Francophone errors

Education is the most powerful weaponwhich you can use to change the world. In my almost two years of teaching in Paris, I have found that French people continually make the same mistakes in English. This has annoyed me so much I’ve decided to start writing about it.

One of the biggest errors that Frenchies make is to take words that they read and hear in English that semi-sound like French words but have a totally different meaning and without looking it up or trying to understand from the context, they just take it and try to use it in a total senseless manner.

Today, one of my students was trying to explain to me what he had to done this morning and it ended up with him explaining in a long winded manner that he had taken his son to playgroup and that his son really enjoyed it there – well at least that’s what I managed to decipher from the broken English. What came next was the weird thing, my student was trying to tell me that his son’s play school was between his apartment and his office but he somehow came out with “my son play school enter apartment and work”. Come again ? “my so play school enter apartment and work?” Heureusement, je parle le français !

My second pet peeve is when Frenchies mistake “actually” with “at the moment” and this Education is the most powerful weaponwhich you can use to change the world. (1)is an extremely common mistake. “My actual job”, “I watched the actualites”. No no no no no! Actual = is in fact not at the moment “my current job”, “I watched the news” grrrrr. Connected to that is when people say the new – its always plural! It even is so in French!

And one last one for the road that is rather fitting I think considering this blog post.

Student: “Oups… I do a mizzzztake!”

Me: URGHHHH.. you MADE a mistake.

Bon courage à tous !




10 thoughts on “Francophone errors

  1. I teach English to Chinese people and they say things like ‘I very like….’ ‘I like dog’ If I say ‘thank you’ to them for something, some reply ‘No thanks’. These are literal translations from Chinese so it is very hard to make them change these habits, It’s a never ending battle.

    1. Ahhh the French say “I very like” sometimes as well but hahahaha but god “no thanks” is annoying. I’m a native Chinese speaker as well but I had never though that that’s what we say in Chinese hahahhaa. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Interesting post. I teach ESL in America and run into errors like this, too. These things take time, probably more so when your teaching English as a Foreign Language!

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