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Thread: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

  1. #1

    Default Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Just to help me with an English club idea I have, I'm trying to get a list together of what "foreign peopo" would want to fix about Japanese English. This can be stuff your kids get wrong or things you teachers oversimplify or whatever. Basically whatever irritates you the most or whatever you'd want to get them to understand if you could. I just want to get a kind of tally going. Cheers!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    "I like cat! I like dog!"

    That means you like eating little baby puppies and kittens. God, stop.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    1. Teaching volitional form (OOOしましょう) as "Let's ___".
    2. "What do you like sports?"
    3. "There is Kinkakuji in Kyoto" rather than "Kinkakuji is in Kyoto"
    4. "___ makes me fine". Or any variation thereof.
    5. Everything about pluralization.

  4. #4
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    "I like cat! I like dog!"

    That means you like eating little baby puppies and kittens. God, stop.
    I see that one a lot and try to explain it; I dunno how important it is.

    Let's see...

    Starting sentences with conjunctions, particularly when the fragment should be a part of the preceding sentence. "I like dogs. Because they are cute." "I like English. And science." I realize that's how English is taught in JHS, but I hate it.

    Over-use of passive sentences, especially when it renders the sentence virtually incomprehensible.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Has anyone ever asked their students what words actually make "Let's"? It is amazing how many have no idea it contains the subject of the sentence, which explains the grammar errors I often see.
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    But what if we reverse the polarity of the quantum string theory? According to uncertainty principle there are infinite worlds out there, so it stands to reason schrodinger's cat is alive in one of them.


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    U da real mvp.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Over-use of passive sentences, especially when it renders the sentence virtually incomprehensible.
    Oh yeah, I forgot about that, I'd probably put that in there as well. I feel like no one ever sits them down and says "this is how English sentences work". I wish sentences wouldn't translate everything so literally. I feel like if they saw "サッカーが好き" as "I like soccer" they'd get it, but the textbook insists on having "私はサッカーが好き". I'm convinced that's partly why kids think they can just drop the subject in English as they would in Japanese, and that we're just making them write it out more lengthily as an academic exercise.

    I actually did have a HS kid once ask me "Do we have to write this composition with grammar?" once, that was kind of a lightbulb moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    Has anyone ever asked their students what words actually make "Let's"? It is amazing how many have no idea it contains the subject of the sentence, which explains the grammar errors I often see.
    Oh yeah, that's exactly my point. Even the smartest have no idea.

  7. #7
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    -ing/-ed is a pretty easy one for a simple lesson. interesting/interested, tiring/tired, etc
    車庫 B1F

  8. #8

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by BifCarbet View Post
    -ing/-ed is a pretty easy one for a simple lesson. interesting/interested, tiring/tired, etc
    I had a pretty good lesson with that subject once. The kids seemed okay with it.

    I totally agree that passive sentences need to go away. They're a huge thing in Japanese, but I was always told to never write passive sentences in English. Made learning Japanese annoying. The whole, "x was yed by z," is so unnatural, but they insist on it. Why?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    Has anyone ever asked their students what words actually make "Let's"? It is amazing how many have no idea it contains the subject of the sentence, which explains the grammar errors I often see.
    My favorite from NH3 SP1 (Would you like to....) Ask them to use the 'Let's' expression in the same way as review. Get "Let's come to shopping."

  10. #10

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    1) Shitting on each other for mistakes and putting the expectation of speaking perfect English on kids.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    1) Incorrect use or non-use of -ing forum. Examples: "I going shopping" "I am play tennis."

    2) R/L people talk about a lot, but not as many people mention b/v or m/n. It happens a lot on exams.

    3) Incorrect use or over-use of articles.

    4) Incorrect use of personal pronouns. Example: "What will Sue do this weekend?" "I'm going shopping." More than the others, this is the one that baffles me the most, because the sentence would be incorrect even in Japanese.

    5) The other four aside, the biggest "English" mistake I see that frustrates me is students letting their fear of making mistakes stop them from speaking English. Errors happen, and native speakers understand that. But, as a native speaker, I think student's English is a lot better (even when it's riddled with mechanical errors) when they can use it to properly convey their own thoughts than when it's perfect mechanically but they can only use it at the surface level.

  12. #12
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cbill1 View Post
    3) Incorrect use or over-use of articles.
    Ugh, yeah, I see this one a lot. Either the article is missing or they use it inappropriately ("I put it in the my pen case"). I've tried to teach when it's appropriate to use "a" and "the" but they still struggle a lot with the distinction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cbill1 View Post
    5) The other four aside, the biggest "English" mistake I see that frustrates me is students letting their fear of making mistakes stop them from speaking English. Errors happen, and native speakers understand that. But, as a native speaker, I think student's English is a lot better (even when it's riddled with mechanical errors) when they can use it to properly convey their own thoughts than when it's perfect mechanically but they can only use it at the surface level.
    word
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  13. #13

  14. #14

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    1) I'm fine thank you and you.
    2) I'm fun.
    3) Come on.
    4) Isola Teacher
    5) I like play swimming.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isola View Post
    1) I'm fine thank you and you.
    2) I'm fun.
    3) Come on.
    4) Isola Teacher
    5) I like play swimming.
    Thanks! JHS?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Yep, that's about everything they've learned in the 1st semester at JHS.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isola View Post
    Yep, that's about everything they've learned in the 1st semester at JHS.
    Well, hey, they'll probably speak better English when they're 3rd grade than by the time they leave HS.

  18. #18
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Oh LOL sorry



    1. Over-use of passive voice, often to ridiculous extremes.

    2. Incorrect article usage.

    3. Sentence fragments, starting sentences with conjunctions, prepositional phrases used as sentences, etc.

    4. Incorrect usage of "be" verbs.

    5. Fear of incorrect English prevents response of any kind.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    That's true, I think they'll be able to say, "I like playing swimming," in 3rd year JHS.

  20. #20
    Crustacean Sensation Ebi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    1) "I play run." (assuming every action verb, especially ~する verbs, require "play")
    2) "Let's play with me." (misuse and overuse of "Let's"; almost no mention or understanding of what "should" means; assumes "一緒に" always means "with me" instead of "together".)
    3) "I'm bery bery much enjoy." (misuse and overuse of enjoy; no comprehension of the differences between of "much", "many" and "a lot"; using "I'm" or "It's" contractions for everything because of misunderstand of how be-verbs work and/or not registering that I'm/It's contain verbs.)
    4) "I like bog." or "I like a bog." (confusion between b vs d; no concept of plurals; misuse of articles especially when speaking generally)
    5) "Japanese food is very like by me. For example, sushi. Because delicious." (unnecessary passive voice; lack of past-tense/past-participle; sentences lacking subjects and/or verbs; starting with "because" or "for example" without following with a complete sentence/clause)

    Those examples contain way more than 5 errors, as I pointed out, but they're very common. That said, I do wish there was less emphasis on error avoidance and perfect production. We tell kids "Don't be afraid to try! Making mistakes is fine!" but then the only things they're evaluated on is how perfectly they can translate arbitrary language from Japanese into English or pick apart the grammar of a sentence. Even when I do "conversation tests" at my school the students are given a sheet of questions and answers and they usually just regurgitate the example answers as-is.

    I wish there was more room for students to be given communicative tasks to complete without specifying a specific grammar point/form. And just see what they can come up with using what they know to solve the task. When I took a Japanese course a few summers ago, one of the best exercises was when the teacher thrust us into unfamiliar role-play scenarios and just let us use whatever language we could to resolve things. (One of the ones I had to do was apologize and help a woman who I accidentally spilled coffee on.)

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