The joys of Tripadvisor reviews

This gem from a review of one of the UK’s top restaurants:

“The waiters were barely legible.”




Barely legible . . . I can’t figure out what was even intended by that comment :thinking:

I think they may have confused intelligible and legible :rofl:

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I regularly despair at the British education system.

For a developed country, we have quite high levels of functional illiteracy. I contribute to the Tripadvisor forum for Tenerife - a popular holiday destination for we Brits. The poor standard of written English is very evident - even when you consider folk may be just making very short comments in a relaxed environment.

The Florida forum is no better…

I presume you mean the contribution by Brits?

In all honesty, this all makes me very ashamed to be British and ashamed of the UK. Whatever must other folk think of us that we cannot properly write our own language.

There’s loads of bad grammar and spelling amongst all nationalities, but it seems to be disproportionately prevalent amongst those from Blighty.

You Brits have a far greater mastery of our shared tongue than Americans do, but in this instance, I presume to suggest that you meant “assume”. :wink:

Presume is the correct usage in English(UK)

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I had to go and Google before responding. It’s the penalty of only having formal education until the age of 16 - you just don’t know whether it should be assume/presume (although that has been the least of life’s penalties for not being clever enough to continue in education) . I don’t think I had a particular thought process when I wrote “presume”, it just came out (a problem I’ve had with the four books I’ve written - mercifully, the editor at the publishers is very thorough chap).

So, as to the Googling, I find that “assume” means I would have supposed it to be the case, without proof. And “presume” would have meant I believed something to be true because it was very likely. So, on those definitions, score one for Harters. :smile:

But, of course, that was just my Googling and it could, just as easily, be score one for greygarious. :smiley:

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I wonder if that is the case. When I read Tripadvisor forums, I don’t see the poor standard of English being posted by Americans. On a wider note (and I’ll stand correction) but I understand it is becoming more common for American English, rather than British English, to be taught as “English as a Foreign Language” in many countries. including parts of the Commonwealth of Nations

When I was teaching English as a Second language in France most of my books were from British companies,so the emphasis was on UK spelling and grammar…which is, to be honest, more commonly used in European business.

I always taught the alternatives, however…sometimes the spelling differences are confusing, and there are some issues that can cause mixups. Lorry/truck and the like cause no end of questions

I stand corrected. At least about Europe. I had in mind places like India. The article I recall reading was suggesting that even those language ties from the time of empire were now loosening and American English was becomng more popular, as it was more straightforward and consistent in spelling (eg color/colour), let alone the cultural predominence of America through, say, TV programmes. I see the cultural thing increasingly so here, in recent years. For example, Halloween is now widely followed here by children and, I suspect, that it will not be too long before our own traditions, of Mischief and Bonfire Nights (4/5 November), will have been completely replaced. The former has probably all but disappeared and the latter has noticeably declined.

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Having been to resort beaches in Europe which are basically pebbles and rocks, I can believe that a European visitor to a New Jersey beach (for example) might consider it too sandy.

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I speculate native speakers learn speech before writing, and ESL learners learn writing before speech (or at least in parallel), so native speakers will sometimes make obvious spelling mistakes like ‘wet an appetite’, whereas non-native speakers will most likely use the right spelling if they choose to use the term, but perhaps have other grammatical issues.


My sister-in-law’s Spanish husband certainly spoke English before he could write it. In fact, when they first got together, they both used their school French to communicate as neither really had any command of the other’s language.

My e-pal, Aurel, is a Dutch/Flemish speaking Belgian - a retired teacher of English there. He writes English with an accent, so to speak. It’s sort of fluent but not quite. My experience with forums is that it’s a comparitive rarity for non-native English speakers to write without the “accent”.

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Do you have an example of what a ‘written accent’ is like?

Here’s one I found very quickly (bear in mind that his remarks are in the middle of a quite detailed discussion trying to locate a possible war cemetery from WW1). I’ve put the “accented” sentence in bold.

For each of these I can think of some candidates, but so far none that qualifies for all of them together. And “about a dozen graves” is a very low numberl. Even two dozen is … Very curious if the cemetery will be found. And then I may exclaim : yes, of course, I had overlooked that one … But so far …


Quite the opposite.

When I taught in a French high school (disclaimer: i taught in a lycee agricole…a trade school) the training was.absolutely focused on verbal, rather than written learning. Both are taught, but my lessons were heavily weighted to spoken conversations.

With adult learners, most could decipher written communications, but phone and face to face meetings became troublesome

And we learn to speak even our mother tongue long before we take up pen, pencil, or keyboard

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