The top 25 mistakes Germans make in English

1. I am born in Berlin.
2. We are meeting us next week.
3. I am living here since 1998.
4. I moved here for 6 years.
5. I have lived in Halle until 1997.
6. We have often meetings in Frankfurt.
7. We have opened in Potsdam our new headquarters.
8. Can you borrow me your pen?
9. I am working for Audi.
10. I’m looking forward to see you.
11. How long do you work here?
12. I am used to solve problems.
13. Right now I take a course in English.
14. I call you back in 5 minutes.
15. Our new head of department has been here since six months.
16. Dr Big wants that I come in to work on Saturday.
17. My husband has an own company.
18. Dr Big is not on his desk right now.
19. Sorry, but he’s busy in the moment.
20. I drive to work with my car.
21. I haven’t seen her in the last time.
22. I have to leave now, but I’ll make it first thing tomorrow morning.
23. Do you like some more coffee?
24. You can get downtown by foot.
25. I need your confirmation until Friday at the latest.

language focus: mistakes Germans make in business English

picture: pixelio.de

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Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

8 thoughts on “The top 25 mistakes Germans make in English”

  1. That about covers it, doesn’t it. If I had a dollar / euro for every time…

    Sometimes the temptation is to give up trying to change them. Maybe it will become standard English as some point anyway. Besides, it’s only matched by the mistakes native English speakers make in our own language. Discussion forums on the Internet frequently make you want to cringe.

  2. Hi Anne,
    Did you send this to Kate, b.t.w. for Meltanews?
    It’d be interesting for all those souls who haven’t, perhaps, discovered
    the Island weekly. I’ll use it as a warmer in our lesson this morning.
    Cheers,
    Joan

  3. Americans (and increasingly English speakers) seem to like using adjectives rather than adverbs these days, e.g. ‘He drives real slow.’ – rather than ‘He drives really slowly.’

    My question is though is this acceptable in formal, academic writing in the US?

    I ask because my sister-in-law often asks me to proofread articles she writes for American medical journals and we can’t agree on whether ‘professional-led psychoeducational relatives’ groups’ is correct or not.

    I say it is not correct and she should say ‘professionally-led’, but she has told me her counterparts in the US all say and write ‘professional-led’.

    Hmm….

  4. Hi John,
    Nice of you to stop by :-)
    In your sister in law’s case, she could theoretically argue that it’s a compund noun:
    a company managed by the owner = owner-managed
    an organization led by a professional/professionals = professional-led
    Using adjectives instead of adverbs is considered an error in the States, but it’s widespread.
    However, sometimes it’s a part of ellipsis, e.g. “I hear you, loud and clear” = “I hear you (and you are) loud and clear.” And that’s OK, isn’t it?
    But you’re right. Lots of sloppy usage out there. My pet peeve is “How are you?” “I’m good.” Augh!

  5. Hi Sascha,
    If you mouse over the words in blue, can you see the correct version? I’m not sure, perhaps it doesn’t work on every browser…
    Here you are, anyway:

    1. I was born in Berlin.
    2. We are meeting next week.
    3. I have been living here since 1998.
    4. I moved here 6 years ago.
    5. I lived in Halle until 1997.
    6. We often have meetings in Frankfurt.
    7. We our new headquarters in Potsdam.
    8. Can you lend me your pen?
    9. I work for Audi.
    10. I’m looking forward to seeing you.
    11. How long have you been working here?
    12. I am used to solving problems.
    13. Right now I am taking a course in English.
    14. I’ll call you back in 5 minutes.
    15. Our new head of department has been here for six months.
    16. Dr Big wants me to come in to work on Saturday.
    17. My husband has his own company.
    18. Dr Big is not at his desk right now.
    19. Sorry, but he’s busy at the moment.
    20. I drive to work (by car).
    21. I haven’t seen her lately.
    22. I have to leave now, but I’ll do it first thing tomorrow morning.
    23. Would you like some more coffee?
    24. You can walk / get downtown on foot.
    25. I need your confirmation by Friday at the latest.

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