目标学习者的中介语会随着时间的推移而发展，错误可能会从第一语言渗透到第二语言，反之亦然。正如Emitt等人(2014)在对儿童语言发展阶段的元分析中所述，“儿童积极构建自己的语言。“他们从周围的环境中获取词语和声音，围绕它们的形式和意义建立自己的理论，然后用这些词语和声音与周围的人交流。”这促使Halliday等研究人员提出，语言不仅仅是一个“独立的规则系统”，社会互动和文化在很大程度上影响着语言的使用和意义的形成(Lightbown & Spada, 2012)。
Johnson also argued that the person learning the second language can grasp form and meaning simultaneously, and ‘begin to internalize the second language’ through a dialogical where the knowledge is co-constructed. Selective error correction is one way by which this can be achieved. The theories of inter-language also support the selective approach, because it views the learner as a thinking, social being, who is continuously rationalizing the language systems of the different languages known to him (Devrim, 2014).
A target learner’s inter-language evolves over time, and errors might seep in from first language to second, and vice versa. As Emitt et al. (2014) described in their meta-analysis on stages of a child’s language development, ‘children actively construct their own language.’ They pick up words and sounds from their surroundings, build their own theories around their form and meaning, and go about using those words and sounds to communicate with others around them. This had prompted researchers, such as Halliday, to argue that a language is not merely a ‘self-contained system of rules’ that social interaction and culture influence language use and meaning making in a significant manner (Lightbown & Spada, 2012).
Under such circumstances, it becomes difficult to approach error correction in a comprehensive and rigid manner without giving the learners adequate time to accept and understand the mistake, and make attempts to learn/internalize the suggested correct form. Halliday posited this as a feature called filtering or the ‘challenge zone’ in a child’s stages of language development. This concept is built on Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development which Halliday used to argue that a child would also attempt to learn or master those meanings/words/grammar forms, which are not too far ahead of their current potential (or which lie in their immediate Zone of Proximal Development). If the child feels that the concept is too hard for her or him to tackle, she/he might overlook it completely. The language instructors and teachers in elementary schools try to adopt this approach to selective error correction where they identify the metaphorical Zone of Proximal Development for each learner or the group of learner and customize their feedback according to their learning potential (Halliday, 1993).