Unfortunately 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:
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.
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:
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.
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!