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5 Answers 5

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."

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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
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.


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.

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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://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:

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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

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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

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.

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(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

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