Grammar guru gold
As English speakers, we are often a little arrogant about the fact that second language speakers have trouble with using this tricky language correctly.
Problems with prepositions like, “I’m going in holiday,“ or problems with collocations like, “I made my homework last night,” often receive looks that crush people’s confidence. It is worth remembering that even first language English speakers make mistakes. And these mistakes can cause serious misunderstandings if you’re paying attention.
What follows are some examples of the well-known problems. If you have any of your own, please post them to our Facebook page.
“Prostrate cancer” should be “Prostate cancer.” The first one is a cancer that causes you to lie face down. I have this every weekend.
“Sneak peak” A quick look is a “peek.” The correct term for the top of the mountain is a “peak.” This version implies a mountain that will creep up on you.
“The disappearing woman is well-known slight of hand.” “Slight” means “to insult” where “sleight” means a trick. The first version would mean that it’s easy to make a woman disappear with an insult. Which I suppose is also true.
“Piece of mind.” This means a section of brain. This means that, “When hiring a babysitter, I get piece of mind,” shows that the babysitter gives me a piece of her brain when she watches my child.
“Axe you a question.” Although this is a very American example, the idea of somebody wielding an axe when requesting information makes for a slightly biased answer to whatever the question is.
I’m sure you have heard some of these in conversation. Let’s hope that next time you hear a L2 speaker make other mistakes, you cut them some slag or help them hit the male on the head.