Don’t speak Brazinglish!!!

Have you been learning English for many years but still get the impression that your English is a little, well, Brazilian?

I’ll give you a rundown of the ten 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 the British 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 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.’

6) Brazinglish: ‘Do you mind to help me with this?’
This is a great expression for being polite – just remember that after ‘Do you mind’ we use the –ing form, or gerund.
English: ‘Do you mind helping me with this?’

7) Brazinglish: ‘She wants that you do it.’
In English our wants are more direct! So we ‘want something’, or we ‘want someone to do something’. For example, ‘I want a cup of tea’, or ‘I want you to make me a cup of tea.’
English: ‘She wants you to do it.’

8) Brazinglish: ‘Is fantastic.’
Again, you need a subject here. To keep the Subject-Verb-Object structure in English, when there isn’t a specific subject we use ‘it’ as an ‘empty’ subject. Other common examples are when we’re talking about the weather: ‘It’s sunny’, or, in London, ‘It’s raining.’
English: ‘It’s fantastic.’

9) Brazinglish: ‘She looks as a musician.’
Generally, we say ‘looks like’, for example ‘I look like my sister.’ If you’re using an adjective though, just use ‘looks’: ‘He looks nice.’ If you’re talking about the job that someone does, use ‘as’: ‘I work as a teacher.’
English: ‘She looks like a musician.’

Finally, a word about pronunciation…

10) Brazinglish: ‘I had a cough.’
Really? Are you feeling better now? How long did you have it for? An hour in the café? Oh… you must mean…
English: ‘a coffee’.
Just exaggerate that final ‘ee’ sound on every word ending in ‘ee’ or ‘y’. And don’t add an extra ‘ee’ sound on words that don’t have it, because then you won’t get any sympathy for your bad cough!

Ok, I hope that helps you to sound a bit less Brazilian. I’m off to work on my beginner’s Portuguese!

Pictured above are some hard working students at the London School.

Laura Stamps has been teaching since 2001, mainly here in London but also for a year in Estonia. For the last five years she’s been working at The London School of English in West London. She’s just come back from a trip to teach International Business Communication in Belo Horizonte.

With over 100 years’ experience and a wide range of courses to suit almost every need, The London School of English has helped many thousands of people improve their English.  Whether for your work, study – or just to feel more confident with the language, why not contact us to find out how we can help you.

12 Comments

  1. Thanks for the likes and comments! It’s true that many of these are typical errors for most learners of English but I wrote this article with my Brazilian students in mind!

  2. Maciel

    I love this article. I make soo many of these mistakes and my friends, too!

    Thank you a lot!

  3. Victor

    Almost everyone who’s learning english have this problem. It is not a “brazinglish”.

  4. Adriano

    Brazinglish: Most of people
    English: Most people

  5. bartley

    Ok, nice article but is not brazinglish, we dont speak brazilian we speeak Portuguese!

  6. rafael

    Its easier to understand Brazilians trying to speak English than to understand many mid/low class Americans, at least we try to make it right.

  7. Diane

    Love the tips! They’re very useful. Thx

  8. Junior Jr

    This is very good, help me with my mistakes.

    Rolling the R is a big problem for Brazilians, unless you are from Sao Paulo and say poRRRRta!

  9. Gilse Birne

    Great article!

    But it’s not only brasilians that make mistakes when speaking English. The English always make the same mistakes, they can’t separate “ser” and “estar”, “sono” and “sonho” and so many things!

  10. Solange Carvalho Porto

    Wow! I don’t make these mistakes, never, because I teach English. In fact, I work as a translator. In my free time, I give English lessons at home.
    But your Brazinglish mistakes are really interesting!
    Thanks a lot!
    Solange

  11. Martin Clowes

    …and “hard working” would be better with a hyphen…

Leave a Reply