학술논문, 교정, 번역, 워크숍 등에 대한 문의사항이나 궁금하신 점이 있으시면
언제라도 글을 남겨주세요.
What’s wrong with this expression?
The above confused expression may come from misunderstanding the sound patterns or grammar of American English, or from applying the Korean preference of consonant-vowel sound patterns to the grammar of American English. Native speakers of English will immediately recognize that the author of “wanna one” is not a native speaker.
First of all, “wanna” is not the same as “want.” It is an invented spelling to express the commonly reduced pronunciation of “want to” or “want a.” While we often HEAR “wanna,” we do not typically WRITE “wanna” except when an author of fiction wants to reveal the dialect of a character. Sometimes young people also write this expression in casual messages to their friends.
The problem with “wanna one” is not that it is casual. Rather, it is grammatically incorrect and doesn’t make sense to native speakers of English. Here’s why:
“Want” is a transitive verb that takes a direct object.
When the direct object is a noun, the noun may be preceded by the article “a”, thus “want a” can become “wanna”:
(O) “wanna” + noun-object
The direct object of want can also be an infinitive (to + verb), thus “want to” can become “wanna”:
(O) “wanna” + verb
The direct object of want can also be a pronoun, such as “one.” However, pronouns are not preceded by articles (a,an,the) or by “to.” We do not say “want a one” or “want to one,” thus we do not say or write “wanna one”:
(O) “want” + one
(X) “wanna” + one
Here are examples of how native speakers would reduce “want”:
“(Do you) want to eat pizza for dinner?”
“(Do you) want a pizza for dinner?
“(Do you) want one for dinner?
Wanna eat pizza for dinner?
Wanna pizza for dinner?
Want one for dinner?
We hope you enjoyed this tip and “wanna” learn more English from Compecs.
It’s St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. ___________ I got the last 2 tickets to Riverdance!
a) What luck!
b) Good luck!
c) Just my luck!
If you weren’t sure of the answer, we hope you “made a lucky guess” and chose a) What luck! We use this expression when something good happens that may be slightly surprising. The speaker in the above sentence was probably uncertain if there were any Riverdance tickets available and was both lucky and surprised to get the last two seats.
When referring to our own situation, we would not use expression b) Good luck! This is a wish we offer to another person not ourselves. “Good luck” can be said to sincerely wish a person luck, or it can be said sarcastically (with a change in tone of voice) when we expect someone will have bad luck in a given situation.
c) Just my luck is used when we have had bad luck and feel like we always have bad luck. For example,
Yesterday, I lost my phone and today I lost my wallet. Just my luck.
Here are a few more expressions we commonly use to talk about luck:
I’m/You’re in luck.
I/You lucked out!
I’m/You’re out of luck.
I have the worst luck.
At Compecs, we wish you the best of luck on St. Patrick’s Day and every day!
The sofa is so _________ that I may never get up.
The correct answer is b) comfortable.
Though these words are commonly interchanged in Korea, Americans may have a hard time understanding you if you mix them up.
“Convenient” is perhaps most frequently used to refer to a time or place that is handy, advantageous, or nearby.
“Comfortable” is a word we use to describe how something feels in terms of actual physical or mental comfort. It is commonly used for temperature, the feeling of furniture, clothing, or fabrics, or the ease we feel around certain people.
Here are some sentences to help you distinguish the usage of these words:
The couple agreed to meet in a location convenient to the subway. (near)
If the meeting place is inconvenient, we can always change it. (not handy)
For the students’ convenience, the teacher agreed to start class early. (advantageous for the students)
The water was a comfortable temperature so I swam for an hour. (not too cold or too hot)
I feel uncomfortable around him because he is always raising his voice. (ill at ease)
Fill in the blanks:
When I go on vacation, I always book a (1) _________ room in a (2) ________ location.
The milk was expensive because I bought it at a (3)* _________ store. (*small local store offering extended hours but with a limited selection of groceries and household goods)
Make sure you wear (4) ___________ shoes as we are going to do a lot of walking.
The standard answers would be (1) comfortable (2) convenient (3) convenience (4) comfortable.
We hope you enjoyed this installation of Compecs.
What’s wrong with the following sentence?
Almost students want to earn good grades.
The sample sentence is wrong because the adverb “almost” cannot modify the noun “students.”
For this sentence, native speakers would use the adjective “most” or the adverb/adjective combination “almost all” in front of “students.”
(O) Most students want to earn good grades.
most = adverb
students = noun
(O) Almost all students want to earn good grades.
almost = adverb
all = adjective
students = noun
Distinguishing between almost and most can be a challenge for learners of English.
The first problem is grammatical. In American English, the word “almost” is generally thought of as an adverb. You might recall from your school days that adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs, but they cannot modify nouns. “Most,” on the other hand, can be an adjective, noun, pronoun, or adverb (in superlative structures), so you may find it in a variety of roles and positions in a sentence.
In most cities, most enjoy the most expensive restaurants the most.
(adjective - pronoun - adverb [superlative] - noun)
The second problem is semantic. In American English, the word “almost” means “nearly but not completely,” whereas “most” typically means “the majority” or “the highest degree.”
So, most of the time, “most” does not mean “almost”:
I am most (=very) hungry. Let’s eat immediately.
I am almost (=nearly) hungry, but not quite. We can eat later.
However, when we use it in slang, “most” CAN mean “almost.” This happens in front of the words “all,” “every,” or “any.” In this case, both “most” and “almost” mean “nearly”:
Most everybody likes BTS.
Most all Koreans like BTS.
She enjoys most any BTS song.
Almost everybody likes BTS.
Almost all Koreans like BTS.
She enjoys almost any BTS song.
We most sincerely hope that you almost always check our COMPECS posts to help you understand the nuances of English. Have a most delightful day!
As the result of an accident, Walter ___________.
a) is physically challenged
b) has a disability
c) is an invalid
d) is confined to a wheelchair
e) is alter-abled
If it is necessary to discuss the disability at all, the best choice would be b) “has a disability.”
It seems that language is always changing, and it is difficult to know the best expression to use when we are speaking about a sensitive topic. What is politically correct today may be unacceptable tomorrow, so it’s a good idea to regularly consult the experts as to the most contemporary usage.
Although “has a disability” is accepted by the National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ), they admit that the term “disability” is disputed. Brown University, for example, recommends focusing on a person’s abilities rather than their disabilities and avoiding terms like a) “physically challenged,” among others.
Instead of just labeling someone, the NCDJ recommends that we ask ourselves whether it is necessary to mention the disability at all. If the disability is relevant to the discussion, then the source should be asked how they would like to be described.
Otherwise, use “people-first” language to emphasize the person and not their disability. With this in mind, it would be better to use the people-first expression “a person who has a disability” than to say someone is “a disabled person.”
The NCDJ suggests that we avoid old language like c) “is an invalid,” which is now considered offensive. They point out that d) “is confined to a wheelchair” is inaccurate as people who use a wheelchair are transferred in and out of the wheelchair and not permanently confined there. They also recommend we avoid made-up words like “handicapable,” or in the above exercise, e) “alter-abled.”
You can access the NCDJ “Disability Language Style Guide” at https://ncdj.org/style-guide/. Remember that with a people-first approach to language, you will have the best chance of speaking inoffensively in English.
Soojin has _________ one glass of soju.
The answer is a) drunk.
For some reason, the form “drunken” is in common use among Korean speakers of English. However, in contemporary American English, the form drunken is nearly obsolete. These days, Americans primarily use the word “drunk” in all forms: adjective, noun, and past participle verb.
Here are some examples of contemporary use:
(O) The police gave her a ticket for drunk driving. (adjective)
(O) That man is a drunk; I have never seen him sober. (noun)
(O) They have drunk contaminated water and may need to go to the hospital. (past participle)
Perhaps the confusion lies in that English has maintained the “-en” suffix on some past participles, such as “broken” and “eaten,” but not on others. Notice that these participles are more flexible in their usage than the old word “drunken.” For example, we can use “broken” and “eaten” before a noun or as a complement to the verb “be”:
(O) She ignored the half-eaten sandwich on the plate.
(O) The chair was broken.
However, we can only use “drunken” before a noun.
(O) What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
(X) The sailor is drunken.
It is sometimes the case that vestiges of old forms are preserved in literature and music, such as in the old but popular song “Drunken Sailor.” This may also be why we are still familiar with words like “drunken” (an adjective meaning intoxicated) and “drunkard” (a noun meaning a person who is habitually drunk), even though we mostly only use the word “drunk” these days.
His nose is ___________ of two holes.
The correct answer is b) composed.
The transitive verbs “comprise” and “compose” are two words that trip up native and non-native speakers alike. According to the first sense of the words in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, comprise means “to be made up of” whereas compose means “to form by putting together.” In other words, you can think of comprise and compose as the reverse of each other.
In the active form:
(O) The whole comprises the parts.
(O) The parts compose the whole.
However, compose is often used in the passive form:
(O) The whole is composed of the parts.
Unfortunately, as things go, many speakers began using comprise in passive sentences in lieu of compose, which has led to some confusion. Today, some dialects of American English allow for this variation, whereas other dialects do not:
(?) The whole is comprised of the parts.
To be safe, when writing an academic paper, you should stick with traditional grammar and avoid using comprise in the passive.
Here’s a little rhyme to help you remember the distinction, and to remind you that we often use comprise in the active and compose in the passive:
His eyes comprise lids, lashes, and styes. His nose is composed of two holes where he blows.
We hope you enjoyed today’s mini-lesson on comprise and compose. See you next week!
Pat: I am supposed to meet a client tomorrow.
Tom: Isn’t your meeting ______?
The correct answer is a), meaning “able to be implemented through Zoom,” even though Zoomable may not yet be an officially recognized word.
New words are coined in English every year, frequently by adding a productive affix to an existing word. A productive affix is one that is currently used to make new words, whereas an unproductive affix is no longer used to make new words.
The suffix -able, meaning “able to; capable of” is productive and appears in more than 1,700 recognized English words. The suffix -ible with the same meaning is no longer productive, and appears in fewer than 200 words.
Words change over time, and it is now difficult to recognize some of the word roots in older -ible words (such as “ed+ible”) whereas a fully recognizable word often serves as the root of the more modern -able words (such as “eat+able”). According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, word pairs with the -able/-ible suffix often take on different shades of meaning. For example, edible and eatable both mean that something is capable of being eaten, but edible implies that a food is nontoxic, whereas eatable means that the food has the potential to be enjoyed.
Here’s a contemporary example of the creation of a new -able word. In 2006, the verb “Google” (meaning to search for information on Google) was in such common use that it was added to the Oxford and Merriam-Webster English dictionaries. People began adding the suffix -able, thus creating another new word, “Googleable,” for something that can be found on the Google search engine. The word subsequently began to follow standard English spelling rules including using lower case “g” and dropping the silent “e” before -able. English dictionaries now list “googleable” as well as “googlable” as acceptable words in the English language.
The next time you have proofreading or editing needs, please ask yourself if it's Compecs-able.
Introducing someone else, in-person:
Correct the mistake in the following conversation.
Bob: Sue, he is my colleague, Tim. Tim, Sue.
Sue: Nice to meet you, Tim.
Tim: Nice to meet you, too, Sue.
The correct answer is:
Bob: Sue, THIS is my colleague, Tim. Tim, Sue.
Sue: Nice to meet you, Tim.
Tim: Nice to meet you, too, Sue.
Don’t mistakenly use the third person singular pronoun (he/she/it) when introducing one person to another. This could be perceived as RUDE.
You hear a knock at the door. What do you say?
a) Who is this?
b) Who is it?
The correct answer is b) Who is it?
Oddly, when we identify ourselves by name in the United States, we use different pronouns (I, it, or this) in different situations. Look at these examples:
Self-introduction, in-person (Use “I’m”):
Bob: Hi, I’m Bob.
Sue: Hi, Bob. I’m Sue.
Telephone identification (Use “This is”):
Sue: Hi, may I speak to Bob?
Bob: This is Bob. (Or, very formally: “This is he.”)
At the front door of one’s home (Use “It’s”):
Sue: (Knocking on door)
Bob: Who is it?
Sue: It’s me, Sue.
Note that “I’m Bob” and “It’s me, Sue” are informal introductions, whereas “This is Bob” sounds more formal. We also introduce another person using the more formal “this,” even if the introduction occurs in an informal context.