Challenges of Learning English as a Second Language

Though English is considered one of the easiest languages to learn, sometimes, learning it as a second language can be quite tricky. Some rules are confusing, and there are lots of things that need to be learnt by heart. However, you are not alone. Lots of students from all over the globe experience the same difficulties. In this post, we’ll review the main challenges any student faces while learning English.


First, you have to bear in mind that it’s not a phonetic language. When we hear the language, it is apparent that it is spelled differently. It can be quite confusing for learners because there are lots of words that you need to learn by heart. Such words are called heteronyms – words that have the same spelling but sound differently.


In English, there are lots of words that may sound the same but have absolutely different spelling. For example, pear (fruit) and pair (two). Moreover, some letters can be spelled in different ways. Therefore, spelling can be the main challenge for those who study English as a second language. At the beginning stage, you can use an automatic spell check that will highlight your mistakes and offer a list of correct suggestions. You know that misprints can make for lots of difficulties. Using these tools, you can make sure your letter doesn’t include any mistakes that can influence your reputation. Spell checks are superb tools that can help you learn the language faster.

The Lack of Practice

When you don’t have people that speak English around you, it is really hard to focus on practising your communicative skills. But when you lack practice, you can’t speak English well enough. In such a scenario, you can ask your tutor to help you practice a language or visit communicative classes in your city. These are small groups where students unite for practising language skills. There’s another solution to this problem – you can also find a distant friend online and call him or her on Skype. Such video calls will help improve your communication skills, and you’ll learn how to build effective communication with native speakers.


This is probably the main challenge for any person who studies English as a foreign language. Slang is a casual language that is mostly used in daily communication. Moreover, slang varies depending on the area. It’s a part of local culture that allows you to learn more about people living in this district through various colloquialisms. Sometimes, it is really hard to understand a person that uses lots of colloquialisms, especially if you aren’t a native speaker.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t do that. Non-native speakers can learn to understand slang gradually. If you don’t understand a person, ask them to use more formal language. There’s no need to spend too much time learning such phrases. It is enough to learn a standard language, and if you are going to live in this district, you’ll gradually learn the local slang.


English grammar is tricky and complicated. It is really hard to remember all its rules and understand what tense should be used in this or that case. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t tackle that challenge. Sometimes, people compare studying English grammar with learning to drive. You know the theory, but you don’t know how to use it because you lack practice.

In English, grammar is of prime importance. If you don’t know how to use it or you make mistakes in constructions, in all likelihood, no one understands you. By the way, native speakers know grammar well enough, and they will immediately notice your mistakes. Besides, English native speakers are very proud of their language and can’t bear mistakes. So be attentive to grammar and never miss classes where your tutor explains the main errors.


This is another challenge for any person, studying English as a foreign language. For example, there are lots of phrasal verbs that have absolutely different meanings. And you need to know which one to use in this or that situation. It is clear that this language has one of the largest vocabularies, and it’s challenging for non-speakers to master it. Native speakers will immediately notice that you are using vocabulary inaccurately. Sometimes, wrong word combinations don’t influence the meaning, but they can weaken the language.

These are the most prevalent challenges that people usually face while learning English. However, if your tutor is a professional in this niche, you can quickly master English. Keep in mind that practice is the key to success! The more you write and speak, the better you know the language!

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