How can I improve my grammar?
- there’s a lot to learn
- it takes time to learn it
- it takes effort to remember it so that you can use it
But the good news is that while there are many thousands of words in English, there is only a limited amount of grammar.
So with regular effort and practice, you can make real progress.
Why is it important to learn how to use correct grammar?
When native speakers read or listen, they expect what you say or write to match regular grammar patterns. These patterns help them to understand each other easily.
It’s OK to make mistakes, but you need to learn from your mistakes. If you use the wrong grammar too often, the listener/reader may feel confused. So when you learn grammar, you need to practice using it regularly.
Grammar is the bones of a language
Vocabulary creates the main meaning of a sentence, but grammar holds all the meaning together.
To improve our grammar, we need to:
- learn how to use different types of words (eg. noun, adverb, pronoun) – parts of speech
- learn how to form different tenses and when to use them
- learn the patterns of how to make sentences – sentence structure and word order
- learn how to join ideas in and between sentences – linking
Tenses need teamwork – learn the parts that go together to make each form and remember them.
Use them in speaking. Use them in writing. Practice, . practice, practice
And learn from your mistakes.
To improve your grammar, you can…
- Revise grammar notes regularly – look back at patterns you learn so you can remember them.
- Study your corrected writing (- don’t just look quickly!) Learn from your mistakes – rewrite sentences and remember the correct patterns.
- Keep a record of your common mistakes – Use this grammar log. Break these bad habits – fix them, remember them, and make new correct habits.
- Find a grammar book to help you understand tenses and verb patterns. (Learn how to form them and when to use them).
- Collect grammar and sentence patterns from things you read or hear. (Try them in your own writing and speaking).
- Try to use a variety of grammar. (This will help increase your range).
- Make grammar pattern cards to help you remember which parts go together to make a tense. (Mix the cards, then make a tense (eg. present perfect: have + pp, present continuous: be + v-ing)
- Ask a friend who is good at grammar to help you fix your mistakes sometimes when you speak.
- Record yourself speaking. Listen and try to find 3-4 mistakes. Fix them. Record yourself again, using the corrected grammar.
- Listen to grammar lessons on Youtube or engvid (www.engvid.com)
- Try grammar practice activities on ESL websites (eg. google – present perfect ESL)
- Notice which English grammar is similar to your language and which is different? Focus on learning the differences.
Grammar needs practice.
Use it or lose it!