter the building- type sentences usually only come up in stories about crimes, but they usually take the gerund rather than the infinitive (or at least the ones I've seen). Using the passive tense like that in that case makes sense, since you don't want to seem like you're accusing someone who might be innocent. I think it~ type sentences, though, I've only seen in fairly old works. It probably was grammatically correct at one point but has fallen out of use. It wouldn't be the first out of date grammar pattern that is taught in Japan, though.

That's exactly what I said to them about seen, that it's far more common with gerunds rather than infinitives. Whenever I think about it unlikely phrases, all I can picture are snobish British English from about 100-150 years ago.

greyjoy
June 19th, 2014, 15:13
"I think it unlikely" sounds very posh.

coop52
June 19th, 2014, 15:17
I get the same image in my head, Gizmo. But there are some things, like the overuse of "let's" and the use of sort of old fashioned words like "pleasant" and "attractive"(for things rather than people at least) that just come off as very Japanese.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
June 19th, 2014, 15:17
"I think it unlikely" sounds very posh.

That's exactly what I was thinking of...

happytime
June 19th, 2014, 15:18
No hate at all
Huzzah! If I could jump up and click my heels together in the air twice, I would. It's not as if you said you like me or anything, but it almost feels as if you have. ( *///w///*)


That does not necessarily make it correct but rather an overused error.
Is it really? D: My, my...
Interestingly enough, Google (...too lazy to check out that awesome corpus right now. Though now that you bring it up, I remember one of my professors mentioning it in a corpus-centered class I took. "orz) pulls up more for "he was seen entering" (~800k hits) than "he was seen to enter" (~300k), but on the other hand "he was seen to enter the building" has some 30k occurrences while "he was seen entering the building" only has ~11k. Funny how the addition of one word changes things. My brain hurts. I wish authentic English made sense.

Jiggit
June 19th, 2014, 16:17
Man I don't even understand this shit, how the fuck are the kids supposed to use it to learn?

uzateq
June 19th, 2014, 23:00
I think it unlikely

If this is grammatically incorrect, we'd better inform the well-to-do people that are on English TV. To remind people they're educated, this is the style of English they frequently use.

But isn't it correct? Perhaps not for your SVOC explanation but otherwise, yes?

"I think it unlikely" is fine imo. Similar to "I find him boring".

webstaa
June 20th, 2014, 08:21
Man I don't even understand this shit, how the fuck are the kids supposed to use it to learn?

Leave it up to the proscriptivists to make rules where there is no real pattern. Eventually there is a rule for everything and the rule is wrong. Although that opens up a whole can of proscriptivist vs descriptivist linguistics.

Jiggit
June 20th, 2014, 08:27
I'm sure it all makes sense to someone, but I don't think anyone ever learned to speak a foreign language by memorizing every rule and all the words for them.

Gizmotech
June 20th, 2014, 09:14
Leave it up to the proscriptivists to make rules where there is no real pattern. Eventually there is a rule for everything and the rule is wrong. Although that opens up a whole can of proscriptivist vs descriptivist linguistics.

Pretty much. The problem is when someone else looks at a proscriptivists answer and tries to make it make sense with another valid construction in the language to which it does not apply. IE, the stative SVOC construction to a non-stative verb like think.


I'm sure it all makes sense to someone, but I don't think anyone ever learned to speak a foreign language by memorizing every rule and all the words for them.

Funny enough that's how everyone does it, but very few people do it the way the Japanese do.

More often than not you memorize a word in context, gradually expand the viable patterns for it through exposure and training, then you have a mastery of the language. In the Japanese case, because everything is translated, they really have no entries for the English in their head as separate words, but connections to their primary language. Which really explains the recall problems most of em have and the production problems because they don't have indexes for English usage, they have cross maps to their Japanese.

When you learned these things as a kid, you probably would've encountered something simple first like, I think the book is cool, then in school you would've been exposed to consider/find and it would reduce to I find the book cool, because you would've seen that those verbs have object positions that take a thing and a state. The other benefit is you would be able to easily identify the concrete object and the stative adjective/adverb through excessive exposure to them over time, and putting them into the new form would be a "ohh, okay that works" rather than "EHH???? WAKARANAI!"


@uzateq, it is correct in that it is over used. As a grammatical rule, it is incorrect because think does not take objects of ANY kind. It takes fully formed complement phrases. If you say "I think it" it must refer to a whole thought, because it does not have two object positions. In most languages (including japanese) verbs like think cannot be used like "I think apple" or "I think apple sweet". Replacement tests are key here, because both of those should be wrong to you, meaning that "I think it unlikely" is a regularized exception.

@ everyone: One thing we must always keep in mind when teaching English to a non-native speaker is to teach the regular patterns as regular, and exceptions as exceptions. They must be clearly two different things. Shoe-horning an exception into a regularized rule confuses student production and stabilization of core feature of the language, and then if they are destabilized they really have no base to improve/grow from.

Jiggit
June 20th, 2014, 09:18
More often than not you memorize a word in context, gradually expand the viable patterns for it through exposure and training, then you have a mastery of the language. In the Japanese case, because everything is translated, they really have no entries for the English in their head as separate words, but connections to their primary language. Which really explains the recall problems most of em have and the production problems because they don't have indexes for English usage, they have cross maps to their Japanese.

Great point.


When you learned these things as a kid, you probably would've encountered something simple first like, I think the book is cool, then in school you would've been exposed to consider/find and it would reduce to I find the book cool, because you would've seen that those verbs have object positions that take a thing and a state. The other benefit is you would be able to easily identify the concrete object and the stative adjective/adverb through excessive exposure to them over time, and putting them into the new form would be a "ohh, okay that works" rather than "EHH???? WAKARANAI!"

I'm pretty sure nobody ever taught me English. I just read a lot.

Gizmotech
June 20th, 2014, 09:28
I'm pretty sure nobody ever taught me English. I just read a lot.

Exactly, but exposure + familiarity with word meaning == learning + expansion. For instance, I read the hobbit and the lord of the rings at 7 years old. I understood probably about 40% of the story, with much of the English being WAY beyond me. But exposure to more patterns like that, and a greater lexicon expanded my existing English, and allowed me to process new things in logical and predictable ways.

It's also the same way I learned French.

It's also the same way I am learning Japanese.

The difference with the last two is there are patterns and vocabulary I currently don't fully understand even if I can use them, and having grammar explanations and meaning explanations like the textbook give processing context to new things that I otherwise would not know through pure exposure and input processing.

Jiggit
June 20th, 2014, 09:41
OK I misunderstood what you were saying.

Man I wish I had the patience and curiosity that I did when I was just starting reading. Now I try to read something in Japanese and after an hour of struggling I'm like fuck it video games.

BeckyJones
June 20th, 2014, 10:04
This week I had to correct a teacher and thus a whole class that you can not use.
looks like with a adjective
the teacher literally wrote:
名詞 looks like 形容詞 and
He looks like happy
on the blackboard. After stopping him and correctly telling him that looks like can only be used to describe two nouns, he and the students fully understood... however, they decided to learn it anyways because it will be on the prefectural test.

Jiggit
June 20th, 2014, 10:10
This week I had to correct a teacher and thus a whole class that you can not use.
looks like with a adjective
the teacher literally wrote:
名詞 looks like 形容詞 and
He looks like happy
on the blackboard. After stopping him and correctly telling him that looks like can only be used to describe two nouns, he and the students fully understood... however, they decided to learn it anyways because it will be on the prefectural test.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

uzateq
June 20th, 2014, 10:21
@uzateq, it is correct in that it is over used. As a grammatical rule, it is incorrect because think does not take objects of ANY kind. It takes fully formed complement phrases. If you say "I think it" it must refer to a whole thought, because it does not have two object positions. In most languages (including japanese) verbs like think cannot be used like "I think apple" or "I think apple sweet". Replacement tests are key here, because both of those should be wrong to you, meaning that "I think it unlikely" is a regularized exception.

Thanks for the reply. I'd done ~1.5 hours worth of research to get to a point where I'd convinced myself it was correct but what you said makes more sense. One question though... Can't 'think' be stative? You said earlier "a non-stative verb like think". I'm knackered so maybe I'm just being stupid.


@ everyone: One thing we must always keep in mind when teaching English to a non-native speaker is to teach the regular patterns as regular, and exceptions as exceptions. They must be clearly two different things. Shoe-horning an exception into a regularized rule confuses student production and stabilization of core feature of the language, and then if they are destabilized they really have no base to improve/grow from.

I really like this. I made the mistake of doing just that in my first couple of lessons then realised they needed a real solid base to grasp onto, not just rules that came with a thousand exceptions.

Gizmotech
June 20th, 2014, 10:40
This week I had to correct a teacher and thus a whole class that you can not use.
looks like with a adjective
the teacher literally wrote:
名詞 looks like 形容詞 and
He looks like happy
on the blackboard. After stopping him and correctly telling him that looks like can only be used to describe two nouns, he and the students fully understood... however, they decided to learn it anyways because it will be on the prefectural test.

So the teacher completely misunderstood the grammar points of

noun + looks like + noun (Sam looks like a pile of shit)
and
noun + looks + adj (Sam looks shitty)

as one point together? WTF. Tell him he has mistakenly merged to separate points about look together and that he's an idiot.

BeckyJones
June 20th, 2014, 11:42
So the teacher completely misunderstood the grammar points of

noun + looks like + noun (Sam looks like a pile of shit)
and
noun + looks + adj (Sam looks shitty)

as one point together? WTF. Tell him he has mistakenly merged to separate points about look together and that he's an idiot.

That is the thing. I DID, just using nicer examples. My explanation was understood by the teacher, and by the students. However, he said that they need to know it that way "he looks like happy" because that is directly on the prefectural test.

The good students know the difference between looks, and looks like and its usage. The bad students probably couldn't count to potato so I guess it doesn't really matter, since you know... it IS on the test .

mothy
June 20th, 2014, 12:14
That is the thing. I DID, just using nicer examples. My explanation was understood by the teacher, and by the students. However, he said that they need to know it that way "he looks like happy" because that is directly on the prefectural test.

The good students know the difference between looks, and looks like and its usage. The bad students probably couldn't count to potato so I guess it doesn't really matter, since you know... it IS on the test .

I'm sceptical that's actually on the prefectural test. I see mistakes on prefectural tests sometimes, but that level of mistake would be quite out of the ordinary.

Jiggit
June 20th, 2014, 12:19
I agree that seems like a particularly glaring mistake. It may be that the teacher doesn't really understand and is just trying to get the noisy foreigner to shut up and let him teach English in Japanese without having to worry about pesky things like it how it's actually used.

Gizmotech
June 20th, 2014, 12:46
That is the thing. I DID, just using nicer examples. My explanation was understood by the teacher, and by the students. However, he said that they need to know it that way "he looks like happy" because that is directly on the prefectural test.

The good students know the difference between looks, and looks like and its usage. The bad students probably couldn't count to potato so I guess it doesn't really matter, since you know... it IS on the test .

You know, when stuff like that happens I've gotten to the point where I just say "No, it can't be, and if it is, prove it." While I will admit there were some pretty big mistakes on my prefectual test this year, none of them were in the problem sections, just the reading texts which obviously had been pared down for the students benefit.

BeckyJones
June 20th, 2014, 13:03
probably right. but nothing I can do about it really, other than what I did.

happytime
June 20th, 2014, 17:23
they need to know it that way "he looks like happy" because that is directly on the prefectural test.

Good God. I want to believe you guys when you say it's just an excuse, but... You never know.


Also, ah, d-d-d-d-d-don't hate, me, but, uh, we Americans call it prescriptivism. Just, uh, putting in my two cents.

Ananasboat
June 20th, 2014, 22:22
Good God. I want to believe you guys when you say it's just an excuse, but... You never know.


Also, ah, d-d-d-d-d-don't hate, me, but, uh, we Americans call it prescriptivism. Just, uh, putting in my two cents.

Isn't prescriptivism just saying that colloquially understood language is correct? Like "I ain't got no love," is grammatically incorrect, but it is understood as "no one lives me." If it is "incorrect" but still provides for understanding then it's fine linguistically. This example is not used in colloquial speech, and is not recognized by many native English speakers, therefore wrong in the eyes of prescriptivism, right?

Maybe. I'm not totally sure.

happytime
June 21st, 2014, 02:13
Isn't prescriptivism just saying that colloquially understood language is correct? Like "I ain't got no love," is grammatically incorrect, but it is understood as "no one lives me." If it is "incorrect" but still provides for understanding then it's fine linguistically. This example is not used in colloquial speech, and is not recognized by many native English speakers, therefore wrong in the eyes of prescriptivism, right?

Maybe. I'm not totally sure.

I was just referring to when someone wrote "proscriptivism."

Ananasboat
June 21st, 2014, 02:44
Ahh alright. Yeah spelling mistakes isn't prescriptivism.

kenkennif
June 23rd, 2014, 13:24
This is the type of thread 2chan should be translating

Where's the link to the ITIL translated stuff over there? I've never used any of them chan sites before, I don't really understand all of that Internets stuff outside of Facebook and TheMeatGuy...

kenkennif
June 23rd, 2014, 13:26
Oh, here was a good one - In the school hall there were two big new posters up on the wall last week - One had the title written largely in the center of the page in English "LEADERSHIP" along with all the qualities of how to be a good leader written in Japanese, the other had the same style with the big title "FOLLOWERSHIP" and all the instructions of how to be a good follower....

Only in Japan!

uthinkimlost?
June 23rd, 2014, 13:30
Followership - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary (http://i.word.com/idictionary/followership)

webstaa
June 23rd, 2014, 14:20
eh... Proscriptivism is the style of grammar and linguistics that proscribes (makes rules) for every grammatical possibility. It's competitor is Descriptivism, in which they make statements about how the grammar is understood. For the most part, Proscriptivism grew out of 18th and 19th Century Georgian and Victorian English grammaticians who starts farting up English with BS pseudo-Latin and pseudo-Greek rules and spellings to make things 'make sense.' If there is one thing the giant clusterfuck of the English language doesn't do, its 'make sense.'

For the most part, the only problem's I've come across is 'I come to school by (bike).' - In common usage, 'I ride my bike to school.' is more popular (same for 'I ride the bus to school,' but not so much for 'I come to school by car.' - which would probably be 'I'm driven to school.' (Which they'd learn two years later(ish).)

Gizmotech
June 23rd, 2014, 14:53
eh... Proscriptivism is the style of grammar and linguistics that proscribes (makes rules) for every grammatical possibility. It's competitor is Descriptivism, in which they make statements about how the grammar is understood. For the most part, Proscriptivism grew out of 18th and 19th Century Georgian and Victorian English grammaticians who starts farting up English with BS pseudo-Latin and pseudo-Greek rules and spellings to make things 'make sense.' If there is one thing the giant clusterfuck of the English language doesn't do, its 'make sense.'

For the most part, the only problem's I've come across is 'I come to school by (bike).' - In common usage, 'I ride my bike to school.' is more popular (same for 'I ride the bus to school,' but not so much for 'I come to school by car.' - which would probably be 'I'm driven to school.' (Which they'd learn two years later(ish).)

Spot on with your definitions.

The "I come to" is the result of over translated Japanese, where in Japanese the action is the travelling, not the way in which you do it. It's the same issue as "I came to love ice cream" which is amazingly overused in SHS textbooks, but yet would be used as a began to/started to in English (we're start focused, not result focused)

BeckyJones
June 23rd, 2014, 15:47
same thing as. And so on... In Japanese they use など all the fucking time, and "and so on" is a translation of など the problem is, in English we typically would use "etc" or in many situations, we wouldn't say it at all.

johnny
June 24th, 2014, 10:17
Okay, u feel super stupid for even asking this , but here goes.

My school uses the New Horizons textbook. There is something in the textbook for first graders that seems like a mistake to me.

There is a dialogue where a student asks an English teacher: "Do you teach here every day?" To which the teacher responds "No, I teach here Monday and Friday".

Now, it seems to me like the teacher is referring to a regularly occurring activity given the context of the student's question. Therefore, shouldn't she have said "I teach here Mondays and Fridays" with the two days being pluralized?

word
June 24th, 2014, 10:27
Yeah, probably, but that's such a minor mistake I can't imagine worrying much about it.

johnny
June 24th, 2014, 10:30
It's not a big deal at all, I just get paranoid about my level of ignorance.

Gizmotech
June 24th, 2014, 11:00
Something about it seems okay to me though, and I can't figure out why. Gimme an hour or two to figure it out.

kenkennif
June 24th, 2014, 11:17
I would be more concerned about what the hell does that creepy bastard get up to on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Gizmotech
June 24th, 2014, 11:27
Got it. It's a contextual ellipsis. In the answer is the word every, but because it is a present tense conjunction we assume the word every as part of the meaning. That's some high level omission right there.

Really they should pluralize it, but I don't think they deal with plurals till second or third year in jhs right?

coop52
June 24th, 2014, 11:36
They do it in first year, in probably the next lesson or two after doing regular verbs. Then, as far I know, most books have singular verbs right after for maximum confusion.

Jiggit
June 24th, 2014, 11:40
I would be more concerned about what the hell does that creepy bastard get up to on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

kenkennif do you have early onset dementia?

BeckyJones
June 24th, 2014, 12:05
They do plurals after that lesson. I think it is lesson 4 or 5. Either way, until then they throw plurals around like they don't mean anything but mark students wrong for not getting them "right". It is amazingly sad to watch.

therealwindycity
June 24th, 2014, 13:47
'I'm driven to school.' (Which they'd learn two years later(ish).)

There is a requirement in textbook law that all use of the passive voice must be awkward and unnatural, so this sentence would naturally be excluded in favor of examples like "The car is driven by them."

Also, can you imagine how many students would say "I am walked to school" after learning this example?

johnny
June 24th, 2014, 14:38
Got it. It's a contextual ellipsis. In the answer is the word every, but because it is a present tense conjunction we assume the word every as part of the meaning. That's some high level omission right there.

Really they should pluralize it, but I don't think they deal with plurals till second or third year in jhs right?

Thanks Gizmo. I didn't think of a contextual ellipsis or anything similar. Even if it is a proper contextual ellipsis though, it sounds darn awkward and unnatural (to me).

Anyway, as a rule I don't like the textbook using contextual ellipses because they confuse the hell out of the students, and worse yet the JTEs.

Gizmotech
June 24th, 2014, 14:59
There is a requirement in textbook law that all use of the passive voice must be awkward and unnatural, so this sentence would naturally be excluded in favor of examples like "The car is driven by them."

Also, can you imagine how many students would say "I am walked to school" after learning this example?

Umm..... Hi. Welcome to my third year students in SHS....


Thanks Gizmo. I didn't think of a contextual ellipsis or anything similar. Even if it is a proper contextual ellipsis though, it sounds darn awkward and unnatural (to me).

Anyway, as a rule I don't like the textbook using contextual ellipses because they confuse the hell out of the students, and worse yet the JTEs.

Also Hi, welcome to the SHS textbook, where things which are contextual reductions like using the progressive or passive verb forms as adjectives are taught as adjectives rather than reduced forms.

For instance: The running man is dead (contextually reduced). The man who is running is dead (long form).

In fact, half of my textbook I regularly remind people that it is the result of special reduction rules in English which are entirely contextually dependent, and not some special shit we pulled out of our ass to make English. (or more accurately, that gerunds don't exist in English, but that everything is a reduction)

Jiggit
June 24th, 2014, 15:40
Umm..... Hi. Welcome to my third year students in SHS....

Right except then it would be more like "I am goed to school is by walk".

Surprisingly if all you ask them to do for 2 years is choose a single word in a sentence out of 4 possible options then they can lose their ability to produce such sentences without a script! Weird, huh?

johnny
June 24th, 2014, 15:42
But that will help them pass the test!

Ebi
June 28th, 2014, 09:01
There is a requirement in textbook law that all use of the passive voice must be awkward and unnatural, so this sentence would naturally be excluded in favor of examples like "The car is driven by them."

Also, can you imagine how many students would say "I am walked to school" after learning this example?
So true.

I also hate having to use "loved" in passive voice sentences. I don't know why that's always one of the first words they teach for passive voice but it sounds unnatural about 99% of the time my students and JTEs try to use it. It seems like as soon as the 2nd years learn "was ~ing" they forget how to do regular past tense. And then once passive is introduced they forget how to do everything because they have a way to translate Japanese awkwardly into English without having to use as many pronouns (like the general "you" that they always struggle with).