“For advanced English learners, the sheer vastness of the vocabulary can become an issue,” says English teacher Karen.
There are 171,476 words in use in the English language (and a further 47,156 obsolete words), according to the 1989 second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.
English has grown by absorbing parts of other languages such as Latin and French, as well as through the discovery of new ideas and the evolution of slang. New words are added to the dictionary each year so the current number of words in usage is likely to be even higher.
Although there are languages with even more words, this is still a huge vocabulary list for learners to become familiar with.
“It’s not just knowing a word exists – it’s using it in the correct context that can be so challenging.”
“The incorrect use of prepositions is very common among English learners, even advanced ones, for whom these errors may have become fossilised,” says English teacher Dan.
‘Fossilisation’ in language learning is what we call it when you get into the habit of making a particular mistake – so much so that it becomes very hard to change.
Here are some typical examples of prepositional use errors:
Incorrect: “The delivery got there just on time.”
Correct: “The delivery got there just in time.”
Incorrect: “It depends from the time.”
Correct: “It depends on the time.”
Incorrect: “This newspaper says something different than that one.”
Correct: “This newspaper says something different from/to that one.”
Incorrect: “That’s the difference of taking classes and not taking classes.”
Correct: “Different between taking classes and not taking classes.”
Do you know all these rules?
So, there you have it: seven grammatical quirks of the English language that make it tricky to learn.
- How many of them are you familiar with and confident using?
- Are there any other aspects of learning English you find particularly challenging?
Leave a comment and let us know!
Here at Galway Cultural Institute, you can choose from a variety of English language courses for international students.
Browse and find full details of our general English courses here.
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