Monday, 13 February 2012

Let me precise my point...

In English, precise is an adjective, not a verb. It is incorrect to say "Can you precise your statement?". One might say "Can you be more precise." or "Can you make a more precise statement".

Friday, 14 January 2011

It is not stylish to say Elejent...

The word "elegant", meaning fine or luxurious, seems to trip many Germans up, there being a tendency to pronounce the "g" as a "j". Were it followed by an "e", this mistake would make more sense. Regardless, fight the urge and pronounce the "g" as you would in the word "go" or "get". Now, go get elegant.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Hey gorgeous, can I spend you a beer?

Should be "can I buy you a beer". "Spending" a beer makes no sense unless you're bartering (and even then it's a stretch). By now I should probably know why Germans make this mistake, but sadly do not. Assuming one of this blog's thousands of readers will inform me. If someone does, I promise to stop lying about the popularity of this blog (although it has moved near the top of Google search results on "Germlish").

Monday, 20 December 2010

Are there any news from the blogosphere?

I recently received a memo asking "Are there any news?", referring to a previous e-mail. This mistake is understandable as "news" is plural. However, in this case, the subject is "any", which is a pronoun that takes the singular form of the verb. "Is there any news?" is proper and the way all native speakers would express this thought.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

My agenda says I should archive my calendar in the right category.

This post is just about correcting some mispronunciations I hear regularly:

  • agenda: the g sounds like the “j” in “jet”, NOT hard like in “get”
  • archive: the ch sounds like the “k” in “kit”, NOT like the beginning of “chair”
  • calendar: the emphasis is on the first syllable (CAL-en-dar), NOT the second
  • category: emphasis falls on first syllable (CAT-e-gor-y), NOT the second.

See my other post on the word “architect”.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

This blog does not provide good informations

That's because information is a "noncount" noun in English, meaning its plural is never used. I hear and read Germans referring to "informations" or "infos" fairly regularly. It's not at all confusing, but clearly odd.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Whatsoever, nevermind...

I don't think Kurt Cobain spoke Germlish, but if he had, it might have changed the lyrics of Smells Like Teen Spirit. I hear Germans often use "whatsoever" when they should use "whatever", something like "We could serve beef or lamb or whatsoever". This sounds odd but isn't especially confusing. In this example, "whatever" would have been correct. Whatsoever is typically used emphatically in phrases such as "I have no doubt whatsoever that "whatever" shouldn't be used that way." or "I speak no Hungarian whatsoever."