ESL school in Boston

Languages change over time and English has a long history of changes. English adopts words from other languages and even today creates new words for new technology! People all around the world learn English in different ways. Also, as English has become a global language there have been big shifts in the way words are spelled and pronounced.

What does this mean for someone learning English right now? It means English can be complicated! For most rules there is an exception that breaks it. Most of the time, this is because of the complicated history of English. Fortunately, ESL classes can help you spot these challenges and overcome them. Here are 3 especially important challenges to watch out for.

1. Spelling Rules for ESL Lessons

Have you ever heard the rhyme “i” before “e” except after “c”? This helps you remember how to spell words like “ceiling” and “field.” However, as you learn more vocabulary you will learn that there are many times when this rule gets broken, like in “science,” “seize,” and “society.”

Play word games with your classmates to make spelling practice fun

Play word games with your classmates to make spelling practice fun

Another example of difficult spelling is the different ways you can write the same sound. For example, the sound for the letter “F” is in these three words: elephant, fun, enough. Why? It is a long story. This might seem like a big challenge, but don’t worry! Everyone—even native speakers—make spelling mistakes because English is weird sometimes. This is what dictionaries and ESL lessons are for!

2. Small “Empty” Words

English is full of small words that play a big role in how we understand grammar. These small words have many different names including “function words” and “empty words.” Here is an example:

  • If you look at a paragraph of English, you can usually see the function words easily because they are usually the shortest but not

There are twenty-five words in that sentence. More than half are function words. The other words in the sentence are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. These small words can be challenging to get right, but the practice you get in ESL courses will make it much easier.

3. Phrasal Verbs

The challenge of learning “phrasal verbs” is similar to learning how to use function words. Another way of saying “phrasal verb” is “verb phrase.” That means the verb needs a second word to make sense. It is made up of at least two words so it is a phrase, or “phrasal verb.”

ESL school connects you to other people learning the same challenging things

ESL school connects you to other people learning the same challenging things

Here is another example. Imagine your friend is sad and you want to make her happy. You might say something like this: “I have to come up with a way to cheer up my friend.” In this sentence “come up” means “think of” (another phrasal verb). There are so many phrasal verbs in English that there are special dictionaries to help you learn how to use them. When you show up for English classes, you will see improvement in all of these areas.

Looking for an ESL school in Boston?

Try ASC English!