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Grammar Advice

What Can I Do?

Learning a foreign grammar can be a big challenge. Here are some ideas to help you improve the way you learn.



We Explain Things Differently

The English like to be different.  We drive on the 'wrong' side of the road.  We use miles instead of kilometres.  We put milk in our tea.  We play cricket instead of baseball.

Our grammar probably seems equally strange.  We make sentences in a way that is different to other languages.  If you make a sentence in your own language and translate each word, it will probably be incorrect in English, and may be impossible to understand!

When you learn grammar rules in English, compare it to your language.  Look for similarities and differences and keep them in your mind as you learn.


Take Control - Ask Questions

If you have a question in your mind about grammar, write a sentence and show it to a teacher, a native speaker or someone who is good at grammar. Ask, "Is this sentence correct?"


Check, Check, Check!

If you are doing written homework, check it carefully before giving it to your teacher.  If you produce your best work, your teacher will give advice about how to write even better, and you will learn more.


Open your Eyes and Ears

When you have studied a grammar topic, look for examples of it in reading and listening.  This will give you an idea of whether the grammar is common or not, and in what kind of situations it is used.  Pay close attention to the sentence structure, and it will be easier to remember.


A Good Book and a Good Study Technique

Study using Okey-Dokey, or buy a good grammar book, e.g. the English Grammar in Use series published by Cambridge University Press. Don't just start at Chapter 1, and then go to Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 etc until you finish the book. You'll probably get bored, give up and decide that you don't like grammar.

Instead, go directly to the grammar topics that are interesting to you at the time you are studying.  Always ask yourself, 'What do I need?'


Find your Next Step

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know what you need to study next. Try asking people, "What kind of mistakes do I make?" It doesn't matter if you are not asking a teacher.  The answer you receive may be very useful to you.


Challenge Yourself

If you are thinking to yourself in your own language, ask yourself, "Can I say that in English?" If it is a useful word or sentence, and you can't translate it into English,  write it down and later ask someone or look it up in a dictionary.


Think as you Speak and Write

Listen to yourself as you speak, and think about the grammar you are using.  Correct yourself if you make a mistake.  Do the same when you write letters or emails to friends.  Make it a habit to be correct!


'What is Grammar?' from



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