Greater Bergen Community Action
Be Mindful of Your Grammar
Being an English as a Second Language (ESL) student is tough because English is a very complex language filled with traps that even native speakers fall victim to. There are several grammar rules that one must keep in mind in order to use the English language effectively. While most ESL students make these grammatical errors, these mistakes can be easily avoided once you are aware and continue to practice.
Read below for some useful tips on how to avoid common grammatical errors in the English language and how you can drastically improve the way you speak and write in English.
Misused homophones is a common mistake that many people make such as “your” versus “you’re”. Remember that the use of an apostrophe indicates possession—something belongs to someone—or indicates a contraction of two words like the word “don’t”, which is short for “do not.”
Incorrect pronouns occur because many students are not careful with the pronouns they use in their sentences. In English, the pronoun must agree in number with the noun to which it refers. Therefore, a singular pronoun must refer to a singular noun and a plural pronoun must refer to a plural noun. For example, the sentence “All of the students finished their exam on time” uses the correct plural pronoun to compliment the plural noun.
Subject-verb agreement is a grammar rule that says the subject in a sentence must agree with its verb. Once again, a singular verb must be used with a singular noun and plural verb must be paired with a plural noun. For example, the sentence “The students are studying for their exam” has the correct subject-verb agreement usage.
Greater Bergen’s ESL classes at the Education and Training Center (ETC) offers free classes for adults who need help learning the English language. With beginner, intermediate and advanced classes available, students are given the opportunity to learn the language, new vocabulary and are given life skills and job readiness workshops. All students are also free to explore other GBCA programs and services. For more information about GBCA’s ESL classes visit our website at www.greaterbergen.org or call (973) 685-0005 x7150.