Let me tell you a secret: you’re not the only one who gets confused by English grammar. Native English speakers get just as confused. I before e except after c… except for the words caffeine, decide, reinforce etc…
See? It’s confusing. A lot of the rules don’t make sense, and they don’t apply to every situation. So even if you know some grammar rules, like the i before e except after c, you still need to know the exception to the rules. And that just presents a whole new problem!
So what are you supposed to do? Study grammar textbooks forever?
Well, there’s no need to do that. While you’re learning English, don’t get too hung up on having perfect grammar. Grammar is still really important, but the most important part of learning a language is learning to communicate in the language. And your use (or lack) of grammar can cause miscommunication. But please remember, when you’re a child, you don’t learn to communicate with others through the use of grammar textbooks. It occurs naturally. Similarly, it will occur naturally with you as well.
So whether you have a firm grasp on the English language or not, here are some simple tips to apply to improve your grammar:
1. Know The Basics
Knowing the basic grammar rules will allow you to understand and contribute to any English conversation. It’s important to know the basics because the basics are the foundation of the English language. So, what are the basics?
subjects and predicates;
parts of speech;
Once you know the general rules of basic grammar (like all sentences must start with a capital letter), then you’ll have a really good understanding of the English language. And you’ll probably be ahead of most native English speakers. If you’d like a blog post talking about the basic grammar rules in more depth, just let me know in the comments below.
The only time you can really see how English grammar works, is to expose yourself to it. The more you expose yourself, the more you will see and understand the correct usage. I know it’s a lot of work, and it can be really tiring – especially when you don’t understand everything you read. But you can make reading fun by picking up books, articles, or magazines that are of interest to you.
3. Write More In English
I know writing can be very tiring too, especially when you’re already writing a lot for your classes. Try keeping an English journal, and write about your day or something of interest. You can also try writing your own songs, poems, or books! The more you write, the more comfortable you will feel putting English grammar into practice. You will also be able to figure out what ‘sounds’ right, and apply it into your writing.
3. Practice On Your Own
There are many online resources that allow you to practice your grammar skills through tests or exercises. Give those a try! Sometimes it can be fun to challenge yourself and see how well you can do.
4. Zero In
If you notice yourself making the same grammatical mistakes, zero in on that particular point. Maybe tenses are something you really struggle with. You can go to free websites like Grammar Monster and fill-in-the-blanks, so to speak. You can also ask a tutor, instructor, teacher or maybe even a knowledgeable friend about your errors.
5. Get Some Help
There are a lot of companies (such as mine!) that will help you improve your grammar. They can personally tailer homework exercises for you, or edit your writing for grammatical mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help from people who have a good grasp on the English language. The more you learn from others, the more you will learn yourself.
So, don’t focus too much attention on memorising crazy grammar rules. Try to understand the basic grammar rules, and try to read and write as often as you can. Yes, grammar is an important part of learning English, but don’t let it wreck your brain!
What’s the most difficult part of grammar for you? What personally helps you?