“What do you mean native English speakers don’t understand English??”

knowledge-390287_960_720My last class of the day on Tuesday was a 4-6pm tutorial as part of my beloved TESOL module. It’s week 9 and I am quite surprised that my interest in this module still has yet to wane. I go into the lecture and tutorial fully intending to learn something fascinating, or look at something in a way that I had never considered before.

There is a lot about English that you don’t even know that you don’t know.

Unless you have formally studied the English language as a native speaker, or learned English as a second language, there is a lot about English that you don’t even know that you don’t know. For example: adverbs. Did you guys know that there are nine completely different types of adverbs?? I didn’t! (For anyone wondering what they are, here you go):

Types of adverbs

  • Manner – How someone does something, e.g. She walked “quickly” across the road. 
  • Degree – to what extent is something, e.g. “really” cold.
  • Time – The time of action, e.g. We’ll do that “now”.
  • Frequency – How many times something occurred, e.g. We order that “daily”.
  • Place – The place of action – We stood “here” for hours.
  • Stance (opinion) – An opinion or evaluation, e.g. You “obviously” need to try again.
  • Linking – Words used to link clauses, e.g. “Blah blah blah. “Furthermore”, blah blah.”
  • Addition – [I’m honestly not sure how to explain this, but examples would be: I don’t know how to explain that “too”.]
  • Restriction – [Another I’m not sure how to explain. Can anyone help me? 🙂 Example: I could “hardly” eat another bite.

If that wasn’t enough primary school revision, here’s a little reminder of some adverbs to slip into your next 2,000 word essay! 😉



Okay, I’ll stop trying to shove adverbs down your throat now. But my point is that I am a native English speaker. I have spent the last 21 years (minus the nine months it took me to speak) of my life speaking this language. Yet there is so much that I don’t know! The rest of my class are also native English speakers, bar one really friendly girl who is from Switzerland. She’s been through it all before in grammar classes, but the actual native speakers (me included) are a little out of our depth sometimes.

It’s leading me to wonder, is it just because English is such a complex language that it’s native speakers are unaware of things that they just take for granted and do automatically? Or do speakers of other languages have the same experience that I have been having throughout this semester? If anyone out there reading this has had any similar experiences with another language I would love to hear about it!


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