How to Avoid Common Mistakes ESL Students Make

  1. Good grammar is the key to fluency. Without doubt, grammar is essential. However, even if you know all the grammar rules and exceptions to them, you are not secure against mistakes. Students engaged in ESL learning must pay close attention to word choice and pronunciation, otherwise they will sound awkward and unnatural when speaking English. Do not make grammar your priority; focus on ESL activities that involve speaking and listening.
  2. Learning separate words. It is one of the most widespread ESL mistakes. Such an activity will not do you any good. Do you remember learning something like “break – broke – broken” when you were a child? There you are! You are very unlikely to memorize words taken out of context. You should learn PHRASES. Copying whole sentences and underlining the words you want to memorize is far more effective than making vocabulary cards.
  3. Using so-called “false friends.” Most languages have these false friends with English and vice versa. E.g., French word déception translates into English as “disappointment” and not “deception”, while French equivalent of English deception is tromperie. When unsure of a word’s meaning, better consult the dictionary.
  4. The more English texts you read the better. The key to fluent English is speaking, listening and review of the learned material. Of course, ESL reading activities are crucial for enlarging your active and passive vocabulary and learning about other cultures. But please be aware that you will not make progress in conversational English by reading only.
  5. Afraid to make mistakes. Many ESL students believe they will master the English language by constructing error-free sentences slowly but steadily. Unfortunately, this strategy is doomed to failure. We all know that practice makes perfect, and you will never be able to speak English fluently unless you practice speaking. Speak as much as possible and never mind mistakes you make. Quantity will sooner or later pass into quality. However, if the mistakes you typically make interfere with the flow of your essay and seriously affect your grades, you can ask for writing assistance at .
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