Common Errors in English (made by Italians.)


We all make mistakes. Some of them are more serious than others. However, more often than not, they are due to interference with your native language. Here are some common errors Italians make when they speak English:

Good work!

These and others which I will go into detail are common errors in Italian speakers of English. In English we would never say “good work” or “buon lavoro.” Instead we might say something like,

“Have a good day at work.”

Let’s look at the next one:

“How goes?”

This translation from “Come va?” is an attempt to say,

“How’s it going?”

This is a phrase to ask somebody how they are, or how their life is going in general.




If you didn’t hear something someone said, don’t say this. It’s not a correct translation of “Cosa?” Instead say, “I’m awfully sorry my good friend, but what did you say?” Or,


“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch what you said.”


“You have reason.”


This is not a correct translation of “hai ragione.” Instead, say: 


“You are right.” Or, “I couldn’t agree with you more.”


“…and stop.”

In Italian to say this after a sentence is wrong and an incorrect translation from “ e basta.” We would normally say,

“I went to the cinema. Then I had a pizza in a restaurant, and that’s it/all.”


Let’s look at some grammatical errors:


“The Last night I have been to a discotheque.”

No.No.No. Disco music was out in the seventies. We clubbers go to clubs in England. In addition, we say “last night.” Finally, when we talk about a specific time, we use the past simple:

“Last night I went to an exclusive club in the West End. I have never drunk so much Prosecco in all my life.” (Notice the correct use of the Present Perfect Simple tense.)

Oh help! (Ok, this is an extreme situation.) Let’s analyse this one:

“I must to go to the shops for to buy some of clear beer.”

The correct phrase would be:

“I have to go to the shops to buy some lager, or light beer.”


Finally, let’s look at how sometimes have to can be confused:


“You don’t have to take your portable computer home. It has to be kept in the office.”


In English we say:

“You mustn’t  take your pc home. It must be kept in the office.”

This is because we use mustn’t to talk about prohibitions. Strong obligations use must.

So, that’s it for the moment. In the future I will add to this article by writing a follow-up article.


Thanks for reading.

Teacher Dominic

I really hope to see you in my classroom very soon.

© Dominic Christopher Elliston and 2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dominic Christopher Elliston and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


2 thoughts on “Common Errors in English (made by Italians.)

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