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For Students: Top 20 common mistakes, translations, and peculiarities made by Ukrainian / Russian sp

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Christmas is just around the corner and this will be my final post of the year before I jet off and take a well earned break to recharge my batteries before going home to England to enjoy some time at home for Christmas before making a return to Lviv in January.

I hope you've found at least something new, or changed something in your English. Here is part 2 of the of the common mistakes. If you missed part 1 you can find it here. Remember, while you might know most of these, it's time to make sure you stop using them. That's the difference

11. Money is always an IT, this, and that.

Money money money. We all have to talk about it at some point even though it's not always the most comfortable topic to talk about. Just remember that money is always an IT and that and not a them and those

Incorrect: If I won lots of money, I don't know how I would spend them

Correct: If I won lots of money, I don't know how I would spend it

12. I'm meeting my girlfriend....

Girls will often say they are meeting their girlfriend... There is no need to actually say it's a girl. If you say, I'm meeting my friend Katya, then it's clear she is girl. The word girlfriend refers to someone who you are in a relationship with. The same rule goes for boyfriend. A name is clear enough to identify who you are going to meet.

Incorrect: I'm going to meet my girlfriend Ksenia at Forum Lviv

Correct: I'm going to meet my friend Ksenia at Forum Lviv

13. It calls a mistake

It calls... I actually don't know what is behind this mistake, but I hear this very often. The expression to remember is 'it's called....'

Incorrect: It calls Green Pie they have the best cakes there

Correct: It's called Green Pie they have the best cakes there

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14. We – the Chinese man

You guys love to start a sentence with 'WE' without actually making it clear who WE is. We could be a Chinese person for all I know. Make sure you make it clear who WE is before you start using it.

Inccorect: We went to the cinema and after we went for some food

Correct: Me and my girlfriend went to the cinema and after we went for some food

15. Make a party, make pictures, don't do a mistake... No no no...

This is just a collocation problem – two words that go together – and you should be aware of this. You always HAVE a party, you always TAKE a picture and you always MAKE a mistake.

Incorrect: On Saturday Sasha made a party and I made lots of pictures and uploaded to Instagram.

Correct: On Saturday Sasha had a party and I took lots of picture and uploaded them to Instagram

16. Come and go

Think of it like this, are you at that place now?. If you're not..... then you will need to use GO and if you are, then you can use COME. Let's imagine you're at work now, after work you will.... GO home and then when you are home and your mum calls you and asks where you are, you can then say I've just COME home....

17. I teach English at university...

It seems that everyone is a teacher in Lviv.... I mean we are all teachers in a way, but I know you know this, but keep it in mind, students learn and study and teachers teach. While I know what you mean most of the time, it can really make you second-guess a situation when someone says they teach something, but they mean learn or study that thing.

18. My mum is a good cooker

Is your mum a machine? No, I didn't think so. A cooker is and it looks like this. Not as beautiful as your dear mum right? This also brings up the two words CHEF and CHIEF. The former one is a professional cook, and the other is the head of an organisation. The one that is connected to food, chef, has a SH sound at the start.

Incorrect: You should come to my house for dinner. My mum is a good cooker

Correct: You should come to my house for dinner. My mum is a good cook

19. All the day... and go to home...

I know you work hard and that's why you want to tell someone about it. The two expressions we have in English to emphasis we have been working 'all the day' is the whole day and all day (long). After you've been working the whole day where do you usually go? Home to chill out, right? While we usually always go to somewhere, home is an except, so you can go to the shop/the cinema/the park/the stadium but after you will just go home

20. Clothes.....

I saved this one for the end because it was the first one I ever came across many years ago when I spoke to a Ukrainian for the first time in my life and I was so confused by what they were saying. The pronunciation of this word is the same as the word CLOSE. This is what is known as a homophone - two words that are spelt differently, but sound exactly the same. Just like RED and READ. CLOTHES AND CLOSE sound exactly the same. It's time to stop saying CLOSE-IS... this doesn't exist. ;)

Bonus: When you want to generalise without saying the gender, you can use THEY, THEIR, and THEM. Often Ukrainian and Russian speakers will say HE and HIS when this could also be the case for a woman too. Simply saying they, their, and them will generalise it.

Bonus #2: Fun and funny. These two adjectives often get mixed up. One refers to HAHA - funny - and the other refers to enjoyment - fun. Sure, if things are funny, then are usually also fun, but just be aware of which one you choose as it can convey a different meaning

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and new year.

Cheers - Native English Speaker in Lviv - Online English Lessons with a Native! - FREE Online English Speaking Club!

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