ESL Students and their Ears

Marco was a Spanish speaking student who was enrolled in a beginning ESL course at a community college. He needed my help with irregular verbs. The following sentence in his workbook was confusing him: "Was he wearing a helmet when he rode his bike today?"

The above sentence has the irregular verb "rode." The confusing part is that the other verb "wearing" is the present continuous form. Marco had been taught that in English the verbs in a sentence must agree in their tense forms (past, present, or future). An irregular verb in a sentence can seem like it doesn't fit. This is why Marco needed help from me but I also learned a new thing today...

When dealing with irregular verbs, it helps to read the sentence out loud because you will notice if it sounds right or not. The reason for this experience is because many ESL students first learn English by hearing, not reading and writing. An ESL student learns English from the radio, television, music, movies, etc. All of these mediums for English language are primarily an auditory (listening) experience. So don't forget to use your ears when reading English language!


Rafee J.

English Research Essay Biology ESL Anatomy Religion Philosophy

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