Monday, 9 June 2014

Expressions I've been saying for a long time that are completely WRONG !

I'm going to sound like a pretentious bitch, but I think my English is pretty good. I'm fluent and even consider myself practically bilingual. I also hate spelling and grammatical mistakes. You should hear me shout at my computer when I receive an e-mail that says "It should of been delivered yesterday" or "It was a quite evening", or worse "It was a quiet quite evening". Seriously, if you can't make the difference between "quite" and "quiet", don't use them in the same sentence! Anyway, I hate making mistakes and I always ask for advice if I'm not sure how to spell a word, or how to write a sentence that makes sense in proper English.

But from time to time, I still use expressions that are wrong. Except nobody tells me. Until someone does. And then I feel stupid, and wonder: Why has nobody told me this before ?  How have I been talking like that for more than 10 years without anybody correcting me? The thing is, I'd rather have someone telling me I'm making a mistake than letting me look like a fool.

So here it is, a little collection of expressions I have used for a long time that I really shouldn't have...

"I just have to make you sign" ( or any other action for that matter)

In my job, I have to get people to sign stuff very often. But only recently was I told I cannot make anybody do anything, unless I'm threatening them... So I've been threatening A LOT of customers for the past few years.  And I feel bad now. Maybe they're all scared of me and don't dare saying anything...
The thing is, it's a direct translation from French, and that's probably the reason why I use it. 

"I'm going to eat cereals"

That sentence just looks fine, doesn't it? I used to say that when I was pregnant with my first child. I had cravings for Special K (I know, the cereal that's supposed to make help you lose weight) and I was eating at least 5 bowls a day. Apparently, I can't say "Cereals"  in the plural form, it can only be singular.
Again, that's  a direct translation from French 

"Month vs Months" and other unpronounceable words

This one is probably the least serious offence of them all, but I think it just irritates my colleague. So I will have to work on it. Basically, I can't pronounce "month", and I keep putting an "s" sound at the end, like if I was saying it in the plural form, although I'm only talking about one month. Come on, the "th" sound is quite hard for a foreigner to say, it's even harder when it's at the end of the word, so give me a break! 
I also can't pronounce "developmental" , or "asylum"...

"Just stay here, I'm going to put my son down and I come back"

Of course, I was going to put my son in his cot, for his nap. Little did I know it meant I was going to kill him. I wasn't told it was wrong straight away though, so I suspect some people think I'm a baby killer .  
I've just researched it online, and it seems I can say "put down"in that situation, so is it just an Irish thing? I may have to investigate further...

I find it scary that I got away with making errors like these ones for so many years. Maybe that's how there are so many misunderstandings when you learn a foreign language and have conversations with the locals... Well, I guess it's all part of adapting to a new country.

Have you ever experienced the same problems when speaking in a different language? How do you feel about people correcting you ? And do they actually do it or just let you make mistakes ?