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Are mistakes annoying? Is it annoying when people make mistakes speaking or writing English? I mean it's the most widespread language now and many people of different countries have to use English while communicating whether they good at it or not. How do people whose native language is English feel about it? Do they bother when hearing mistakes and imperfect pronunciation or have got used to all that things? 
Mar 16, 2018 10:19 AM
Comments · 16

No, of course it isn't annoying! We appreciate the effort that people are making in learning English, and we do our best to understand and help.

I'll tell you what is annoying, though. It's this:

Native English speakers, on this site and elsewhere, find it really irritating when non-natives are lazy in the way they write English. Just take a look round italki, and try to spot these 'non-words' : i, u, ur, cuz, smth, wanna, gonna, .  Now, here's a question:

Who uses the above 'non-words' in their italki posts?

A.  native English speakers?

B.  non-native English speakers?

C. both?

It won't take you long to realise that the answer is B. 

Native English speakers don't write in this way because we know that it makes the writer look rude, childish and ill-educated. If I've got five minutes spare to help a learner, and I see one post written by someone who has at least tried to write proper English and one who can't even be bothered to write 'I' or 'you' correctly.... well, I think it's clear which person I'm more likely to help.

I'm sure everyone here has learned to write their own language properly, so why do these people think that it's acceptable to write English in such a lazy and sloppy way?

March 16, 2018

Good question! English is a kind of lingua franca in this global world and I wouldn’t be surprised if some natives sometimes would feel a little bit annoyed by our mistakes.

That is why I try to do my best when I write on Italki and avoid the shortcuts like « u » « cz » « wonna «  etc. and write the best I can. Here on Italki there are some truly generous language lovers that help us to improve our writing skills. It’s a good occasion to thank them warmly.

March 16, 2018
Perhaps there should be a special, dishonourable mention for poor English in English language exams that tortures hapless students.  
March 16, 2018
Su Ki hit the nail on the head once more. Most native speakers are tolerant of mistakes but are much more likely to ignore notebook entries full of "wanna and gonna". Like Su. Ki. I tend to ignore entries that resemble e-mail messages between 12 year olds.
March 16, 2018

It depends on the context.  Certainly, as a teacher, I am a lot more relaxed and understanding than I was before.  I get annoyed now at native speakers who pick holes in language just to make a point. 

On the other hand, I was very annoyed a couple of years ago at the authors of an book introducing Italian law. The authors were Italian, obviously eminent in their field and had a high level of English. But they had not had the book proofread or edited by a native English speaker.  Consequently, the book's ability to transmit complex conceptual ideas about law to a native speaker was practically zero.  I gave up in annoyance after a few pages.  I couldn't keep re-reading paragraphs to second-guess the authors' meaning. I had paid good money for it too. 

So, it depends on what you expect.  If you really need to use or understand fully the information presented by a writer (native or otherwise), then it is extremely annoying if it is presented unclearly, in a strange way, and/or with numerous mistakes. Business is business!

March 16, 2018
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