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Advanced Dunglish… the blog

  • Click the heading to read the blog post
  • After opening a post, you can:
    • select various categories such as Punctuation or US-UK issues to find related posts
    • select tags to find other items about the same specific topic
    • leave comments (kan ook in het NL, uiteraard)

Making do

Making a jigsaw in English would mean cutting the puzzle pieces out, not putting them together. One of many occasions where Dutch uses “make” but English prefers “do”.

Water monsters

No, we’re not talking Nessie or ichthyosaurs: a water monster in Dutch also has a second, more common and prosaic meaning: a water sample.

Security and safety

Dutch authors can be a bit woolly about security (protection against threats) and safety (eliminating risks and hazards), or blur the lines between them.

The Dunning-Kruger effect

Applicable to many people’s opinion of how good their English is: the cognitive bias of overestimating your skills because you aren’t fully aware of your shortcomings.

Insulation and isolation

Both are ‘isolatie’ in Dutch, so it can cause confusion. Especially as there are cases where both get used in English (e.g. electrics).

Scooters and mopeds

A scooter is usually more of a child’s unpowered toy, whereas a moped has a small internal combustion engine.

Twins

A twin is a single person, who happens to have been born alongside another. That’s different from Dutch, in which “a twin” refers to the identical twosome.

Nicknames

A nickname isn’t a preferred short, alternative or familiar form of the actual name on youur passport. It may be mean and unkind, unrelated to the actual name, or even offensive.

When isn’t it -ize?

When you’re using the -ize spelling rather than -ise, there are some words that retain the -ise ending nevertheless. How can you tell?

Get real

A very versatile verb that native English uses a great deal but is often forgotten about by non-natives: to get.

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