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Common pitfalls for Poles learning English


Seanus 15 | 19,674
30 Sep 2010 #61
As long as you don't say 'how long are you in Gliwice?', which means........???? Any Pole here care to answer :)
nott 3 | 594
30 Sep 2010 #62
Popular Polish mistake in London: 'mate' is not 'Mike', even if it sounds like 'mite', courtesy of Estuary English (?).

Yeah, 'how many sugars do you take?' is standard.

'how many sugar' is what I hear all the time... no plural whatsoever. Sugar is not countable, innit... Two sugar please.

For any perfectionists or masochists I'd recommend "A Practical English Grammar" by Thomson & Martinet

and what about me... Armstrong on the Moon allegedly said 'a small step for man...' which changed the famous words into nonsense, as they said. Took me a while to grok, and I am still in trouble while speaking or writing. With easier cases too...
Seanus 15 | 19,674
30 Sep 2010 #63
Eh, drastic fail there, nott ;) ;)
nott 3 | 594
30 Sep 2010 #64
be serious, I am a foreigner. No hints, please, just spit it.

edit: out.
Paulina 16 | 4,204
30 Sep 2010 #65
it only matters in the proficiency exam.

ordinary folk don't pay attention to the difference.

Oh... OK. Thanks :)

ithere 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.

*faints*
Barney 15 | 1,584
30 Sep 2010 #66
One sugar, two sugars...measured by the spoonful.
nott 3 | 594
30 Sep 2010 #67
Yeah, that's what I learned in Poland. I unlearned it in London. At first I thought it was this immigrant thing, then I started to pay attention, and voila, the English did it the same way. Milk, two sugar. I know it's ridiculously wrong, the proper way is black, two sugar. But I am not going to teach them English, innit...
Polonius3 994 | 12,380
30 Sep 2010 #68
The French are known for theri amorous nature. The Chinese eat rice with every meal, etc.
Do we also use the definite article when a specific nationality noun differs from the adjective, eg as Dane, Pole, Spaniard, Swede, Jew, Briton, etc.?

Or does one say: Danes prefer Carlsberg to Budweiser?
pgtx 29 | 3,146
30 Sep 2010 #69
thank you, Wroclaw and Seanus! i appreciate it! :)
zetigrek
30 Sep 2010 #70
no. present perfect is up to now
both are ok, but the grammar gives flexability when writing, speaking.

When I was watching "Allo, allo" a famouse BBC comedy serial at the end, before the credits started to show there was a signature: You have been watching (in order of apearance).

According to your logic: why not you have watched or seen if the movie is ending and not going to last anymore?

youtu.be/-i0zEXIMsHQ

He had had too much to drink before he finally passed out.

How about he had had too much drink before he finally has died? Is that correct? I mean can I use present perf with past perf?

Yeah, 'how many sugars do you take?' is standard

So how do you ask that question? (I know it should be much instead of many and sugar not sugars but is it the way you ask ile ci posłodzić?)

How many lumps of sugar?

And how do you answer? Two spoons, please?
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
30 Sep 2010 #71
So how do you ask that question? (I know it should be much instead of many and sugar not sugars but is it the way you ask ile ci posłodzić?)
How many lumps of sugar?

And how do you answer? Two spoons, please
?

Yes you can say this.

How much would generally refer to sugar intake generally - e.g. how much sugar do you take on a weekly basis?

Or does one say: Danes prefer Carlsberg to Budweiser?

You can say Danes or The Danes. The would often be used by non-Danes though and Danes by Danish people themselves. The Danes sounds a little more removed.

According to your logic: why not you have watched or seen if the movie is ending and not going to last anymore?

Because you are still watching - just about - the credits are still rolling and usually there is still action in the background.

How about he had had too much drink before he finally has died? Is that correct? I mean can I use present perf with past perf?

In a word, no.
richasis 1 | 418
30 Sep 2010 #72
How much would generally refer to sugar intake generally

And, in this example, "lumps (of sugar)" is quantifiable; hence, a 'count noun'.
On the other hand, "sugar" itself is unquantifiable; hence, a 'non-count noun'.
(While one may ask "How many sugars?", a cube, spoon, etc. is thus implied.)
Seanus 15 | 19,674
30 Sep 2010 #73
Zeti, no. You cannot mix the tenses as you asked. He had had too much to drink before he died. That's the idea of the p.p.s, to show the connection between two past actions though we seldom use it as a tense.

£yżeczki = teaspoons

We just say 2 sugars, please. This is true whether it be cubes or teaspoons.
zetigrek
30 Sep 2010 #74
many fresh fruits or many fresh fruit?
I've just read that fruit is plural noun (like Polish drzwi) and has no singular form. So should it be: Many fruit have lots of sugar? or Many fruits have lots of sugar? I've always thought that the second option is correct... but it seems not! :|
pgtx 29 | 3,146
30 Sep 2010 #75
many fresh fruits or many fresh fruit?

fruit is a collective noun taking a singular verb: Fruit is good for you ; The tree bears fruit (not fruits ).

The plural fruits is used in talking about different types of fruit: oranges, mangoes and other fruits .

fruit
zetigrek
30 Sep 2010 #76
Ciekawostka: Rzeczownik fruit nie ma liczby pojedynczej. (tak jak polskie drzwi) fruit - owoce

from: e-ang.pl/51,Rzeczowniki_nieregularne.html

Oh. I get it.
Yeah i alsoe like thefreedictionaty :)
Amathyst 19 | 2,702
30 Sep 2010 #77
Violence is seldom the answer but it works wonders in the right set of circumstances :)

Kinky sod (notice I didnt feel the need to place the before kinky
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
1 Oct 2010 #78
No, but you could have if you had wanted to ; )
Seanus 15 | 19,674
1 Oct 2010 #79
Inversion lessons are highly useful. I occasionally teach them and they serve a useful purpose. There are many pitfalls contained within. Poles often don't invert the auxiliary.
Ziemowit 14 | 4,278
1 Oct 2010 #80
And what about "Have you got...?" vs. "Do you have ...?" ? In front of an (or is it: the) entrance door, should I ask my companion, the owner of the house, who is nervously seeking something, presumably the key, in every one of his pockets: Have you got your key with you?" or "Do you have your key with you?". Are there any rules governing both usages?
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
1 Oct 2010 #81
It's a funny one. Both are used widely. Strictly, "Do you have...." is probably the more correct form but "Have you got..." certainly doesn't sound bad or anything.

To me, there is slightly different emphasis too - "Have you got..." implies a bit of seriousness or urgency or even purpose - depending on the situation. Like "Have you got your ID/passport with you?"

With "Have you got time?" there is a subtle implication that the speaker thinks that you may not.

"Do you have time?" is a little more laid back.

Those are my thoughts on it anyway.

In different contexts though there are other differences.

In front of an (or is it: the) entrance door

It's an. Because it's any door, you are just giving an example of one. The would be a specific one, either already referred to, or the only one.
Ziemowit 14 | 4,278
1 Oct 2010 #82
Those are my thoughts on it anyway.

Thank you. Your answer has probably been most satisfactory of all answers I've ever had on this subject. It says - as I understand it - that "do you have" is neutral, whereas "have you got" may be emotionally-stricken.

This was in fact a real-life situation which happened to me many years ago in the north of England. My friend, an Englishman by birth, education, residence or whatever else, who was the one searching the key to the entrance door of his friend's house, told me that both versions were correct, but hearing one of them (which one it was, I have forgotten) most Englishmen would get the sense of it, but then would think to themselves: "ha, this chap is a foreigner".

Later on, when I tried to find an answer to this in English language monolingual dictionaries like, for example, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, all I could get was an academic discussion of the problem which was bringing nothing to my understanding of it.

It's an. Because it's any door, you are just giving an example of one. The would be a specific one, either already referred to, or the only one.

That's what I've been thinking, too. But from a certain point of view, this "entrance door" is quite a specific one - "the only one", if I may quote you - it it is the entrance door of the house to which my friend was searching the key for.
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
1 Oct 2010 #83
It says - as I understand it - that "do you have" is neutral, whereas "have you got" may be emotionally-stricken.

Yes, and a good way of putting it. Although I stress that it's my understanding/feeling about it. It's not always 100% clear with English - the language is just too flexible and accomodating sometimes ; )

But from a certain point of view, this "entrance door" is quite a specific one - "the only one", if I may quote you - it it is the entrance door of the house to which my friend was searching the key for.

Sorry, you are correct really. The syntax of your original post didn't make it initially obvious to me.

In front of the entrance door to their house, should I ask my companion, the owner of the house, who is nervously seeking something, presumably the key, in every one of his pockets

This would be more normal maybe. Other alternatives too of course but either way, the connection of the door to the house, to make it specific, should be made at the earliest opportunity.

By the way, your English is very good.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
1 Oct 2010 #84
Have you got is also for rhythm but Teffle did put it ever so well :)

Other pitfalls? Ordinals and cardinals :) This should be nailed early days but isn't.
mafketis 36 | 10,793
1 Oct 2010 #85
Classes start in a few days, some things that will drive me crazy.

rhyming the last syllable of determine with 'mine' 'fine' 'line'

Stressing computer and hotel on the first syllable

Using inversion when you shoudn't. "Do you know where does she live?"

The word 'situated' instead of 'located' (technically okay but awfully old and stuffy sounding for 20 year olds).

Ignoring the count/non-count distinction "I need some furnitures"

etc etc etc
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
1 Oct 2010 #86
They sound familar mafketis.

By the way, do the teachers on here provide cultural advice too? Conventions re etiquette/customs etc? I do as some of the subtle differences can be confusing & surprising.

E.g. a woman I know answers the phone as part of her job - she mentioned that it drove her mad having to ask who was calling. She considered it impolite or very casual of the caller not to say in the first place - I had to explain that the norm (at least here) is:

Hello can I speak to mr X?

Can I ask who is calling?

It's Mr Y from Z company

One moment please

She found this a bit unusual.
scottie1113 7 | 898
1 Oct 2010 #87
americans don't use present perfect when they can use past simple.

You could have fooled me. I'm American, I teach English, and I know when to use both tenses, believe it or not.

it only matters in the proficiency exam.

Not exactly true, but I won't quibble about it.
f stop 25 | 2,507
1 Oct 2010 #88
be careful how you say "fork". In my efforts to make the proper American "r" sound, I used to give diners a pause when I asked if the'd like another "fok".
z_darius 14 | 3,965
1 Oct 2010 #89
'Attend to' instead of 'attend'

both are correct
Attend the funeral
Attend to the funeral arrangements

'Call to' instead of 'call'

both are correct
I called him.
I called to see him.

hehe the most frequent misspronounce is about the word beach

not really
It would be unnatural for a native Poles to say b1tch where beach should have been used. More often it will be the other way around, Poles tend to say beach where they mean b1tch.

probably the most common is knowing when to use a/an/the

yes!

The car of my dad you drove lasr summer, has been stolen recently

A very bad sentence. Was the car driven, or did they drive your dad?
Oh, and you're more likely to hear "was stolen recently".

Are there any other rules?

one of the best, if not the best: catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/1051819

One major pitfall I found was the trust many learners have in some Brits and Americans. Some of them use terrible English. As they say in New York City - They speak better English in Amsterdam than they do in Brooklyn. I'm sure there are places in UK that could be used instead of "Brooklyn".
Seanus 15 | 19,674
1 Oct 2010 #90
Dariusz, I know both are correct but that wasn't what I was trying to say. They say attend to when it should just be attend. The same with call. Surely that was clear!


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