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Inexplicable shirts are a privilege reserved for samurai lords.[1]

Non-English media interjecting English even when it is not always appropriate.

There are a number of reasons for this. Foreign languages in general help spice up a work, and with the fact that English is something of a general trade language, a lot of viewers will have some idea of what's going on, no matter their native language.

However, most of the time the writers don't actually speak English (or at least not fluently), resulting in some rather silly phrases. If the grammar is incorrect, it can end up as You No Take Candle. If the pronunciation is the problem, see Engrish.

Subverted by Surprisingly Good English. Compare Bilingual Dialogue for a more surreal linguistic experience, and Blind Idiot Translation for the really bad version. See also Gratuitous Foreign Language and all its subtropes.

Examples of Gratuitous English include:



  • This is implied rather heavily to be part of the reason for the Japanese Super Young Team's awkward sounding names in The DCU, the other being simply awkward translation. Big Atomic Lantern Boy's name is almost certainly entirely in English, though.
  • In American Born Chinese, a new immigrant student from Taiwan first appears with a shirt that reads "Happy Robot".



  • In Armour of God, when the characters chase a villain to a British-owned restaurent, the maitre d' tries to speak to them in rather dodgy English. Jackie Chan's character angrily tells him to speak Chinese instead.
  • The American characters in Godzilla: Final Wars (most of whom are Badasses to some degree) never say anything in Japanese. This makes sense for the New Yorkers, and even the two working at Godzilla's Antarctic prison, but you'd think Gordon and Kazama would have taken a "rooma-shi ni toki" attitude by now. But then, everyone understands everything they say anyway, so why bother?
  • Suicide Club — The psychopath Genesis shouts out "Welcome to my pleasure room!" and sings a song with an English chorus in an otherwise completely-Japanese film.
  • Nobutada from The Last Samurai likes to say "Jolly Good" around captured American soldier Nathan Algren, at first to mock him for his nationality.
  • The title of the South Korean movie Wonderful Days, which still became Sky Blue for its English-language release.
  • Dostana. There's about as much English in the film as Hindi.
  • In the 2007 romantic comedy Tokyo Serendipity (original Japanese title: Koisuru Madori), hulking wrestler Satan makes his signature entrance by climbing onto the turnbuckle, glaring menacingly at his opponent, and intoning "GO.... TO.... HELLLLLLLL!!!" in near-perfect English while turning his hand slowly into an ominous thumbs-down.
  • European example: In Los Nuevos Extraterrestres, one of the band members has a T-shirt reading "I'm a virgin".
  • If you not watch Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, I will be execute.
  • Roadside Romeo has copious amounts of English randomly mixed with Hindi.
  • Parodied hilariously in the French comedy La Cité de la Peur (although it's more of a Gratuitous English Accent case):

 Serge: I think we're dealing with a serial-killer (pronounced with an american accent) *dramatic music*

Odile: A what?

Serge: A serial-killer (same accent, same dramatic music)

Odile: ... A what?

Serge: * sigh* Un sériale-killeur (drops the accent)

Odile: Oh, I see... a serial-killer (with the exact same american accent) * dramatic music*

  • The Heroic Trio has a few of these:
    • Theif Catcher, played by Maggie Cheung, says "Good morning" to cops.
    • Later, when attempting to blow up the Big Bad, she drops a load of dynamite down a manhole while shouting "Happy New Year!" This could be an example of The Cast Showoff since Maggie Cheung spent years in Europe and speaks English fluently.
    • Another examples occurs when Michelle Yeoh's character learns that her scientist boyfriend is dying. He quietly types "Don't cry" in English on the computer.
  • The 80s and 90s Godzilla movies feature some of this. In Godzilla vs. Biollante it's used (and mangled) for any time a character is speaking a foreign language (which is disappointing seeing that the previous film featured actors speaking English in American roles and Russian in Soviet roles quite competently). In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, as Terasawa is about to detonate a bomb placed on the Futurians' computers, he intones "Make my day!" in a way that sounds half badass, half narm. In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, during one of the Mechagodzilla training sims, everyone speaks (bad) English. And in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, as Shinjo and Sato prepare to give chase to Godzilla on a motorcycle, one of them says "Okay! Aye aye, sir!" with a very thick accent.
  • This cheesily hilarious Ugandan film trailer has some, especially at the 20 second mark. "YOU AMERICAN SON OF THE BEECH!"
  • El Bracero, in Mexican classic movie Ustedes, los Ricos gratuitously and humorously speaks with random English phrases, as he has just come back from living and working in the USA.
  • "Hey, Black... come on."


  • In The Yiddish Policemens Union, the Jews of Sitka speak Yiddish as their primary language, but prefer to swear in American English.
  • The Japanese Harry Potter books, in addition to featuring the English title as well as Japanese on the cover, have English romaji beside the kanji for their publishing company - and it's written "Say-zan-sha (Seizansha)."
  • Lampshaded throughout Chris Jericho's first book, A Lion's Tale, while recounting his times in Japan. He often referred to it as "English just good enough to make no sense."
  • In the Japanese translations of the Warrior Cats series, the names of the characters, which are usually combinations of nouns, verbs and adjectives, are left in English.

Live Action TV

  • In an episode of News Radio, Jimmy James' book "Jimmy James: Capitalist Lion Tamer" becomes popular in Japan, so for some reason he has the Japanese version translated back into English... and it ends up pure Gratuitous English. The title becomes "Jimmy James: Macho Business Donkey Wrestler", and the book now features lines like "Glorious sunset of my heart was fading. Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Jimmy has fancy plans, and pants to match."
    • "What did you mean when you wrote, bad clown making like super American car racers, I would make them sweat, war war?"
  • Ninja Warrior's stages contain obstacles that are almost entirely named in complete or partial English. Aside from the competitors' names and periodic use of 'Sasuke' (the show's original name), this is all most watchers of the show are likely to understand.
  • Most Super Sentai series feature a usual amount of Gratuitous English for attack names and such, but Engine Sentai Go-onger deserves special mention for having the team uniform be covered with it. Extra-special mention for Hant (Go-on Green)'s Gratutious Japanese along with the English. ("Doki Doki Delight")
    • That is his roll call phrase, though he says it all in Japanese. The others' roll call phrases are mostly written all in English but said in Japanese or part English and part Japanese. (The phrases rhyme, too.)
    • Jiraiya/Ninja Black in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger indulged in this quite often. It helped that he was a faux-McNinja played by Kane Kosugi.
    • Gaku/Gao Yellow from Gaoranger was annoyingly fond of this habit.
    • As does Hoji/Deka Blue in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger
    • And Shurikenger in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger makes it part of his whole schtick, baby.
    • Ironically, the page image is Takeru/Shinken Red from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, a sentai series with a samurai theme that tries very hard to convince the kiddies that kanji really is cool. (A lot of younger Japanese citizens, by this point, don't know kanji, preferring the phonetic alphabet to the fancy one.) It's also one of few series to keep the attack names in Japanese. Yet Takeru seems to own few shirts that aren't covered with Engrish.
      • Chiaki (Shinken Green)'s surfing T-shirts are worse, when you look at it, because he uses them Once an Episode.
      • Also, the names of the Shinkengers' weapons (except for Red's Rekka Daizantou and Gold's Sakana-maru): Water Arrow (a bow that shoots... well...) for Blue, Wood Spear for Green, Land Slicer for Yellow and Heaven Fan for Pink.
    • A LOT of the HUD in Go Go Sentai Boukenger, sometimes veering into Engrish territory.
      • One thing that is generally used across all seasons, it seems they use the English words for their Ranger colors more than the Japanese ones. Like in the current season, they're GokaiRed, GokaiBlue, GokaiYellow, GokaiGreen, and GokaiPink, with their Sixth Ranger GokaiSilver. Even in some of the older series, where the Ranger designations aren't always colors, they are in English (Spade Ace, Vul Shark, Change Phoenix, and so forth, though exceptions exist.)
    • During the transformation sequences in Denji Sentai Megaranger, English words scroll across the screen, ostensibly listing systems activation and computer jargon. It is, in fact, completely random words seemingly picked out of a dictionary-dartboard hybrid. Something about the "puppy canoe of hope".
  • The second Rider of Kamen Rider Kiva is named Kamen Rider IXA, which stands for "Intercept X Attacker". While this is a less oddball example compared to others on this page, it's still probably not something a fluent speaker of English would ever codename a hero. Other seasons of Kamen Rider can be bad or worse with this type of thing.
    • X Attacker is an apparent code name for Fangires. Emphasis on "apparent." Likely, it's there because X-es are cool.
    • In Japanese this would be an example of Fun with Acronyms; it sounds like the word "ikusa", which means "war".
    • There's also Arkivat from The Movie when Kamen Rider Ark goes into its One-Winged Angel form. Its faceplate falls off and the skeletal space spots off "Go to hell!" at the heroes below in Gratuitous English.
    • Some of the character songs are insane. "Get the Memory! Fight the scary!" "The bullet is running!" It Gets Worse.
    • The English bits added to the new version of Let's Go, Rider Kick from the OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders! take it Up to Eleven. "Rider Kick at the dark and black force! Rider Jump to the next generation! Rider Chop with the fighting in the truth! Let's go the hero, Kamen Rider!"
      • More fun with IXA and Gratuitous English, when Diend summons IXA in Kamen Rider Decade we get an inside view of his helmet, which has the words, "Return it to the life and the god" scrawled across the heads-up display, which is a crude translation of Nago's Catch Phrase "Return that life to God". As an added bonus, IXA's partner in this scene is Kamen Rider Psyga, who simply says "It's showtime!" - made even more gratuitous by the fact that Psyga's original actor was a Taiwanese-American and spoke perfect English. ("Good to see you guys. Taking care of all of you is also part of my job. Henshin!"). Decade's Psyga didn't. After "It's showtime," he yells "Let's enjo-oy!" before whooping like he thinks he's in a cowboy movie while firing. It's hilarious if you remember the real Psyga, but not so much if you liked the real Psyga.
    • And, of course, Kamen Rider 555 has...Psyga! There was no real reason for him to say all his lines in English, and strangely, nobody had trouble understanding him.
      • Though one urban legend claims that the actor's Japanese was so bad nobody could understand him, so the director asked him to translate the lines into English. This was worked into the script by identifying Psyga's user as a foreigner.
    • In one episode of Kamen Rider Skyrider, the villains are loading boxes of "DINAMAIT."
    • Kamen Rider Fourze continues this trope with the English being tossed around every few seconds. Justified in that its setting is based around an American High School, but it doesn't help that poor Gentaro has no idea what those words mean.
      • A very hilarious example was the first episode; the local Alpha Bitch called him "the trashiest of trash", but he thought she called the manliest of men.
  • The short-lived series Doctor Doctor had an episode in which a Japanese television crew did a documentary within the hospital. At the end of the shoot, they left several Japanese gifts for the hospital staff, including a t-shirt that said "DOCTORS ARE BIG SEX."
  • In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon "Episode Zero - Birth of Sailor V" prologue, the jewel thief Cutie Kenko (who can only be described as Tuxedo Mask being played by David Bowie) speaks gratuitous English as part of his attempt to be cool. While preparing the next heist he quotes the English expression "time is money", and answers each his minions' reports with a lazily drawn out "ooo-kay!"
  • In most Hispanic Soaps Operas (telenovelas) for adults or teens, preppy student and spoiled brats can be easy identified by the Gratuitous English they use. Girls will said "Daddy porfas" and boys " the veo en la party, brother". Oh and "Oseas...Hello!" is a classic.
  • Whenever Top Gear visits Japan, Jeremy Clarkson has a great deal of fun pointing the horrific Engrish to be found. The following was from the Japan segment of Motorworld, a solo side-project he did in the late nineties where he traveled to various countries and locales around the world to see their car culture.
    • "Full of sport mind & luxury feeling super potential winter wheel Iver"
    • "Just a roller skate grand touring. All over the physical ironic power."
  • Yomigaeru Iron Chefs! But damn if the Chairman doesn't make it sound awesome.
  • Annyong Francesca is a comedy about a Korean business man living with a family of vampires. This trope is lampshaded when the main character talks about Lunar New Year and then says in English, "Korean New Year." The lead female character quickly berates him by saying "Don't try to impress me by speaking English!".
  • Parodied to hell and back by The Fast Show 's Chanel 9. Like here!
  • Gutiérrez, a character in Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty, la Fea, does this a lot.


  • This Peelander-Z song.
  • Most Eurobeat songs. It's produced mostly in Italy and sold mostly in Japan, and of course, neither are English-speaking countries. English covers of Japanese songs, such as "Hot Limit", are especially gratuitous. A few singers, eg Domino, sometimes sing in Gratuitous Japanese.
    • That's because a lot of dance music (from non-English speaking European countries) have songs in English. To be fair, the English is often a bit better than what Japanese music has in regards to English song lyrics.
    • Oh boy, this song is this trope at its worst.
  • The French band Mademoiselle K has a song called "In English" parodying this trope. It's in perfect English but the lyrics go:

 I wrote a song,

My first song in English.

I wrote a song,

To talk about nothing.

  • Most Japanese Vocaloids are pretty bad at pronouncing any English word (except for Luka, who actually has an English voice bank). Try Miku's "Cinderella romance" (SUPAA POWAFURU SINDERRA, LOVU LOVU LOVU LOVU LOVULII DAHLEEN! SUPA POWA FURU LOVU ATTAKKU!)
  • The German a capella group Wise Guys sing a song remarking on this phenomenon in German, aptly titled "Denglish": "Oh Herr bitte gib mir meine Sprache zurueck" slowly becomes "Oh Lord please give mir meine Language back" as the song goes on.
  • Theme song to the Anime version of Witchblade KICKS ASS! The couple of English lines are still gramatically terrible, though. ("It's all over" and "Break out" are OK, but "Give me your XTC" is just wrong.)
    • It's pronounced ecstasy, the song title, XTC, is just a pun.
  • The soundtrack album for Eternal Sonata (by Motoi Sakuraba) has such track titles as "Underground for underhand", "Seize the artifact for tallness", "Your truth is my false", "Embarrassment consistency", and "No No I don't die Noooo!"
  • The black metal band Immortal is known for their grammatically questionable lyrics, using phrases like "throned by blackwinds," "kingdom of evil fight" and "the mountains which I heart".
  • Polysics. Many of their songs have titles that're just plain Gratuitous English, and some (i.e. the infamous New Wave Jacket which became famous due to Memetic Mutation by way of an Animutation by Neil Cicierega) has lyrics that falls squarely into this trope.
  • Falco's new-wave/rap song "Der Kommissar" starts with him counting in English ("two three four") and then in German ("eins zwei drei"), and contains some gratuitous English in the verses. In the version that is loosely translated into English by After the Fire, they reversed the languages of the first part, so it starts "zwei drei vier" and then "one two three". The gratuitous English was left in English, but the refrain "Alles klar, Herr Kommissar" was kept, producing Gratuitous German.
  • Con te partirò. The lyrics are entirely in Italian, but in most performances a couple of lines are replaced with the English line: Time to Say Goodbye.
  • Japanese heavy-metal band Maximum the Hormone have a habit of invoking this trope regularly (as if their name wasn't evidence enough). Choice song titles include Policeman Fuck and Anal Whiskey Ponce, as well as lyrics regularly including English words and phrases that only just about make sense:
    • Saa tomerarenai eraser rain
    • Pink shambles speaker chu! mega lover, Aneki lover sign
    • Vinyl vinyl vinyl vinyl vinyl vinyl sex, Aluminum aluminum aluminum aluminum aluminum
    • Kuso breaking no breakin lilly
    • Beat you! get you! toorima chuunen ossan renchuu
    • Aside from this, though, their songs are actually pretty catchy, despite the lyrics not making sense even in Japanese.
  • Essentially anything by the Japanese band BACK-ON. The best part about it though is that most of it is rapped perfectly (pronunciation, grammar, etc). From Blaze Line, Theme song to Eyeshield 21:

 Hey, cheerleaders!

Come on, shake your ass!

Shake your tits for me!

  • Santana/Maná's "Corazón Espinado" received a "Spanglish version", featuring sentences such as "how it hurts el corazón".
  • A surprisingly good, very popular Japanese band has what might be the ultimate Engrish name — Mr.Children. There is no space in that name.
  • Another Japanese band name: King Fucker Chicken. Dave Barry himself declared it "a good new name for a band."
    • A note about Japan's apparent love affair with the word "fuck". The combination of straights and curves it presents is aesthetically pleasing to them, so people who don't know what it means might throw it on somewhere just to have some nice-looking detail, oblivious to what American viewers are going to think.
  • The name of the Japanese rock band Bump Of Chicken is actually a translation error that the band decided to keep because they found it amusing.
  • All J-Pop. Seriously.
    • The vast majority of songs and artists (>75%) have at least one Gratuitous English line in the song.
    • A significant portion (>25%) of songs have Gratuitous English right in the title.
  • When she isn't singing in English, South Korean pop singer Boa's songs are still littered with English.
    • A lot of K-pop is this really.
    • The band Exo's debut. "Careless, careless/Shoot anonymous, anonymous/Heartless, mindless/No one who care about meeee..."
  • Rie Fu is known to subvert this trope, though living in North America for the first few years of her life did a lot to help her enunciation, the songs Life is Like a Boat, I so Wanted and I wanna go to a place are all good examples.
  • Joe Inoue is also known for this; in fact his Japanese is actually more accented than his English. The music video for Closer, the fourth Naruto Shippuden intro, had him having a fairly decent conversation, in English, with the resident leader of the town.
    • It should be noted that Joe Inoue was born Los Angeles, USA and is a native English speaker, something easily mistaken. He apparently claimed to have learned Japanese from watching Anime, arguably making him an Otaku and of course One of Us. This would also account for his Japanese being the more accented.
  • Anything by Laugh and Peace. Even worse is that the songs tend end up sounding incomprehensible instead due to the heavy accent.
  • The Japanese power metal band Versailles released "The Revenant Choir" as their debut single, which is written and sung more-or-less entirely in English. Not that you could tell with Kamijo's heavy Engrish, which is only slightly better in the album's re-release and the damn near incomprehensible lyrics ("It's a night when the moon laughs at lover", "poured crimson admiration into Holy Grail"). To make things weirder, the original release has an English voiceover at the start and end of the song by native speaker Leah Riegle.
    • Their third studio album, Holy Grail contains "Love will be born again", which is entirely in English. It's considerably more comprehensible than "The Revenant Choir", with the English and pronounciation being greatly improved, but there's still a smattering of Engrish in there. (However, more than a few fans have noted that Kamijo sings it better live, compared to when it was recorded for the album.) Throughout the rest of their catalogue, however, the Gratuitous English is used fairly sparingly.
  • Kaizers Orchestra mostly sings in Norwegian, but on "Die Polizei" they slip into gratious English.
  • The J-Rock band 403Forbiddena. Most of their songs are all in accented Gratuitous English, which makes it hard to figure out the lyrics for both English and Japanese-speakers.
  • Tommy Heavenly6 has done this with at least one of her songs: "Black Paper Moon"

 Fairy Blue kimi no tame ni

hoshi wo kudaki


Black Paper Moon!

  • The Japanese rock group Beat Crusaders sing exclusively in English even though none of them speak the language. This leads to lots of Engrish (a cover of "I can see crearly") and terrible grammar, but with song titles like "Joker in the Crotch", who can complain? Also, their songs are super catchy.
  • Exaggerated and Played for Laughs in "Why this Kolaveri", a Tamil song that went viral.

Newspaper Comics

  • A French translation of a Peanuts comic strip once had Linus Van Pelt, after speaking in perfect French, refer to his blanket-hating, caffeine-addicted grandmother as "Granny." Pretty jolting, especially since the French almost certainly have a pet name of their own for their grandmothers.


  • You can expect a lot of this trope in porn productions made in not English-speaking countries, as it is supposed to appeal American or British audiences, usually with a female yelling typical porn Stock Phrases, generally with an outrageous Hungarian / Filipino / Brazilian / French / Whatever accent. As with most of things in porn, YMMV if this is actually sexy, funny or none of the above.

Pro Wrestling

  • Professional Wrestling in Japan provides a pleasing real-life example of this trope. Since the conventions of pro. wrestling were adopted wholesale for the Japanese version of the sport ("puroresu" — itself an example of Gratuitous English), all the names of the moves are the English ones (except those invented in Japan, like the enziguri), which the announcers faithfully reproduce in commentary, even when they sound ridiculous. Examples include "DIIIIVING BOOOOOODY AAAAAAAAAAAAATAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!" and the famous "LAAAAAAARIIIIIIAAAAAT-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!"
  • Dragon Gate theme song names frequently run along this trope, with names like WILD DRANK HUSKEY (Don Fujii) and KICK START THE ELEPHANT (Yasushi Kanda). Yes, they spell the song names in ALLCAPS.
  • A lot of classic Zenjo tag teams name fall into this. Some, like the Dynamite Girls, sound normal enough. Others, like the Queen Angels or Beauty Pair, straddle the line. And then you have teams with names like Marine Wolves and Dream Orca...


  • The "Alabama Song" (which, of course, was Covered Up by The Doors) and "Benares Song" in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny). Bertolt Brecht's use of English is rather awkward in the latter: "There is no boy with whom to shake hands. Where is the telephone? Is here no telephone?" In the former, the Shotacon implications of the line "show me the way to the next little boy" were doubtless unintentional.
  • Madama Butterfly throws off a few Gratuitous English phrases, most notably Pinkerton's toast to "America for ever!"
  • In Cabaret, many of the phrases in the opening number "Willkommen" are sung in Gratuitous German, then in Gratuitous French, then in Gratuitous English.

Video Games

  • As a rule of thumb, in almost EVERY Japanese or East Asian fighting game, when your character is K.O'ed and the words "K.O" appears, it's ALWAYS spelled or announced as K.O. instead of Knock-out, since it's impossible to pronounce that word in many Asian languages.
  • SNK may well be the kings of this trope, as any foreign character in their games will have Engrish in their quotes, with Terry Bogard of Fatal Fury being this trope incarnate ("R u OK? BUSTAAAAAAH WOLF!") To be fair, they also have examples of Surprisingly Good English as well, with Wolfgang Krauser (also of Fatal Fury) being the best example.
    • Iori Yagami of The King of Fighters has an image song, "Kaze no Allegory", where he sings "Don't break my soul, woah oah tonight".
    • Krauser, unlike other SNK characters, has been voiced by English-speaking actors in almost every game he's been (Michael Beard in Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury Special, and B.J. Love in KOF and Real Bout games).
  • On the subject of the Rockman.EXE series: in the original Japanese, Eleki Hakushaku (Count Zap) often spoke in gratuitous English. There, we got such gems as "Yeah! Rock and Roll!" and "God Damn." Of course, the dubs have no way of translating.
    • In the X series, all the games after X5 use Gratuitous English in the names of the bosses. This ended up with atrocities like Metal Shark Player, Infinity Mijinion, and Tornado Tonion.
      • The boss names in the Japanese versions of Xs 1-5 use Gratuitous English as well — it's just they started translating the names more literally from X6 onwards.
    • The names of X's weapons are also this trope. This became... interesting once he started calling his attacks in later games.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog's most recent incarnation (as appearing in Sonic Adventure and Sonic X) loves to use Engrish phrases such as "OK," "All right," or "Don't mind!" whenever he beats Eggman or accomplishes some other important goal.
    • When he beats Big Foot in Sonic Adventure 2, he says "Hey guy, take care!" This was left unchanged in the English voice acting.
    • Or when he ranks badly, he may say "Notmydaaay!" Not to mention Shadow's "Cah-ohs... CONTROL!" when executing his famous time-stopping move. And then there's the shuttle countdown... in ENGLISH, even with Japanese turned on.
    • For a laugh, turn Sonic Adventure on to Japanese voices, and put Sonic as the narrator for the menus. You get things like "How to pray wiv Nakolz (Knuckles)!" "How to creer (clear) the game!" "Serectcha characturr!" "How to pray wiv E-Wah-Oh-Two Gammer!" and many more.
    • When he said "Shit" in Sonic X. He does this a lot in Sonic X. His most commonly used phrases are "Don't mind!" (Wasei-Eigo for "Don't worry about it."), "All right!" and "Let's go!".
      • While Kanemaru Jun'ichi's pronunciation isn't that bad, it does sound quite hilarious, particularly when Sonic screams "I GOT THE LIZARD!" in one episode (he actually says "I can't believe it!"). Interestingly, this seems to be a character trait; in one episode, when Chris asks Amy where Sonic went, Amy says he went away, "but he told me to tell you 'See you later'." She says the "see you later" in English. Sonic's English phrase "Never give up!" became a kind of Determinator Catch Phrase for one episode, being used by Sonic and then later by Chris both when attempting something daring.
      • Knuckles's "SHABERU KUROO!" (Shovel Claw) in the anime.
    • This best e is the horrible garbling of "You Made It!" / "YUU MEIREH!" Sonic spouts when you beat one of the Tails levels in Sonic Adventure 1.
    • There was an advert in Japan for Sonic Adventure which was narrated by one of the characters. Sonic's version began with Sonic yelling, in English, "Hallo, ebrybodayyy! Mah name is Sonic! Sonikku za Hejihoggu sa!" pronouncing his name as corresponding to the Japanese way. At the end, he closes with "Ore wa Sonic! * Makes strange clicking noise* Sonic the Hedgehowg!" pronouncing it in (mostly) the English way.
    • And come to think of it, all the character names are in English. Sonikku za Hejjihoggu (Sonic the Hedgehog), Mairusu "Teirusu" Pauā[3] (Miles "Tails" Prower), Nakkuruzu za Ekiduna (Knuckles the Echidna), Emī Rōzu (Amy Rose), Biggu za Kyatto (Big the Cat), Kurīmu za Rabitto (Cream the Rabbit), Dokutā Egguman (Doctor Eggman), Shadou za Hejjihoggu (Shadow the Hedgehog), Rūju za Batto (Rouge the Bat), Shirubā za Hejjihoggu (Silver the Hedgehog) and the list goes on and on and on and on... The only one that's any different in Japanese is Nack the Weasel, who was originally called Fangu za Sunaipā (Fang the Sniper).
  • All the characters from Castle Shikigami 2 speak in horribly butchered english and make so little sense that it falls into the So Bad It's Good category. Especially notable because the voice actors were native English speakers who had to read the Engrish(Though sometimes they would correct it).
  • Chipp Zanuff from Guilty Gear is supposed to be an American who doesn't know Japanese, but due to the Translation Convention of the game he speaks it most of the time anyway. This is balanced by his large amount of gratuitous English, usually when swearing or surprised ("HOLY ZEN!"). The example here also points out his inversion in gratuitous Japanese. Like in that example, on the rare occaisions he's actually using Japanese, rather than it being an effect of the Translation Convention, it's random nonsense that makes no sense in context--he actually shouts "sushi" during one of his attacks, for another example.
    • In addition, about 75% of the attacks in the games are called out in English. This ranges from the good (Chipp and Sol Badguy call their attacks with Surprisingly Good English for the most part) to the laughable (Venom's Double Head Morbid: "DOUBAH HEAD MORBIDOH!").
    • The Play Station 2 version of Guilty Gear X had pretty terrible English, every single fight. "Are you ready? Let's go! Let's enjoy a great time!" And... "Heaben o' Hell. Doo wan. Lez rock." This was replaced by better a better English speaker in the English version of Guilty Gear least until Accent Core, where they replaced the old speaker with a worse one for some infathomable reason when the original/#Reload/Slash speaker was perfect.
      • You also get a lot of this in Guilty Gear's spiritual successor Blaz Blue. Try performing Ragna's "Gauntlet Hades" and watch how the Japanese voice actor mangles the phrase. And don't get me started on "The Wheel Of Fate Is Turning". Of course, you can set the game to English voice actors as well.
    • The same developer gives us this in their Fist of the North Star fighting game: "The Time of Retribution. Battle (1,2,etc). Decide the Destiny!" Probably one of their better attempts.
  • In a similar vein, Sodom from the Final Fight and Street Fighter games is an American who's trying to be Japanese. He actually inverts the trope because he never speaks English, but instead speaks Gratuitous Japanese by mashing English words together that sound like Japanese phrases. For example, when trying to say "shoushi senban" (meaning "truly pathetic") he says "SHOW SEA SEND BANG!"
  • One Japanese Kirby Super Star Strategy Guide featured a Great Cave Offensive comic (it read left-to-right a la a Western comic book) at one point, that featured a fedora-wearing Kirby with oddly masculine features in a nonsensical Indiana Jones spoof. The kicker? The people writing the guide apparently wrote it in Japanese first, then translated it into English themselves — as a result, we got gems like "More SKINNY, less ATTRACTIVE to my baby!", "Gra'ma said, NO PICK up EVIL", and, best of all, "SHIT!".
  • This often extends to names, too: in Final Fantasy VI, the name Tina was considered exotic. If you don't recognise them, they were somewhat thankfully re-translated into English when they were translated, so the character became Terra. And then there's the whole "Claude and Alice" rumour.
    • Then there's Siegfried, who abandons battle with some gratuitous Spanish. "Adios Amigos!"
    • The entire Final Fantasy franchise in general LOVES it self some Gratuitous Foreign Language. The names of almost everything- titles included- are pronounced the same way in Japanese as English. Example: "Barret Wallace" is pronounced roughly "Bayrlet Walrus."
  • In an interesting gaming parallel, the SSX series of made-in-Canada snowboarding games features a Japanese character, Kaori, who speaks in a 50/50 mish-mash of fluent Japanese and extremely accented gratuitous English. Given the lack of other non-English-fluent characters, the makers were apparently trying to jointly appeal to trendy Japanese audiences and American fans of Japanese culture. Interestingly, this lack of fluency doesn't impede her interaction with the other snowboarders at all, even a romantic interest.
  • The X-Men arcade game has many plainly spoken engrish phrases, including "Pyro will burn you to toast!", "I am Magneto, Master of Magnet!", "Magneto is in another place" and the (in)famous "X-Men, welcome to die!" as spoken by Magneto. While not exactly engrish, he also makes the ridiculous insult of "X-chicken!"
    • More X-Men engrish: the first Japanese theme song produced when the 90's animated series was brought to Japan has a few random English phrases. The most obvious one is at the end where the singer practically screams with much gusto the line "CRY FOR THE MOON!"
  • The Japanese version of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike has the memorable "Let's Blocking" intro for the parry practice bonus stage. (Blocking is what parrying is called in Japanese, but the incongruous "let's" is what makes it TV Tropes Made of Win Archive.
    • The Japanese track of Street Fighter IV has a lot of this when calling attacks and giving introductions. Particularly amusing are Balrog (the boxer), who shouts nothing but Engrish in the Japanese track, and El Fuerte, who is Mexican.
    • Also of note is Rolento's victory phrase in Street Fighter Alpha 2/3: MISSHON KONPURIITO.
  • Ness and Captain Falcon in Super Smash Bros use gratuitous English when calling their attacks. Super Smash Bros Melee retained this, but also inverted it with Marth and Roy speaking Gratuitous Japanese.
    • In Brawl, Lucas and Zero Suit Samus avoid this by having American voice actors--even in the Japanese version.
      • Ditto the narrator in all three games.
    • Then again, Ness comes from Eagle Land, so I suppose it's justfied...
  • Inverted in Resident Evil Extinction, where a Japanese subway sign sports nonsensical kanji.
  • This warning from Do Don Pachi and other early Cave Shoot Em Ups.
  • Super Mario Sunshine has "SHINE GET!" (The "get" was wiped from the North America releases, though.)
  • The opening Theme Song to the American release of Rune Factory: a Fantasy Harvest Moon contains nothing but word salad Engrish. See for yourself.
    • The carries on into the sequels, of course.
  • In the Japanese version of Tales of Vesperia, villain Yeager speaks in a rather peculiar manner, randomly interjecting English words and phrases where Japanese would have sufficed, such as "Come on, boy!", and "Oh my god...". Naturally, his manner of speaking was completely changed in the English dub ...into Gratuitous German!
    • Karol has a somewhat unusual case in that the names of his arts in the Japanese dub are half Japanese and half English in their pronunciation (Examples being Houshuu Thunder and Kasshin Heal Stamp), perhaps to reflect his childish nature.
  • In the Japanese Tales of Symphonia, two of the main characters were named in Gratuitous English: the healer was named Refill, and her brilliant little brother was named Genius. These were thankfully changed to Raine and Genis for the English translation, although some fans use them anyway.

 There once was a young elf named Genius

Whose English name was God's gift to limerick writers...

  • Any Tales Of game will feature this, for this reason: While most weapon techniques are three-to-five kanji compounds, spells are generally named in English. Now remember that the series has had voice acting since the beginning, and, well... faastueido! fiafurufurea! shirufu! And for the exceptions who have their tech names in Gratuitous English, this applies again. There are also a few examples of Gratuitous French and Gratuitous German techs, as well.
  • The opening video of the videogame Dote Up A Cat is totally Engrish.
  • In Capcom's Sengoku Basara series, Date Masamune frequently uses heavily-accented English phrases whenever it's time to kick ass in the original Japanese version, you see?
  • The Persona games have a weird relationship with this trope:
    • Persona 2 features the famous "LET'S POSITIVE THINKING!"
    • Persona 3 and 4 however, feature much gratuitious English in almost all their vocal songs, most notably the intro screens and battle music... except it's surprisingly good. There are plenty of parts where words are misemphasized or mispronounced, but if you know what they're trying to say, it actually makes sense.
  • In the Japan-only Tetris the Grand Master 3, if your game ends prematurely in Master or Shirase mode...

  "EXCELLENT — but...let's go better next time"

  • Arcade game Twinkle Star Sprites starts off with a shout of "TUWINKERU SUTAH SPURAITO".
    • Which isn't all that bad, but there are characters named Load Ran and Really Till.
  • A number of the songs from Katamari Damacy are loaded with Gratuitous English, including the Title Theme Tune "Katamari On the Rocks" ("Don't Worry, Do Your Best / Picnic kibun Feels So Good / Suteki na Afternoon / Furachi no Midnight, Yeah!") and "Song for the King of Kings" from We Love Katamari ("Everyday, Everynight / Kimi to ousama no Rainbow, Yes!")
    • Although, since this is Katamari we're talking about, it sorta makes sense.
  • The voice clips in the American versions of Cooking Mama are entirely this, ranging from simple stilted-sounding R/L inversion ("Look, a swarrowtail butterfry!" in Gardening Mama) to more awkward sounding phrases ("DON-TUH WARRY, MAMA WILL FEEX EET" and "WUNDAFAH! EVEN BEDDAZEN MAMA!" in Dinner With Friends)
    • Cooking Mama 2 has "Great! Yuu gayvid yua best effah!" ("Great! You gave it your best effort!") "Don warri, Mama will fix zis" and "Triffic! Even bettah zan Mama!"
  • Averted by Knights in The Nightmare. The Japanese version is fully voice acted in English, and while the delivery is often highly enunciated for the Japanese audience, leading to alternate cheese and ham, it's still good English with a good accent. Atlus even saw fit to leave it in during localization, probably for the occasional Narm Charm.
    • Sadly, this only holds true for the voice acting. The Japanese version of the game also featured a lot of English text, including such instant classics as "How to Reinforce Least Knight" and "Touch the Box to Be Defeated Enemy".
  • The item shop in Tears to Tiara is called "The Good Folk" and is run by an Honest John of an Elf.
  • "Welcome to MOTHER3 World." Also, the voice clip played when you name your characters is Itoi himself saying, "OK desu ka?" (Is this OK?) According to Itoi, he was tricked into saying it by Hirokazu Tanaka (who had a tape recorder behind his back).
  • The attack names in Eternal Sonata are mostly in gratuitous English (Even on the English language track, which just has the English voice actors say the original phrase), with Chopin getting lines in gratuitous French and Italian. Fortunately they make a reasonable amount of sense.
  • Gunbird: "Ganbahdo!"
  • In the PS game "Speed Power Gunbike," the game over screen happily informs you that "Anergy empty! You all over!"
  • In the Japanese versions of Snatcher, JUNKER was originally an acronym for "Judgement Uninfected Naked-Kind Execute Ranger".
  • The MSX version of Metal Gear gave us such well named villains such as the "Shoot Gunner" and "Coward Duck". The sequel, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, isn't much better with the likes of "Black Color", "Ultrabox"(named after the New Wave band Ultravox) and "Night Sight".
    • "Black Color" was supposed to be "Blackcollar", after a novel about NASA ninjas (essentially). He is one...supposedly.
      • But the point is that "Black Color" was how the name was spelled in the actual game itself. Many people assume its a misromanization by the fan-translators, but that's how it was spelled in the actual Japanese game (all the bosses had their names spelled in roman script).
  • The Neo Geo shooter Blazing Star, and it's memetic "YOU FAIL IT! YOUR SKILL IS NOT ENOUGH" screen. Then there's the female announcer who yells English phrases such as "BONUS!" with hilarious results.
  • tee hee, over 1000 rules of game.
  • This is more or less the mode of international communications in eRepublik.
  • EXEC_CUTYPUMP/. from Ar Tonelico 3 is a strange mixture of Japanese and English.
  • The Starry Sky series. This is just a sample.
  • Lampshaded in The Simpsons Game, which features a level parodying Japanese RPGs entitled Big Super Happy Fun Fun.
  • The very name "Donkey Kong" is perhaps the most famous example of this trope.
  • In the French version of "Team Fortress 2", one can hear the Spy scream, "Oh my God", in English as part of his Jarate responses. What makes this strange is that he says that phrase in French in the original English version and all of the other languages the game was dubbed in.
  • From Do Don Pachi DaiFukkatsu Black Label's Arrange mode: "Just a couple more shots desu!"
  • The Japanese version of the "Cheer Readers" game from Rhythm Heaven Fever includes such lines as "OK, don't mind!" and "Let's everybody go!"
  • Very prevalent in the Japanese dub of Xenoblade Chronicles while the characters are calling their attacks. Only Dunban and Riki are exempt from this, due to having Japanese art names.
  • Misha's "Bush Cheney 2004" shirt from Katawa Shoujo is probably meant to parody this trope.
  • This is fairly common in the song lyrics in Deardrops and Kira Kira. It's pointed out that some of the band members have no idea what they actually mean.

Web Original

  • Menelaos from Greek Ninja speaks English by making direct translations from Greek, which of course results in terrible mistakes and people not understanding him. Eleonora often takes the role of the translator between him and the rest of the world, having full knowledge of both languages.
  • France Five, despite being a French series, shares the love of Gratuitous English of the Sentai shows they parody.

Western Animation


 This song is kind of stupid

It doesn't make sense

The English is all fucked up

That's okay [we do it all the time!]

[Hey hey, let's go] fighting

The important thing is to [protect my balls]

I'm baaaad, [so let's fighting]

[Let's fighting love — let's fighting love!]

    • That phrase "Let's fighting" is an example of what is, tragically, a very common Engrish construction in Japan. The bowling episode of Mega Man NT Warrior has a bunch of characters repeat the catchphrase "Let's bowling!" — making it perhaps the only one that's more painful to watch subbed than dubbed, ShoPro and all.
  • Seacht has quite a few English words mixed in with the Irish dialogue; this is particularly surreal as the series is set in Belfast, and one would think that this means the characters are actually speaking English.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons in the "Mr. Sparkle" commercial.
  • Icy in Winx Club, or at least the French dub, has a couple of attacks with English names.
    • Also in the original Italian, considering the heroine is named Bloom, you just mentioned a character named Icy, and "Winx" is a pun on wings. Whether this is due to it being influenced by anime, or due to the creator's wife being Singaporean, is up for debate.
  • English language cartoons end up with this trope when translated for a Japanese audience as many bits of the original dialogue and song lyrics (if there are songs) are retained as is for various reasons.
    • This is more prevalent in The Boondocks' Japanese dub, due of the use of some words (like n****r) whose Japanese equivalents are forbidden to use in Japanese media, so the translators used the original words untranslated from English instead.
    • Same case in Japan with South Park, but less exaggerated.
  • Gratuitous Spanish tends to become this when subbed to a Spanish-speaking audience
  • American Dad: "SUCK... MY... BOWLS!"
  • In a non-Japanese example, Metalocalypse gives us Swedish Skwisgaar and Norwegian Toki, who both suffer from the same ignorance of the English language. They both have atrocious problems with putting excessive plurals at the end of words (whether or not they are nouns in the first place), frequently use "am" for any form of the word "be", and have a bad grasp on vocabulary in general.

 Oh Toki, its adorables, you really wants to takes more solos, but I am the lead guitarist, you know, why? Because I ams, hows do you says, way more gooders than you.


Real Life

  • Aya Hirano, voice actress for Suzumiya Haruhi, wore a shirt saying "Did You Cum Twice Too?" and "Feel so dirty!!! I need a Tongue Bath!" at an official concert. Fans are pretty sure she didn't actually know what those words meant. Although you can never say for sure...
    • Seeing how Aya has written lyrics for an English (well, more like very, very Engrish) song, you might want to reconsider that.
      • It has recently come out that she lived in New York City for 4 years as a child, so odds are she knew exactly what the shirt said.
  • As a general rule, Germans LOVE their Gratuitous English almost as much as the Japanese. Since both languages are very closely related (the Angles and the Saxons were German tribes before they settled England), English words integrate very well into the German language and while many words in both languages are almost or completely identical, some similar-sounding words mean very different things. They are known as Falsche Freunde in German and False Friends in English. (Interestingly, False Friends is not a False Friend). In General, using English words is the same as using Xtreme Kool Letterz.
    • The most infamous example is of German discount store chain Lidl once advertising "body bags". They meant backpacks. Many, many producers still call their backpacks "body bags".
      • Doubly ironic since "rucksack", the German term for the bags, is also used in English.
    • The German word for a cell phone is Handy, which is even pronounced English, but a completely new German invention. (Though they are, in fact, handy.)
    • Technical inventions are almost never translated into German. At least since the 90's, they are always called by their English name.
    • German technical terminology is heavily influenced by English. Psychology scholars routinely create "Denglisch" words to replace perfectly good German words: "encode" is "kodieren" in German, but rely on psychology majors to use the redundant "enkodieren"; also, psychologists have imported the phrasal structure of the verb "remember" for use with the German equivalent - in German it should be "sich an etwas erinnern" or "sich einer Sache erinnern" (similar to "remind oneself of something"), instead they use "etwas erinnern" which sounds as strange to the ears of German non-psychologists as "remember oneself of something" would in English.
    • Similarly, the use of "realisieren" (to realize) in the common English sense of "to become aware of something" has started to infiltrate German and supplant other existing expressions.
    • Job titles are more and more translated into English, even though studies show that Germans are reluctant to apply for a job that is given in the ad as, say, "Key Account Manager".
    • During World War II, the Luftwaffe carried out an incendiary bombing raid against the British city of Coventry. The destruction was so horrific that the Germans coined the word "koventrieren", meaning "to annihilate or reduce to rubble."
  • This web site automatically generates Gratuitous English slogans.
  • It goes the other way pretty often, too, especially where tattoos are concerned. The website Hanzi Smatter shows photographs of Chinese and Japanese characters used for shirts and tattoos and the like. It's Engrish put on its head.
  • Perhaps the funniest of the examples is Dick and Uprise, simply because it's impossible to tell what meaning was supposed to be conveyed there.
  • There's a Norwegian band, created for a children's talent show, called the Black... Sheeps.
  • "Modern Hebrew" in general. If you don't know a word and it is something modern, just elongate the vowels and say it with a Sephardic Hebrew accent.
    • There's a joke:

 "How do you say "Open the window" in Hebrew?

"Uphen de vindoh"

    • Allegedly, in Israel, the back axel of a car is called a "beckexel", while the front axel is called a "beckexel kadmoni" meaning a front "beckexel", meaning a "Front Back Axel"
  • This is Bitch:
  • Happens a lot in Quebec and other French speaking parts of Canada (such as some areas of New Brunswick and Ontario), along with Gratuitous French for the English speakers. For instance, many French speakers will refer to a waste can as "le garbage" rather than "la poubelle", though garbage is usually pronounced "gar-BAA-ge" rather than the English "gar - bidge".
    • As noted, Quebec English is not devoid of French influence: for instance, convenience stores are known as dépanneurs, or deps for short, in both Quebec English and Quebec French.
  • This trope is far from unique to Japan. In Scandinavia, commercials, music, even store windows are in English. This is meant to be cool and exotic, but studies in Norway suggest that most people actually prefer ads in their own language and that messages have a stronger impact if delivered in one's native tounge.
  • The oldest pizza delivery place in the Czech Republic is called "Pizza Go Home".
  • One Engrish fire extinguisher sign says "Hand Grenade". A Chinglish extinguisher sign says "Forbid to embezzle fire apparatus".
  • No less a philosopher than Friedrich Nietzsche was known to drop English (as well as French, Latin, and Greek) into his otherwise-German works. He usually used this when quoting from an English work, but sometimes used English words alone to make a point, to screw with the reader, or just because he felt like it. Since he spoke English, he knew exactly what was being said (so no funniness from misplaced words) but it makes reading Nietzsche interesting for English-speakers: if you're reading it in English translation, the footnotes that say "this bit was originally in English" are often kind of amusing, and if you can speak German and are reading it in the original, it's rather shocking to see the English in a sea of German.
  • On the label of a bottle of (what appear to be) herbal pills, the following warnings are given the greatest emphasis:

 The condition may not fit the constitution and rarely. The use of this product, diarrhea, vomiting, and if the Case of modulating body rash, please discontinue use immediately.

If you are pregnant or nursing, please do your children.

In consultation with our doctors, If you are taking your medication, please enjoy.

    • On the shopping site proffering this item, not much is conveyed by long paragraphs of boilerplate, other than an evident horror of the possibility someone might take offense at...well, anything. Same spiel concludes with the peremptory admonition, About three months into the bottle type bag also! The legend "Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd." clashes--at first glance--with a product touted as "Health Food Made in Japan," at least for Western customers who firmly associate Fuji Ltd. with photography, unaware of the corporate behemoth's likely diversification.
  • One neofascist political party in post-Mussolini Italy was known to sprinkle English into its slogans, perhaps as a way of mocking Americans. One slogan, for example, denounced "l'idiozia dell'American Way of Life."
  • The people of Thailand are surprisingly fluent in English, and evidently use it casually in Westernized or tourist areas. Unfortunately, they do not tend to know how to avoid Accidental Innuendo, as an advertisement for donkey rides once read "Would you like to ride on your own ass?"
  • Common in Cantonese due to Hong Kong being a British colony in the past, in contrast to Mandarin Chinese where it is almost nonexistent. For example, a baby in (informal) Cantonese is "BB", as in, that is how it's actually written, there aren't Chinese or Cantonese characters for it.
  • In Navajo, and presumably other Native American languages, lots of more modern words don't translate over. If you're driving over the rez and listening to the Navajo-language radio, it's not uncommon to be able to understand nearly a full quarter of an advertisement for things like a video game store or the radio station.
    • Strictly speaking, in Navajo, anything can be translated, but it takes a long time—the Navajo for "tank" (as in the vehicle) is "chidí naaʼnaʼí beeʼeldǫǫhtsoh bikááʼ dah naaznilígíí" and literally means "crawling cart with a large causer-of-explosions that you can sit on and ride". Hence why most of the time they just say, e.g., "nitank yá'át'ééh" ("Nice tank.")
  • This menu card supposedly translated for tourists. You'll notice that by saying "He/She came" they wanted to say "Wine".
    • In some Polish restaurant's English translation of their menu, there was a phrase "Denmark from grill." [4]
    • There's also this menu [5]
  • All too common in Brazil, to the point that politicians have proposed laws to forbid foreign words being used in advertising.
  1. and even Samurai lords love American cars
  2. Coming soon, kupo!
  3. Shouldn't it be Purawā?
  4. Polish word "Dania" can mean "Dishes" as in, food, or "Denmark".
  5. "Wschód Słońca" is "Sunrise", but "Wschód" alone can be "East" as in, a direction.