英語のヒント vol. XIV: 日本人がよくやるミス 8 - "I want to challenge ~"

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Apr 1, 2014 15:04 英語のヒント hint mistakes ミス
Yoyoyo my Japanese family!

"This month, I want to challenge jogging!"

Wait, wait... there is something wrong with this sentence. Do you know what it is? Actually, Japanese people say this kind of sentence all the time because of the katakanized "チャレンジ." However, it's incorrect in English.

"To challenge" means something like to compete against, to fight against, or to engage in a contest. You can't challenge an activity/action! You usually challenge a) OTHER PEOPLE, or b) YOURSELF.

In the case of other people:

o: I challenge you to a game of basketball.
o: Terry challenged John to a race.
o: Vegeta challenged Goku to a fight.

This is usually not what Japanese people mean when they say "challenge," though. They usually say it to mean they will try hard at something new. If you want to use "challenge" here, you have to say "challenge myself."

x: I want to challenge jogging.
o: I want to challenge myself by jogging.

x: I want to challenge snowboarding.
o: I want to challenge myself by snowboarding.

Here, we keep the meaning of "fight against." When you are challenging yourself, you are fighting against your fear, laziness, lack of skill. But, again, you can't fight against the activity.

Actually, using "try" is often better to suit your meaning.

x: I want to challenge skydiving.
o: I want to try skydiving.

x: I want to challenge Lang-8 every day.
o: I want to try posting on Lang-8 every day.

And so on.

BONUS: The word "challenging" is related and means "very difficult or trying." It's like every time you try something, it's a fight/struggle. For example:

"Speaking English is challenging" or: "The new Mario game is not very challenging.*

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