“I didn’t do my homeworks.”

2013-09-10Why wrong:  Homework, like information, is a non-count or mass noun. Mass nouns are used for masses like sand that are too big to count their individual parts.  That means that they can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). In French, mass nouns are signified by du, de la or de l’. For more information, click here.

Correct it: With mass nouns, don’t use indefinite articles (a homework) or try to make them plural (homeworks). “I didn’t do my homework.”.

Are you still planning your goals for 2019? Make better communication one of them! Contact Roy and see how proper explanations, practice and coaching can help you reach your full potential!

“I couldn’t find a parking anywhere.”

Hat and Coat (Small)Why wrong: Gerunds, noun-verb hybrids ending in -ing are usually non-count or mass nouns.  They refer to activities, such as swimming, smoking or camping.  If you see a sign that says “No parking” it means that the activity is forbidden there. 

Mass nouns can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). Sometimes, the same spelling can be used for a noun and a gerund (e.g.  an opening, a beginning or an ending). For more information, click here.Biz Group (Small)

Correct it: With gerunds, don’t use indefinite articles (a parking) or try to make them plural (parkings). If you mean only one spot, say “I couldn’t find a parking space.” If you mean the entire area where many cars are parked, call it a parking lot. They are spaces and lots.  Parking is what people do there.

Do your employees need to improve their English? Contact Roy!  He has almost 20 years experience teaching francophone professionals in the greater Montreal area.

“I’m agree with you.”

FrenchWhat do you mean? You are agree with me?

Why wrong:  Sometimes languages have different forms to say the same thing.  French uses the idiom être d’accord whereas English simply has a verb: to agree.OK Businessman

Correct it:  “I agree with you.”

Would you like to learn over 1,000 English idioms? Contact Roy!

“We bought two new equipments.”

MassWhy wrong:  Equipment, like information, is a non-count or mass noun. Mass nouns are used for masses like sand that are too big to count their individual parts.  That means that they can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). In French, mass nouns are signified by du, de la or de l’. For more information, click here.Biz Group

Correct it: With mass nouns, don’t use indefinite articles (an equipment) or try to make them plural (equipments). “We bought two new pieces of equipment.”.

Would you like to help your employees improve their English? Contact Roy for more information without obligation.  You can even have a free half-hour consultation.

“Let me give you an advice.”

MassWhy wrong:  Advice, like information, is a non-count or mass noun. Mass nouns are used for masses like sand that are too big to count their individual parts.  That means that they can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). In French, mass nouns are signified by du, de la or de l’. For more information, click here.Team

Correct it: With mass nouns, don’t use indefinite articles (an advice) or try to make them plural (advices). If you mean only one thing, say “Let me give you a piece of advice.” If you mean many things, it should be  “Let me give you some advice.”.

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“We need new furnitures for the living room.”

2013-09-10Why wrong:  Furniture, like information, is a non-count or mass noun. Mass nouns are used for masses like sand that are too big to count their individual parts.  That means that they can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). In French, mass nouns are signified by du, de la or de l’. For more information, click here.Thumbs Up

Correct it: With mass nouns, don’t use indefinite articles (a furniture) or try to make them plural (furnitures). “We need new furniture for the living room.” Remember that furniture doesn’t mean des fournitures. For that, we would usually say supplies.

In addition to new furniture for your living room, why not get some help with your English conversation at the office? Contact Roy and reach your full potential!

“When I look in the mirror, I see me.”

MirrorWhy wrong: When the same person or thing is the performer and the receiver of the action in the same verb, a reflexive pronoun is used.  There are several of them: myself, yourself, himself, herself, oneself, itself, ourselves, yourselves and themselves.  They should agree in person (first, second or third) and number (singular or plural) with the subject.  For more information, click here.

North AmericaCorrect it:  “When I look in the mirror, I see myself.

Would you like to feel more comfortable speaking English while travelling in the U.S. or Mexico?  Contact Roy!

“I have lived in Montreal since 14 years.” 

MetroWhy wrong: For, not since, is used for durations.  Don’t think that depuis is always translated by since.

Correct it: For durations, use for:I have lived in Montreal for 14 years.”

With English becoming more and more important in the world, don’t postpone language training.  Do It NowContact Roy to learn more.  You can have a free half-hour consultation with no obligation.  He will analyze your needs and give you recommendations.

“I have a good news and a bad news.”

IMG_2896Why wrongNews  is a non-count or mass  nounThat means that it can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a means one, which is a number).  The fact that certain words end with s (like boss, bus or gas ) doesn’t make them plural. For more information, click here.Training

Correct it: With mass nouns, don’t use an indefinite article (a new ) or try to make them plural (newses): “I have good news and bad news.”

Roy has over 20 years experience teaching English as a Second Language to French-educated business people. Contact him and reach your full potential!

“He’s a seven-feet-tall basketball player.”

Turtleneck Eye Roll

Why wrong: In English, expressions used as adjectives are almost always singular. Someone can be seven feet tall, but when you use this expression to describe something else (e.g. a basketball player), it becomes a noun modifier, therefore, singular in form.  To be taken seriously…

Correct it “He’s a seven-foot-tall basketball player.”

Roy Almaas can coach you personally to get the fastest results possible. He will discuss things important to you and truthfully but gently correct your mistakes with proper explanations. Contact him for a free consultation.

OK Businessman

“He entered and shot the door.”

2013-07-27Translation: « Il est entré et a tiré dans la porte.»

Cause of confusion: There is no short u sound in French.  It is often confused with a short o sound. Short o sounds like the sound you make when a doctor asks you to stick out your tongue. The short u sound is like in the word up.

Correct it:  Listen aggressively to notice the nuances between vowels.  For shot, drop your chin and hold the sound longer.  For shut, keep the sound short and raise the edges of your mouth (as if you’re smiling). Say “He entered and shut the door.

Choose the right opportunity:  Why not ask Roy how he can help to improve your career by mastering English conversation?


Dead End Opportunity

“That was a really good publicity.”

>Mistake2Why wrong:  “Publicity” is non-count or mass noun.  Mass nouns can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number).

Correct it: With mass nouns, don’t use indefinite articles (a publicity) or make them plural (publicities). Say “That was really good publicity.”

Do you want to really know the difference between publicity and advertising? Contact Roy!  He will explain this and many other language points.


Reputation

“Two on three like it.”

2013-09-15Why wrong:  Proportions in English use out of and not on. French uses sur (deux sur trois), as if the number two were sitting on the number three, as in 2/3.  English uses another metaphor:  that of a group containing three members and two of them are removed (taken out of) the group.  So, we take two out of three, hence the idiom.  To speak properly,Squarehead Blog

Correct it:  Say “Two out of three like it.” It is also possible to sayTwo thirds like it.”

Contact Roy to write speak more professionally and follow this blog every day to improve your English.

“He don’t know.”

FrownTranslation« Il ne savons pas. »

Why wrong: The third person singular (he, she, it or their equivalents) in the Simple Present takes an s at the end of the verb, even auxiliary verbs It’s unfortunate, but many anglophones speak this way, especially in popular music. You cannot be taken seriously if you don’t use correct grammar.

Correct it: “He doesn’t know.”

Get someone you can trust to tell you the truth about your English.  Phone or email Roy here.Trust

“I listened the radio.”

FailedWhy wrong: There are differences between English and French in many ways, but one is the different use of the indirect object (“to something”) versus a direct object (without “to.”).  Many verbs take “to”, and sometimes at, in one language but not in the other. Listen is one  of those verbs which takes it in English, but not à in French.  For more information, click here.  To improve,

Correct it: Say “I listened to the radio.”gesturing hand OK isolated on white

Do you want rapid results but your schedule is tight? Contact Roy and prepare to be amazed at how things will finally make sense.

“We stopped at a camping in B.C.”

2013-09-10Why wrong:  Gerunds, noun-verb hybrids ending in -ing are usually non-count or mass nouns.  They refer to activities, such as shopping, driving or running.  If you see a sign that says “No smoking” it means that the activity is forbidden there. 

Mass nouns can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). Sometimes, the same spelling can be used for a noun and a gerund (e.g. a building, a feeling or a meeting). For more information, click here.Truth Prevails

Correct it: With gerunds, don’t use indefinite articles (a camping) or try to make them plural (campings). If you mean something short, say “We stopped at a camping site in B.C.” Before site, here camping is used as an adjective.  You stopped at a site for that activity.

Do you want to really know the truth about your English? Contact Roy!  He has more than 14 years experience teaching francophone professionals in the greater Montreal area.

“We both enjoy to ski.”

2013-08-26Why wrong: Gerunds, noun-verb hybrids ending in -ing refer to activities, such as shopping, driving or running.  If you see a sign that says “No smoking” it means that the activity is forbidden there. A second verb following verbs like avoid, enjoy, finish, keep and mind takes the gerund form (it ends with -ing), not the infinitive (to ….) like in French.  For more information, click here.

Correct it: “We both enjoy skiing.”2014 Future Projection Target Shows Forward Planning

Are you frustrated because your English is OK but you don’t always understand what English people say in meetings?  Relax, you’re normal.  Why not face your fears in 2014 and email Roy!  He has helped hundreds of francophone professionals in the greater Montreal area.

“Before email, people were writing more letters.”

Toilet HelpReally? And what happened?

Translation: « Avant les courriels, les gens étaient en train d’écrire plus de lettres… »

Why wrong:  The Past Progressive is used for past interruptions, not for repeated actions in the past. We expect to hear about the interruption.  For more information, click here and here.Female Executive

Correct it: If there was no interruption, but just a repeated past action, say used to.  “Before email, people used to write more letters.”

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“When I do that, it’s help a lot.”

Translation« Qua2013-08-31nd je fais ça, c’est de l’aide beaucoup. »

Why wrong: It’s is a contraction of it is or possibly it has. It is third person singular, similar to he or she. Consequently, in the Simple Present, it is the verb, and not the subject, that takes the s.IMG_3043

What’s a “contraction?” A contraction is a shortened form. It has an apostrophe, which takes the position of the letter(s) it replaces (e.g. can’t for can not, you’ll for you will  or we’ve for we have.

Correct it: If be is not the verb, don’t say It’s.  Say it and put the s on the verb: “When I do that, it helps a lot.”

Let Roy make you look good in front of your English-speaking colleagues.  Contact him here.

“No, I don’t too.”

WrongTranslation: « Non, moi aussi.»

BusyWhy wrong: Just as the above translation sounds weird to francophones, the original sounds just as strange in English  The negative form of too is either.

Correct it: Say “No, I don’t either.”  

Do you want rapid results but your schedule is tight? Contact Roy and prepare to be amazed at how things will finally make sense.

“When I was 17, I was making hamburgers.”

WhatReally? And what happened?

Translation: « Quand j’avais 17 ans, j’étais en train de faire des hamburgers… »

Why wrong:  The Past Progressive is used for past interruptions, not for repeated actions in the past. We expect to hear about the interruption.  For more information, click here and here.Verb Tense Chart

Correct it: If there was no interruption, but just a repeated past action, say used to.  “When I was 17, I used to make hamburgers.”

Contact Roy. His verb tense chart was voted among the top four on the web. Click here to see the page.

“Before to leave, lock the door.”

2013-07-28Why wrong: Gerunds, noun-verb hybrids ending in -ing refer to activities, such as shopping, driving or running.  If you see a sign that says “No smoking” it means that the activity is forbidden there. Verbs used after prepositions take the gerund form (they end with -ing), not the infinitive (to ….) like in French.  For more information, click here.

Correct it: “Before leaving, lock the door.”Face Fears

Do you feel your English could be better but you don’t know exactly what the problem is?  Relax, you’re very normal.  Why not face your fears and contact Roy!  He has taught hundreds of francophone professionals in the greater Montreal area.

“We have done that in 2014.” (Maybe You Need A Verb Tense Chart)

Need a verb tense chart?
Do you confuse your verb tenses?

Why wrong:  Many francophones think that this statement means “Nous avons fait ça en 2014.”  Sorry but that’s not true! This verb tense is called the Present Perfect and, consequently, is a present tense, not a past one.  There is no equivalent tense in French.  Even if they look similar, the Passé composé is not the same thing as the Present Perfect.  Many people find that a Verb Tense Chart helps in writing and speaking, at least until it becomes more natural.

It is actually more precise to call this an “aspect” and not a tense.  For all of the tenses (Past, Present, and Future), there are four aspects in English, whereas in French there is only one.  The aspects are the Simple, the Progressive, the Perfect (the one used here) and the Perfect Progressive.  That means that English is much more precise in its use.

The Present Perfect tense, like a bridge, connects the past to the present. It demonstrates relative time, not specific (answering the question “When?”).  2014 does not include the present, so…

Correct it: use the Simple Past tense: “We did that in 2014.”  To communicate clearly, you must understand and use verb tenses correctly, both in writing and in speech.  The Present Perfect is generally considered to be the hardest verb tense for francophones to master because it is a concept of time that doesn’t exist in French.

Do you confuse your verb tenses? Contact Roy. His Verb Tense Chart was voted one of the top four on the web and many of his students call it their “bible” and keep it close as a reference when writing.  Click here to see the review (it’s #4) and download the latest version for free here.

Here it is, Roy’s world-famous Verb Tense Chart!

“Mommy, I ate all my spaghettis”

2013-09-10Why wrong:  Spaghetti, like information, is a non-count or mass noun. Mass nouns are used for masses like sand that are too big to count their individual parts.  That means that they can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). In French, mass nouns are signified by du, de la or de l’. For more information, click here.

Correct it: With mass nouns, don’t use indefinite articles (a spaghetti) or try to make them plural Do It Now(spaghettis). “Mommy, I ate all my spaghetti.”.

Don’t wait to improve your communication. Contact Roy and see how proper explanations, practice and coaching can help you reach your full potential!

“I had a training this morning.“

TrainingWhy wrong: Gerunds, noun-verb hybrids ending in -ing are usually non-count or mass nouns.  They refer to activities, such as shopping, driving or running.  If you see a sign that says “No smoking” it means that the activity is forbidden there. 

Mass nouns can’t be plural or take an indefinite article (a or an means one, which is a number). Sometimes, the same spelling can be used for a noun and a gerund (e.g.  a building, a feeling or a meeting). For more information, click here.

Correct it: With gerunds, don’t use indefinite articles (a training) or try to make them plural (trainings). If you mean something short, say “I had some training or a training session this morning.” Before session, here training is used as an adjective.  You had a session with that activity.

Do your employees need training to improve their English? Contact Roy!  He has more than 18 years experience teaching francophone professionals in the greater Montreal area.
Manager With Team

“How much does your house worth?”

Money TargetIMG_2896Why wrong: This problem arises from trying to translate the verb valoir. The word worth is usually a noun, not a verb.  The expression to be worth is the proper way to translate valoir.  Here, worth is used as an adjective.

Correct it: Say “How much is your house worth?”  

Do you want rapid results but your schedule is tight? Contact Roy and prepare to be amazed at how things will finally make sense.

“We visited the Mexico on our vacation last year.”

2013-10-11Why wrong: The definite article (“the”) is not used for streets, cities, provinces, states, countries, continents, mountains, islands, lakes or bays unless they are plural (the United States, the Alps or the Maritimes).  When a country, state or province has a city that bears the same name, the word “City” is used afterwards (e.g. Mexico City, Panama City, Quebec City.)  To be taken seriously…

Correct it: When speaking of singular streets, cities, provinces, states, countries, continents, mountains, islands, lakes or bays, don’t use the definite article (“the”). “We visited Mexico on our vacation last year.”

ReputationConfidence comes from really believing you have mastered something. Contact Roy to increase your confidence in your English communication.

“Are you proud of you?”

RegretsWhy wrong: When the same person or thing is the performer and the receiver of the action in the same verb, a reflexive pronoun is used.  There are several of them: myself, yourself, himself, herself, oneself, itself, ourselves, yourselves and themselves.  They should agree in person (first, second or third) and number (singular or plural) with the subject.  For more information, click here.

Correct it:  Are you proud of yourself?

Young Female ExecutiveContact Roy.  You’ll feel much more proud of yourself as your English improves.

“It’s cost $20.”

2013-10-01Translation: « Il est coût 20$. »

Why wrong:  It’s is a contraction of it is or possibly it has and is third person singular. Consequently, in the Simple Present, it is the verb, and not the subject, that takes the s.

Correct it: After words that are third person singular (e.g. it, this and that), remember to put the s on the verb in the Simple Present. “It costs $20.”Team

Would you like to impress your boss with your English? Contact Roy for a personalized class.

“Me, I think that…”

2013-09-27Why are you repeating?  We already know it’s you.

Why wrong: In French, emphasis is expressed through repetition of the subject (e.g. Moi, je pense que, Lui, il pense que, etc.).  In English, we say it by saying certain words louder and longer than others.

Correct it: To emphasize, say the important word louder and longer: “I think that…”Biz Group

You wouldn’t play golf with a baseball bat – it’s a different game.  Remember, that French is a “game” and English is a different game. Learn the rules and the techniques. Don’t just speak French using English words!

Roy has already helped hundreds of francophone professionals. Contact him to improve your “game.”

“It’s take an hour.”

Thumbs DownTranslation: « Il est prendre une heure. »

Why wrong:  It’s is a contraction of it is or possibly it has and is third person singular. Consequently, in the Simple Present, it is the verb, and not the subject, that takes the s.Time To Impress

Correct it: After words that are third person singular (e.g. it, this and that), remember to put the s on the verb in the Simple Present. “It takes an hour.”

Would you like to impress your boss with your English? Contact Roy for a personalized class.

“Ottawa is the capital of the Canada.”

North AmericaReally?  How many Canadas are there?Right Way

Why wrong: The definite article (“the”) is not used for streets, cities, provinces, states, countries, continents, mountains, islands, lakes or bays unless they are plural (the United States, the Alps or the Maritimes).  To be taken seriously…

Correct it: When speaking of singular streets, cities, provinces, states, countries, continents, mountains, islands, lakes or bays, don’t use the definite article (“the”). “Ottawa is the capital of Canada.”

After taking his classes, Roy’s students usually hear the English mistakes their colleagues make. Contact him for more information.

“The time is the money.”

Time MoneyHands Covering HeadWhy wrong: The definite article (“the”) is used for things that are specific, not general. For more information, click here. To be taken seriously…

Correct it: When speaking generally, don’t use the definite article (“the“) Say “Time is money.”

Would you like to impress your boss with your English? Contact Roy.

“This is the funniest movie I’ve never seen.”

stockfresh_1354271_oops-button_sizeXSWhat? You’re watching it now!

Why wrong:  In French, this superlative is le film le plus drôle que j’ai jamais vu. Translating literally sounds ridiculous in English, because obviously, you have seen it or are seeing it now. Finally Hit

To correct it: For Present Perfect superlatives, the adverb ever is used:  “This is the funniest movie I’ve ever seen.”

If you have been disappointed in your English training in the past, contact Roy to finally understand and speak better.

“That’s look like a problem.”

2013-08-20Translation « Ça c’est regard comme un problème. »

Why wrong: That’s is a contraction of that is or possibly that has. That is third person singular, similar to it. Consequently, in the Simple Present, it is the verb, not the subject, that takes the s. To be taken seriously…

Correct it: That’s should be followed by an adjective, a possessive pronoun (e.g. mine, Investmentyours, or ours), a noun or article. After words that are third person singular (e.g. it, this and that), remember to put the s on the verb in the Simple Present.

Are there people at work whose English embarrasses you? Contact Roy to give a workshop to your organization.

“Montreal is the biggest city in the Quebec.”

Why wrongThe definite article (“the”) is not used for streets, cities, provinces, states, countries, IMG_3026continents, mountains, islands, lakes or bays unless they are plural (the United States, the Alps or the Maritimes). For more information, click here.Fireworks

Correct it:  When speaking of singular streets, cities, provinces, states, countries, continents, mountains, islands, lakes or bays, don’t use the definite article (“the“). Montreal is the biggest city in Quebec.

After taking his classes, Roy’s students usually hear the English mistakes their colleagues make. Contact him for more information.

“I need to get my hairs cut.”

Really? Which ones?  IMG_2907

Translation: « J’ai besoin de me faire couper les poils. »

Why wrongHair  is a non-count noun for masses that are too big to be counted. Hairs, when counted, mean poils. For more information, click here.IMG_3043

Correct it:  If you mean chevelure, a mass, use hair, but if you mean individual strands you can count either that stand up on the head or that are elsewhere on the body, say hairs.

Contact Roy.  He is a Cambridge English Teacher Advisor.

“It’s depend.”

2013-08-06Translation« C’est dépend. »

Why wrong: It’s is a contraction of it is or possibly it has. It is third person singular, similar to he or she. Consequently, in the Simple Present, it is the verb, and not the subject, that takes the s.

Biz GroupCorrect it: If be is not the verb, don’t say It’s.  Say it and put the s on the verb (It depends).

Let Roy make you look good in front of your English-speaking colleagues.  Contact him here.

“Did he saw her yesterday?”

IMG_2898Really? If he did, I hope she survived!

Translation: « Est-ce qu’il l’a découpé hier ? »

Why wrong: It’s the first verb (auxiliary) that shows time. Did  already indicates past, so the main verb see should be in its simple form (no –s, -ed or –ing endings). To be taken seriously…

Correct it: In Simple tenses (with did, do/does or will), time is already clear, so use the simple form afterwards.

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Thumbs Up

“Work, that’s mean what you do all day.”

2013-07-23I know, but it pays well.

Why wrong: That’s is a contraction of that is or possibly that has. That is third person singular, similar to it. Consequently, in the Simple Present, it is the verb, and not the subject, that takes the s. To be taken seriously…

Correct it:  That’s should be followed by an adjective (e.g. good, interesting, or sad), a possessive pronoun (e.g. mine, yours, or ours) or a noun or article (e.g. That’s life!, That’s the spirit! or That’s a deal breaker!). Unfortunately, mean is also an adjective, not only a verb. After words that are third person singular (e.g. it, this and that), remember to put the s on the verb in the Simple Present.  “That means what you do all day.”Young Female Executive

Would you like to impress your boss with your English? Contact Roy for a personalized class.