Questions tagged [esl]

English as a Second Language

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104
votes
12answers
13k views

Why does “I was happy to do my homework” work, but “I was tired to do my homework” doesn't?

I'm teaching ESL, and I came across a question from one of my students that I don't know how to answer. Using the form "{subject} {verb} {adjective} {infinitive phrase}" we've been going over ...
22
votes
6answers
44k views

Why do non-native English users often spell “standard” as “standart”?

I've seen this incredibly often on StackOverflow, but also on a few other internet sites. "Standart" is an extremely common misspelling of "standard". Is there a reason in how English is taught to ...
9
votes
4answers
25k views

What are the connotations of “there” in “hello/hi there”

I'm an ESL speaker and I'm not completely familiar with the underlying meaning conveyed when adding there to a greeting such as Hello there compared to just Hello (punctuation omitted for ...
4
votes
5answers
33k views

Use of the definite article “the” before “church”

I was in a Teacher's selection for a school in my country, and one of the coordinators said that she heard a mistake from another teacher that was unacceptable. I tried to figure out why was that, but ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Do you ever say “coffee with milk” or “coffee and milk”?

I know that in a coffee shop in different countries you need to be more specific about how you want your coffee and milk. And I know that in the US they usually say "latte", in the UK "white coffee", ...
4
votes
3answers
710 views

ESL text: “I notice similarities between myself and . . . ”: Acceptable use of reflexive pronoun?

In an ESL class, a student asked a difficult question about the use of “myself” in the following sentence: I notice similarities between myself and other people more than differences. (Speak Out,...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Which one is correct: 'She was the first woman ever elected as President' or 'She was the first woman ever to be elected as President'?

I think both sentences are ok but my teacher said I could only use the latter? I have also asked some friends yet they gave different opinions, so I'm not sure which one is proper. please help.
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Road to English fluency for advanced speakers [closed]

I have been learning English all my life. I have been in the US for three years. I consider myself an advanced English speaker. There are many resources on the internet that are geared towards ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Mixed conditional clause type 1-3

I came across the following conditional clause while studying a grammar book published by Oxford: "If you know London so well, you shouldn't have got so hopelessly lost." The writer of the book has ...
2
votes
5answers
23k views

Films/Series that are extremely good to understand (and that are not…) [closed]

Some time ago I asked "Why are movies so hard to understand (and what can you do about it)?" To my surprise even many native speakers answered that they had difficulties understanding some movies and ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Get in vs. get on [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origin/reason for the expression “on the bus” instead of “in the bus” I'm an EFL (English as a foreign language) teacher and I haven't been able to come up with a good ...
2
votes
1answer
207 views

What patterns will flash in the native-speaker's brain when using English? [closed]

I think it is a common puzzle for ESL,especially for Chinese,since English is more abstract than Chinese, using which we can feel some specific patterns flashing in our brain. For example, when I see ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Why do some users from India make these particular punctuation and capitalization errors? [closed]

Many users from India are now using the Stack Exchange sites and I see a common set of errors: Spaces before punctuation: *where is this going ? No space at all around punctuation *This is one ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

What is the word for the verb that signifies performing the action suggested by a given noun?

I realize the wording is a little difficult to parse; essentially, I'm asking how to fill in the following blanks: The ___ of "mistake" is "make". The ___ of "action" is "perform". The ___ of "...
1
vote
1answer
587 views

How to correct/improve 's-' pronunciation at the beginning of a sentence?

As a native Spanish speaker, I tend to mispronounce some letters or words in English. One of them is the 's' sound at the beginning of a word, for example, I pronounce: 'slang' as /eslaŋ/ instead of /...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Dropping articles: “I have a little brother and little sister.” - is this correct? [closed]

I teach ESL online through a company which provides materials. One sentence given is "I have a little brother and little sister." When I read this aloud to the student, I automatically added ...
1
vote
3answers
159 views

Why do conditional sentences with “would have had to” have an extra “had” in them?

Well, i was reading about Type Three conditionals. In the main clause we use if + past perfect (had), then in the second clause we use either the "perfect conditional" or the "perfect ...
0
votes
1answer
174 views

Use of “which in part” - what grammar rule is involved? [closed]

Can someone explain how this author uses "which in part" in this sentence? What grammar rule allows the author to use "which in part"? How can I too use "which in part" correctly in a sentence? The ...
0
votes
3answers
61 views

How to simplify the sentence and keep the same meaning? [closed]

I want to say Riding Uber is similar to going to the barber shop, Tip is not mandatory but always welcome. How I can shorten it?
0
votes
1answer
451 views

How to write this kind of sentence for a distinguished lecture series?

I work in a Chinese university and recently our department has decided to start a Distinguished Lecture Series in Physics. We want to give the invited speaker some kind of document showing that, ...
0
votes
2answers
31 views

Can someone respond to a question by just saying “I´ll” instead of “I will”? Why or why not? [duplicate]

My friend keeps on responding to questions by just saying "I´ll". This doesn´t seem grammatically correct to me. However I would like to know what would be the proper use of that contraction....
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Meaning of 'what is this compared to her previous song'

'What is this compared to her previous song'. Two people argued about whether a song was good or not, and one just responded with this. What did they mean by that? I haven't found any satisfactory ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

A grammar check

"I miss the moments before I hadn't read Harry Potter." This sentence seems a bit odd as 'before' refers to past, when the action wasn't done. And here the action is 'not coming across Harry Potter'. ...
0
votes
0answers
115 views

'strong chance' or 'strong possibility'?

'there is a strong chance that our team will win.' or 'there is a strong possibility that our team will win.'? i think the latter seems more suitable. thoughts?
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Is the use of commas to punctuate the participle clause in this sentence correct?

Is the use of commas to punctuate the participle clause in this sentence correct? On the other hand, although having a fancy facade, art itself, requiring cultural and intellectual preparation, is ...
0
votes
2answers
4k views

I will learn better English — should it be “I will learn English better.”

Somehow, I think "better English" is incorrect, because I think there isn't better English; English is English. But I hear this phrase from other ESL students a lot. Is this correct way of saying it? ...
-1
votes
2answers
821 views

What's a simpler word for “several” in the meaning of “multiple” [closed]

[Hello. I'm not a native English speaker, so please forgive me for my mistakes if there are any] Suppose I wanted to say "I have in my class several people called Jim Smith". I'm under the impression ...
-1
votes
3answers
1k views

Which English words are commonly misused by non-native English speakers? [closed]

It's quite easy to find lists of commonly misused words. They are all over the internet. But it's not clear which of them are the MOST commonly misused words. This article says that there are 38 ...
-1
votes
2answers
481 views

Is it technically incorrect to speak English using speech sounds of native language(which is not English)?

Consonants "t" and "p" are not unvoiced in my native language, which is Hindi. So I pronounce "Paint" with voiced "p" and "t", is it technically correct? It is acceptable, I know. But is it correct?
-2
votes
1answer
7k views

Name of the English speaking test where you have to describe a scene

There is a well-known English Communication test which is used to assess primary and middle-school students' levels of spoken English. Students look at a scene card where several activities are ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the standard way to answer a question that is asking for confirmation? [closed]

Now, this is something all native english speakers should have learned in grade school, but many non-native english speakers don't know how to answer a question unambiguously. In particular, in the ...