Recognize the following errors that are more common in writers not natively fluent in English:
- Wrong adjective order
- Look at that doubledecker green big bus"
- Using the wrong preposition
- Prepositions are hard to translate. We aren't even consistent. Compare "passengers on the plane" to "ice on the plane"
- Missing, wrong or extraneous articles
- Some things need "the" others "a(n)" sometimes nothing.
- Unusual word order (Yoda speak)
- "In the woods, a walk take."
- "Is it what time?"
- Mixing different flavors of English
- A Frenchman might have learned UK English in school, but looks up strange words in dictionary that uses US English.
- Unusual word choice
- "We missed the turn because it wasn't on the chart."
- Using the earlier sense of words like "gay" that have been deprecated by their slang meanings.
- Conjugating an irregular verb as if it were regular.
Compare the above errors, with errors commonly made by native speakers of English:
- Homonym errors
o Usually made by people who learned the spoken language before the written language. ESL students usually learn both simultaneously.
o Why would a Korean learning English from books who has never heard it pronounced confuse the number "two" with the adverb "too?"
- Run-on sentences, comma splices.
- The above tips are generalized. Certain constructions might be more common by Russians than by Italians. A more advanced linguistic expert might be able to use a much more sophisticated test to not only identify EFL students, but also identify their native language.
- Misspellings and other various typos can be made by anyone and don't necessarily indicate anything other than fast typing or poor editing.