Writing in “the English language”

Speaking “the English language”. Mastery of “the English language”. Um… what’s wrong with just saying “English”?

Or any other language, of course. A trivial but commonplace bit of unnecessary longwindedness that’s easily avoided.

  • Phrases like “beheersing van de Nederlandse taal” are common in Dutch and tend to get literally translated
  • It’s just simpler to say speaking Japanese, an understanding of German, writing in French, and so forth.

There’s nothing grammatically incorrect about the phrase “the English language”, though.

Prevalence: moderate. When the literal translation is grammatical, people tend not to look any further.
Frequency: low. But a favourite in the curriculum vitae, of course.
Native: sometimes. We can be unnecessarily long-winded too.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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