I have a number of international friends, students and business contacts who speak excellent English, but one mistake that I’ve regularly come across is the following:

How do you call it?

This is a literal translation from most European languages but in English it is incorrect.

It should actually be ‘What do you call it?’

For example: What do you call a ‘pastel de nata’ in English?

It’s called a custard tart.

However, you can also say:  How do you say that in English?

So, ‘what do you call …?’ But, ‘how do you say…?’


Image courtesy of Big Tick Productions. For more common Brazilian and European language mistakes, see their slide show below.