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From Brazinglish to English, part 1

Earlier this year, Laura was fortunate enough to spend a week in Belo Horizonte in Brazil to teach our International Business Communication course. Not only was it Laura’s first time in Brazil but also in South America full stop, so you can imagine how excited she was! In the first of two blog posts, Laura shares some of her knowledge on the common errors that Brazilian English speakers make, otherwise known as Brazinglish.

Have you been learning English for many years but still get the impression that your English is a little, well, Brazilian?  In this article I’ll give you a rundown of the most typical errors made by my Brazilian English language students.  I can almost guarantee that you will have made at least some of these errors in the process of learning English… perhaps you’re still making them!  I can also guarantee that your English will improve if you can manage to iron them out, as we say.

1)   Brazinglish: ‘He doesn’t know nothing about baseball.’

English is a little bit like maths in as far as a double negative makes a positive!  The sentence above actually means ‘He knows something about baseball.’  So to avoid this situation, English uses the ‘neutral’ grammar of ‘any’ rather than the negative of ‘no or ‘none’. 

English: ‘He doesn’t know anything about baseball.’

2)  Brazinglish: ‘It’s depend of…’

Wow, three mistakes in three words!  It’s a shame because this is such a useful phrase when you need to ‘sit on the fence’ in a discussion.  Just remember that in English ‘depend’ is a verb and you need to use the third person ‘s’ of the present simple.  As for prepositions, we all know they can be a nightmare; the best advice came from one of my Brazilian students, which is just to learn them as fixed expressions.

English: ‘It depends on…’

3)  Brazinglish: ‘He no would like it.’

This one is a real no-no!

English: ‘He wouldn’t like it’.

4)  Brazinglish: ‘Exists a lot of pubs in London.’

This is just so Brazilian!  Maybe your Portuguese is coming to the forefront of your mind because you’ve had one too many beers in one of the many pubs?  In English, you can’t begin a sentence with ‘exists’.  Just remember the basic English structure of Subject – Verb – Object:  ‘A lot of pubs exist in London.’  Well, it’s grammatically correct at least but not exactly natural.

English: There are a lot of pubs in London/London has a lot of pubs.

5)  Brazinglish: ‘He must to do it.’

To be fair, this is a mistake made by every nationality when learning English.  Perhaps we English speakers should adapt and go with the flow.  But no, we like to be different.  I blame it on our ‘island mentality.’  Remember: Don’t use ‘to’ after a modal verb.

English: ‘He must do it.’

I hope these tips are helpful. Next time, we’ll look at five more common Brazinglish errors and how you can avoid making them.

By Laura


full stop (n) - used to suggest that there is nothing more to say on a topic

otherwise (adv) – also; in another way

get the impression (idiom) – to have an idea, feeling, or opinion about something

rundown (n) - an analysis or summary of something by a knowledgeable person

guarantee (v) – to promise with certainty

iron them out (idiom) - solve or settle difficulties or problems

nightmare (n) - a very unpleasant experience

a real no-no (n phr) – informal expression meaning something unacceptable

forefront of your mind (idiom) – the first thing you think about

go with the flow (idiom) – be relaxed and accept a situation, rather than trying to alter or control it

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