Category Archives: ESL

This is the category for English as a Second Language (ESL). This category is suitable for articles that are addressed to both teachers of ESL and to students of ESL. Related articles can be found in English, English Dialects and Slang, Speech Styles and World Languages.

How to Count to Ten in English

Pronounce the numbers as follows:

  • One (1) [wuhn]
  • Two (2) [too]
  • Three (3) [three]
  • Four (4) [fohr]
  • Five (5) [fihyv]
  • Six (6) [siks]
  • Seven (7) [sev-uhn]
  • Eight (8) [eyt]
  • Nine (9) [ni-ne]
  • Ten (10) [ten]

Read the list of numbers. Repeat the list multiple times. Studies have repeatedly shown that repetition is the best way to memorize something.

After you have learned how to say the letters, try to pronounce the numbers using local pronunciation. For example: the Southern America accent, where Four (4) is pronounced “Fo-uh” and Ten (10) as “tay-un”.Experiment with different accents to find the way you like to say it. Talking in a way you prefer increases your ability to remember what you are saying.

Get help from someone who speaks English and knows their numbers well.

After counting to ten in English, you can progress on to higher numbers.


  • Technically, these numbers are Hindu/Arabic. There are no such thing as “English Numbers” originally, but society accepts these as the numbers used in the English language. It is not originally English.
  • Again, a friend that speaks numbers in English can help you.
  • Keep repeating the numbers and practice.
  • Some people cannot read English words or numbers. If this is the case, then use the steps above to teach a non-English speaker how to learn their letters. Many people learn the numbers of a language before the actual language, such as Spanish, where many in the U.S. know the numbers and not the language. An English speaking person who knows numbers 1-10 could implement these steps to teach a non-English speaker.
Posted in ESL

How to Create an ESL Class Curriculum

  • Evaluate students’ learning levels – are they similar or mixed?
  • Evaluate nationality makeup of class – are they all from the same country or a multi-national group?
  • Establish primary goals
  • Investigate the various student learning styles – what type of learning do they feel comfortable with?
  • Find out how important is a specific type of English (i.e. British or American, etc.) to the class.

  • Ask students what they perceive as being most important about this learning experience.
  • Establish the extra-curricular goals of the class (i.e. do they want English only for travel?).
  • Take time to investigate what teaching materials are available to meet these goals. Do they meet your needs? Are you limited in your choice? What kind of access do you have to ‘authentic’ materials?
  • Be realistic and then cut your goals back by about 30% – you can always expand as the class continues.
  • Establish a number of intermediate goals.
  • Let students’ know how they are progressing so there are no surprises!


  • Having a map of where you want to go can really help with a number of issues such as motivation, lesson planning and overall class satisfaction.
  • Time spent thinking about these issues is an excellent investment that will pay itself back many times over not only in terms of satisfaction, but also in terms of saving time.
  • Remember that each class is different – even if they do seem alike.
Posted in ESL

How to Develop Fluency in English

  • Have a role model for you to emulate. You can look for videos of famous personalities online.
  • Don’t just read, mark every word you don’t understand and find its meaning
  • Form sentences with every new word you learn, and most importantly try and make use of them when conversing. Practice to speak with others in English.
  • Don’t be embarrassed when someone points out a mistake. In fact, learn from it.

  • For adults, the most effective way to learn & develop English is through a favorite subject only. Training programs using Content Based Instruction is the latest technique in learning a language. ‘Espoir Smart English through’ series is an effective tool to enhance English communication.
  • Confidence is the key to success, so don’t hesitate to make use of the new language you learn. After all, you learn to apply.
  • Practice makes a man perfect. So, read, write and listen as much as you can.
  • Don’t forget one is born blank to learn and gain insatiable knowledge, so, its never too late. Enjoy Learning!
  • Language classes are as good as the teacher is; so verifying the teachers’ skill is important if you want to learn English at classes. It is not advisable to learn English in classes because we don’t learn the usable language & learning grammar does not make us fluent.
Posted in ESL

How to Distinguish Foreign Students of English from Native Speakers by the Style of Their Writing

You just read something that was a painful abuse of the English language. Should you rant about semiliterates who never learned their native language and the failing schools that created them, or praise the writer for attempting to learn yours? Both butcher the language, but typically in different ways. The internet makes it easier than ever to communicate with people worldwide and you can’t assume that the person emailing you is doing so in his native language. This article intends to list some common errors made more frequently by people fluent in their native language but learning English than by native English speakers.

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.

Continue reading

Posted in ESL

How to Find a British Family to Spend Some Time with to Improve Your English

In the UK, there is a magazine called ‘Lady’ where people advertise domestic (live in) situations vacant, nannies, housekeepers, gardeners and handymen. There is also a section for situations wanted. This is how many visitors to the UK finance themselves and improve their English.

  • Write your advertisement. Say what type of position you are looking for; childcare, domestic live in help or gardening/handyman position. Use as few words as possible but enough to convey what you are offering.
  • Remember that you will need personal references as you will be living in someone’s house. The people who employ domestic staff are generally quite wealthy – the upside of all this is that you could find yourself living somewhere really wonderful!
  • Look online for the magazine Lady and advertise in it. Alternatively, check the rates in local newspapers for ad placement.
Posted in ESL