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Complete guide on how to learn English grammar

In the first part I have explained what vocabulary you should learn and how you should do it. The next logical step is learning grammar. You know vocabulary and you want to create sentences and communicate with others; that’s why you need grammar.

Definitely, grammar is not the most important thing in the world but without using good grammar your English will sound badly and probably nobody will understand what you want to communicate. The question is “How to learn grammar?” Basic English grammar is not difficult to be learned and there are many resources you can use. Below are my recommendations if yo want to study grammar.

Learn grammar by writing

My first advice for you is to learn grammar by writing. This is how I have learned. What do I mean? Well, learn rules, but you have to apply them in real life. How can you apply them? My suggestion is to apply the grammar rules in writing. When you are writing, you have time to think about grammar and how to use the language. This is an advantage that you don’t have if you are speaking to someone.

Probably, you will ask yourself “OK, but what should I write? Just write on a piece of paper?” I have a student who started writing a learning journal online. It is a very nice project and in time you will see the progress you have made. Writing your own journal is a great way to practice and apply grammar rules. There are many blogging platforms that allow you to set up a blog; Set up a blog and start writing, it will be so useful for you.

Learn grammar using a grammar book

You might start learning grammar with a grammar book. You can find thousands of grammar books, from simple grammar books to very advance grammar books. You can find resources online but if you are like me then you will like to have your own books. I have bought a lot of books from Amazon website because they deliver in Vietnam, the price is very affordable and you have a multitude of choices. Although I have many books, I usually use the Internet to find information. Anyway, a grammar book is always good to have on the table. I would like to recommend you a book but there are too many grammar books out there and personally I find them very similar. But, I recommend you to choose a simple grammar book for the beginning then if you feel more confident go for a more advance one. Grammar is not the most important thing in the world but using good grammar will increase your confidence.

Compare English grammar with your own language grammar

It might sound strange but I did it and it works. It is very useful to understand the differences between your own language grammar and English grammar. For example, in Romanian language (my mother tongue), there is no difference between present simple and present continuous.

There are so many differences between your own language grammar and English grammar which will help you to understand better how the language is used. Comparing grammar is a habit for me now and it played an important role in learning. I think this is an enjoyable way of learning grammar.

Many of the adult learners forgot their own language grammar and it is quite difficult for them to make this comparison. I was always curious to compare Vietnamese grammar with English grammar but unfortunately none of my Vietnamese friends could explain me Vietnamese grammar rules.

Learn grammar by reading

Does it sound strange? Well, it is not. Reading is a pleasure for many people. Reading books, or other kinds of reading materials gives you very good grammar examples. On the Internet you can find many bad grammar examples but not in a book. Books are usually well written and reading the right book can be an enjoyable experience.

Focus on parts of grammar that you find more difficult

As I have seen, many Vietnamese learners’ problem is verb tenses. You can find different ways of learning a particularly part of grammar. If you want to learn verb tenses you can compare them to see the difference in use and meaning. Or, you can learn how to express past actions not necessary in the traditionally way by learning “past simple” for example. I remember, about 6 years ago, I focused on the usage of “past simple” and “present perfect”. I had to ride the motorbike to work for about 45 minutes and I was thinking of examples when I have to use “past simple” or “present perfect”.

Doing grammar exercises

Some people can learn grammar doing exercises such as: fill the blanks with a verb in correct form, fill the blanks with an appropriate preposition etc. I couldn’t learn grammar this way. I find it very boring. I know many students who love this kind of exercises but honestly, the results are not great. This method has to be combined with other learning grammar methods.

You can do grammar exercises related to irregular verbs. It is a great way to remember irregular verbs otherwise, learning these verbs in a conventional way can be a real pain.

Use a grammar learning program

There are so many grammar learning programs such as Anki or an online concordance. There are many websites that offer lots of quizzes with answers. I have found Anki online concordance on lextutor.ca website which is great tool to help you understanding how the language is used. You just type the words (I have typed “I have been”) and the output is amazing, fulfilled with examples.


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