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Common pitfalls for Poles learning English


Polonius3 994 | 12,380
29 Sep 2010 #31
Is American Budweiser sold in the UK and Ireland as Budweiser? I thought that due to legal obst'acles posed by the Czech Budweiser people of Budejovice, in Europe it is marketed only as Bud. Howver it's marketed, it's pretty hideous stuff, esp. the Lite.
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
29 Sep 2010 #32
Definitely sold/advertised as Budwesier. It's brewed here under licence so maybe that makes a difference?

Yes, it is bad. Just so happens that Bud & Guinness were the first two brands I thought of.

That's marketing for ya I suppose ; )
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #33
Taking a test is good too, pgtx :) It's more American, much like taking a shower instead of the British, having a shower.
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
29 Sep 2010 #34
Ah but the English say "Do you have sugar?" which I always find strange. To me this would only ever mean do you have any in your possession/in stock etc rather than enquiring about your preference for sweetening your hot beverage.

In Ireland we take sugar.

Dunno about the Scots - think they might be "takers" too?
zetigrek
29 Sep 2010 #35
The literal meaning is a female dog - a lot of people don't realise that.

we do. In Poland we have the same word suka and it's offensive to call a woman "suka". But it's not vulgar when useing this word when speaking about female dog. To make it sound less "sharp" we use also word suczka or sunia.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #36
Yeah, 'how many sugars do you take?' is standard. 'No thanks, I'm sweet enough' is the normal answer ;) ;)

A pitfall is where the present simple expresses habitual action, thus interpreted as continuous. Therefore, the present continuous/progressive tends to be overused.
scottie1113 7 | 898
29 Sep 2010 #37
By the way, this word, b1tch, is not a rude word in English - at least not in modern times.

Oh yes it is.

The three most common mistakes mad by Poles learning English are articles, verb tenses, and vocabulary. I won't give you any examples because I could write all night, but I think you-especially teachers-know what I mean.

I start emphasizing articles at the pre-intermediate level. With a lot of use, most students get pretty good at using them, but they're difficult because they don't exist in Polish. I had a post FCE student tell me he didn't use articles because they weren't important. He changed his mind when I asked him if these two sentences meant the same without an article: I speak little Polish. I speak a little Polish. His response? Hmmmm. I see what you mean.

OK, I understand that people are going to make mistakes with verbs, but the two that make me crazy are: I going (and any other continuous form), and he speak. The latter is so easy to learn that I just don't understand why they make that mistake. When I hear these, I insist that they say I'mmmmmmmm going and he speakssssssssss until they use them properly. I seldom have to resort to violence to get the point across. :)

When I say vocabulary I mean either not knowing the word or using the wrong one. False friends are classes. My friend is very sympathetic (nice), etc ad nauseum.

But it's all good. The point of learning another language is to communicate, and we're all going to make mistakes in a language that's not our mother tongue. If people can understand what you want or mean, even if you say it imperfectly, you're communicating, and it only gets better with time.
JustysiaS 13 | 2,239
29 Sep 2010 #38
can't - c*nt
sheet - sh*t

;)

answering to questions like this:

Do you have a dog? Yes I have.
Do you like flowers? Yes I like.

... instead of Yes I do.

using a past tense after 'did':

Did you saw that?
I didn't knew this.

not using 'the' and 'a' or overusing them, or mixing them up

and the funniest one i heard in a while, teeth pain (instead of toothache) ;)
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
29 Sep 2010 #39
Oh yes it is.

You don't want to qualify that no?

B1tch is only offensive in a certain context. On its own it is not a rude word.

Surely you are not disputing this?!
zetigrek
29 Sep 2010 #40
I have problems with perfect tenses. Still I don't get the idea of it. I just know that present perfect is used more often than past simple so use it whenever I can if there is no date in sentence or I don't say a story.

But the real mystery among other perfects is the present perfect continuus... I know only that it's used in such sentence like: I've been waiting for you for 2 hours. And that's all what I know.

B1tch is only offensive in a certain context. On its own it is not a rude word.

you mean only in dog context ;P
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #41
Oh, I teach that day in, day out. Just PM me for any specifics, Zeti. Bułka z masłem :) :)
Paulina 16 | 4,203
29 Sep 2010 #42
I have problems with perfect tenses. Still I don't get the idea of it.

Oh yes, I have the same problem :/ I don't think I'll ever learn to use tenses in English correctly ;P
I just don't get them...
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #43
Present perfect simple:

Action finished, time not finished, e.g I have eaten a banana today

Or used for experience, I have been to Thailand (not important when)

Past simple:

Time and action finished, e.g I watched a good film yesterday

Sequencing, e.g I opened the door, walked down the stairs, strolled out, looked around and then jogged.

What is troubling, ladies?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379
29 Sep 2010 #44
But the real mystery among other perfects is the present perfect continuus...

not usually used with numbers.

1. present perfect continuous for a past event where we can see the result.

look it has been raining. we can see the wet road. it stopped raining ten minutes ago.

this is the form that many students can't quite understand.

2. then u have pres perf continuous which deals with now, around now and into the future.

i have been living here for ten years. it started in the past, goes through now and into the future.
Why? because it's obvious that i'm not leaving home today. therefore it goes into the future.

so one form deals with the recent past. the other deals with around now and future

for the second form think of present continuous mixed with present perfect.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #45
Wrocław, what do you think is the difference between the following?

I have taught for 8 years

I have been teaching for 8 years.

For me, it's easy. As a non-teacher but native, you should be ok with it.
JustysiaS 13 | 2,239
29 Sep 2010 #46
I have taught for 8 years

.. but not anymore

I have been teaching for 8 years

... and still do

;)
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #47
Nope, not true. Try again!!
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379
29 Sep 2010 #48
I have taught for 8 years

I have been teaching for 8 years.

1. up to now

2 up to now and into the future.

if u expect to be at work tomorrow u should use No.2
Paulina 16 | 4,203
29 Sep 2010 #49
1. up to now

So... if I say "I have lived here for 10 years" it means I don't live here anymore?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379
29 Sep 2010 #50
no. present perfect is up to now

up to this point in time i have lived here for ten years.

present perfect continuous allows the obvious. i can see that u are not going anywhere.

i have been living here for ten years and i don't intend to move yet.

both are ok, but the grammar gives flexability when writing, speaking.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #51
Wrocław is right. With the present perfect simple, it means you have amassed experience to a point but we don't know if you have continued with that.

So, one focusses on experience and the other on continuity from an action that started in the past.

The duration form: Past, Present and Future perfect continuous. Please ask if unsure.
pgtx 29 | 3,146
29 Sep 2010 #52
Please ask if unsure.

please explain:
-he had had (...)
-he has had (...)
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379
29 Sep 2010 #53
he has had (...)

i have had... he has had

he has had a bad day

he had had (...)

past perfect
pgtx 29 | 3,146
29 Sep 2010 #54
i have had... he has had he has had a bad day

i got headache...

any examples, por favor?
Paulina 16 | 4,203
29 Sep 2010 #55
no. present perfect is up to now

up to this point in time i have lived here for ten years.

present perfect continuous allows the obvious. i can see that u are not going anywhere.

i have been living here for ten years and i don't intend to move yet.

both are ok, but the grammar gives flexability when writing, speaking.

So it doesn't really matter which you use unless you want to convey that you don't intend to move yet (and then it's "have been living")?

What about questions? Does it matter if I ask: "How long have you lived here?" or "How long have you been living here?"?

;)
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #56
He has had a stroke (sometime recently and his experience). He has had 3 strokes in his life (collective experience). He had had too much to drink before he finally passed out. The having of too much to drink precedes the second action of passing out. That's the nature of the past perfect simple. The differentiating factor with the past perfect continuous is that we focus on the length of action (duration). I had been jogging for 2 hours straight before collapsing. In both cases, there are 2 actions and we focus on cause/effect sometimes, the relationship between them.
pawian 222 | 23,657
29 Sep 2010 #57
We normally say two-storey building.
Is it common to say two-storeyed building ?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379
29 Sep 2010 #58
any examples, por favor?

the first one is present perfect. i have had... he has had

the second one is past perfect. i had had... he had had.

don't confuse two forms of have in one sentence.

i have been to the shop

i have had a cup of tea.

i had been to the shop before i met you

i had had a cup of tea before i met you.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
29 Sep 2010 #59
No, it's a two-storey building :)
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379
29 Sep 2010 #60
What about questions? Does it matter if I ask: "How long have you lived here?" or "How long have you been living here?"?

it only matters in the proficiency exam.

ordinary folk don't pay attention to the difference.

there is the point that there are regional variations in the way people use grammar.

americans don't use present perfect when they can use past simple.


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