[dropcap size=”300%” textcolor=”#34c2bb”]U[/dropcap]nfortunately for an English school like Speak Up, there are times where Japanese English really makes trouble for us.  One of these times is when I have to describe our school.  Here’s something I heard a few days ago:

[pullquote]Oh, so your school does マンツーマン (man-to-man) lessons?  I really love マンツーマン classes because I can study exactly what I want to study.[/pullquote]

The phrase “man-to-man” is so common here in Japan, but unfortunately it’s not correct English.  Do you know what the problem is?  Any ideas?  Well, there are a couple of points to consider:



Problem One

Is every student a man?  Is every teacher a man?  Of course not!  A lot of my students are female, so I feel strange every time I sit down for a “man-to-man” lesson.


Woman-to-woman? Not man-to-man!



Problem Two

If you ask a native speaker what they think of when they hear “man-to-man”, they won’t think of studying a language with a private teacher or tutor.  No, they’ll think of being forthright ( 率直) in a conversation, or perhaps even this:




So, to fix this incorrect English, the next time you want to tell them about Speak Up, tell them it’s a “one-to-one” language school.  Maybe if enough people stop saying “man-to-man”, I can stop writing it on my business card.  See you next time!