The following is a collection of genuine language mistakes made by EFL students: 


During a discussion a young Japanese student was asked if they still had capital punishment in Japan, to which she replied “Yes, we still have death by hangover” [know the feeling !!] 


Where can I go hor-riding? (thinking ‘hor’ was the singular of ‘horse’) 


Female student talking to male replacement teacher: "I want to have you again tomorrow". 


Student at beauticians wanting to have her legs waxed - “Can you take off my feathers”


I shave my bird every day. (meaning beard) [A bald eagle, perhaps !] 


T: What do you like about Malta? 

S: I like the bitches. (apparently Golden Bay was his favourite)


T: (to a female student) Do you miss Germany? 

S: (giggling coyly) No, I’m not Miss Germany 


T: Would you like to go to Australia one day? 

S: I think one day would be too short. 


An attractive teacher in her 50s and her young male student were conducting their lesson in an outdoor cafe when the teacher suddenly felt a little chilly and rubbed her arms. Much to the teacher’s embarrassment, the young student told her in rather a loud voice “Oh, please don’t get fresh”. Needless to say, they received some very odd looks from the other patrons of the cafe.


When asked by the teacher to give an outline of ‘a typical day at the office’, one student began ‘the first thing I do in the morning is look for males’. 


At the end of a conversation lesson the student said to the teacher "Thank you for doing intercourse with us."


This exchange went on between a female teacher and a male private student 

T: What is your favourite fruit 

S: Hi need you 

T: (feeling a little uncomfortable) Um.. do you like peaches or apples … 

S: No, I told you, Hi need you – you know the melon which is orange inside 

T: Oh!.. (red faced but somewhat relieved)..HONEY DEW 


During an ‘in a restaurant’ role play 

S: I’d like soup and then I’d like to be followed by a chicken. 


T: What’s the nicest present you’ve every received? 

S: Last year I became a horse on my birthday. 


A class were playing a word game where they had to explain a word to the rest of the class. The teacher gave an Italian student the word ‘tramp’. As the student did not know what the word meant, the teacher whispered the Italian translation 'barbone’. Imagine the teacher’s amazement when the student proceeded to give this explanation: ‘They are usually shaved all over with a little curly hair on the top of their heads and around their feet and wrists’. Then she realized that the student had misunderstood her translation of the word ‘tramp’ and was explaining the word ‘barboncino’ meaning poodle. 



© Malta Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language