5 Tips to help you love English grammar

English Grammar is your learning ally and not your enemy ; the study of grammar can help you to speak more clearly and with greater confidence.

English Learners rarely “jump for joy”* when they hear their teacher say “let’s do some grammar” but if you think of grammar as your friend and not your foe* you will see that grammar rules are in place to help not to hinder* your learning development.

Grammar is often described as the backbone*  of a language, the part of language that holds everything together. Grammar rules exist in order to bring structure to a language, it enables the users of the language to form speech in the same way and avoid confusion, much like the highway code* guides behaviour on the road.

In simple terms, grammar gives speakers rules to follow that ensure they can be understood by other people.  When you master a rule you will feel more comfortable to speak because it is more likely that you will be understood and so your confidence to speak can also increase.

Grammar is not just a series of frustratingly complex rules designed to annoy* language learners but simply an agreed set of rules which help learners to speak so that other people will understand them.  

Nevertheless the volume of rules can feel overwhelming and English learners (and indeed all people learning different languages) often feel intimidated and confused by the number of grammatical rules that they have to understand and remember. The first step to loving grammar is therefore to organize your learning into a logical order. An English trainer or online search can help you to identify an appropriate learning schedule for your level.

5 tips to help you love not loathe* English grammar :

  1. Accept that you need time and patience to learn different structures. Spend time on each element of grammar that you want to master. When studying tenses make sure you understand the conjugation, the function and helpful words of each tense. Creating a memory sentence specific to you for each tense can help you remember the context and conjugation. For example, present simple : she always eatS fish on Fridays.
  2. Adopt a learn –repeat – revise approach to learning grammatical structures.  It is unlikely that you will go from novice – master in 1 lesson, you will need to repeat the structures until it becomes second nature*.
  3. If you find it difficult to understand a grammatical rule, search different resources until you find an explanation that you understand.
  4. Remember that English and French have some similarities (approximately 30% of English words originate from French), so you can use the similarities to help you make sense of structures. However it is equally important to remember that every language has its peculiarities* that seem incomprehensible to language learners. From experience I can confirm that learning is easier when we accept these differences rather than fight them.
  5. Finally, your goal should be good enough grammar, which allows you to communicate effectively. Rome wasn’t built in a day * and all good things, language skills included take time and patience to develop.

If you would like to improve your grammar ( and your confidence) you can join one of my short intensive courses designed to help you revise important rules or organize an individual course.

Vocabulary help : *Jump for joy : expression = to be very happy / *foe -synonym – enemy / * hinder – synonym – block/ impede/ *backbone synonym -spine/ *highway code = code de la route/ *annoy – synonym – exasperate /  irritate / *loathe – synonym hate / detest / *second nature – expression – an instinctive skill / *peculiar synonym – strange/ bizarre/ weird / *Rome wasn’t built in a day – expression – great things take time