Grammar: The word itself strikes fear in the hearts of even the bravest language learners.
Grammar is like language math: it’s intimidating; there are rules; it’s a fundamental skill to have to be able to function in a language; and it can drive you crazy.
Many language learners struggle with grammar and long to unlock its secrets. But what’s the biggest secret of all? English grammar doesn’t have to be so hard. Here are five tips for improving your English grammar.
1. Focus on What You Need to Learn
Are you studying English grammar to be able to write essays in English? Watch American movies? Travel?
Knowing your purpose for improving your grammar will not only help motivate you but it will also help you focus on specific types of grammar and how to study them.
For example, if you need to improve your English grammar for your job, consider the types of things you need to be able to say, such as asking clients questions or giving directions to customers.
If you need to learn English to send emails or write essays, you will have to study things like tenses and punctuation.
2. Know the Parts of Speech
The parts of speech in English—nouns, verbs, adjectives, articles, prepositions, and so on—are the building blocks of the English language and knowing these is vital if you want to put sentences together and learn English grammar.
3. Use an App
Smartphones are a great tool for learning a language. Download an app or two to help you learn English when you have some downtime, such as when you’re on the bus or relaxing on the couch after dinner.
There are some great apps that help you learn English grammar by playing games, such as Practice English Grammar (free).
In addition to apps, there are a number of ways you can learn English grammar online: from YouTube videos on grammar to grammar exercises to online courses. If you have access to the internet, there is a wealth of resources to be found there!
4. Read as Much as Possible
When you are reading in English, you are seeing and absorbing grammar even when you don’t realize it. Reading exposes you to correct models of English that will help you when you’re listening, speaking, or writing.
You’ll learn even more if you read with an awareness of grammar; pay attention to the grammar you see and how it’s being used. You’ll have moments of “Ah, so THAT’S how that looks in real life!” Reading is also a great way to learn new vocabulary.
5. Learn English Grammar While Doing Something You Love
Do you love fashion? Are you a big sports fan? Consider combining your personal interests with your grammar studies and kill two birds with one stone, as we say in English.
For example, find a fashion blog or two that you like and read an article every day, or watch a news segment on sports or a soccer game with English-speaking commentators. In this way, not only are you learning about something you love, but you are also learning English grammar.
You can also choose to focus on one grammar topic each time you read or listen. For instance, one day you can pay attention to past tense verbs; the next day you can focus on articles.