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Odd expressions. How to sound native?

    Having been studying English for many years, I can nearly communicate with others in English. But sometimes, I use many odd expressions which don't influence the meaning but don't sound native. The sad thing is I take these expressions for granted because of the influence of my mother tongue. I think native English speakers must have heard lots of odd expressions. What's the most frequent one you've heard? And please give the authentic expressions of examples you give so that we can avoid these mistakes.:-)

Thanks in advance.^_^

Mar 4, 2015 4:04 PM
Comments · 31

*I have been studying English for many years and I can nearly...


I hear "make sport" and "make party" by a lot of non-native speakers (the correct way to say them are "play sports" and "to party"). 

March 4, 2015

Arabic friend. I believe their word for download and drop off is the same? Anyways, when he wanted us to drop him off places, he would say download me here... It was cute!

March 12, 2015

One pitfall for learners is when a word can work as either a noun or a verb, eg. contact or lack.


I want to contact them. (verb)

I want to make contact with them. (noun; make is the verb here)


She lacks courage. (verb)

She shows a lack of courage. (noun; show is the verb here)


I often hear phrases like "I want to contact with them"(incorrect) and "She lacks of courage" (also incorrect) because of this confusion.


Another example of word confusion happens between verbs which are synonyms, but have different grammatical rules.


We can talk about the problem. (talk is intransitive)

We can discuss the problem. (discuss is transitive; discuss what?)


Yet I often hear, "We can discuss about the problem", which is simply wrong.


Admittedly, it takes time to understand these differences, and in some cases it means un-learning bad habits! :)

March 6, 2015

I should point out that most of the time (like right now) it's not a question of understanding, but rather a question of what sounds natural. 

March 14, 2015

In actual fact, I use "mother tongue" too. :)

March 12, 2015
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Japanese
Learning Language
English, Japanese