What Does English Sound Like to Foreigners? English for Foreigners!

Do you know why some people make more mistakes in English than others? It is not because they are bad at English. It is because they make the same mistakes over and over again! They don’t hear or listen to themselves because listening is a skill. There are many of these common mistakes that every English learner makes and it can be frustrating to learn them. However, there are ways to help you avoid making these common mistakes, And you will see also what does English writing look like to foreigners.

What does English sound like to foreigners? Foreigner’s Mistake

English is a language that can be difficult to learn for many people. It has its own unique sound and rhythm that can take some getting used to. For example, English speakers tend to emphasize certain syllables in words, which can make them sound different than they do in other languages.

English also uses a wide variety of consonants, including a strong “r” sound that is absent in many other languages. Additionally, English’s use of contractions and slang can make it difficult to understand for non-native speakers.

For some foreign speakers, English can sound extremely fast and almost “choppy” when spoken quickly because there are so many words that are spoken in rapid succession. This is especially true for native Spanish speakers who already have a language with a very distinct rhythm like Spanish.

Additionally, English has a large number of homonyms and near-homonyms that can cause confusion for non-native speakers, especially when spoken quickly. All of this makes English sound distinct to foreigners who are used to other languages.

Despite all these differences, English is becoming more widely spoken around the world and is gradually becoming easier to understand for many foreign speakers. With the help of language learning apps, media, and other resources, more people are able to learn English in a way that makes it easier for them to understand its sounds.

Foreigners do not usually think English is a particularly beautiful language – they learn it because of the possibilities it opens rather than because of personal admiration for the language. 1

Read also: Asian Countries That Speak English !

Importance of English language

English language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and is considered the global language of business, science, and technology. It is the official language of many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. English language proficiency is essential for communication, education, and career advancement in today’s globalized world.

It provides access to a vast array of resources, including literature, media, and educational materials. Moreover, English language proficiency is a prerequisite for studying in many universities worldwide and is often the language of instruction for higher education.

Therefore, mastering the English language is crucial for individuals who want to succeed in their careers and make meaningful contributions to society. Indeed, English is important to students, workers …etc.

11 Common Mistakes in English Learners Make / Foreigners’ Mistake

this image talks about what does English sound like to foreigners
this image talks about what does English sound like to foreigners

Below are some common mistakes English:

Mistake 1: Do and Make

This is perhaps the easiest mistake to make. This occurs when writers indicate that they are doing something by using do + verb with an infinitive form of the verb

The general way to remember which to use is:

Make – another word for “create” and can only be used with nouns when you mean to create them (objects or things) Do – can be used with verbs and refers to actions.

Mistake 2: In and To

This is probably the second most common mistake that people make! It occurs when writers use incorrect prepositions with verbs.

In English, we can only say “in” somewhere when we are actually still at that place

“I am in London now.”

Or to talk about when you were still there:

“I was in London last week.” If you mean to put something where it’s not normally, use the location of that place in front of “In!” For example:

Somewhere else I have been told that using one preposition before a tense verb can lead to some mistakes. However, if you are going somewhere but cannot keep precise time, then more than one word works better and therefore more clearly say this rather than saying “I was there last Tuesday”.

Mistake 3: Take / Take Off

This is another common English mistake that occurs mainly in writing and not speaking: Writers use Should Take to mean said with an infinitive. This can be confusing when you see phrases like ‘take off this’ or ‘I’ll take my coat off now’. They don’t know writing skills good.

The polite form of saying would be ‘let me pass, please’ when we want to say something. Most educated people only let the person they’re talking to pass them if they haven’t arrived at a party yet.

Mistake 4: This, that, and it

This is the fourth common mistake that’s made in writing, not speaking. It occurs when writers use The word This to mean That or it because ‘this’ can be used before another ‘that’. For example: Write this report for me if you are being asked to write a report or he wrote this test today but should have written yesterday one.

That: Something that is far from you

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This: Something that is close to you

It: A thing you are talking about

The word that says again – same rule does not translate forever! Use the word that if you have to use two adjectives or a noun “She is fat and happy”

It should be used when it replaces another object. For example: “I’ve got this book, I’ll lend it.” This one here must not be provided by me It’s been borrowed from the library for three years now.

Mistake 4: Articles

This mistake is often called The Silent Article, as one does not normally have to look for this little piece of information. In fact, the silent article occurs due to misunderstanding where people may write “be”, instead of using a preposition or an absolute phrase beginning with a comma between two nouns – “a cafe do I need” – rather than starting vertically with ‘Cafe – Do – I don’t know’ rather like you would if you’re writing.

Mistake 5: Overuse of Colons

Mistakes in writing are usually made with the careful use of punctuation marks, however, several overused punctuation marks have led to some misuses when speaking English.

“Colons” often lead to confusion because their meaning is not always conveying how it’s supposed by its context for example ‘Nowadays’ can be translated as ‘Sometimes’, so this one here is incorrect; however, the colon is correct (although an extra comma can be used and still convey a whole idea) in some sentences:

“Some time ago I went to your house” – This sentence makes perfect sense if we remove said colons ‘Sometimes’ for example would make even more mistakes.

Mistake 6: Present Perfect and Past Simple

The wrong tense used for sentences of simple facts is usually seen during the early levels of grammar courses. This fault can be attributed to carelessness, however, the basic concept behind it needs to be remembered if one wishes for accurate writing about everyday things.

Present perfect – In general an event happened, used across a general period of time or over many situations, completed action.

Past simple – In a specific time, this event happened, used for only one specific time and not over many, completed actions.

Mistake 7: Not using prepositions with verbs of motion. :

The most basic of all errors in English being done is the incorrect use of prepositions to describe verbs related with motion, have you ever seen people walking along Ilminster Road or across it?

Mistake 8: Plurals/Singulars and Masses

Ipmsi has a plural form when they say “I play” rather than saying “I am playing”. This can be correct in some cases such as when the word is a description for something that belongs to more than one thing.



“Listen to this.”

So just saying “listen” doesn’t require “to” but if you say what you are listening to then you need it. Some examples of these verbs:

“Look at this”

“Ask for this”

“Look at this”

“Go/walk/drive to town”

“Shout at him”

Mistake 9: Ing/ed

The misuse of Ing vs. Ed happens to quite a lot of people, mostly when attempting to write out words or just by accident. Both ing and ed are standard grammar past tenses for nouns but there is actually much more that separates the two forms than meets the eye. Here’s how it all breaks down:


These mean very different things when used to describe someone.

“He is bored” – He is not interested and not having fun.

“He is boring” – You think that he is a boring person.

Mistake 10: Adverbs with “ly”

Notice the word after “ly”, don’t get distracted by this bit

Common words that end in ly are actually adjectives not adverbs. Examples of these include; “quick”, “late” and (some) irregular verbs like “enjoy”.

No verb:

“That’s correct.”


“That’s written correctly.”

Mistake 11: Present simple and Present continuous

When you are learning English, the way to remember this from a verb point of view is by picturing an “I” doing something over and over. A Present Simple Verb means the person or thing has been doing it for some time but nothing more than that.


I say – I am saying/speaking a few times right now then stop bothering others with my earlier things done in previous sentences = present simple verb → I was saying/speaking yesterday or two weeks ago AND I am still saying this in the future.

A Present Continues Verb describes an action that is continuous, can’t completely stop (ie “The background music continues” – never stops = present continues verb). On the simile side of things here are some examples: “I jumped up and down for joy.” – You repeatedly do something very quickly with no pause between, This can be a physical action or a mental one.

“The music played joyfully all the way through.” – It is going to start, then will switch before finishing meaning it was continuous and not regular although this could often happen as well (even in spoken English as well as written).

Have you spotted yourself or any of your colleagues making any of these common mistakes? What have been the mistakes you’ve found yourself making most commonly with your business English, and what have you done to avoid making them in future?

So, What makes English hard for foreigners?

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So what is it that makes English so hard for foreigners to learn? The answer is the combination of its vocabulary, orthography, and pronunciation. Most languages have a regulatory body that issues spelling reforms as the pronunciation of the language develops (which happens much faster than one might have expected).

Common errors in the English language

There are several common errors in the English language that people make. One of the most common is the misuse of homophones, which are words that sound the same but have different meanings. For example, confusing “your” and “you’re,” or “there,” “their,” and “they’re.” Another common error is subject-verb agreement, where the verb does not match the subject of the sentence.

This can often happen when the subject is a collective noun, such as “team” or “group.” Additionally, many people struggle with using proper punctuation, such as commas and apostrophes, which can affect the clarity and meaning of a sentence. These errors can be corrected through practice and attention to detail. However, there are numerous benefits to learning English.

Common mistakes in English speaking

There are several common mistakes that people make when speaking English. One of the most common mistakes is using incorrect verb tenses, such as saying “I have saw” instead of “I have seen.”

Another mistake is misusing prepositions, such as saying “I am waiting on my friend” instead of “I am waiting for my friend.” Pronunciation is also a common area of difficulty, especially for non-native speakers.

Mispronouncing words or using incorrect stress can make it difficult for others to understand what you are saying. Finally, using incorrect word choices or idioms can also lead to misunderstandings. It is important to practice speaking English regularly and to seek feedback from others in order to improve your communication skills.

Non-native speakers believe that it is someone’s pronunciation, particularly the accent and intonation that makes them sound foreign. 2

Top 5 mistakes in English language

The top 5 mistakes in English language are often related to grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and pronunciation. For instance, using incorrect verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, or word order can make sentences unclear or confusing.

Similarly, using the wrong words or idioms can lead to misunderstandings or awkwardness in communication. Spelling mistakes can also undermine credibility and professionalism, especially in written communication.

Punctuation errors, such as missing commas, apostrophes, or quotation marks, can change the meaning of sentences or make them difficult to read. Finally, mispronouncing words or stressing the wrong syllables can also affect the clarity and fluency of spoken English.

To avoid these mistakes, it is important to practice and learn from feedback, as well as to use reliable resources such as grammar guides, dictionaries, and pronunciation tools.

English for foreigners

English for foreigners is an essential skill to have in today’s globalized world. It allows individuals to communicate effectively with people from different countries and cultures, and opens up opportunities for work, education, and travel.

However, learning English as a foreign language can also be challenging due to the complexities of the language, including grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.

It requires dedication, time, and effort to become proficient in English, but the benefits of being able to communicate in this universal language are invaluable. There are many resources available for those looking to learn English, including language schools, online courses, and language exchange programs.

Common speaking mistakes in English

There are several common speaking mistakes in English that many non-native speakers make. One of the most common mistakes is using incorrect verb tenses. For example, saying “I am go to the store” instead of “I am going to the store.” Another common mistake is mispronouncing words, especially those with silent letters or irregular spellings.

Additionally, using incorrect word order or prepositions can also be a problem. For example, saying “I go to work by foot” instead of “I walk to work.” Finally, using filler words such as “um” or “like” too frequently can make speech sound less fluent. The best way to improve speaking skills is through practice and receiving feedback from others.


Why do English speakers say like?

  • Like is often used as a filler word to give speakers time to think or to emphasize a point.
  • It can also be used as a hedge, indicating uncertainty or a lack of commitment to a statement.
  • In some cases, like is used to introduce a comparison or simile.
  • The use of like as a discourse marker has become more common in recent years, particularly among younger generations.

Does English have a lot of sounds?

  • Yes, English has a relatively large number of sounds compared to other languages.
  • English has approximately 44 distinct sounds, including vowels, consonants, and diphthongs.
  • The number of sounds in English can vary depending on regional accents and dialects.
  • English also has a complex system of stress and intonation patterns that add to its overall sound complexity.

How many foreigners speak English?

It’s difficult to provide an exact number as there are many factors to consider, such as which countries are included in the definition of “foreigner” and what level of proficiency qualifies as “speaking English”.
However, according to a report by the British Council, it is estimated that there are currently 1.5 billion English language learners worldwide, with 375 million of them being considered proficient in English.
This number is expected to continue growing as English remains the dominant language in international business and communication.

What do foreign people think English sounds like?

  1. Some foreign people think English sounds harsh or aggressive.
  2. Others think English sounds sophisticated or intelligent.
  3. Some describe English as fast-paced or rapid.
  4. Some may associate English with popular culture, such as movies or music.
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Does English sound nice to non English speakers?

  1. English can sound pleasant to non-English speakers.
  2. The perception of how English sounds can vary based on individual preferences.
  3. English may sound harsh or difficult to non-English speakers who are not familiar with the language.
  4. The accent and pronunciation of the speaker can affect how English sounds to non-English speakers.

What language does English sound most similar to?

  1. English sounds most like other Germanic languages such as German, Dutch, and Swedish.
  2. English also shares similarities with Scandinavian languages like Norwegian and Danish.
  3. Due to the influence of French on the English language, some may argue that English sounds similar to Romance languages like French and Spanish.
  4. However, English is a unique language with its own distinct sound and pronunciation.

How hard is English to learn for foreigners?

  1. English can be difficult to learn due to its complex grammar rules and irregular verbs.
  2. The pronunciation and spelling of English words can be challenging for non-native speakers.
  3. English has many idiomatic expressions and slang terms that may be confusing for beginners.
  4. However, English is a widely spoken and studied language, so there are many resources available for learning and practicing.

What are the 10 common errors in English?

  1. Apostrophe error.
  2. Comma splice error.
  3. Dangling participle error.
  4. Exclamation mark misplacement.
  5. Filler word error.
  6. Fragment error.
  7. “I” for “it” or vice versa mistake.
  8. Hyphenated words in the wrong place.
  9. “It” instead of “he/she” error.
  10. Missing letters in a word or phrase.

What are the common English mistakes that non-native English speakers?

  1. Not speaking clearly enough.
  2. Speaking too fast or using words they don’t know in a sentence.
  3. Using slang, profanity, and curse words when speaking with their friends or colleagues.
  4. Being rude to people by cutting them off when they speak in English without realizing it is a language barrier for the other person who may not understand what you are saying or doing what you say because of the language barrier created by your accent and pronunciation.

What are the top common errors in English language?

There are several common errors in the English language that people tend to make. One of the most common errors is the misuse of homophones, such as “their” and “there,” or “your” and “you’re.”

Another common error is subject-verb agreement, where the verb does not match the subject in number. Additionally, incorrect word order and sentence structure can make communication difficult for the reader or listener.

Punctuation errors, such as the misuse of commas or apostrophes, are also common. Finally, spelling errors, such as misspelling commonly used words, can also be a problem. It is important to proofread and edit your work carefully to avoid these common errors.

What are top common mistakes English speaking?

The most common mistakes English speakers make are related to pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.

1. Pronunciation: Sometimes vowels or consonants can be modified to turn a word into a completely different one. It’s important to practice any unfamiliar words in order to master the correct pronunciation.

2. Grammar: English has many nuances and rules that govern how words are used together in phrases and sentences. To make sure your English is error-free, it’s essential to pay attention to the tenses used, subject-verb agreement, word order, etc.

3. Vocabulary: It’s easy to get caught up in trying to use too big of words when speaking English or using terms out of context, which can be confusing for native speakers and non-native speakers alike. Make sure you understand what various words mean and how they should be used correctly in context before using them when speaking English.

What American English sounds like to foreigners?

American English can sound down-to-earth and casual to non-native speakers. Its pronunciation is often characterized by slurred sentences and an excessive use of the sounds “s” and “r”.

The tone of American English is melodic and unique, with distinct vocal intonations. This accent is suitable for casual conversations and is often considered more approachable and relatable. Non-native English speakers may find American English easier to understand and emulate due to its more straightforward pronunciation.

In conclusion, English for foreigners can sound very different depending on their native language and exposure to the language. However, many agree that it is a complex language with a variety of accents and dialects that can be difficult to understand at times. It is important to be patient and understanding when communicating with non-native English speakers, as they may struggle to comprehend certain words or phrases. Overall, English remains an important global language, and efforts to improve communication and understanding between cultures can only benefit society as a whole.

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  1. Hadlich, G. (2021, January 31). What Do Foreigners Think Of English? Foreigner Living.
  2. Esl. (2022). Have You Ever Wondered What English Sounds Like to Foreigners? ESL Tutoring Services.