Category: Indo English

Make me ______!

😦 Routine activities make our hearts are happy.

flag-of-indonesia I’m not sure why Indonesian students run into problems with make, especially when make is tied to an adjective –  as it is in this example. The Indonesian structure is exactly the same as the English:

verb noun adjective
🇮🇩 membuat orang senang
🇬🇧 make someone happy

Buat orang senang = Make someone happy = Make + noun + adjective

🙂 Routine activities make our hearts happy.

Of course make can also be tied to a verb:

🙂 She made me do it!

In this case you need the structure:

subject + make + object + V1

So, make is actually easier to use than you might think:

  • She makes me happy (adj).
  • She makes me laugh (v).

@eapguru

My yard is wide

😦 Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very wide yard.

flag-of-indonesia Here an Indonesian candidate is translating ‘luas’ (lit. ‘wide’).

In English, ‘wide’ is one of several dimensions (including ‘long’, ‘deep’, etc.), and doesn’t really communicate the idea of overall size.  If you tell me your yard is wide, I immediately want to know whether it is long. Then I might be able to decide whether it is big or small. For example, a yard might be 10m ‘wide’, but only 10cm ‘long’.

To communicate the idea of overall size – when speaking about the land next to or between buildings – it would be better to say:

🙂 Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very big yard.

More academic synonyms for ‘big’ might include ‘spacious’, ‘expansive’.

@eapguru

When ‘existence’ should not exist

😦 Some people believe that the existence of machines helps to generate more profit than loss.

flag-of-indonesia This is a common translation problem for Indonesians. Keberadaan!

In English it is automatically assumed that things and people exist, unless otherwise stated.

🙂 Some people believe that machines help to generate more profit than loss.

🙂 Some people believe that the absence of machines can result in losses.

Incidentally, can anyone guess the names of the couple in the cover photo for this post, and why were they chosen? Comments below! 🙂

@eapguru

Humans are usually redundant

😦 In conclusion, long working hours are necessary for human beings.

flag-of-indonesia I’m guessing this may be a cultural issue.

Let’s try a quick test. Which of the following sentences is NOT about working hours and humans?

  1. Long working hours are necessary for human beings.
  2. Long working hours are necessary.
  3. Long working hours are necessary for ants.

Hopefully you chose number 3. In any discussion of working hours, and indeed of many other topics, we’re usually talking about human beings, unless otherwise specified.

The only time we really need to mention humans is when we’re contrasting them with non-humans!

@eapguru

Ethnic(ity)

😦 Different ethnics will have different languages to communicate.

flag-of-indonesia This is one of those situations where the English word has been borrowed and its use altered. In this case what was in English an adjective has been turned into a noun.

English offers two word forms – ethnic (adjective), ethnicity (noun):

🙂 Different ethnic groups will have different languages to communicate.

🙂 People with different ethnicity will have different languages to communicate.

And by the way, how exactly do you describe your own ethnicity? Comments below!

@eapguru

Are the benefits beneficial?

😦 Constructing impressive buildings benefits more for visitors than local people.

flag-of-indonesia This is another word that gets partly lost in translation. Let’s look at some possible improvements.

Benefit – verb

Constructing impressive buildings benefits visitors more than local people.

The verb ‘benefit’ is transitive, no preposition. Notice the position of ‘more’ in the comparison!

Beneficial – adjective

Constructing impressive buildings is more beneficial for visitors than for local people.

The adjective ‘beneficial’ may be followed by a preposition phrase – usually ‘beneficial + for’ (except “When attempting to lose weight it is more beneficial to exercise than to diet.”).

Without a comparative you might also write:

Constructing impressive buildings is beneficial.

Benefit – noun

The benefits to visitors of constructing impressive buildings are greater than the benefits to local people.

The noun ‘benefit’ – when applied to people (visitors) – is followed by ‘to‘.
When applied to things (constructing impressive buildings) it is followed by ‘of‘.

@eapguru

The Impact Song


I’ve covered this collocation problem in a previous post. Students’ first language drives them to produce ‘bring an impact to/for’.

I thought that by writing a song featuring the correct collocation, they might be brainwashed into getting it right next time.

I’ll get back to you when I’ve seen some writing ‘post-song’!

@eapguru