In today’s post we’re going to take a look at some of the most common English mistakes that learners make. These mistakes are quite common to German mother speakers but people learning English from other countries will also find this a useful exercise.
These are mistakes that we, at the Londond School of Business Englisch München, have heard more than a few times over the years!
Many of these mistakes have been made over a long period of time by our English learners and have thus unfortunately become to some extent “fossilised”.
But by concentrating on these few key areas, you can improve your English significantly.
Try and figure out what is wrong with these common English mistakes and then check the bottom of the page for answers.
Die häufigsten Englischfehler von Deutschen:
1) “We see us next week”.
Tip: This is quite a tough one for many people learning English. Unlike the German “wir sehen uns nächste Woche” this is not reflexive in English.
2) “I collect old timers”.
Tip: This is a classic case of a false friend where the German meaning of someone collecting an old car is very different from the English meaning.
3) “I work by Siemens”.
Tip: Again, this is because of the German preposition “bei”. In English, we need a different preposition.
4) “I make my English homework every week”.
Tip: The German verb “machen” or “to make” in English is used a lot in German but less so in English.
5) “I did a mistake”.
Tip: See question 4!
6) “Is this the actual version or the old one?”
Tip: People will probably understand what you mean but the work choice is wrong.
7) “I’ll send you the informations as soon as possible.”
Tip: A classic mistake made in Business English by non-native speakers. Think about the plural.
8) “Yesterday, I visited the cinema with my friend.”
Tip: Think about the verb.
9) “We met us in London last year”.
Tip: Same problem as with numer 1.
10) “The solution is on the backside”.
Tip: The translation of Rückseite is wrong.
- “I’ll see you next week” or “See you next week.”
- “An old timer” in British and American English means an old man!
- “I work for Siemens” or “I work with Siemens”. ‘For’ means you are an employee at the company. ‘With’ means you work in co-operation with this company.
- “I do my homework every day.”
- “I made a mistake”. One of the few occassions we do use the verb ‘make’ but most learners choose ‘do’!
- “Is this the current version?” The word ‘current’ is one of the top 1000 most used words according to the Oxford English dictionary.”
- “Information’ is an uncountable noun in English – that means it never has an ‘s’ at the end.”
- In English you can mainly only visit people. You cannot visit the cinema or a museum. Correct is: ‘I went to the cinema.” An exception can be made for a city.
- To meet someone is not reflexive in English. The correct answer is: “We met last year in London.”
- This is quite a funny mistake. ‘The solution is on the back.’ Backside in English means your bottom!”