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5 Common Grammar Errors in English as a Second Language and How to Correct Them

Know the most common grammatical mistakes in English as a Second Language and learn how to correct them easily and quickly.
Know the most common grammatical mistakes in English as a Second Language and learn how to correct them easily and quickly. | Source

Quick Fixes for Grammar Mistakes in ESL

English as a Second Language can be very tricky for non-native English users.This is because non-native English users must keep in mind several English grammar rules in order to use English as a Second Language effectively.

Below are some useful tips on how to avoid the common grammatical errors in English as a Second Language.

By following these tips, non-native English speakers can dramatically improve the quality of their writing, make their sentences concise, and their written messages clear.

Also, the following tips can help non-native English users easily and quickly spot grammatical errors, reducing their dependence on grammar checkers.

1. Run-on Sentences

Learners of English as a Second Language must avoid writing run-on sentences.

A run-on sentence is composed of two sentences that are wrongfully combined in one sentence.

To combine two sentences in one sentence correctly, English as a Second Language students must make use of commas, semi-colons, or connecting words.

People trying to study English as a Second Language can correct run-on sentences in four ways:

  • Separate the run-on sentence into two different sentences with the use of period.
  • Separate the two independent clauses in the run-on sentence using a semi-colon.
  • Separate the two independent clauses in the run-on sentence using a semi-colon and words like therefore, thus, however, consequently, furthermore, also, and nevertheless.
  • Separate the run-on sentence into two different sentences with the use of comma and connecting words like for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.

Fix Run-on Sentences:

Example:

Incorrect:

  • Tamara enjoys traveling she does not want to stay at home during vacations.

Correct:

  • Tamara enjoys traveling. She does not want to stay at home during vacations.
  • Tamara enjoys traveling; she does not want to stay at home during vacations
  • Tamara enjoys traveling, for she does not want to stay at home during vacations.
  • Tamara enjoys traveling; thus, she does not want to stay at home during vacations.

2. Incorrect Pronouns

People using English as a Second Language must be very careful in selecting the pronoun that they use in their English sentence.

This is because many students of English as a Second Language commit mistakes in pronouns.

In English, the pronoun must agree in number with the nouns to which they refer.

Thus, students of English as a Second Language ought to remember that a singular pronoun must refer to a singular noun.

A plural pronoun must refer to a plural noun.

Example:

Incorrect: Everybody was asked to pay their bills on time.

Correct: Everybody was asked to pay his or her bills on time.

3. Wrong Use of Apostrophes

Some students of English as a Second Language make the unfortunate mistake of using apostrophes in possessive pronouns.

The result of this action is an embarrassing grammatical mistake on the part of English as a Second Language learner.

It is quite important for English as a Second Language learners to remember that apostrophes are used to show possession.

Thus, apostrophes are not supposed to be used in possessive pronouns like hers, his, mine, my, our, ours, their, or theirs.

Delete Apostrophes in Possessive Pronouns.

Example:

Incorrect:

  • Our family’s hotel room is next to their’s hotel room.

Correct:

  • Our family’s hotel room is next to their hotel room.
  • Our family’s hotel room is next to theirs.

4. Unfitting Subject-Verb Agreement

English as a Second Language learners must always strive to make the subject in an English sentence agree with its verb.

The reason for this is that some English as a Second Language learners often fail to use a singular verb with a singular noun.

They also forget to use a plural verb with a plural subject.

Use Suitable Verb for Each Subject:

Example:

Incorrect: The tours is for first-time travelers.

Correct: The tours are for first-time travelers.

Out-of-Place Modifiers

English as a Second Language learners must place a modifier as close as possible to the word that it modifies.

This is because some English as a Second Language learners make the mistake of placing a modifier near a word that it does not modify.

Such mistake changes the meaning of an English sentence.

Place the Modifiers in their Right Places:

Example:

Incorrect: At young age, my pre-school teacher taught me how to be a confident English speaker.

Correct: At a young age, I learned from my pre-school teacher how to be a confident English speaker.

© 2011 kerlynb

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Comments 31 comments

Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 3 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

So many writers who have English as a first language even make these mistakes. These are excellent suggestions in your hub. Great to read this. Thank you. :)


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 4 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@sunilkunnoth2012 Hi! Oh, but your English is just great! :)


sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

sunilkunnoth2012 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

Read your article with interest. I am from a non english speaking region. Can you spare a few hours to read some of my articles and suggest how my english goes. I need your valuable tips too improve further. So please help me dear.


livingabroad profile image

livingabroad 4 years ago from Wales, UK

Hi Kerlynb. This is great, I am an EFL teacher and am ashamed to say I don't know all the grammatical rules unless I get a book out and study! You are doing a great job highlighting them here.

I will be following and sharing with my Thai girlfriend who is learning English. Your easy guides and examples are perfect for learners.

Keep up the good work! Naturally, Up and Useful!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Michael Tandoc You're welcome kababayan :) Glad you found my hub useful.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Matty Says Thank you for your well-thought-out comment. Glad you found the time to visit my hub :) Again, many thanks!


Matty Says profile image

Matty Says 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Beautifully written hub, Kerlyn. I think you have a better grasp of the language than most EFL (English as a First Language) speakers.

#2 also touches on another area of English grammar that is greatly misunderstood: the difference between "their," "there" and "they're." That topic could probably take up an entire hub! When you really look at the facts, English is a pretty confusing, jumbled language and I admire your ability to learn it and teach it to others. (Notice how I didn't write "other's?" :)

Keep up the great work!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@jean2011 Thanks so much for dropping by my hub and taking the time to comment :) Appreciate your feedback.


jean2011 profile image

jean2011 5 years ago from Canada

Good tips and examples to help ESL students. Thank you for sharing. I have voted this hub as useful.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@cristina327 I'm glad you found the explanations in this hub clear. Thanks much for dropping by :)


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 5 years ago from Manila

Great hub which presents great instruction to consider in our daily conversation. You presented it with much clarity. Thank you for sharing this great wealth of information here at Hubpages. I wish you a great day today. Best regards.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@justmesuzanne Whoa, you made my day! :D Such compliment from a native English speaker and an ESL tutor such as yourself is just... moving. Thanks!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@suzettenaples You only have good words for other people. You're very nice :) Hmm, I would like to learn native English eventually. Perhaps through native English speakers such as yourself. For now, I'll stick with ESL. I haven't mastered it yet :(


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Agbo chinedu LOL! I'm not :D Just trying to learn ESL as much as I can.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Joe Macho Argh, I'm actually guilty of that grammatical lapse! :( LOL! :D OK, I learned from one hubber that both "I" and "me" are pronouns. But I should be used as a subject and me as an object in a sentence. Awww, I think my explanation is a bit technical for some but really, that's the simplest and only explanation there is about the use of I and me.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Kathleen Cochran Oh, glad to get an extra tip from a native English speaker, really! :) I'll keep your advice in mind: Keep sentences and verb tenses simple. Thank you!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@asmaiftikhar Thank you so much for your message. All over the world, there are so many people wanting to master English. But mastering English is not easy for us non-native English speakers. It just feels nice to share with them some of the small yet important things I've been learning in my own English studies.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@lord de cross So it's in New Jersey! :D Wow, I would suppose it's a Filipino restaurant. If you've got Filipino friends there, I'm sure they'd be more than willing to teach you how to prepare chicken dishes the Pinoy way :)


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Ratanak Ou Thanks so much for dropping by my hub. We Asians love learning English, don't we? We would like to learn this global language so we can simply expand our horizons beyond Asia :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

Nicely done! Voted up, useful and shared! :)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

kerlynb: This is an amazing hub! I hope you are teaching English as a Second Lanuage in the Philippines. You really understand the the language and how the grammar works. You could teach English here in the U.S. and no one would know it was a second language for you. Your examples are excellent. I am a former English teacher and your English is better than some of students here in the U.S.


Agbo chinedu 5 years ago

This is beautiful,i never knew you are also a grammarian.


Joe Macho profile image

Joe Macho 5 years ago from Colorado

Thanks for the useful hub. I always like to read little bits on proper grammar just as a refreshment. Another thing that drives me crazy is when people say "Susan and Me". I'm not sure what part of grammar this is, but the proper way of including yourself with someone else is, "Susan and I". I hear this pet peeve all the time, they even say me instead of I on many TV sitcoms. It's just bad grammar.

Thanks for the hub. Voted up and useful.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Wow - these are common errors for native speakers as well! As a former teacher of ESL I would add that too many new English speakers make it too complicated. Keep your sentences simple in present or past tense. Leave the past perfect tense for later!


asmaiftikhar profile image

asmaiftikhar 5 years ago from Pakistan

salute to u mam,your article is really very useful and informative.you highlighted the very common but serious mistakes .keep benefiting the people like this.many many thanks.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Casa Manila is a restaurant here in NJ. Good chicken hmm!


Ratanak Ou 5 years ago

That is so good for learning English with you.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@damek Thanks so much! Really glad you found this hub useful :)


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@lord de cross Yes, Tagalog is my mother tongue :) I'm trying to learn English as a second language though. Hmmm, I have to say learning a new language is really tough for some people because of the differences in terms of grammar and vocabulary between their native language and the foreign language they are studying :( Wow, so you're going again to Casa Manila. Wonder where that is... :D


damek profile image

damek 5 years ago from USA

I really liked reading this one. Useful for hubbers. Now I know how not to write :)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Very Good and useful hub, Kerlin. I wonder if you were born talking Tagaloh first? I have lots of filipinos friends in the USA. Is english really hard as a second language for some natives over there? Going later to Casa MANILA to get me some soup. Voted up! and keep the wonderful work.

LORD

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