Why is English Hard to Learn?

While there isn’t an “official” countdown, people that have tried to learn many different languages frequently complain about the difficulty of learning English.  We’ve talked in other posts about some of the more difficult spelling issues as well as grammar issues, but sometimes it helps to take a step back.  In this post, we’re answering the question “why is English hard to learn?”


why is English hard to learn
Image by Steve Johnson http://bit.ly/1ACGspW

While we’re not going to solve any problems with this post, sometimes looking at the big picture is a relief. If you’re trying to learn English and you’re struggling, it helps to know it’s not just you.  Why is English hard to learn?  Here are some of the reasons>

Why is English So Hard to Learn?

The Sounds


One of the problems with English is that there are many sounds that are difficult.  This includes the “th” sound, which is difficult because most other languages don’t have that this sound to use as a reference.


Intonation and voice inflection can also cause a problem and make English difficult to learn. This is because the meaning of the sentence can completely change depending upon the intonation uses on certain words.




Grammar is another reason that English is so hard to learn. In addition to the numerous grammar rules in English is the fact that it seems like there are exceptions to almost every rule there is.  There are regular rules for turning a word into a plural, but there are also plurals like “alumni” that don’t follow any rule.


Why is English hard to learn?  Another reason is that most other languages don’t have the words “a” and “the”.  While these words are very small, they have a big impact on the language and it is difficult to learn their usage when English is your second language.




Trying to learn the spelling rules is another reason that it is so difficult to learn English. Again, there are many spelling rules that must be followed, but there are also exceptions to most of those rules.  A good examples is “I before E”, but people usually forget about the second part of that rule that says “except after C”.  This is another reason why English is hard to learn.


This makes finding a good online spell checker essential for anyone who is learning English and will be writing. It’s even better if your spell check tool has the ability to identify common grammar mistakes.


Listening to English Speakers


Another reason why English is hard to learn is that you can’t always listen to native English speakers to learn it. In most cases, simply listening to a native speaker of the language can be a big help however, in English, this can actually make it more difficult. The reason for this is that too many people shorten the phrases that they frequently use.  This turns “going to” into “gonna” and “have to” into “hafta”. There are even native English speakers who don’t use these correctly because the only versions of the words and phrases they have heard from their friends and family are the shortened ones.



The next time you ask yourself “why is English so hard to learn?”, give yourself a break.  It is difficult to learn English, but it can be done!