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Common English mistakes made by native Chinese speakers

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On English mistakes made by Chinese speakers (and vice versa): Ive always been fascinated by homonyms, and obviously, it is rare for two unrelated languages to share homonyms. Without thinking about it consciously, we will use homonyms from one language into another. For example, growing up, I frequently said open the light because in Chinese, means both open and turn on. I noticed other young Chinese children in America make that exact mistake, too. Another example is when Chinese ppl say Ill carry you there (), because is both to carry and to take. Conversely, English speakers learning Chinese frequently mix up to take as in Ill take you there (), and dont take this ().

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Notice that the meanings of these sentences are still fairly clear despite the incorrect grammar, which makes them sound strange to native English speakers. The context is enough to disambiguate meaning.

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Finally, comprehensive negative qualities are expressed differently. In English, we say None of these students have books. But in Chinese, we say (All of these students dont have books). Logically, these statements are identical, but for some reason, each language prefers a different implementation.

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In Chinese, there arent separate gender pronouns (e.g.,heandshe,hisandher). Thus, when Chinese speakers learn English, they often forget to use the appropriate gender pronouns. They mostly default to the masculine versions, which can lead to awkwardness when they refer to women usingheorhis.

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In Chinese, there is no need for articles (a,an,the) in front of nouns, so Chinese speakers often forget to place the appropriate article when speaking or writing English. For instance, they might sayI went to storeorHe likes movie.

To English speakers,he got a job in Microsoftsounds a bit off, buthe got a job at Microsoftseems more natural-sounding. However, in Chinese, there is one word (technically,character) that sometimes meansinand other times meansat, depending on the context.

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In Chinese, there is no such thing asverb conjugation to denote tenses; the context is used to distinguish between past, present, future, and all the other various tenses. For example, there is a single word in Chinese that meansrun. If you want to use the present tense, you simply sayI run. If you want the past tense, you have to say something likeyesterday I run, whereyesterdayprovides the requisite context. And if you want the future tense, you have to say something liketomorrow I run.

The correct use of prepositions (e.g.,in,at,on,to,into) is often difficult for non-native English speakers to master. This part-of-speech is especially problematic for Chinese speakers because there isnt such a strong distinction between different prepositions in the Chinese language.

In Chinese, peoples last (family) names are spoken and written before their first names, the exact reverse of English conventions. Thus, when Chinese speakers mention English names, they sometimes say them backwards (e.g.,Smith Will).

Mary like to eat meat; he definitely not vegetarian.

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Yet another mistake Ive noticed is with displaced objects: In Chinese, the object is sometimes moved to the front of the sentence when it is an old topic or it is to be de-emphasized. But this is not commonly done in English. For example: ,; ,, which I hear awkwardly stated in English as Your hair, I dont like it; your clothes, I like it.

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Common English mistakes made by native Chinese speakers

In Chinese, there arent separate singular and plural forms for nouns; the context is used to distinguish between singular and plural. For instance, if someone saidone catin Chinese,catis singular, but if someone saidmany cat,catis plural. There is no separate plural formcatsin Chinese. Thats why when Chinese people speak or write English, they tend to forget to make nouns plural, resulting in awkward-sounding phrases likewe have three dog.

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Sometimes articles should not be inserted, but Chinese speakers insert them anyways, perhaps because they remember that they should be aware of using articles when speaking or writing English. Thus, we get bloopers likethe God blessed Americaoryou gained the weight last month.

This article presents some common mistakes that native Chinese speakers make when speaking or writing in English. I try to explain the possible causes of these grammatical errors by highlighting differences between Chinese and English grammar.

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Verb conjugation is one of the most difficult parts of the English language for native Chinese speakers to master, simply because there are so many tenses, and each can only be properly used in select situations. Chinese speakers know not to always use the (default) present tense of English verbs, but oftentimes their attempts at switching up the tenses lead to incorrect and funny-sounding sentences.

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In Chinese, there is no such thing as verb conjugation tomatch with the corresponding subject. In English, we sayI like cheese,he likes cheese, andthey like cheese. In Chinese, there arent separate forms forlikeandlikes, so one would simply sayhe like cheese, which sounds funny when translated into English.

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Here are some sentences that combine multiple mistakes of the types that Ive described in this article.


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