Your English has no heart

in congressional

X The automated external defibrillator is set up in congressional in the this hospital.

Tim says:

There are three problems with the English on this sign.

If you say “The automated…”, we would assume it’s the only AED, or it’s a specific AED that has been mentioned before. But it hasn’t been mentioned before, so “an” is better.

Someone has translated 「設置」 as “set up in congressional” — it’s hard to be sure what that means! Americans might think it has something to do with their Congress (国会)! A better translation is “installed”.

Also, as you probably realized, there’s no reason to have “the” and “this” together. You only need one or the other. In this case, “this hospital” would be better, because it means 「当病院」; “the hospital” is simply 「その病院」.

O An automated external defibrillator is installed in this hospital.

Thank you to ミキコリさん for sending this photo!


In Antarctica, below freezing is “normal”

an ice machine

X This water is normal temperature. The person needing ice, please use an ice machine.

Tim says:

What temperature is “normal”? Are there temperatures that aren’t normal? What this sign means to say is that the water is room temperature.

The person needing ice?” Only one person needs ice? I assume that many people will want ice! In America, the sign would probably address the reader directly with “you.”

Also, if you say “please use an ice machine”, it tells us that you don’t know where any ice machines are located. (Or, it could mean that there is more than one ice machine available.) But from reading the Japanese on this sign, we can see that there is an ice machine in the same room. Therefore, this sign should use “the” before “ice machine.”

O This water is room temperature. If you need ice, please use the ice machine.


Quiz No. 575

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A person who wins the most matches 今週のよくある英語の間違い: Co-host: Keiko

No pets, and no “are”

No Pets (photo by Jenny Young)

X In the grass Pets not allowed

Tim says:

Pets do not go IN the grass, they go ON the grass. Much smaller creatures, like snakes or insects, would be found IN the grass.

The structure of the sentence is also a bit strange, and “Pets” shouldn’t be capitalized in the middle of a sentence. Of course “Pets are not allowed” would be more correct, but on a sign that gives instructions, we often skip simple words such as “is”, “are”, and “the”.

O Pets not allowed on grass


No. 283 SORRY

Going to a live show 今週のよくある英語の間違い:
  • 「sorry for late」という間違い
  • 「Hear the announce」
  • 「Have you ever flown a/the plane?」
  • Machigai Mail: 「残念です」という意味の一番いい英語
  • “L or R” answer (click here)
Co-host: Sayuri Kobayashi

It’s OK if it’s someone else’s hand

Please do not put the hand in the water tank.

X Please do not put the hand in the water tank.

Tim says:

Saying “the hand” rather than “your hand” sounds strange. Which hand are they talking about? Perhaps it’s some other hand that’s not connected to you!?

O Please do not put your hand in the water tank.



office scene 今週のよくある英語の間違い:
  • this morning/in the morning
  • on the morning of Oct 24
  • this morning vs. in the morning
  • Hyougen Point: in this morning/in the morning
  • “L or R” answer (click here)
Co-host: Kei Oonuki

I’m designating this as an English mistake

dear my baby

X …except for the designated some restaurants where…

Tim says:

This is partly a word-order problem, but also, they didn’t need to use both “the” and “some.” “Some designated restaurants”, “the designated restaurants”, or even just “designated restaurants” would be fine.

O …except for designated restaurants where…


Which one?

an escalator

X Please take an escalator to Imoarai-zaka

Tim says:

“An” escalator? This sign is right near an escalator! The sign is referring to a specific escalator, so it should use “the”!

Saying “take an escalator” implies that it’s up to you to decide which one to use. But there’s only one.

O Please take the escalator to Imoarai-zaka