What are some major problems ESL learners have with grammar?This question is intended for teachers of ESL students and ESL students alike.

4 Answers

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

While I agree the much depends upon the learners native language, there are some particular parts of English that are difficult for all ESL learners. One of the major snags can be irregularities in English. As native English speakers, we are told by our teachers at a young age to just memorize certain words. For example, we learn i before e except after c but there are several exceptions to the rule. There are similar exceptions in almost every part of English grammar. Unlike other languages, English is far less rigid in it's rules. English speakers are often so accustomed to these quirks that they don't even notice. ESL students are often stumped by these strange conjugations, spellings, and random exceptions to grammar rules.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This depends a lot on what the ESL student's native language is.  Students who speak Russian, for example, have a lot of trouble remembering to put articles in front of nouns.  Those who speak Spanish have more trouble with double negatives, both because many Americans speak that way and because double negatives are grammatical in Spanish.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Asian ESL students often have trouble with verbs, especially ending in s. They have a tendency to leave the s off, forget to conjugate the verb, or put it in the wrong place. The grammatical structure of the languages is very different, and there are a lot of irregular verbs in English.
vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

One problem that I have noticed is uncertainty about when and where to use articles such as "the," "a," "an" and so forth.  I have noticed this particularly in working with Korean students.  It may be that such words do not exist in some languages.