Watch your language: 10 dangerous phrases in English

The teacher of the English language of the highest category with 25 years of experience, the director of the school-studio of foreign languages ​​Larisa Tsarkova told us what phrases should be used very carefully, what cannot be said, and after what first words you will be accepted as a Russian tourist.
Larisa Tsarkova, Director of the School of Foreign Languages:
Larisa Tsarkova

- English can rightly be called an international language, but not always it can be "generally understood." And even if you have mastered it perfectly, it will not always save you from situations where, after the very first words, you will be taken as a Russian abroad. And this may not be an accent at all, but simply a matter of mistakes made due to the difference in word usage in English and Russian. Errors in the English language occur only because we are trying to transfer the structure of the native language we are used to. Errors made by Russians in English are often associated with confusion between several words with a similar meaning.If in our language a word is used in a certain meaning, this does not mean at all that in other languages ​​its meaning will be the same.

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“I'm sorry!” And “Excuse me!”

Let's start a comparative analysis with the well-known phrases “I’m sorry!” And “Excuse me!” The translation is “sorry,” “sorry,” but there is a big difference in the use of these words.

“Excuse me” is used when we ask for permission or we want to attract attention to ourselves, that is, you are planning to do “nastiness”.

Excuse me, could you tell me the way to the station?- Sorry, could you tell me the way to the station?

“I’m sorry” is used when asking for forgiveness, i.e. you have already done “disgusting”.

I’m sorry, I’ve broken your cup.- Sorry, I broke your cup.

Therefore, imagine a situation - you ask the person to, for example, show the road or the right direction, but also apologize for something that you did not do.


“Please” in Russian we use both in the request and in response to thanks. But in English it is different: “please” - only in the request, “you are welcome” - in response to the thank you. Otherwise, you will put the Englishman in an awkward position - wanting to thank him, you ask him again for something.

"Yes, no"

This is the expression that we use when something is not sure or doubt. And now the Russian favorite “yes no” introduces a foreigner to a deadlock of understanding. The British recognize only “yes” or “no”.Say better "maybe" - maybe.

"Free potato"

Often, our compatriots order “Free potato”, meaning French fries. But for a native speaker of English you will look like an insolent, demanding free potato! Of course, in response, you will hear -“It isn’t free”- "This is not free!". Remember, correctly - French Fries (in America) and Chips (in Britain) are the french fries.

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Fingers, thumbs and toes

English, as well as Russian, is rich not only with synonyms, but also with some subtleties that are not characteristic of our “great and mighty”, which you need to be aware of in order not to be mistaken.

For example, even well-known English Russian people to the question “How many fingers do you have?” (“How many fingers do you have?”) Can bluntly innocently - “Twenty” (twenty), which will amaze the Englishmen. The fact is that in fact a person has only 8 “fingers” - fingers on his hands, and the ninth and tenth - the thumbs of both hands are called “thumbs”.

Hence the expression - thumbs up - illustrating the gesture of approval when raising the thumb. But toes are called quite differently - toes. Therefore, trying on shoes, be careful with the statement that she presses you in your fingers. Otherwise, the seller will look at you like a madman - and not in your hands do you wear shoes?


We pronounce the interjection “Oh!” When we make a mistake, without thinking that in English it has a completely different meaning. It is similar to “Hey!”, Which they use to call someone, get someone's attention. Therefore, it seems very strange to native speakers that we shout at them when we make a mistake.


A common mistake of those who studied under the old Soviet textbooks. They clearly state that “dinner” is dinner, and “supper” is dinner. It is possible that a few decades ago, the British said that way. But now it’s right like this: breakfast - breakfast, lunch - lunch (dinner), dinner - dinner. And no "supper".

"Nature" and "Country"

In Russian, these words are different, but the trouble arises from the fact that in some cases we denote both the word "nature". The word “nature” cannot be applied to the countryside in English, because this word is suggestive of ecology and science.

Typical error:"I like to relax in the NATURE near my city".

In this and in most other cases, when it comes to open areas outside the city, an English-speaking person uses the word "country (side)". Russians, speaking of similar departures from the city, use words like “countryside”, “summer house”, “village”, etc.In English, all this is expressed by the word "country (side)" - they have no cottages, and in villages they are rare. Russian version: “I will go out of town tomorrow (to the country, to the village)”. English version (universal):"I'm going to the country tomorrow".

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