I speak two languages. I learned English and Spanish simultaneously and have been equally fluent since I was a small child. My mother taught herself English after emigrating. She used to watch lots of television shows to get as much exposure to the language as possible. She's pretty fluent after more than 40 years in the country. She still gets frustrated by grammar though, and I can't say I blame her. Quite a few things about the English language are odd, even annoying to those for whom English isn't their native tongue.
After Redditor ThePuzzler13 asked the online community, "People who studied English as a second language, what was the hardest part about learning English?" people came forward to vent.
"How it is so inconsistent."
How it is so inconsistent. At least other languages have accents to tell you how to pronounce a letter. The "s" in "sugar" is for some reason a "sh" sound. Words like "subtle, colonel, schedule" really makes no sense why they're spelled that way vs how they are pronounced.
"I used to teach..."
I used to teach ESL to Spanish speakers. Hands down the weirdest thing is phrasal verbs. You have to just memorize them. There's no rule to explain the difference between act, act on, act out, act up, etc. You have to just magically know it. I never thought about how crazy they are until I had to teach them. I didn't even know they existed, honestly. It's not part of grammar education to native English speakers.
Accents. Teachers said movies were a good way to habituate yourself to listening and understanding English but little did we know there were 400 different accents in Britain alone.
Speaking English thinking you have an accent and then that fear causes you to stutter or mispronounce a word.
"Then I realized..."
Figuring out how to pronounce words without letting my accent get in the way. Then I realized that there are many differences across regions in pronounciation and stopped caring so much because everyone's got some kind of accent.
English actually has a lot of vowel sounds and there are some I can't discern at all. Like, heart and hurt are supposed to have different vowel sounds???
"For some reason..."
For some reason, even today, I am completely fluent in my head but when it comes to actually saying anything, I panic and make a thousand errors per second.
Having learned English by watching TV when I was a kid the actual grammar rules and terms were the biggest problem for me.
For example if we were given a task of translating or modifying a sentence and the instructions used words like pronoun, adverd, preposition etc. I would have no idea what I needed to do. But as soon as I got one example, I could do all the rest without even thinking about it.
I don't know grammar terms in Finnish or English, as I've learned the languages by listening and speaking them.
So when I started learning Swedish and French I was a bit f*cked. The focus to learning languages in Finnish schools (at the time at least) seemed to be to tell you everything about all the rules and exceptions to the rules first and then seeing if you could form a sentence using the rules I never understood in any language.
"Some of the grammar structures..."
English teacher here. Some of the grammar structures are always difficult for my students to wrap their heads around. Sometimes rules just work until they don't. e.g. I before E except after C (Until things start getting weird). Current challenge is explaining articles in a language that doesn't have them.
Heteronym are also a right pain to try to explain. Read and lead rhyme, as does read and lead. But read and read do not, nor lead and lead, read and lead or read and lead.
"Or do I mean..."
Articles! Or do I mean "The articles"? It's really hard to understand when should I use "the" or "a/an" and when I shouldn't... I'm doing it instinctively..
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Some people typically don't like being told what to do because they think they already know what they're doing.
That is until they stumble and land on their face.
It turns out what they were resistant to accepting in the first place was accurate all along.
If only they listened.
Curious to hear of other people's growing pains, Redditor TinyUnderstanding948 asked:
"What lesson did you have to learn the hard way?"
You can protect yourself with these reminders.
Leave A Paper Trail
"Any monetary or business agreement needs to be in writing!"
Observing The Fine Print
"Read the contract."
Generally speaking, business relationships and friendships are mutually exclusive.
"Not everyone you work with is your friend."
What Venting Led To
"My grandmother learned that the hard way a few years ago. Had been in the same industry since the 90s, was being paid less than she was worth honestly. On a break at work, she was venting to a coworker she thought she was friends with, about someone who worked in the same place as them."
"Word got back to the boss pretty fast and they used it as an excuse to stop giving her work and forced her out; they preferred a younger workforce that they could pay less. She had to retire without much savings, had to sell her house and move in with my aunt, and now has to live off of social security benefits. She probably would have never retired if she hadn't been forced to; because of her age, she wasn't able to get hired anywhere else."
"I work with someone who will laugh with you and pretend to be your buddy but as soon as you turn your back, she's already b*tched about you to 20 people and whined about you asking for her help with some small tasks (even though she offered her support)."
"The worst part is she is part of the HR team and she has a documented history of exploding at people, harassment and bullying, and not doing her job (because she spends most of her time crying and complaining). She is the stereotypical HR representative."
Consumers who were previously taken advantage of have the following advice to pass along.
Splurge On Good Quality
"Buy it nice or buy it twice."
"This is 100% accurate but needs a disclaimer: expensive does not always equate to nice."
The relationships we have with people are complex, but you may want to keep these in mind.
Extending A Lifeline
"You can’t always help people. You can show them you care and point them toward help, but it’s up to them to get better. And if you fail, it’s not your fault."
"You can't have a relationship with someone's potential."
Achieve Mutual Adoration
"Loving someone doesn't mean they will keep loving you."
And when it comes to your health, listen up.
"Drink plenty of water."
"It's hard to know when you're dehydrated sometimes. Felt terrible and didn't know why. Never felt thirsty. Had skin issues, lack of sleep, irritability, lack of concentration, dizzy spells, could not function at work, among other things."
"Ended up at the ICU with an IV drip for severe dehydration."
"DRINK YOUR WATER!"
While advice from the people we care about comes from a good place, they are not always appreciated.
Sometimes, we have to make our own mistakes in order to fully comprehend why we should apply certain standards to the way we go about our lives.
At least for me, I've found that picking myself up and dusting myself off was most effective.
As patients, we rely on the expertise of medical professionals to be able to identify whatever ailments we're suffering through.
We brace ourselves if we fear the worst, but oftentimes, we end up being comforted by a minor diagnosis.
But all the medical degrees and years of education can't teach doctors to practice empathetic, yet professional, doctor-to-patient interaction on a basic human level.
That has to come naturally.
Curious to hear from patients who have had disappointing or distressing interactions with their physicians, Redditor TheSpasticSheep asked:
"What’s the most out of line thing a doctor has every said to you?"
It's horrifying when even doctors don't have a clue about your condition and, even worse, they gaslight you.
"A gentleman I worked with showed up to work one day looking extremely sick. He was incredibly feverish, had muscle and joint aches, very lethargic and was looking very jaundiced."
"we insisted that he go to the doctor, as he looks like he is on deaths door. He told us that he had been to 2 separate doctors and the ER, letting them know that he has Malaria, and can they please give him some anti malarials. Both doctors and the ER insisted that it 'was impossible to have malaria, as Australia doesn't have malaria,' and that he probably just had the flu, or some other viral infection. And they are correct. We don't have malaria here. But, what they failed to grasp was that this gentleman was an expat who worked in Africa for a number of years, and has had malaria 5 times already. So not only is he an expert in what malaria 'feels' like, but he is also at risk of developing malaria again, even if he hasn't been to Africa in a few years."
"He ended up having to go back to the ER, and basically force them to run a test for Malaria, after which they were like 'oh wow, you do have malaria.' And he was like 'no sh*t, i told you that 2 days ago.'"
Not Going Mental
"I had smashed my face on my steering wheel during a bad car accident and was experiencing intense pain. I teared up when he put the scope in my nose and was told I obviously have psychological problems and if I went on medication it might not help my pain, but I wouldn't care as much."
"Finally found a good doctor and surgery removed the chunk of nose bone that was stabbing into a nerve in my face."
The wrong treatment after a misdiagnosis can be a doctor's serious mistake.
"I had a growth on my scalp a few years ago and went to see a skin cancer specialist. Who said it was a malenoma and I was going to need most of my scalp removed. Without even having a biopsy. He starts telling me to prepare myself for this surgery that will disfigure me. I was about 19 at the time with long hair. He started saying ill need to wear a wig and my hair may not grow back and the skin above my eyes will need to be removed."
"I was petrified. Went home in tears and absolutely petrified."
"Then my dad took me to his doctor, who took a biopsy."
"It was just a random skin growth and she cut it off then and there."
"Years ago, one of the sexual health nurses at my work told me she just saw a woman who very clearly had a scabies infestation around her genitals. She said the treatment was simple and that a cream was applied with almost instant relief. She said what upset her about that patient was that almost a year earlier she’d been to a doctor about the infestation, the doctor didn’t even inspect her and just prescribed her antidepressants. I was horrified and still am over 7 years later. So much medical gaslighting."
"Too Young" For Cancer
"Not one, but two doctors to my dad- 'you’re too young to have prostate cancer, no need for a biopsy, it’s just a bladder problem.'”
"He died 15 months later from an aggressive prostate cancer that spread to create tumors all over his body."
The "Sad" Pill
""While teaching abroad in Vietnam I was struggling with depression. The doc diagnosed me with homesickness and prescribed a box of 160 hydrocodone to take 'when I feel sad.'"
"I was 21 and this was 2007, way before pill use was talked about mainstream. Subsequent boxes were $12 each at a walk up pharmacy, no script needed. I became addicted for 6 years."
"Edit, as I have many people stating that pill use has been discussed forever: I’m talking about the point we got to where most people knew about the dangers of opioids, what the main ones were, the fact that they were being overprescribed etc. Had I heard the word hydrocodone and been exposed to the world and media like I have over the last decade with the spotlight on the opioid crisis, I would never have taken them. That’s the main point I was attempting to make."
It's even more unsettling when someone you entrust your life to crosses a line.
Assessment Or Pick-Up Line?
"Mental health doctor told my daughter, 'You're too pretty to be depressed.'"
A NSFW Observation
"Not a doctor, but a dentist. When I was like 13 or 14 he commented on my lack of gag reflex, telling me that I’m going to be 'very popular with the boys.' It took me a few years to realize what he meant by that."
Mom To The Rescue
"I was the opposite. My dentist said, 'If you always gag like that, you're never going to find a good husband!'"
"I didn't understand why my mom yanked me out of the dentist's chair, but I'm proud of her for that. I think I was 6 or 7 years old."
The Gynocologist's Love Advice
"Mentioned that my sex drive was abnormally low to my gyno, and she said my husband just needed to be more forceful when initiating and I’d get into it. Immediately switched doctors and never looked back!"
The Gyno Who Jumped To Conclusions
"Mine was the opposite. Moved and went to a new gyno that several women raved about. I expressed concern over my low sex drive (especially since I was only 25). The next thing I know she is giving speeches and pamphlets and trying to give me info on women’s shelters. I was so confused."
"She just jumped to the conclusion I must be a battered woman. No matter what I said, she was convinced I was being abused. I tried to reassure her no, my husband was definitely NOT the problem and he was actually quite good in bed and extremely attentive to my needs. It was clearly a physical problem."
"Never went back. She even called several times to 'check' on me. I get that some women may need this, but I mean there was literally no red flags, quite the opposite. It was weird."
Going to the doctor's office for any reason can cause a lot of anxiety.
Patients should never have their stresses exacerbated by an unqualified doctor giving them a false analysis or downplaying their concerns.
Hopefully, you're in good hands with a physician who is professional, as well as compassionate.
Growing up, I had zero idea that the food I ate daily was "cultural."
It didn't occur to me until I was a kid when my mother had to gently explain to me that not everyone ate rice & beans.
She had to explain it because we were about to eat at a white friend's house for the first time.
I've always been weird about food tastes and textures and mom needed to warn me that the beans I could expect would be nothing like what I knew.
They would be sweet, have big chunks of chewy pork (which would also be sweet), and would NOT be served with rice.
"What do you mean there's no rice with the beans? Did they run out? Should we bring some?"
"No, they just don't eat rice and beans."
"So what do they eat with their chicharron de pollo?"
"They don't eat that. They do fried chicken a little different and they tend to eat things like rotisserie chicken instead."
Y'all should have seen my face.
It's been thirty years and I still struggle with the idea of not eating rice and beans all the time. I've come to understand that not everyone grew up in a Caribbean cultural household, though, and most Americans ate from a whole other menu.
Reddit user remyleboi00 asked:
"Non-Americans, what is the best 'American' food?"
Even as someone born in America, it took a while before I got familiar with American food.
So if it's just not your comfort zone - let Reddit guide you to the can't miss dishes.
"Cajun food. Definitely the most unique American food"
"As an American I 100% agree with you. Cajun food is heaven sent"
"That's because of it's native American roots, fun fact Cajun peppers are named after the south American tribe that influenced the Spanish/French who brought it to Louisiana. Maque Choux is also a very native American dish that can be found in Mexico as Calabasitas."
They Are Fundesperate housewives eating GIFGiphy
"Curly fries 👌"
"Recently came across Carl’s jr for the first time in Istanbul airport and the curly fries were just the best"
"the fun thing about curly fries is that they are basically the same everywhere. I'm pretty sure it's one company supplying all the different fast food places"
"I hate to sound like an ignorant foreigner but a made from scratch Mac & Cheese with at least 3 different cheeses plus a crispy breadcrumb crust on top is one of my favorite American dishes"
"Mac & Cheese is such a favorite of family get-togethers that if you volunteer to cook it, your Mac & Cheese needs references."
"It’s especially good with some pulled pork and caramelized onions mixed in. And some insulin."
"Solid choice. We Americans LOVE cheese."
"No need to apologize. One of our favorites too."
Thankful For Thanksgiving.I Love You Cooking GIF by Bob's BurgersGiphy
"I'm from Mexico and we get spoiled with our traditional cuisine but I found the thanksgiving dinner experience in the US incredible."
"Love everything, the turkey (dark meat :) ), cranberry sauce, the stuffing (oh the stuffing), mashed potatoes, salads and the delicious pays that follow for dessert. That whole combination plus the red wine and good company is an incredible experience hard to match."
"We also get spoiled with your traditional cuisine."
"I usually get a food coma on Thanksgiving"
"As an American who loves the Thanksgiving and other holiday classics this warms my heart to hear from someone whose cultural cuisine is considered a full on cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO."
"A nicely done, quality turkey with proper attention paid to all the sides, and good friends and/family is such a great experience."
"Same with the ham or prime rib dinner at Christmas. And all the pies. God I love pumpkin pie."
"Anything smoked: brisket, pork shoulder, chicken, turkey. I've even had smoked burgers. If seasoned well you don't even need BBQ sauce and it is so tender and juicy."
"I smoke meatloaf, can't go back to oven baked ever again."
"This tread has me wanting to smoke a brisket sooner rather than later."
"I love smoked brisket. I agree with you about the sauce. Taste the brisket before dunking in another flavor."
"Native Texan here. Agreed. The general rule here is that you never sauce beef. Let the flavor of the meat stand for itself. Hell, there are some places in Texas (particularly in Lockhart) that will ask you to leave their establishment if you ask for BBQ sauce."
"Now, pork and chicken, whatever else... Go nuts... Just leave beef alone."
"I had smoked mac and cheese once, it was heavenly."
Risk It Allhungry bart simpson GIFGiphy
"This is probably a recipe for disaster but I'm British and growing up visiting Florida I would love eating raw cookie dough from the refrigerator section"
"Cookie dough is so good that, given the option between not eating it, or getting food poisoning, nearly everyone will pick the cookie dough."
"It’s one of the few foods in the country where everyone knows the risk of food poisoning, and everyone makes the conscious, willing, and eager decision to not give a f*ck."
"All of us here in the U.S. know that eating the cookie dough is the best part of making homemade chocolate chip cookies. I have a recipe for brownies with a cookie dough topping. Cookie dough ice cream is also extremely common (it’s vanilla ice cream with cookie dough bits mixed in)."
The Holy Pudding
"I can’t find someone who’s listed it so"
"That shit is LIFE CHANGING"
"Gotta have the Nilla wafers or it isn't right."
"Ah, finally! A person of culture. Banana pudding is the closest food can come to a religious experience."
Cornbread!cornbread cooking GIF by emibobGiphy
"Oddly enough, no one seems to have mentioned it…but cornbread . Yeah , as a guy who moved here , Americans have got cornbread down to a T . Combined with some soul food ? Makes me smile on the inside . Gives me high blood pressure , but smile on the inside too"
"A nice warm cornbread muffin with some butter and a little drizzle of honey is amazing."
"Cornbread with a nice bowl of chili is such a nice comfort food."
"And the spicier the chili the nicer the sweet, buttery cornbread is with it."
"Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, at first i thought it was a disgusting combo, but when i tried i loved it"
"Interesting, most people in America are introduced to pb&j before we're even old enough to remember"
"Farmer’s market jam is the way."
"That was my most frequent meal in elementary school. I didn't realize it was an American thing until recently."
"It's easily top 3 greatest sandwich ever."
As American As It Getspulp fiction breakfast GIF by MIRAMAXGiphy
"I may be a simpleton, but an average diner with bottomless filter coffee, pancakes, bacon and syrup was my favourite part of the day. Although I did put on about 10-15kg after a month in Texas"
"I missed this sooooo much when I lived in the UK (grew up in New Jersey, land of diners). They simply do not do American diner breakfasts in Europe."
"My wife is German, I am American but we live in Germany. We took her parents to the states with us one summer on vacation and one of the things they insisted we do was go to a diner where they pour your coffee at the table, like in movies and tv shows."
"Took them to my favorite little spot, they loved the waitress filling up their cups unprompted."
Now that youve heard Reddit, it's my turn.
So remember how I said that I wasn't really exposed to American food until I was a bit older, even though I was born and raised in America?
I was 22 before I had meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
FAM. Fam. Faaaaaaaaaaam.
There is no greater meal for after a night of drinking than a good meatloaf and a nice herb and garlic mashed potato.
Keep your greasy pizza, amateurs. It's potato time over here.
Have you ever been caught in a conversation you didn't want to be in? Or start talking to someone only to realize you want to stop? Perhaps you were talking to a friend when the conversation took a turn for the uncomfortable.
Whatever the case, we've all been in those situations where we want the conversation to stop, but don't want to be rude.
When I was in third grade, I asked if I voted on American Idol that week. I said yes, since everyone seemed to, but of course I didn't know what American Idol was. Being pop culture challenged, I thought it was a ship. Needless to say everyone was confused when I was asked who I voted for and I replied, "What do you mean? I voted for American Idol!"
It didn't take me long to realize something was amiss, and I probably would've very rudely excused myself from the conversation (fueled by my embarrassment) if my teacher hadn't called us to attention at that very moment.
Luckily, the people of Reddit were willing to share their methods to politely end a conversation when Redditor Spritti33asked:
"How does someone politely end a conversation with a person who won't stop talking?"
Extricate Yourself Immediately
"When they draw a breath, politely say:"
""On that note, I must be on my way.""
Then, simply leave."
Couldn't Get Him To Shut Up
"Yea I worked with a dude who needed to talk. I just talked to him to be polite and not awkward. And I remember him saying "at least you're not one of those people who are silent all day". In my head I'm like, "FUCK, I wish I could be silent all day but now that you said that it would be even more awkward."
"At some point, I just mentally said f**k it and started giving him one-word replies. I think he got the hint because he started talking to me less. Eventually, he quit after a couple of months so it's all good!"
"But some people just need to talk for whatever reason. I need my freaking silence."
Put It In Writing
"I once worked with a man that managed to say nothing, despite talking nonstop. He would explain an issue to me over the span of 5 min. I would say "OK, so the issue you're having is x?" and he would say "No" then launch into a 5 min monologue about something completely different. One time, after half an hour talking with him I still had no idea what the problem was, so I said "put all the issues in an email so I can put it in the queue" and just left. Never got a coherent email either but at least a rambling incoherent email is easier to walk away from and less time-consuming."
Put Them (Back) To Work
"If you're in an office building with someone (or any location the person you're talking to has a desk), one trick you can try is walking them back to their desk, say something like "well, I'll let you get back to it!", then turn around and leave."
Taking Care Of Each Other
"My workplace has someone like this and it’s pretty much become a part of our culture to monitor who is trapped talking to her, for how long they’ve been stuck, and to rescue them after an appropriate amount of time has passed. She doesn’t get it, and probably never will."
Talk To The Door
"My husband worked with a woman who would not stop talking. Just wouldn't. So you'd gather your stuff, while she monologued. You'd say goodbye to everyone else, while she monologued. You'd walk to the door as she followed you and shut the door in her face while she monologued. You could hear her still talking to you behind the closed door while you walked away."
Take Your Turn
"I learned a trick. Most excessive talkers hate listening. So I simply participate and tell my own stories. After one or two stories they are usually ready to leave themselves to seek their next victim."
Create A Deadline
"My entire dad's side of the family are the type that never stop talking."
"The key to getting a word in is to just respond to whatever you wanted to add to even if they are still talking. It might feel rude but most people who are like that were raised in environments where that's the norm or in the case of people with disorders like ADHD and Autism, they most likely know they have the tendency and will roll with it."
"Best way I've found to get end a conversation with ramblers is to set a deadline as early as possible in the conversation (ex: I have to leave at 6pm to get to ______ on time). If you do this you can do the "I'm sorry I really have to go" and immediately leave without offending them because you've already set the expectation that you would be leaving at a certain time."
"This is why I hate taking Lyft/Uber alone, I seem to always get the folks who just want to talk the entire time. My boyfriend tells me to just not engage but when you’re in a car with someone it’s kinda hard not to. The ONE time I just wore headphones the whole time, the driver at the end said “maybe you’ll actually talk next time”"
No Need To Feel Bad
"People who are like this expect folks to just walk away from them while they are talking because that’s the only way the conversation ends. It’s not rude to them, it’s normal. So, it’s entirely okay to say, “all right this has been great, see you later,” and then just walk away smiling."
Sometimes it's hard to get out of a conversation you never wanted to be in, and sometimes it's equally as hard to keep your temper in check.
However, if you remember some of these tips and tricks, you may be able to successfully get yourself out of an unpleasant or unceremoniously long conversation in the future!