All through my teaching career, there is only one subject in English I noticed that most ESL/EFL learners tried to avoid – Grammar. They say things like: “Grammar is difficult.”; “english grammar is a boring topic.”; Grammar is not that necessary to study.”; “Grammar rules are so confusing.”; et cetera. But the truth is that the study of Grammar Usage is very much important for a person attempting to learn or hone his skills in English communication.
Rules on grammar are needed only for formal writing purposes
Many believe that the rules on english grammar are needed only for formal writing purposes and so tend to disregard these rules when communicating through speaking. We must remember that what make up a language are words, and words are what we use in speech. Therefore, words are parts of speech. Now, did it ring a bell? What first thing comes into your mind when you hear the words “Parts of Speech”? Grammar, isn’t it? Obviously, to learn how to have a good command of English, one has got to know the different parts of speech since they are the fundamental units of English and directly connected to Grammar. By becoming familiar with the different parts of speech, it is easier to determine what word must be used and what must not be used.
Now that we already know the importance of studying Grammar, our next concern is how to wipe out the idea that Grammar is difficult to study. One reason why they are saying that English Grammar is difficult is because of the many rules that they need to memorize aside from the fact that there are also many exceptions to these rules. Granted that it is difficult; now, how can you make it easier. Here are some of my suggestions:
Provide yourself a notebook
One that would look unique, attractive and easy to carry for your own pleasure and convenience. Make it special, so special that you would always want to carry anywhere you go. This notebook will serve as your guide and reference all through out your English course. In this notebook, you will list the Grammar rules that you have read, searched and learned. But write only the rules and write in a list.
Divide the pages of the notebook in to different sections. Label each sections according to the category of the items. For example, label one section with “List of Don’ts”. This List of Don’ts comprises only different rules you must always remember about what you should not do. This is how it should appear:
1.) Do not drop the -ly from an adverb when using the comparison form. (Then write one concrete example where the rule applies.).
Example: He runs more quicker than his brother. (wrong)
He runs more quickly than his brother. (correct)
2.) Do not use of in place of have.
Example: I should of done it. (wrong)
I should have done it. (correct)
Remember to write in a list and not in a paragraph form. Do not add so many details as that would surely defer your reading. Itemized concisely in your notebook the rules that must be remembered. Organizing your notebook in this manner will make it easier for you to locate one rule over the other, especially when you are in a hurry. Just make sure that you classify and label each section accordingly and appropriately. Do not mix them up. The Don’t Rules must go with the don’ts and the Do’s Rules must go with the do’s. Or you may list rules for verbs only in one section and for subject and verb agreement in another section. Whichever is more convenient for you.
I also suggest you make a list of confusing words and their differences, and a list of common mistakes in grammar usage separately. Make your notebook a compilation of the rules on grammar you are trying to remember. Let us perhaps name your notebook “My Grammar Organizer”.
Learn to distinguish the functions of each and every words used in a sentence
Practice identifying the noun, pronoun, verb, et cetera. Always start by picking out the verb first and then the subject. Using this technique will help you easily recognize the functions of the rest of the words in the sentence. Knowing the functions of every word and seeing where they often times are placed in a sentence would develop in you fluency without you actually realizing that, not only in speaking, much as well in writing. As you become more curious with sentence construction, the faster you will learn. I am not saying that you go deeper in studying the parts of speech; having the ability to name the kinds of words is enough.
Read the rules you wrote in your organizer repeatedly until it sink into your brain
The more frequently you read the rules, the easier you will remember them. Eventually, you will be surprised to hear yourself applying those rules correctly and automatically without really thinking about them.
And most importantly, make reading a habit
Just like in reading the rules on grammar repeatedly and frequently, reading a lot of good English text will expedite your learning progress.
There is no difficult task to a person striving and enjoying at the same time. Enjoy learning English. Remember that possessing a good command of English is one of the keys to your success!