In English as a Second Language, Grammar Rules, Learn English

Why is Learning English So Hard?

When it comes to learning another language, English is one of the most popular and common languages to learn as it is spoken almost everywhere in the world. English is the language of technology and business.

However, some people find English difficult to learn especially if your native language is very different from the grammar and structure of the English language (think languages like Mandarin or even French.) There are several reasons that make English such a difficult language to master.

English Words Make No Sense!

One of the main reasons why English is so difficult is because of the many contradictions it has.

First, words like hamburger has no ham in it and pineapple has no pine.

Also, the past tense of teach is taught but the past tense of preach is preached not praught. Enough and tough have an “f” sound at the end but the word though sounds like “thoe” not “thouf”.

On a humorous note, vegetables are the main food source for vegetarians but luckily humanitarians don’t eat humans.

The words see and look mean similar things but oversee and overlook have completely different meanings. It’s true that some of these English words just don’t make sense; they break the rules!

English Grammar Rules Are … Not Consistent

Speaking of rules, another confusing thing to note is English has so many rules and then there are exceptions to those rules.

One rule, for example, is to use “i” before “e” except after the letter “c” as in the words believe and relieve. However, words like receipt, weird, and science go exactly against that rule.

Irregular verbs are another confusing contradiction when it comes to spelling differences in the past tense of words that go against what you’d logically expect.

Present Tense Past Tense
fight fought
light lit
teach taught
catch caught
blow blew
fly flew

Spelling is not the only thing that can be confusing to non-native speakers learning English. Pronunciation is yet another irregularity that can drive English learners crazy.

Unlike some languages where words are pronounced exactly how they are spelled, English has so many ways to pronounce words that have nearly the same letter groupings.

For example, the words through and bough, have a silent sound ending but rough, and trough sound like they end with an “f” even though they are spelled similarly.

Spelling English Words

As if the above was not enough to drive one nuts, spelling is a whole other ballgame. When it comes to spelling there are many rules that just don’t seem to make any sense.

Silent letters in the beginning, middle, or end of a word, make spelling so hard to predict. Often, how you say a word is not how you spell it. The following words are just a few examples:

Spelling Pronunciation
knife nife
write rite
daughter dawter
aisle ile
psychology sikology
lamb lam
plumber plummer

Confusing right?

The English language has so many other irregularities in addition to the ones mentioned. There is word stress such as aerobic (dance exercise) and Arabic (the language), proDUCE (to create) and PROduce (fruits and vegetables). The words look and sound similar but have different meanings depending on where you put the stress.

Although learning any language is difficult, English is especially hard to learn if your native language is completely different. Nevertheless, if you practice with native speakers and read a lot of English publications, you are sure to master English if you keep trying to refine and perfect your skills. Remember practice makes perfect.

Why is Learning English So Hard?

Finding that English is Hard to Learn On Your Own?

You’re not alone! The best way to learn English is to practice it with others. If you need an opportunity to practice your English as well as learn some of the spelling and grammar rules, we’d love to meet you at Excel English Institute. Our Intensive English program is all about grammar, reading, writing, and listening in English. This program is perfect for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners! The best part about enrolling at Excel is that you don’t have to wait for a new semester like a traditional classroom. We’re enrolling ALL the time with new sessions starting every month. Start your application today.

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