5 English errors that will keep you laughing for days

Learning a language is funny! Well, actually, it’s quite difficult, but mistakes are inevitable so you might as well take it easy and have a few laughs. If you can’t laugh at yourself, I truly believe you will never achieve proficiency because you’ll be too stressed and eventually give up.

I have documented my own embarassing guffaws plenty of times on this blog (here and here), so I think it’s only fair that I also share my students’ comical blunders. After teaching English as a Foreign Language for two years, I’ve heard it all. Here are the top 5 funniest language mistakes I’ve heard in my classroom:


#5: He is a television
.
The craziest thing about this error is I have no idea how my student even came close to this conclusion. I was teaching possessive adjectives, and had a chart of them clearly labeled on the board.
First, I had my student repeat after me while passing a pen around the room to demonstrate possession: “This is my pen. This is your pen. This is his pen. This is her pen. This is our pen. This is their pen.”
Then, it was my student’s turn to try it on his own.
He said: “This is my pen. This is your pen. ...He is a television.”
I am still scratching my head at where I went wrong during this lesson.


#4: Cheers!

During allergy season, I sneezed obnoxiously during class.
One well-intentioned student responded: “Cheers!
I looked up, confused. “Wait, what?” I asked.
Cheers?” she replied, now equally confused.
It was quite funny, but completely understandable since the Spanish “Salud!” is used both after a sneeze and when you clink glasses.


#3: Message or massage?

I ‘m sure every English teacher who has taught Spanish speakers has heard this error dozens of times. But no matter how many times I’ve heard this in class, it still gets me every time.
“Can I leave you a massage? Do you have a massage for me? I’ll send you a massage when I get home!”


#2: Beach or bitch?

Beach versus bitch is another classic. Students are very conscious of the pronunciation similarities and ask for clarification frequently. However, much to my amusement, they somehow still manage to screw this up 90 percent of the time.
“I went to Uruguay last month, but I like the bitches in Brazil better. Which bitch is your favorite?”


#1: I love condoms.

One of my very formal business English students was telling me about his summer vacation where he visited Brazil with his family.
“We stayed in a condom, which was great because we had a kitchen and lots of space,” he exclaimed, completely botching the abbreviation for condominiums.  “I love condoms!”

 

I think these hilarious  errors are the best part of learning a language. Plus, if you’re embarrassed enough you’ll never make the same mistake twice!

–JDF