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Perikles January 28, 2017 05:35 AM

Disastrous mistake in English
I just wanted to share this anecdote which amused me and shows how tricky English can be:

I have just returned to Tenerife after two weeks in Germany. The flight was over 4 hours, and when there was about a half an hour to go, the pilot made an announcement in German which made total sense, but which was then repeated in English:

"Ladies and gentlemen, we almost made it".

What he meant was of course "we are almost there/we have almost arrived" and what he should have said was "We have almost made it".

But what he actually said was "We tried to get to Tenerife, and we almost succeeded, but we failed". That's the difference a simple past and a perfect tense can make. That's a scary thing to hear from a pilot. :eek:

I'm not sure whether this difference would be heard in American English :thinking:

Rusty January 28, 2017 07:24 AM

American English is interpreted the same way.

I'm glad you were one of the survivors. ;)

pjt33 January 28, 2017 08:22 AM


Originally Posted by Rusty (Post 161958)
I'm glad you were one of the survivors. ;)

I'm reminded of the classic question about a plane crash on a border, and where you would bury the survivors.

(The answer, of course, is that it depends on how much of a vicious bastard you are...)

JPablo January 28, 2017 04:35 PM

Yes, the survivors, given some additional time and some more slings and arrows of fortune, will be duly buried..., or incinerated, as disposed in their wills.

Sancho Panther March 19, 2017 05:14 AM


Disasterous mistake in English
It should be spelled 'disastrous' - in the interests of orthographical accuracy.

aleCcowaN March 19, 2017 07:23 AM

BREAKING NEWS: An airplane crashed over the Cemetery of Lepe*. Local first responders and rescue teams have recovered 5,000 bodies, and they think they'll soon be finding even more. There are also 300 survivors.

* or a Polish, Belgian, Galician cemetery, or a cemetery in Newfoundland or Yucatan.

Perikles March 19, 2017 11:32 AM

Haha - in English it is usually a small airplane crashes into an Irish graveyard.

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