Showing posts from June, 2013

Top Three mistakes for students of English, with Czech examples

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…