Nothing school

My funniest student, whom I have nicknamed “colleague C” here on the blog, was in a comical mood this morning. We chatted a bit, then began some grammar exercises, one of which required her to put “a, the, or nothing” into each gap. The first sentence in the exercise was: “I come to _____ school by _____ bus.”

She began filling in the blanks: “I come to the school…” Then she paused, peeking up at me. My slight frown indicated that “the” was not the correct answer. So she said “no, I come to a school…,” and again glanced at me. Another frown.

Well, there was only one possible answer left, so she came up with the following gem: “I come to nothing school…” 🙂


  1. This is priceless — except I can just see myself making similar or worse errors in Greek!

  2. Nothing Italian
    Margaret, mi piacerebbe molto che tu possa dare uno sguardo al mio blog, perche lo faccio con una grande ilusione e perche mi sono ispirata al tua cosi interessante blog. Grazie!
    Many years ago I also lived in Italy and the whole family became Italian by heart. I now live in Madrid, but it is not the same thing…
    Your student story is really wonderful.

  3. I know what you mean, Lisa. I am sure that I make hilarious mistakes in French and Spanish…which I would post here, if only I knew what they were! 😉
    I love language blunders…IMO, they are an important part of the learning process. As is entertainment. After spending years trying to learn French from a horrendously boring, strict and formal Italian high school teacher, I vowed that I would have an entirely different approach if one day I ended up in a classroom. And that is exactly what happened.
    My first teaching experience was in grad school, where I taught Italian to Canadian undergrads. Well, from Day One (partly to overcome my own sense of terror, as I had never taught before!), I used humor and laughter…e.g., throwing stuffed animals around the class and being very silly (er, not ALL the time…grammar is really no laughing matter 😉 ). And nowadays, mainly on Fridays, I frequently tell my students jokes in English (some provided by blog readers!).
    Laughter is important in all fields…! The important thing is to laugh together, not AT someone. Ecco.

  4. You sound you’re a fantastic teacher! Want to come and teach my Greek class?!
    Re language bloopers, one of my recent favorites was a sign posted in our local bookstore at the cash register, notifying customers that they would no longer be able to accept checks. “We apologize for the tribulation” the sign solemnly declared. Noticing my less-than-discreet giggle (I really tried to stifle it, I promise!) the cashier asked me what was so funny. I tried to be respectul as I explained that “tribulations” sounded like plagues from the bible, and really, plain old “trouble” might work better. She looked quite stony-faced and did not comment. Oops – maybe SHE wrote that sign!

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