Common Problems for ESL Students: Exercises

*Adapted from English Exercises: English as a Foreign Language by Angela Paratore. New York: Rinehart & Company, Inc. 1958.


1. The Ės ending

Which words in parentheses should end in Ės?

a. five thousand (dollar)††††††††††††††††† b. several (month)††††††††††††††† c. two (hundred)

d. some (shoe) polish†††††††††††††††††††††† e. one of the most beautiful (city)

f. a (lot) of††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† g. one and a half (year)††††††† h. one of the (thing)

i. a few (table)†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† j. a (year) and a half


2. Articles

Put in the, a, an, or leave it blank.

a. Can you tell me where ≠≠≠_____ Pacific Avenue is? †††††††††††††††††

b. _____ steak we ate was very good.

c. _____ Japan is small, but it has _____ large population.

d. _____ University of Wisconsin is in _____ state of Wisconsin.

e. Tell me _____ story of your life.

f. He was _____ very nice teacher.

g. We have _____ plenty of food.

h. Iíll wait _____ few minutes.

i. At _____ first I was homesick.

j. We had _____ wonderful time.


3. This/that/these/those

Insert the correct word.

a. Can you pass me _____ book?††††††††††††† b. Can you pass me _____ books?

c. _____ bread was delicious.††††††††††††††††††† d. _____ bread is delicious.

e. Did you make _____ cookies here?††††† f. Did you make _____ cookies there?

g. _____ dog here is vicious.††††††††††††††††††††† h. _____ dog there is friendly.

i. Who owns _____ shoes here?††††††††††††††† j. Are _____ your shoes over there?


4. Word Order

Insert the words in parentheses at the proper place in each sentence.

a. (a violin lesson) He has every week.

b. (other) Two people were there as well.

c. (from them) The children received presents.

d. (very much) I enjoyed seeing those things.

e. (some extra classes) I have been attending these days.

f. (the whole day) We spent there.

g. (many fine beaches) We have in my country.

h. (almost all the time) The sky is gray.

i. (always) He used to come and see us.

j. (very large) He has a family.


5. Verbs

Give the proper form of the verbs in parentheses.

a. I (leave) my job when I came here.

b. I donít know if I will like winter because I (never see) a winter here.

c. American movies (not always represent) a true picture of American life.

d. Since that time I (be) living in an apartment.

e. I (make) many friends during this semester.

f. On our last trip to Paris we (stay) three days.

g. When I decided to come to the United States I (be) afraid when I (think) that I (have to) speak English all the time.

h. Tell me some experiences that you (have) since you arrived here.

i. In your last letter you (ask) me when I (come) to see you again.

j. We (never disagree) since I have known her.


6. Prepositions

Supply the preposition (of, on, at, for, in, from, by, about, etc.) if one is missing.

a. _____ the night of February 12††††††††††† b. I usually study _____ night.

c. Did you attend _____ that meeting?†† d. Her birthday is _____ April.

e. the best _____ the world†††††††††††††††††††††† f. Her voice appeals _____ me.

g. _____ the third year††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† h. I was impressed _____ its beauty.

i. She is excited _____ going to California.††††††††† j. _____ 1935


7. No, not

Choose between no or not. Make contractions of verb and not where possible.

a. Thereís _____ place like home.††††††††††† b. I have _____ seen her anywhere.

c. There is _____ much time. †††††††††††††††††† d. Thereís _____ time.

e. _____ all the students are going.††††††††† f. _____ yet

g. _____ so fast!††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† h. There are _____ students there.

i. There is _____ possibility that it will happen.

j. Itís _____ possible that it will happen.


8. Interrogative words

Select the single interrogative word (who, whose, what, which, why, when, where, how) that would replace each item in a question.

a. John††††††††††††††††††††††† b. Johnís†††††††††††††††††††† c. in the drawer

d. the last one††††††††††† e. tomorrow†††††††††††††† f. because I have to study

g. in the air††††††††††††††† h. backwards†††††††††††† i. mine

j. by working hard


9. Pronouns

Insert the correct form of we, you, and they for each item.

Example: (our) name

††††††††††† ††††† (your) name

††††††††††† ††††† (their) name

a. _____ customs††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b. for _____

c. The house is _____.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† d. It belongs to _____.

e. _____ live in that house.


Insert the correct form of she, he, and I for each item.

f. with _____††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† g. _____ friend

h. That is _____ car. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† i. _____ own(s) the car.

j. for _____


Insert the correct pronoun to replace the word in parentheses.

k. (people) _____ political ideas†††††††††††††† l. (library) the first of _____ kind

m. (my city) _____ climate†††††††††††††††††††††† n. (boys) _____ girlfriends

o. (my family) I promised to write _____ often.


10. Some, any, no, every in compound words

These words combine with certain others to form compound words (everything, somewhere, nobody).

Where necessary, the words in parentheses will help you decide which word fits. Neg. means negative; all means select every; indiff. means indifference of choice, so you should select any.

a. I understood _____thing at all.††††††††††† b. Jim understood _____thing (all)

c. Is _____body invited? (all)†††††††††††††††††† d. _____one can go (indiff.)

e. _____body was at the house. (neg.)††† f. There is _____thing left. (neg.)

g. _____body (indiff.)†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† h. _____body has taken my book.

i. Is _____thing missing?†††††††††††††††††††††††††† j. There isnít _____thing wrong with it.


11. Whatís wrong?

Correct the portion in parentheses.

a. No one (maybe) admitted.†††††††††††††††††††††

b. It is one of the best (high school of) my country.

c. That was (my first time to see) Niagara Falls.

d. I (didnít see) him since October.

e. I donít feel well, but this (is no mean) that I am sick.

f. I see now (what) different American food is (with) ours.

g. I was (amazing) to see the winter sports here.

h. The thing that surprised me (it) was the tall buildings.

i. My sister lives (another city).

j. (the most of) the inhabitants

k. the people (whom) were there

l. (Almost houses) are made of wood.

m. the man (who I used to work in his restaurant)

n. She (can speaks) English very well.

o. I (hope) I could see it again.

p. the (most good) university in my country

q. Foreigners are people who (came) from other countries.

r. three times (in a day)

s. He (said me come) back later.

t. I enjoyed (even though the vacation).