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“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. Og Mandino”

Effective Grammar Practice

Effective grammar practice is not something that is usually done well in language classes, nor by language learners themselves. This is one reason why the rates of school age kids and adults picking up a second language are so poor world wide. I have seen so many people practice grammar with such phrases like “I am going to; she is going to; he is going to; they are going to” etc .  Whilst this has some merit, the reality is that its usefulness for most is limited.

The human brain works best when it can identify with situations and when there are links made to what is already known.  So instead of the above or what grammar books might give you as examples, it is a good idea to always personalise the examples.

For eg, “I am going to the movies this afternoon with Grace.  She is going with me. Rob and Jo are not going with us as they are busy.” etc

The other important consideration for you to maximise the chances of learning language so you will be able to use it, is to distinguish it from other tenses that may be confusing you.

“I have gone to the market with my friend so I can’t help you”

(Where/when are you saying that….and who are you saying to?)

How is that different to:

“I am walking to the market with my friend so I can’t help you”

(Where/when are you are saying that….and who are you saying to?)

“I will go the market with my friend so I can’t help you”

(Where/when are you are saying that….and who are you saying to?)

If you are not sure of the differences, you can get clarity about your problem when you are VERY clear what you are trying to solve. Like the above problem for example.  These are very clear examples which you can do research on.  My suggestion is that you put up your antenna so that when you are reading or listening to people  so you hear these forms. Be very observant of the context and listen very carefully to the meaning. This way you can become more effective in your grammar practice as the language you use attempts to be a reflection of what you think, see and hear. This way you are actively engaged in getting a good a match as you can, at the same time as working on the forms of the language.

Of course you can check a grammar book, but learning to listen better ( and the above is an example of focussed listening) and being more attentive will help you enormously in your quest to become a better language learner.  

If you want to look at other examples of how you could improve your practice there are other examples I have provided here as  well as in a post on I wrote on how you could improve your grammar by reading. The important thing to remember is that to make your grammar effective you need to do a whole lot more than do the kinds of grammar exercises you see in books or courses. You need to make them your own!


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