English Learning Tips For Students
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Laurie G.

Non-native speakers of English often find the English language difficult, but with practice, you'll find that learning the language becomes easier every day. Try finding native English speakers to converse with, and speak and write the language as much as possible. It's also a good idea to listen to English radio and television and repeat back what you hear. The more you practice and take chances by asking questions in English, the sooner you'll speak fluently.

Here are some common ESL errors:

1) Wrong Articles: The articles 'a', 'an' and 'the' indicate that a noun will follow. The indefinite articles 'a' and 'an' are used before things which are non-specific, singular nouns (a book, an elephant, an egg). The definite article 'the' is used in front of specific singular or plural nouns (the books, the elephant, the chairs).

Article error: There is pretty girl over there. Correct: There is a pretty girl over there.

2) Wrong Prepositions: English prepositions can be confusing. Try memorizing common expressions containing prepositions.

Preposition error: I am married with my husband.

Correct: I am married to my husband.

3) Wrong Verb Tense Verbs must reflect the correct tense. Tense error: Yesterday I run to the store. Correct: Yesterday I ran to the store. Tense error: Tomorrow I talk to the teacher. Correct: Tomorrow I will talk to the teacher.

4) Wrong Form of Irregular Verbs

In English, regular verbs end in 'ed' in both past and past participle (talk/talked, has talked), while irregular verbs sometimes change form (drink/drank, has drunk). Irregular verbs must be memorized because they don't follow any rules.

Verb error: The girl swimmed by herself.

Correct: The girl swam by herself.

5) Repeated Subject

The subject of a sentence shouldn't be repeated as a pronoun.

Repeated subject error: The man he is very gentle.

Correct; The man is very gentle.

6) Wrong Form After a Verb Some English verbs can be followed by an 'ing' verb form, often with a preposition falling between the main verb and the 'ing' form. (i.e. She plans on leaving soon.) Other verbs must be followed by an infinitive. Don't use an infinite where an 'ing' verb is used. Wrong verb form: He enjoys to walk in the park. Correct: He enjoys walking in the park. Wrong verb form: The woman wants learning English. Correct: The woman wants to learn English.

7) Wrong Order of Adjectives

When two or more adjectives (modifiers) come before a noun, they usually follow a particular order. This is the usual order of adjectives when there are more than one of them:

1 Article
2. Judgment (terrific, mean, silly)
3. Size (big, small, tiny, little, enormous, large)
4. Shape (tall, short, oval)
5. Age (young, old, modern, ancient)
6. Color (brown, white, blue)
7. Nationality (Russian, Dutch, Korean)
8. Material (wood, wool, brick)

Wrong adjective order: He wants a white new bike.

Correct: He wants a new white bike.

Wrong adjective order: She is wearing her gold African best necklace.

Correct: She is wearing her best African gold necklace.

Laurie has 18 years experience in editing and writing and would love to polish your work so it sings. She specializes in cutting out the clutter, ensuring that every sentence is clear and necessary, and enjoys tweaking writing so it says what it needs to say. As a published author with Penguin and Bantam, AND as an editor at a publishing house, Laurie has been on both sides of the business and so understands the need to preserve your style yet make your work professional and error-free. Laurie is an editor at http://www.editingoffice.com

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