Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I want to know which is correct

  • teacher of English

or

  • English teacher.
share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, Ronan, Zairja, Rory Alsop, Daniel Aug 28 at 1:49

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – Mari-Lou A, Ronan, Zairja, Rory Alsop
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1  
    
Both are correct. 'English teacher' is more commonly used in the UK at least, usually with the meaning 'teacher of English'. But there is an obvious ambiguity; it can also mean a teacher who is English. On those occasions where context doesn't clear up the ambiguity, 'teacher of English' or 'teacher from England' can be used. –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 25 at 19:57

8 Answers 8

If you put the accent on the word "teacher", then it means "a teacher from England." If you put the accent on the word "English", then it means "a teacher who teaches English".

Or in another way, if you say "a teacher of English", then it means a teacher who teaches English. If you want to say a teacher who comes from England, then a clearer way would be "a teacher from England."

share|improve this answer
1  
And now, which one is correct? It's a good answer, so I don't want to -1 it, but since it doesn't directly answer the question, I think I should (but I won't). –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jun 20 '11 at 12:44
5  
They are both correct, but "English teacher" is idiomatic. You won't often hear a native English speaker say "Teacher of English" except to differentiate from a teacher of some other subject (and you won't often hear "speaker of English" either). –  njd Jun 20 '11 at 13:54

Very slight difference in meaning here:

"Teacher of English" can refer to anyone who is teaching English, to anyone.

"English Teacher" has the connotation that it is someone who is in the Education system, is paid, and has a class of students to teach to.

I.e.:

John is a teacher of English. He is just really good with English, so he can instruct basically anyone.

Jane is an English teacher. She works at my school.

share|improve this answer
    
I might have agreed, if you had said or, not and. (Education system? class instead of one-on-one?) The difference in connotation, which I suspect you are trying to get at, is that English teacher has a stronger suggestion that this is the person's job. (Your use of paid gets at that, but the job of an English teacher might be pro bono.) –  Drew Aug 24 at 21:49
    
I agree. It implies that you have a position in an organization. –  Gary's Student Aug 24 at 23:11

Both are grammatically correct, and which one to use will depend on the context.

teacher of English: This makes an explicit reference to the subject. It doesn't matter if the teacher is from England or not, it just cares about the fact that the teacher teaches English.

Examples where teacher of English is used:
http://www.ppef.cz/best-teacher-of-english-award/
http://www.teacher-of-english.com/
http://inspiringenglishteacher.sg/ (its funny to see here how the award is for Teachers of English but the URL is a contraction of "Inspiring English Teacher")

English teacher: This can be ambiguous depending on the context because English can relate to nationality or to the subject English. If such an ambiguity is not possible in your context, English teacher is shorter, easier to pronounce and the natural choice of words. It would even sound a little awkward if you, at your own school, should refer to your English teacher as your teacher of English.

Examples where English teacher is used:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_English_Teacher
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2055765/
http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/english/

share|improve this answer

It is my belief that an English teacher is a teacher who teaches English and a teacher of English is also a person who teaches English. The difference is in the native tongue of student not the native tongue of the teacher.

When a student addresses a teacher for any particular subject he or she says, "My Math teacher" or "My English teacher." However, looking at this from how the teacher teaches and to whom the teacher is teaching. For example a teacher teaching English in America to students and their first language is English, this teacher would say "I'm an English teacher." However, when the teacher is teaching students whose first language is other than English would usually say that they are a teacher of English as a second language.

As for myself, I am a teacher of English as a second language. An ESL teacher is different from an English teacher. We are both teachers of the English language, but we use very different techniques in teaching our English lessons. Thus, the difference is in who the teacher is teaching not where the teacher is from.

share|improve this answer
    
(Not my downvote) You made a worthy distinction between an English teacher to native speakers and an ESL/EFL teacher. An English literature or language teacher is not the same as a "teacher of English" or a teacher of English as a second/foreign language. –  Mari-Lou A Nov 6 '13 at 7:25

Teacher of English means a person who teaches English as a subject,but when you call someone a English teacher,it means that the teacher is an English person

share|improve this answer
4  
No. This is incorrect. An English teacher to mean a teacher of English is very common usage in AmE. As the leading answer in votes states, it depends upon context and the spoken emphasis. –  David M Mar 9 at 18:32
    
@DavidM is right. –  Drew Aug 24 at 21:43

Of English is an adjective prepositional phrase. To say I'm an English teacher implies you're from England or you're an English citizen.

share|improve this answer
6  
-1. English teacher does not imply that you are from England or an English citizen. It is ambiguous, precisely because of the possibility that it can mean a teacher of English. (The same ambiguity does not exist for Biology teacher.) –  Drew Aug 24 at 21:42

Either can be correct if used in the proper context:

Case #1

"I am a teacher of English. Teaching the language is my profession and I am current unemployed."

Case #2

"I am an English teacher. Teaching the English language is my job at Linwood School."

Case #3

"I am an English teacher. My nationality is English and I have a position as Instructor of Anatomy at the University of Warwick."

If the context is Case #3, I recommend removing the first sentence completely to avoid confusion.

share|improve this answer

The phrases "English teacher", and "Teacher of English", surely both refer to the subject being taught rather than the nationality. This will become obvious when one considers the phrases Geography teacher, Maths teacher etc.

For example, my mom and sister are both English teachers (really). They are also English-speaking, since English is their first language (as it is mine). However neither of them are English. My mom is Scottish, and my sister (and I) are South African.

Perhaps there is some confusion because the word "English" means both a language and a nationality. So it may depend on the context: whether the question about the teacher is where she was born, or what subject she teaches. It's possible that the question is about her birth-place, but it's much more likely to be about what she teaches, else you may just have said "English person" who happens to be a teacher as well.

share|improve this answer

protected by choster Aug 25 at 4:29

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.