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Top Three mistakes for students of English, with Czech examples

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After about 25 years of teaching and tutoring English to native speakers and to those for whom it's a second, third or fourth language, I can say with some certainty that these are the top three tricky parts of speaking, reading and writing English. Most of my examples are for Czechs, as I currently live in the Czech Republic.

1. Positive/negative (yes/no, do/don't, and so on)
This is by far the most common mistake made--you say "yes" when you mean "no," or vice versa. Why?




For one thing, English double negatives become positives--"I don't lack money" means " I have money". But in many languages, including Czech, the more negatives, the merrier--the more negatives you include, the more you really mean what you say. In fact, Czech has a large number of negative words (ne, nic, nikdo, vůbec ne, nula, etc) and Czechs use them very frequently.

Then, since the Czech language has 6 cases, you have lots of different words from one negative wo…