Teacher Feature: What Is the Biggest Mistake Your Czech Students Make?

Teacher Feature: What Is the Biggest Mistake Your Czech Students Make?

We asked English teachers to tell us the most common mistakes their Czech students tend to make over and over. Here’s what they had to say:

“The most common mistakes Czech students make are the following.”
Tracey Ennor, UK, Private English teacher



False friends

  • Using “control” to mean “check”.
  • For example: “I went to the doctor for control yesterday” or “Please can you control my writing.”
  • Saying “concrete” when they mean specific. “I gave my husband concrete details and he still bought the wrong thing.”
  • Also words like “accurate” vs. akorát (just enough).

Pronunciation

  • The sound in “these” and “thought”: often pronounced as dese and dawt.
  • “Bought” is often pronounced bawft.
  • V and W: especially at the beginning of a word, think vork (work), vish (wish), and vhen (when).

“Even Czechs who have a good level of English make [tend to] make mistakes with prepositions, articles, and syntax.”
Gillian Pritchett, UK, Business English instructor

Misuse of prepositions

  • For example, if I asked a Czech if I was expected to come and teach this summer they would answer: “Yes I’m counting with you”  rather than “I’m counting on you” or possibly “Yes, we’re expecting you.”

Word order

  • Since Czech is less strict on word order syntax can be an issue. A good fix for this: Reading more in English helps as well as giving lessons that cover word order and doing drills.

Articles

  • Often Czechs will start a sentence without an article and omit articles within sentences. For example: “Reason why I am leaving the college is that I was offered manager position.” This should be “The reason why I am leaving the College is that I was offered a manager position.”

Here is another example that includes all of my points: “I am sending you also activity of week 1 and week 2.” This should be “I’m also sending you the activity for week 1 and week 2.” These are genuine sentences that my students have used in emails to me.

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