We have been teaching English as a Foreign Language to students for a long time now, and all that experience means that we have seen the most common errors that ESOL students make. In this article, we take a look at a few of them and analyse how best to stop making those mistakes all over again.
You choose the wrong tense
"I have been to London last weekend."
You are referring to a specific moment in the past, and should therefore use the past simple tense rather than present perfect. It is perhaps the most common mistake made by students of English and can easily be corrected.
You use an incorrect preposition
"We went in Paris last weekend."
This particular example is a common mistake made by French students of English, but every student understands that prepositions are difficult to use coherently. Work on dependent prepositions and phrasal verbs with your tutor to ensure that you understand how to use them correctly.
You are confusing the infinitive, gerund or base form of the verb
"I must to find a job."
English language learners frequently use infinitives with modals such as should and must, when they should simply use the base form of the verb. Others use gerunds when they should use infinitives (I decided going to Paris).
You are forgetting to include articles
"I bought new textbook yesterday."
Articles are as difficult to include in conversation as prepositions; and students often forget to include them. It takes lots of practice to use them correctly.
You mix up your adjectives and adverbs
"I would like to speak English good."
Mixing adjectives and adverbs happens frequently with English as a Second language learners, particularly with the example above. Another speaker of English will understand you when you say this, but if you want to be completely correct you should speak English well.
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