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We are not afraid of discussing mistakes to improve our English.

A scrupulous false friend in English and German

I recently came across an interesting false friend in the form of the word scrupulous, providing great potential for thorough confusion. According to Merriam-Webster, scrupulous means, in particular, having moral integrity, acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper. Its opposite is unscrupulous. As a German native speaker, I find that quite

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self-made vs. home-made

The English expression self-made is quite often incorrectly used as a translation of the German word selbstgemacht. A classic example is I brought self-made cake to work today. (Wrong) Interestingly, the situation is more complicated than I expected. In particular, whether or not self-made is a false friend (and should be replaced with home-made) depends

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Got eggs?

I recently came across a hilarious false friend in the discussion forum of a newspaper website. A German native speaker who seemed to be very keen on using English expressions accidentally translated the colloquial German expression “Eier haben” (Mut haben, to have courage) as “to have eggs” by writing Der Mann hat eggs. The correct

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False friend alert: to go studying (studieren gehen)

My fellow German native speakers tend to make the mistake of translating the expression studieren gehen as to go studying. However, the correct English expression is to go to university. Moreover, in a previous post, I had pointed out that the noun study is not the English translation of Studium but instead means Studie. Therefore, a

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Ideal line and sportcar

I have previously mentioned an example of a major company falling into the literal translation trap in a presentation, see here. Today, I came across another such case, and the victim (or culprit?) is BMW. On their Facebook page, a presumably German employee translated the German expression “Ideallinie” as “ideal line”, although the correct English

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