Grammar rules are one of the most difficult things to master when learning a new language and learning English grammar is no different. To be honest, I think grammar rules sometimes baffle the best of English teachers and I am sure at some point, many teachers have found themselves saying in class “that’s just the way it is”.
There are many ways you can improve your grammar knowledge besides using a text book in class for an hour or two a day and below are 5 tips to help you incorporate learning English grammar into your everyday life.
Play grammar games
In this day and age, there are a multitude of resources literally at your fingertips to help you learn English grammar. Download one (or some) of the many online games or applications to your phone so you can practise at any time of the day whether you’re commuting or waiting for the bus – even 15 minutes a day will be of benefit. These apps not only test your grammar skills in a more enjoyable way but they will often correct your mistakes and provide you with a grammar explanation, therefore giving you the opportunity to learn from them.
As children we learn a language by listening and copying and as adults we can do the same. Listening to how others speak and construct sentences helps you to “acquire” grammar, rather than “learn” it. The more you hear it, the more familiar it becomes to you and the more likely you are to use it when you speak. Take advantage of resources such as podcasts and English films. This will not only improve your listening skills but will also help you to recognise grammar structures and their use in everyday situations.
When you read a book or a magazine article, you are reading grammar structures in context and this will help to reinforce the structures in your mind. You are also reading real English as opposed to a graded version of English that might be delivered in the classroom. The more you read, the more you will start to understand English and it’s grammar rules through passive learning. Don’t try to understand or translate every word of a grammatical structure as this may cause confusion, instead read the whole sentence and try to understand the meaning as a whole. Alternatively, you could buy a book in English and then buy the same book in your own language and compare the two.
A lot of English language learners “know” grammar but struggle to use it in a conversation or they are too shy to speak in case they get it wrong. However, it is important to practice conversational English as much as you can as this will help you to start thinking in English, instead of mentally translating every word before you speak. The more you speak the more you will start understanding grammar in use and you will become more aware of structures, tenses and parts of speech.
Write every day
Try keeping a diary or write a paragraph a day about something using the new grammar structures you have learned in class. Or, you could simply write in English when you post or comment on social media sites. The more you practise writing, the more naturally it will come to you and again you will become more aware of grammar structures and when to use them.
Learning English grammar is difficult but by incorporating it into your everyday life you will soon start to see a difference in your understanding of it and gain a better understanding of its usage.