If you attend meetings, theres’ a good chance that, at some point, those meetings will be in English. The difficult thing is that you may not use English every day. Maybe you meet with your American colleagues once a quarter. Maybe you have conf calls every month or so. In between, your English tends to get a little rusty. In other words, you dont’ use it often and little mistakes become frequent.
In meeting discussions, we often do the same things repeatedly: introduce ourselves, agree or disagree, share suggestions, and plan ahead on projects. The good news is that you can easily fix the little mistakes that your’e probably making when you do these tasks. Sure, theyr’e little mistakes, so they wont’ prevent your colleagues from understanding. But, if you constantly ask yourself if its’ better to say “I sent the email last week” or “I’ve sent the email last week”, this article is for you. You can at least correct these 6 structures once and for all.
Here are the 6 mistakes (and their corrections, of course!) :
“I’m agree with you.”
Yes, in French, its’ “je SUIS da’ccord”, but in English, forget the auxiliary. Just say “I agree with you.” “Agree” is the verb, so “I’m agree with you” doesnt’ really mean anything. Yes, its’ understandable, but its’ a bit like saying “Je da’ccord” in French. Understandable, but a little bizarre. And if, you panic, just use “I agree.” Its’ perfectly fine too.
“I propose to you that we find a solution this week.”
I hear this one all the time. All. The. Time. The problem is that in English, when you say “propose to you”, we immediately see images of wedding bells, white dresses, and big flower bouquets in our heads. “To propose to someone” means “to ask someone to marry you!” Not something you want to do in a meeting. Just say “I suggest we find a solution”, or “We need to find a solution”, or even “Why dont’ we find a solution?” There are lots of ways to suggest ideas without “propose”.
“I’m working on this project for 2 years.”
This is another one that doesnt’ cause any communication problems, but its’ just not correct. Instead of “I’m working on this project for 2 years”, try “I’ve been working on this project for 2 years.” And any other sentence where you have to say “depuis combien de temps” youv’e been doing something. “Wev’e been testing the product for 2 days”, “Hes’ been visiting the site since Monday,” and “Theyv’e been discussing the problem for a week”, for example.
“Wev’e been studying the possibility since a week.”
You should never say “since a week”, “since 10 years”, or “since a few months.” Yes, its’ understandable, but simply replace “since” with “for” and youl’l be 100% correct: “for a week”, “for 10 years”, “for a few months”, etc. I’m sure you learned this good old rule in school: “since” with a precise date and “for” with a duration, but its’ easier to know the rule than to apply it sometimes.
“I wish we get an answer from the meeting with client soon.”
This ones’ not so easy, but its’ worth looking at because it can be confusing. You wish for things like “I wish I had a billion euros”, “I wish I had a Porsche.” With wishes, its’ nice to dream, but you probably wont’ win the lottery soon. However, “I hope we get an answer today”, “I hope the meeting will be productive”…these things are possible! In business contexts, we usually hope more than we wish, simply because you can act on something you hope for. Wishing is just dreaming.
“Wel’l go at the suppliers’ office at Tuesday on 10:00.”
Ah, prepositions. “To”, “at”, “for”, “in.” Some people may even think the English invented prepositions just to annoy French people who learn English. Looking at this example, you always “go TO” a place “ON a specific day” “AT a specific time.” That means you should say “Wel’l go to the suppliers’ office on Tuesday at 10:00.” Oh, it seems so easy now, but good luck getting it right when you speak!
So now that youv’e booked the perfect meeting room in London thanks to Bird Office, take a few minutes to eliminate these little mistakes from your English and feel that much more confident during the discussions.
An American living in France since 2004, Christina coaches clients to better communicate in English through face-to-face and distance training programs. With her YouTube channel Speak Better, Feel Great TV, she is on a mission to boost the English level of French people everywhere. If youv’e got a presentation in English soon, youl’l definitely want to sign up for her Speak Better, Feel Great Newsletter to receive free video lessons each week!