What about pineapple? Count and Non-Count Nouns

There are some parts of grammar that native speakers just accept and never think about . . . until we start teaching. Today, I’m getting a lesson of my own about nouns that we can count and those that get lumped together—count vs. non-count. The weird thing is that some of them fall into both […]

ESL Corner: Adjectives and Adverbs – What’s the difference?

English language writers use adjectives and adverbs to describe things. Unfortunately, the words are not interchangeable and can pose some problems for ESL writers. Unlike many other languages, English places adjectives before nouns – not after. And ESL writers can struggle with irregular adverbs as well as punctuation with adjectives. So here’s some guidance for […]

ESL Corner: Perfect and Continuous Tenses

When English language writers wish to reference a block of time collectively—last week, later, Saturday afternoon—they treat it as one point in time.  This applies to simple past and simple future.  English language writers use simple present for things done routinely or habitually. Think of simple present as this point in life or even this point […]

Subject / Verb Agreement for ESL Writers

Subject/verb agreement in English language writing obviously means that the subject actually does what the sentence states. For example: A car’s engine runs when it’s turned on, but a car does not run down the street. It goes down the street. I write my name, but I don’t write a pencil. I write my name with a […]

Commas and the ESL Writer

Commas are the bane of many writers. Native speakers often trip over this punctuation mark, and ESL students struggle with it even more. So in this post, I will try to reduce this enigma to its essential parts. NOTE: This post is strictly for writing in American Standard English. The Queen’s English sometimes differs. The rule many […]

How to Write Concisely in English

As a writer and editor, I have noticed that native English speakers often use extra words when writing. This is ineffective. My advice: be concise. First, let’s discuss passive voice. Passive voice turns the direct object into the subject so that something or someone else can act on it. For example, The report was submitted […]

How English Thinks

Please join me in welcoming Liam Hickey to Keys to Easy Writing as a contributor to our ESL Corner. Liam is an ESL Teacher with Corporate English currently living in the Guadalajara area of Mexico. Via Willpower Careers, Liam also works as a career coach, writing résumés as well as doing some technical writing and […]