common errors in English


This article, highlighted in a recent Language and words in the news, made me both smile and grimace at the same time. I was once lucky enough to swim with dolphins, and they seemed to be endlessly entertained by the sound of the dial on my dive watch going round (the movable dial allows you to monitor the length of time you’ve been diving, without actually needing a stopwatch).

Having now read that two different species of dolphins adjust their communications in order to find a common language, I’m wondering – what exactly did they think I was saying to them!? Maybe I made a typical aquatic false friend faux pas? Or an inadvertently suggestive remark? I guess I’ll never know, and I should probably be grateful for that ignorance is bliss, after all – but what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve said during the course of your English language learning?

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Sharon Creese

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