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6 Most Common Mistakes in English as a Second Language (ESL)
Non-native users of English as a Second Language almost always struggle with all aspects of English – speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
Many also commit errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
This is because there are aspects of English as a Second Language that make it very confusing and utterly difficult for non-native English learners.
Some of these aspects that have become the sources of the most common mistakes in English as a Second Language include:
1. Wrong Ordering of Adjectives in a Sentence
2. Incorrect Usage and Missing Articles
3. Mistakes in Count and Non-Count Nouns
4. Mistakes in Prepositions
5. Redundant Subjects
6. Mistakes in Verb Tenses and Forms
Below is a discussion of the most common errors in English as a Second Language and suggestions on how to fix them easily and quickly.
1. Wrong Ordering of Adjectives in an English Sentence
In their study of English, English as a Second Language students learn that several adjectives can be used to describe a subject in a single sentence.
In this case, English as a Second Language users must be very careful in placing the adjectives in correct order in the sentence.
This is because there is such thing as wrong ordering of adjectives.
To be guided, people trying to learn English as a Second Language well must remember the accepted order of adjectives.
Correct Order of Adjectives in an English Sentence
1. Articles = a, an, the
2. Judgment = magnificent, plain, impressive, dull
3. Size = enormous, minute, humongous, tiny
4. Shape = octagonal, elongated, triangular, short
5. Age = old, outdated, modern, current
6. Color = olive green, mustard, brownish, off-white
7. Nationality = Filipino, Spanish, Russian, Chinese
8. Material = concrete, wooden, watery, volcanic
Wrong: Have you bought the blue Chinese antique vase?
Right: Have you bought the antique blue Chinese vase?
2. Incorrect or Missing Articles in an English Sentence
As simple as they look, articles are actually sources of many mistakes of English as a Second Language learners.
This is because many learners of English as a Second Language are unaware that there are rules to follow when deciding which article is most appropriate to use in an English sentence.
Rules for Choosing the Correct Articles in an English Sentence
- A, An = used for a non-specific, singular, count noun
a dog, a song, an elephant, an announcement
- The = used for specific, singular or plural nouns
the champion dog, the award-winning song, the largest elephant, the final announcement
- Note that some non-count nouns require no articles at all
Wrong: I saw rainbow after the rain.
Right: I saw a rainbow after the rain.
3. Wrong Count and Non-Count Nouns in an English Sentence
Some students of English as a Second Language frequently commit mistakes when forming the plural forms of English nouns.
It could be because these English as a Second Language users are confused about count and non-count nouns.
Count and Non-Count Nouns in English
- Count Nouns = nouns that can be counted and transformed into plurals
one grandchild, five grandchildren, only child, several children
- Non-count Nouns = nouns that cannot be or very difficult to count
beach sand, intelligence, hope, learning
Wrong: There is no allotted budget for brand-new office equipments.
Right: There is no allotted budget for brand-new office equipment.
4. Incorrect Prepositions Used in an English Sentence
Many people learning and speaking English as a Second Language commonly commit mistakes in prepositions.
This could be due to the fact that there are so many prepositions that English as a Second Language students must keep in mind.
To avoid prepositional mistakes, it would be best for learners of English as a Second Language to learn more and more English expressions that make use of correct prepositions.
Wrong: On January each year, Chinese people celebrate the Spring Festival.
Right: In January each year, Chinese people celebrate the Spring Festival.
5. Repeating Subject in an English Sentence
Many users of English as a Second Language tend to repeat the subject in a sentence.
These English as a Second Language users commit this mistake by using a noun and its pronoun in the same sentence.
Wrong: My homecountry it is very beautiful.
Right: My homecountry is very beautiful.
6. Erroneous Verb Tenses and Forms in an English Sentence
Many learners of English as a Second Language tend to commit many errors in verbs.
For one, many English as a Second Language learners commit mistakes in verb tenses.
To avoid these mistakes, they must think about which tense of the verb – past, present, future, etc. – would be most appropriate in a sentence.
Wrong:Last week, I go to the hot springs resort and eat seaweeds.
Right:Last week, I went to a hot springs resort and ate seaweed.
Moreover, many English as a Second Language users use verbs ending in –ing in the wrong way. They also use infinitives – to + base form of the verb – in improper ways.
Wrong:We enjoy to swim in the river near our hometown.
Right:We enjoy swimming in the river near our hometown.
Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista
All Rights Reserved
Useful and Helpful Hubs on Common Mistakes in the English Language
- 5 Common Grammar Errors in English as a Second Language and How to Correct Them
- 10 Commonly Misspelled Words that ESL Students Must Stop Misspelling – Now
- How to Correct the 5 Most Common Writing Mistakes in English as a Second Language
- 6 Common Punctuation Errors that Embarrass English as a Second Language Learners