I constantly run into mistakes in English here and elsewhere that you'd think people would have got right eventually simply by listening or reading. Following are some examples. Got some examples that drive you nuts?

I use to drink too much.
In this sentence, "use" needs a final "d." This mistake is most likely made by people who learn their English from tweets or chats, not from reading actual literature, much less paying attention in class.

I would of helped, but I was pressed for time.
It should be "have" not "of." Otherwise, same speculation as before.

My intervention had the desired affect.
His unplaceable accent and hesitant way of walking gave him a strange effect.
They are somewhat confusing in that both "effect" and "affect" can be used as verbs as well as nouns, but the difference isn't all that hard to learn.

The city gave Mary many kudos for her efforts.
The Greek word "kudos" is singular, not plural. "The city gave Mary kudos for her efforts" is correct. Maybe it's simply best to use words that are familiar rather than going beyond your everyday vocabulary into the dark territory of foreign words, and Greek is much further into that dark territory than, say, Spanish or German.

If you want a price, ask the manager or myself.
Only use "myself" when you've already used "I." Otherwise, plain old "me" will do.

Me and Jeff are going to the concert together.
I typically remember that "me" needs a preposition: with me, for me, to me. In the example sentence, "me" should have been "I." "I and Jeff are going to the concert together " sounds wrong, you say. Well, it is, but only because of poor sentence construction. "Jeff and I are going to the concert together" or, better yet, "I am going to the concert with Jeff" are both correct in every way and won't have literate people wishing they could unhear what you just said.

Sign at cash register: Ten items or less.
When talking about a count or enumeration of things, it should be "fewer" not "less." "Less" is for a gross quantity not an enumeration. "Less sugar in my coffee next time" is an example of how to use "less."

Purple is different than/to violet.
We talked about this here recently. If "Purple is different from violet" sounds wrong to you, you need to go back to school and take English over again.

He returned to the scene continually.
The term "continually" refers to something done without interruption. When expressing that something happens repeatedly, "continuously" is the word to use.

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So, "Sapporo" is really pronounced kind of like "Sapuddo."

How about "hara kiri" pronounced, "harry carey"?

How about any Japanese word pronounced with inflection?

Good question, because I heard there are no rules about that. But if you listen to these three samples of Sapporo, they rise on the "po". They don't really inflect it like that when used in conversation.


Right... it's "hah rah kee ree".


(Ha, it sounds closer to hello kitty than harry carry.)

I gotta quit now. Just realized I'm feeling gabby to procrastinate homework.

I totally disagree on this one. I don't expect other languages to use an American or British accent when pronouncing our words, and I don't think it's a problem to anglicize foreign words. Do you expect Japanese speakers—speaking Japanese in Japan—to pronounce our words how we pronounce them? If not, it's kind of a double standard to expect Americans to do the same. It bothers me more when news anchors suddenly burst into Spanish when pronouncing one single Spanish name in the middle of an English sentence.

Besides, you know that guy who loves telling people that he practices "kah rah tay"? Everyone thinks he's a douche.

Sticks and stones --?

Do you expect Japanese speakers—speaking Japanese in Japan—to pronounce our words how we pronounce them?

No. In fact here's an irony... it's sometimes easier for me to mis-pronounce an English word like a Japanese would, before they would understand my English. (Or is it Engrish?) Try mis-pronouncing "California" with a Japanese accent. There is no rn sound in Japanese, so they have to stick a vowel in between the r and the n to make it more easily spoken and heard.

Besides, you know that guy who loves telling people that he practices "kah rah tay"? Everyone thinks he's a douche.

Busted! Yes, I was having fun stirring up the pot. Humans grow emotionally attached to their verbal communication habits, while kids corrupt it in their own fashion, which they'll then become attached to too when they're older... and the cultural evolution/revolution of old vs new continues, forever. It won't be long before even the word "cunt" is acceptable to use in line at the grocery store.

Leaving an entire syllable off isn't a matter of accent, it's a matter of misunderstanding. 

Did I miss it? Isn't the Spanish pronunciation of Los Angeles something like Los (with a nice round "o") Ahn-HAY-leez?


I know what you mean - I can't count the nights I've tossed and turned over THAT one!


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