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Category «Speaking»

常見誤解
 Common mistake – On the other hand

On the other hand

另一方面 (Cantonese: ling6 jat1 fong1 min6; Mandarin: Lìng yī fāngmiàn) directly translates to “On the other hand”. But be careful when saying “On the other hand” in English because the meaning is very different! In Chinese, 另一方面 means “Additionally” or “Not only that, (but) …”. You use it to add another point to support your earlier comment(s) or …

“My friend(s) and I” or “me and my friend(s)” ?

My friend and I or me and my friend

Both are correct. But it depends on the sentence. Use ‘my friends and I’ where you would use “I” (i.e. as the subject): My friends and I went bungee jumping last weekend. And, use ‘me and my friends’ where you would use “me” (i.e. as the object): My little sister was upset that she wasn’t …

常見誤解
 Common mistake – would like

Hong Kong misunderstanding - would like = want

“Would like” is a polite way of saying “want” (either in a question or in a statement). I’ve noticed that some Hong Kong Chinese people misunderstand the meaning of “would like”. They think “would like” means “used to like” because they know that “would” can mean the past tense of ‘will’. However, “would” means “used …

常見錯誤 Common mistake – habit vs hobbit

Common mistake - habit vs hobbit

I sometimes hear people say hobbit when they mean habit. The mistake is more common with those who score below band 6. Habits are behaviours or actions that you do automatically from doing them repeatedly. I usually sleep late due to my bad habit of playing on my mobile phone at night. I’m trying to …

常見錯誤 Common mistake – borrow vs lend

Common mistake in Hong Kong - borrow versus lend

Many Hong Kong people say ‘borrow’ when they mean ‘lend’. Wrong: I often borrow money to my friend because she always pays me back quickly. Right: I often lend money to my friend because she always pays me back quickly. Borrow means take temporarily. Lend means give temporarily. Why is this mistake so common? Because, …

Bad or bat? Sad or sat? Bag or back?

Native speakers often don’t pronounce the final consonant sound such as the ‘d’ in bad and the ‘t’ in bat. Without their final consonant sounds, both words may look the same, but native speakers are still able to easily distinguish between the two. For bad, they will pronounce the ‘a’ vowel sound much longer than …

Common mistake – “There have a 7-11”

Very often, I hear HK Chinese IELTS candidates say “There have”.  For example: “There have a supermarket below my place”. The correct way is “There is a supermarket below my place”. In spoken English, this often shortened to “There’s a supermarket below my place”. I guess the reason for the error is that in Chinese, …

“How to spell?” or “How do you spell it?”

Students often use the wrong grammar when asking direct “how” questions: WRONG RIGHT PRONUNCIATION Use the weak (schwa) sound Ə for “do you” and “it” How to pronounce? How do you pronounce it? HOW dƏ yƏ prƏNOUNCE Ət? click to listen How to say? How do you say it? HOW dƏ yƏ SAY Ət? click …

Do you apply the job or apply for the job?

Correct expression: Apply for the job The word ‘apply’ has the following two main meanings: “apply” + object = put on / use  …E.g. Apply sunscreen (to your skin) “apply for/to” + object = request  …E.g. Apply for job Note: “Apply sunscreen” sounds a little too formal for casual spoken situations.  It is more common to say “put …