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Common mistakes Filipinos make when using English

Did you already get your TIN NUMBER? Did you fall in line? Was it traffic so you were late today? Anyways, let’s talk about the lesson that I really love to discuss with my students. FILIPINISM. Are you ready? In 3….2….1…. lights open!

Like all other language, English is quite a problem to all foreign learners. Some of the rules are easy to explain but some are just tricky and often cause problems and difficulty even for advanced students and teachers. We, Filipinos are very fond of using the English language especially when expressing our feelings on social media but some of us are not aware of the mistakes we are making.  The examples below are some of the common mistakes, we Filipinos make when using English. You can share them with your friends to avoid being made fun of in the future: 😉 hihihihihi

TIN NUMBER –  “ATE, MAY TIN NUMBER KA NA?” no…no…no… DO NOT SAY TIN NUMBER BUT “TIN”! Would you like to mean Tax Identification Number “Number”?


“Sorry I am late! It was TRAFFIC!” Well this may sound correct but it’s SO WRONG! Traffic refers to the flow of vehicles on a road or high way. So it is more proper to say:

“Oh! Sorry I’m late! There was a HEAVY TRAFFIC!”

“ANYWAYS” – for heaven’s sake! Why do we love the letter “S” so much that we always add it to the words we use. ANYWAY, ANYWAY, ANYWAY! Okay? Anyways, ohhh… I mean, anyway, let’s move on to the next word.

OPEN AND CLOSE THE LIGHT – Seriously? Like a window? We should also open and close the like? What about saying “TURN ON OR TURN OFF THE LIGHT?” That will sound better! Hihihi

“FOR MY OPINION” – the most common mistake college students make. Often heard when someone’s reporting in front of the class. The correct term is: IN MY OPINION.

COMMIT A MISTAKE – We were bombarded by this phrase during my elementary days by our teachers.  I only found out it was wrong when I was corrected by my college professor!

“Hey, girl! You should say: MAKE A MISTAKE instead!”

“CAN YOU REPEAT THAT AGAIN?” – Redundancy at its finest! It is better to say the following:

  • I’m sorry?
  • Excuse me? I didn’t get what you said.

“IT’S MORE HARDER….THAT’S MORE BETTER” – Degree of adjectives. Always remember that ER in the end of the word means more so no need to add the word more when you use the words SMARTER, BRIGHTER, COLDER, BOLDER and all other adjectives that ends with ER.  It will be better!

And of course….. the most common term students hear at schools:

FALL IN LINE…. Oh no! teachers should rather say:

“Stand in a queue” or “line up” or “make a line”

Since most Filipinos are not aware of these corrections, these wrong terms and phrases have appeared to be acceptable but in the English speaking world, this should be avoided. They have to be corrected and to be taught to promote the good use the language as well as to be understood better.

So now that you know about it, kindly spread this to your friends! Let them find the common errors that they must have been possibly making for a long time! 😉

Share with your friends!

Rosalyn Bautista

Ro, a crazy teacher and aspiring traveler. She loves interacting and dealing with different people. Observing their behaviours, knowing their stories and writing about them.

11 thoughts on “Common mistakes Filipinos make when using English”

  1. Having lived with Filipinos for almost 10 years now, I have notices a few more mistakes that they commonly make.
    1. Interchanging He and She. My husband is in the hospital. She is not feeling well. In the beginning I used to wonder if the lady was a lesbian.
    2. Bring and Take. You can bring this with you when you go to the Philippines. No matter how many times I correct them, they always go back to using bring. This includes a Filipina who teaches English in the local school.
    3. For a while. This phrase is used by almost all the Filipinas who work as receptionists or secretaries when answering the phone and wish to put the caller on hold.
    The below are some of the pronunciation mistakes.
    4. Using ‘p’ instead of ‘f’. I am aware that Tagalog doesn’t have f, but it really gets annoying when a Filipino or a Filipina approaches me with the standard “How are you my priend?” I had a colleague who earned the nickname ‘Porty Pour” because of the way he pronounced Forty four.
    5. It is very difficult to make out between their ‘v’ and ‘b’. A bulb and valve sound very much the same.

  2. Hi, native English speaker here from U.K., just wanted to query the “There was a HEAVY TRAFFIC!” line, this looks wrong to me and I’m not sure if it’s technically correct, but since traffic is more plural than singular the “a” seems redundant, a better phrase could be “the traffic was heavy” or “there was heavy traffic” and with regards to “Anyways” as show at this site, http://grammarist.com/usage/anyways/
    “Although considered informal, anyways is not wrong. In fact, there is much precedent in English for the adverbial -s suffix, which was common in Old and Middle English and survives today in words such as towards, once, always, and unawares.” Sorry to be picky haha

  3. Another word commonly used by companies today is ‘TEAMBUILDING’. Eversince i heard that word, it sounds so corny to me. Then i found out that the americans never used that word. Hahaha!

  4. In my opinion, there’s no problem with using the term “xerox”. In other dictionaries like Merriam Webster, it functions as a verb, so I still use it.


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