There are probably often mistakes in French that tear your ears out, like “if I would have known” and other stuff like that. Well for the English, it’s the same: there are plenty of English mistakes that they hate to see or hear and that make them want to get angry. They had fun classifying them, so you’ll know what to avoid saying if you want them to be nice to you. Or else you’ll know what to say if you want to see them turn up the heat. Because it’s fun to annoy the English.
1. The confusion between Their/There/They’re
You see how it hurts you when someone asks you “how are you?” or are you talking about “that new car”? Well, it’s a bit the same thing in English. Anglophones also have great difficulty when they see confusion between “There” (the), “Their” (their) and “They’re” (they are). So avoid confusing these formulas in front of them if you don’t want them to throw their tea in your face.
2. The expression “For all intensive purposes”
Maybe you never use the expression “For all intents and purposes” – which means “for all intents and purposes” – but English speakers complain that this formula is often torn. The culprits stupidly repeat what their ears think they hear and start saying: “For all intensive purposes” (“for all intensive purposes”), which no longer makes any sense. A bit like when people talk about “mystery bouquet” instead of the correct “scapegoat” (moreover, we’ll talk about this famous scapegoat below, be prepared).
3. Confusion between Accept/Except
Normally, you quickly make the difference between these two terms: “Accept” (“accept”) and “Except” (“except”) have nothing to do with each other. Except phonetics which is close. So we, the French speakers, we don’t get too stuck between these two terms since they look like their French equivalents, but the English themselves are easily confused. And that annoys their compatriots.
4. The word Irregarless
English speakers have a term that means “without regard” (or “independently”), and this term is “regardless”. It is quite easy to dissect: “look” = “respect” and the suffix “-less” = “without”. However, there is a common mistake in English which is to use the word “irregardless” to say the exact same thing. It’s stupid since the prefix “ir-” which is a negation comes to cancel the suffix “-less”. Logically, “irregardless” should mean “not without regard”, but people use it to mean “without regard”, and it annoys a lot of people.
5. “Could of”
Normally, in English, if I mean “I could have paid more attention in class”, I will say “I could have paid more attention in class”. Only, many English speakers have decided to transform the auxiliary “have” by “of” and say: “I could of paid more attention in class”. The error is difficult to translate into French, but be aware that it is common in English and that, for someone who speaks the language well, it is very ugly.
6. The expression “Nip in the butt”
The English phrase “Nip in the bud”, which can literally be translated as “Burning in the bud”, is the equivalent of our “Nug in the bud”. Why not. It stands up. But some people screw up and transform the expression into “Nip in the butt”, which, literally, means “Burn in the ass”. And there it no longer, but then no longer makes sense.
7. The use of “Literally” to say “Figuratively”
So there it will be easy to understand the error since we are doing exactly the same. Normally, the adverb “literally” means that we take things literally, word for word. However, many people use “literally” to say things that are not literal but figurative. For example: “I literally died of laughter”, whereas I did not die at all in reality. Well English speakers make the same mistake. They use “Literally” (“literally”) to say something figurative. They should rather use the word “Figuratively”but we must admit that it would be weird: “Hey guys, I died laughing but figuratively, you know?? »
8. The expression “Escape Goat”
We promised you that we would come back to it, to the “mystery bouquet”, and the time has come. In English, “scapegoat” is “scapegoat”but some suckers who haven’t listened well in class change the expression to “escape goat”, or an “escape goat”, which no longer makes any damn sense. In any case, it’s not better than our good old “Mystery Bouquet”.
9. “Especially” pronounced “expecially”
The word “especially” (“especially”) is often torn into “expecially” by English speakers. And there too, it makes no sense. It’s a bit like people who, in our French-speaking countries, say “omnubilé” instead of “obnubilé”. Just a stupid pronunciation mistake.
10. Using “Pacifically” instead of “Specifically”
Yes, some English speakers manage to confuse a word which means “Peacefully” with another word which means “In particular” or “Specifically”. All because they vaguely resemble each other. At least it’s reassuring to know that the English can be as bad as us in their language sometimes.