Learning to write grammar can be confusing and also difficult to remember but with plenty of practice these grammar rules can be learnt. ESL students will be helped by having a teacher to help with grammar both for speaking and for writing. A teacher will give plenty of encouragement to ESL students and this will make the student feel more confident about writing more, practicing conversation and therefore becoming more fluent in all areas of English.
Here are 5 advanced grammar concepts that confuse most ESL students.
There are many rules for English grammar, which need to be learnt when studying English as a second language but there are exceptions to these that also need to be learnt. Here are a few examples of these exceptions regarding correct pronunciation.
Hard or soft ‘c’
‘c’ is pronounced as a hard ‘c’ in words like car, cold and cut (when followed by vowels a, o and u)
‘c’ is pronounced as a ‘s’ in words like cell, circle and cycle (when followed by vowels e, i and y).
Hard of soft ‘g”
‘g’ is pronounced as a ‘g’ sound in gate, go and gutter (when followed by vowels a, o and u)
‘g’ is pronounced as a ‘j’ sound in badger, gig and gym (when followed by vowels e, i and y).
Although these are pronunciation rules, the ESL student needs to be able to remember the rules when writing English.
‘i before e, except after the letter c’ is a very good saying to remember the correct order of these letters when learning English eg fierce, believe, piece or achieve. After the letter ‘c’ the letters ‘i’ and ‘e’ are reversed eg receive, receipt, ceiling and perceive. However there are exceptions to this rule eg foreign, their, seize and vein. Sadly these just have to be learnt.
Doubling final letters can also confuse ESL learners when the tense of the word changes for example:
Stop in the present tense becomes stopped in the past tense and stopping in the present continuous tense.
Admit in the present tense becomes admitted in the past tense and admitting in the present continuous tense.
Practice and learning these grammar rules and their exceptions will help improve confidence when writing English.
Native English speakers know exactly what order to put words in when writing sentences. To native English speakers it “sounds right” which can make it very difficult to explain to those learning English as a second language have to learn the correct order through practice. When using adjectives, for example the correct way is to say it is a small blue car not it is a blue small car.
ESL students often omit words both in conversation and in grammar. One of the easiest words to be forgotten is the verb to be.
Incorrect: I very happy as I go to New York to see my son
Correct: I am very happy as I am going to New York to see my son
Incorrect: America very big country.
Correct: America is a very big country.
As seen in the last example the word ‘a’ was omitted in the incorrect example but included in the correct example.
Learning to use all the words required in a sentence has to be learnt but can be achieved with practice.
Incorrect plurals of nouns
The meaning of a noun is a person, place or thing. The problem with learning English grammar is that the plurals of nouns are not always obvious.
Here are examples of the plurals of most nouns:
1 jug 2 jugs
1 cup 2 cups
1 pen 2 pens
1 chair 2 chairs
1 car 2 cars
As we can see the letter ‘s’ is added to the singular form of the noun to make the plural form.
The following plurals are confusing and need to be learnt:
1 watch 2 watches
1 bus 2 buses
1 match 2 matches
1 child 2 children
1 man 2 men
1 woman 2 women
1 baby 2 babies
1 sheep 2 sheep
1 tv series 2 tv series
These prepositions help form sentence structure and describe a relationship between other words in sentences. They need to be learnt by ESL students learning English.
Prepositions for time are the words on, at, for or in.
The train arrives at the station in 15 minutes.
I was born on the 10th January.
She lived in India for five years.
Other prepositions include for, in, up, down, for, behind, under, after, next, above, on, at, from and with. Here are some examples:
Please tidy up the classroom.
After lunch we will go swimming.
She likes to jog in the morning.
His house is on Dunster road.
He sat behind the desk.
The plate is next to the jug.
One of the most commonly spoken languages in the world is English. By learning all aspects of the English language, ESL students will feel confident about conversing with others in English, travelling, business and changing jobs. There are more than 67 countries in the world that have English as their official language. There is a saying, which is “the world is my oyster” (written by William Shakespeare in his play merry wives of Windsor”) and means in today’s world that ‘we can do anything we want’. The world is ‘our oyster’. This is another good reason to learn English.