topum (topum) wrote,


The locals here often ask us how to say things correctly in English and I can hardly ever give a definite answer. Because I am not a native speaker, I get my grammar wrong all the time and my usage can be weird and I sometimes cannot find the best word to use in a particular situation and often have to go with the second best choice. I also instinctively simplify (or sometimes needlessly complicate) my sentences to avoid potentially tricky grammar. Also, my English is what is called "International English", it is neither British nor American, etc, it is some weird mixture. So I am hardly ever automatically certain how to say something correctly in English. On the other hand, my English is automatic enough for me not to remember any grammar rules anymore so that I can go back to them in my head and figure things out again and then explain them to somebody as well. So it is the worst of both worlds, I am not good enough not to get a lot of things wrong but I am good enough not to have to remember the actual rules anymore.

Helga is the opposite, she is both a native speaker and she knows all those rules and can go all "conjunctive-subjunctive-reflexive-colloquial-contractions" on you big time. So she is the best of both worlds, she is a native speaker and she knows all those grammar rules.

So you would think that the locals would prefer Helga's answers and explanations to mine. But because we, humans are lazy and easily bored, in reality, when she goes all "conjunctive-subjunctive-reflexive-colloquial-contractions" on them, their faces go blank (except for a huge "WTF..?" across them) about twenty seconds in and after she is done they go "OK... Thank you... I am gonna go now..." after a somewhat awkward pause. They even often ask me the same questions afterwards and those conversations typically go like this:

- Is it correct to say it like this?

- Hmmmm, yeah...I guess...yeah. I could say it like this...also I could say it this way...probably...I think it is correct...I think both are correct...or maybe not...I don't know, I could say it this way though...I think...and anyway, they will understand you perfectly well so it is fine I guess.

And they love my absolutely useless "answers" and usually prefer them to Helga's real ones.
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