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Birmy English School: Common Mistakes Made by Chinese Learners of English

Teaching Chinese people the English language can be very challenging for many foreign teachers at Birmy International English School. Those teachers who are inexperienced in teaching non-English speakers are the ones who are likely to find it hard to teach the language at first.

If you want to be an effective English teacher in China, you may want to familiarize yourself first with the common mistakes that Chinese speakers make when they write or speak in English.

Here they are:


In the Chinese language, there are no separate pronouns for genders. And so, when Chinese students learn English, they tend to forget to use the right gender pronouns. Many of them would use the masculine pronouns as the default pronouns. This is also the reason why they often refer to female nouns using he, him or his.

Singular and Plural Nouns

Nouns in Chinese do not have separate singular and plural forms. The way to distinguish the singular and plural is through the context of the sentence only. As a result, Chinese learners of English are likely to forget to turn nouns into their plural form, which makes their phrases and sentences sound awkward.

Verb Tenses

Another thing you will be taught in your orientation at Birmy International English is the lack of verb tenses in the Chinese language. Yes, the verbs that Chinese people use do not have past, present, and future forms. What they use instead are time indicators to denote tense, such as yesterday or tomorrow.

Any ESL teacher would agree that the topic of verb tenses is one of the most difficult to teach in class. There are so many verb tenses in the English language, and each of them is used in particular situations only. And when Chinese learners try to use the different tenses, they tend to switch them up so they sound funny and incorrect.


It is often very difficult for non-speakers of English to learn and master the correct use of English prepositions. What makes prepositions even more problematic is the fact that there are no strong distinctions between the many prepositions that Chinese learners could master. Thus, they tend to use wrong prepositions in different situations.


Chinese learners don’t understand why articles need to be used in front of nouns. Since there are no articles in the Chinese language, they are not likely to use any when they use English.


There are many challenges you will have to face when you start teaching Chinese learners at Birmy English School. But this isn’t something that should discourage you from building a teaching career there. The staff at Birmy will assist you until you get used to your new environment and until you master the art of teaching English as a second language.