Learning English for Russian speakers is often associated with difficulties. Here is a list of the most common 10 errors we make according to the version Italki.com.
1. I feel myself
- Wrong: I feel myself fine today.
- That's right: I feel fine today.
Unlike Russian, English does not use the pronoun “myself” after the word “feel”. English is spoken I feel well; I feel sick; I feel happy. If you say I feel myself to an English-speaking person, it sounds weird, like it’s about how you touch your body.
- Wrong: She spoke English well enough to get the job.
- Correct: She spoke English well enough to get the job.
In general, word order in English is stricter than in Russian. The correct position of enough depends on whether the word modifies an adverb, adjective, or noun. If the word enough modifies an adverb or adjective, then it is placed after the verb:
Do you think that’s a movie? We've done enough today.
If the word modifies a noun, it is used before the verb:
We had enough money to buy a ticket.
- Incorrect: "How are you?" - "I'm normal, thanks."
- Correct: "How are you?" - "I'm fine, thanks."
In English, the word “normal” is not used to answer questions about mood or well-being. Typically, you should say fine or okay. “Normal” in English means “usually”, i.e. "not weird". When you use it in response to a question about your mood, you explain to the American that you are not crazy, not strange, but generally normal.
- Wrong: I was waiting for David on the theater.
- That's right: I was waiting for David at the theater.
One of the most common mistakes is misusing prepositions. In English and Russian expressions, there are often phrases with prepositions that seem to be the same, but are actually different. Here is a list of the most common misused prepositions:
Depends on - depend on
Tired of - tired of
Divide into - divide into
In addition to using the wrong preposition, there is often no preposition in English expressions when one is needed in Russian, and vice versa. For example:
To wait for someone - wait for someone
To graduate from school - finish school
To listen to someone/music - listen to someone / music
To be afraid of someone / something - to be afraid of someone / something
Explain to someone - explain to someone
To answer a question - answer a question
Finally, there are some general categories of prepositions that can be useful for understanding:
Surface: on (table, wall, floor, plate, roof, face, shelf, etc.)
Technology: on (computer, TV, radio, screen, DVD, hard drive, CD, etc.)
Large transport: on (train, bus, tram, plane, ship, ferry, etc.)
Inside a physical object / structure: in (book, newspaper, hat, drawer, pocket, box, room, etc.)
Places: at / in (office, stadium, shop, supermarket, station, theater, park, etc.)
5. How and What
- Wrong: How do you call this in English?
- Correct: What do you call this in English?
How and what are often confused by making a mistake in the literal translation of a phrase like "What is it called?".
6. Say and tell
- Wrong: Can you tell me this in English?
- Correct: Can you tell me this?
Say is used in talking about something that someone has already said. Tell is used in a more specific sense to mean the process of instructing or informing someone about something. This is a one-way process, and the tell verb must be followed by a direct object (tell us / him / her / the audience).
At lunch, he told his coworkers about his business trip to China.
John said that he was very well.
Remember these designs:
Say yes or no, a few words, something.
Tell a story, a lie, a secret, a joke, the truth.
7. Learn and Teach
- Wrong: Can you read English better?
- Correct: Can you teach English better?
Learn and teach are often confused because, depending on the context, they always mean to teach. But in English, these are completely different meanings: Learn tells about what the student does (learn), and Teach about what the teacher does (teach).
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening. ” - Larry King
8. Do and Make
Wrong: I think I did a mistake
That's right: I think I made a mistake.
Do and make can be translated as done in Russian, which leads to problems for Russian speakers. The good news is that there is a fairly clear rule about this:
- We often use do for daily activities or tasks that do not create a physical object: Do homework, do the dishes, do the laundry, do a job, do the shopping. We also use do when we talk about things in general, but do not specifically name this activity. Instead, we use words like something, nothing, everything, everything: He has done nothing all day. She would do anything for her mom. Is there something I can do for you?
- Make is often used to express the construction, construction and creation of something that can be touched: Make food, make a cup of tea, make clothes, make a mess. Nevertheless, there are a lot of make and do combinations that break the rules, but you just need to remember them: Make money, make a decision, make a plan.
9. Expensive (expensive, dear)
- Wrong: That is to buy.
- That's right: for me to buy.
The word “dear” can be translated as expensive (expensive) or dear (dear to my heart, my dear). Both words mean something valuable to a person, but usually in different meanings. While dear can mean something of value in a financial sense, most speakers today use it to mean something of value, emotionally or personally.
This necklace is not really expensive, but since it has belonged to my grandmother, it is very dear to me.
Expensive refers to something valuable financially.
I wish I had not dropped my iPhone in the toilet. It was really expensive!
- Wrong: It's time I bought a new computer, since he is very old.
- That's right: It's time I bought a new computer, since it is very old.
Russian speakers often use personal pronouns incorrectly. In English, we say “he” or “she” when it comes to people. It is appropriate to use them for animals (dogs, cats, etc.), whose gender is easy to determine, to whom we have a personal affection, and whom we tend to personalize:
I have fond memories of my dog, Spot. He was a great dog.
We can also use the floor for personal objects that we especially admire. It could be a car, a ship, or even a country.
Look at that sports car! Isn't she a beauty?
"God bless America, Land that I love, Stand beside her, and guide her Through the night with a light from above." - Irving Berlin.