50 Times People Spotted Hilariously Incorrect English Texts And They Just Had To Share Them In This Group (New Pics)
English is not an easy language to learn. An embarrassingly high number of native speakers frequently make spelling and grammar mistakes such as confusing there, their and they’re (I'm cringing just thinking about it...) or you’re and your. Yet somehow, English has become a global language, with about 400 million people speaking it as their first language and around 55 countries speaking it as their second language. But learning a new language is always a challenge; there is no way to avoid awkward grammar mistakes and sounding like a toddler in the beginning. When we meet non-native speakers, we must be non-judgmental and sympathetic. We understand how difficult English is, so we appreciate any effort to speak it.
It’s a different ball game when we encounter typos in written texts though, right? Then it’s fair game to laugh. (I mean, menus and signs don’t have feelings, do they?) Let us introduce you to the Engrish subreddit. With over 668k members, this group is dedicated to finding the most hilariously incorrect English texts from around the world. Anything from bumper stickers to product descriptions can be found on Engrish, and they are painfully hilarious to fluent speakers. So enjoy this list we’ve compiled at Bored Panda of some of the best English faux pas from around the world, and be sure to check out our last publication on the same topic “hear”.
More info: Reddit
Despite how common it is for people to speak at least a little English, it is widely regarded as one of the most difficult languages to master. There are many reasons why it’s so tricky, but a common difficulty non-native speakers cite is the use of idioms. As English speakers, we use so many phrases that are not to be taken literally. We often don’t realize it, but idioms are a dime a dozen in English. We’ve got to remember to cut non-native speakers some slack when they’re trying to wrap their heads around this crazy language.
Other common frustrations people find with the English language are homophones, homographs, and homonyms (oh my!). Homophones are words that sound the same but are different in meaning or spelling. For example, I want to hear you play music here at home. They're going to be there any minute now. Homographs are spelled the same, but differ in meaning or pronunciation. For example, on your birthday, I will present you with a present. I’m going to record an album to sell at the record store. My garden produces produce. You get the idea. And lastly, homonyms can be either or even both. Yeah, that explanation is even confusing for me. We can just agree to ignore homonyms...
While It's An Obvious Mistranslation, I Feel Like Those Areas Should Become A Thing
English creates varying challenges depending on the learner’s native language. One issue many find with English is the level of formality can be unclear. As the United Language Group explains on their site, “Languages like Spanish, Korean, and Japanese have different verb conjugations based on the level of formality.” It can be very challenging to learn the appropriate vocabulary used in various situations when communicating in English.
Next, due to the vast amount of English speakers worldwide, dialects can be hard to navigate. The United Language Group notes that, “Standard American English is different than British English, which is also different than Australian English.” Each country also contains a multitude of dialects and accents, causing confusion for native speakers as well.
Speaking from my own experience as a native Texan who has also lived in California, Northern England and Southern England, English is not "just English". I have made a fool out of myself more times than I would like to admit because I didn’t know what a “jumper” was in England or that the word “pants” in England does not mean the same thing that it does in Texas. (The word I was looking for was trousers, and the thing they thought I was mentioning was what I call underwear…) Knowing that I've had a hard time navigating vocabulary in the same language I’ve spoken my entire life, I feel a lot of empathy for those trying to tackle this behemoth of a language.
Another reason English can be so challenging is because often, grammar “rules” just go out the window. My elementary school teachers drilled into my head rules such as “I before E except after C” (to remember how to spell words such as piece and receive), but it’s simply not always true. What about words like protein and leisure? Past tense verbs are hard to remember as well, because they don’t always follow the “just add -ed to the end” rule. We danced and dined, but we also drank, ate and sang. There are countless instances in English of the grammar rules proving to be less than 100% effective.
Another fun quirk of English is how many words look like they should rhyme but are pronounced differently. Let me give you some examples: cough, though, tough, through. I’d like to hear the rule teachers use to try to justify words like that. On the contrary, words like bed, said and read do rhyme. Just thinking about these words is starting to give me a headache, so I’m going to take a break. And we'll move onto the wonderful world of silent letters...
English is by no means the only language featuring silent letters (anyone who took French in college knows the silent letter struggle well). But they are quite common in English. Countless words end in silent e's for some reason: have, bake, excite, desire, etc. But many words feature silent letters in the beginning or middle as well: psychology, doubt, listen, debt, subtle, design, foreign, etc. Then there is the complication of confusing letter combinations. Both letters help to create a sound, but not what would be expected at first glance. I'm talking about words like physics, enough, burn, great, etc. We're used to these words, but when you really stop to think about them, the spelling is questionable.
A common mistake anyone can make in English is malapropism. This is when someone unintentionally misuses or distorts a word or phrase, often substituting it for another word that sounds similar but means something else. It’s what’s happening in a lot of the Engrish posts, but it is common among native speakers as well. For example, someone might say “I’m weary of strangers” when the word they were looking for was wary. Or as Mike Tyson famously said, “I might just fade into Bolivian.”
Despite all of the oddities of the English language, so many people worldwide are speaking it, so it can't be impossible to learn. Here are some of the reasons why English is easier to learn than some other languages. The first reason is due to accessibility. English speakers are almost everywhere nowadays, and English classes can be taken in person in many countries and online from anywhere. Need more exposure to the language? Hop on Youtube and there are millions of videos in English. Want to watch a movie or TV show? Over half of the content on Netflix is in English. While it doesn't make the actual language any simpler, increasing your exposure to English is much easier than say, Swedish or Polish.
The grammar in English is also relatively simple. English does not have gendered nouns, like French and Spanish for example, and has no cases or word agreement to worry about. Articles are also pretty easy to remember: a, an and the. In general, the grammar is simpler than many languages, like German or Hungarian. While mastering English can take many years, acquiring a basic level of English to use when traveling is possible for anyone.
Another great way to learn English is through apps like Rosetta Stone and FluentU. They provide learners with detailed explanations of concepts that they won't pick up through watching American shows and movies. Learning a language requires a combination of methods and sources of exposure, but having English lessons accessible on learners' cell phones is a great advantage of living in this technological age.
The Anti-Paul Department Should Be Held Responsible For This
I think this list makes it clear that, while Google translate can be an invaluable tool for quick searches when traveling, it cannot always be trusted. English is a complex (and sometimes infuriating) language, so it's no surprise that comedic errors like these happen so frequently. And thank goodness they do because they're hilarious.
Upvote all of your favorite English errors, then let us know in the comments: what's the funniest English mistake you've ever seen (or produced)?