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Slipping up




Part 1: German to English
Learning a language is tough and mistakes are inevitable. And acceptable! Plus, when people make mistakes in the language they're learning it can teach you a lot about how to use their native language. That said, here are 4 common mistakes I’ve heard around me since I've been living in Germany. If you’ve been using any of them, never fear! I’ll tell you how to fix them. 

Hello together!
If you’ve been using this phrase to greet your English-speaking colleagues first thing in the morning or before a meeting, I’m sorry to say you’ve been making a mistake. German and English are similar in so many ways and, sometimes, directly translating from one to the other will yield good results. But this is not one of those times! 'Hello everyone' is what you’re looking for in this situation.

The same like…
Although ‘like’  can be similar in meaning to ‘the same’, we don’t combine them. So if, “I went to the same school like her” sounds fine to you, you’ve possibly been saying it wrong for a while. By this stage, I hope you’re racking your brains trying to figure out what the right word actually is.

Ok I’ll tell you…. “I went to the same school as her.” Whilst it may sound strange, it is indeed the correct version. (No, really.)

If I would …
If I would be a millionaire, I would buy a boat and sail around the world.” Actually, that’s not accurate, and neither is the grammar in that sentence. Conditional sentences are notoriously tricky (in any language, it seems!) and, to make it more confusing, many native English speakers have no problem with the example sentence above. But I do, my friends. It’s just not grammatical. When 'if I' and 'would' appear in a sentence, they should not be placed together. Swap the 'would be' for a 'was' (or 'were', if you’re traditional) and you’ve got a beautiful second conditional: “If I was / were a millionaire, I would buy a boat and sail around the world (or something less dangerous and more fun.).”

Persons
The only place I would expect to see this word (the plural version, mind) is in a lift. If you are a sign in a lift, 'persons' is what you will use to indicate maximum capacity. If you are not, in fact, a sign in a lift, the word you want is 'people' (as in “Today at work I said, ‘hello together’ and the other people in the room looked confused.”)

Yes, persons is a word, yes, it is grammatical, but no, we don’t use it, and that’s what counts.


From the article
tough     difficult
inevitable  when something is going to happen and you can't stop it
never fear    don't worry
yield      give
rack your brains     think very hard
whilst    while (here it means 'even though')
notoriously   famous for something bad








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