Do Not Translate – Tips for the Day

Do you mentally translate from your native language to English?

When you want to create an English sentence, do not translate the words from your mother tongue. The order of the words is probably completely different and you will be both slow and incorrect by doing this.

In English phrases, adjectives precede the nouns; therefore, the word order pattern applied is MD (Modifier – Determiner). In the phrase big house, the noun house is a determiner and the adjective big is a modifier, while in bahasa Indonesia is backwards. The word order pattern applied in bahasa Indonesia is DM (Determiner – Modifier). In the phrase rumah besar, the word besar (big) modifies rumah (house).

Another problem with translating is that you will be trying to incorporate grammar rules that you have learned. Translating and thinking about grammar to create English sentences is incorrect and should be avoided.

Thinking in English is an important goal that brings you one giant step closer to becoming fluent. One easy way to start is by learning phrases, phrasal verbs, and idioms. When you see a word you’re not familiar with, write down the entire phrase not only the word. This way you’ll learn not only the word that you didn’t know but also how to use that word in a sentence, so you don’t have to think about the words you are saying. It should be automatic. 

So from now on stop translating your native language and start thinking in English!  Best of luck, guys! 🙂


6 thoughts on “Do Not Translate – Tips for the Day

  1. Aku mau bertanya kenapa ya, kadang saya melihat noun yang langsung di ikuti verb 3 tanpa didahului oleh to be.
    – the key given.
    – the pen used.
    – the word order pattern applied in bahasa Indonesia.

    Apakah itu termasuk kalimat pasif atau bukan. Mohon penjelasannya?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rul, I think what you meant was the past participle (verb 3) followed by a noun.
      • given key
      • given answer
      • used pen
      • used car
      The past participles (PP) in those phrases function as adjectives (participle functions as an adjective). They modify the nouns.
      The PP ‘given’ modifies the noun ‘key’.

      “The word order pattern applied” is a passive voice.
      “The word order pattern (which is) applied in bahasa Indonesia …” I omitted the words in the parentheses.


  2. Oh, seperti lagunya Adele ya, Someone (who is) like you.
    “Who is” dapat dihilangkan, tapi kenapa bisa dijelaskan?

    That’s not what I meant. this is one of which I mean

    Nah sesudah noun “Mystery Mushroom” nggak to be-nya, apa kah ini kasusnya sama seperti “The word order pattern applied” yang anda jelaskan diatas.
    can be omitted?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In grammatical term, this pattern is called “WHIZ deletion”. “WHIZ deletion” is very common in English, and many of words or phrases modifying a noun from behind can be understood as “WHIZ deletion”. For example, “Mystery mushroom used” –> “Mystery mushroom (which is/was) used.” Another example, “The church in the town is dedicated to St. Peter”. Here “the church in the town” is a WHIZ deletion of “the church (which is) in the town”.


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