This is one of the first new posts for our new website. There is going to be a lot more coming in the future and I thought this would be a good place to start.
You need to know your current grammar level, why you want to improve (the reasons), the problems you have and the answers to these problems. You also need to know some grammar and some exercises to help it stick in your heads.
So, while Rob is in the other room teaching, I am writing this.
You may read this more than once. In fact, I recommend that you read it more than once.
- Where am I in relation to my English ability and study habits?
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), where would you rate your grammar knowledge?
Of course, you may not know your level of grammar knowledge. You might think you are great, but not really be so great. Alternatively, you might think you are terrible, but actually be really good. You might not know the grammar rules, but you can use grammar without knowing it. Lucky you!
Anyway, where do you think you are from one to ten?
GRAMMAR KNOWLEDGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Understanding grammar correctly is a fundamental aspect of learning English and improving all of the four skills, most importantly for you, probably speaking. This basically means that you need to use what you study. Grammar Range and Accuracy is one section that is tested in tests such as the IELTS test.
The past is always tense, the present perfect. – Zadie Smith (changed by me J)
Next, you need to think about your reasons for studying English.
- WHY DO I WANT TO IMPROVE MY ENGLISH SKILLS?
When you have thought about your level of grammar knowledge, it is time to think about why you want to improve your English skills.
Please complete the sentences below:
I want to improve my English skills because (it will help me get a better job.)
If I improve my English skills, I will be able to (make more friends.)
Improving my English skills will (give me more opportunities.)
Your answers will probably be different from mine and everybody else. Who cares? This is about you.
Now on to the problems…….
- THE PROBLEMS
Most people don’t like to think about the problems.
Well, the problems are scary, or we don’t know the answer to the problems we have.
You will know the answers!
Please complete the sentences below by choosing from the possible choices:
My English skills are not as good as I want because:
I don’t have enough time. Yes, you do! Stop scrolling through Facebook!
I don’t know how to study. That’s ok. We are here to help you!
I don’t like to study. You had better choose a different goal or start to enjoy it.
I have hit a wall. This might be true. Keep pushing. You are doing great!
I have long-time errors that I cannot fix. Once you understand this, we can help you!
I don’t know my mistakes. We do. Calm down. Let’s go!
I don’t know what I don’t know. See all of the above.
Maybe you have one, some, or all of these. Maybe you have a different problem. Please share that with us, so we can help you.
The best thing to do now is to discuss the answers to these problems.
- THE ANSWERS
Everyone’s answer might be different, but I’m going to guess that these will help a great deal.
We need to know:
If we now our own mistakes, we can quickly fix them when we are doing writing practice. You do write for practice, don’t you?
The mistakes of others
When we look at our own work, it is hard to find the errors, usually. So, it is a good idea to look at other people’s work. Look at their work and try to find the mistakes. This will help both you and them! Win – win! Woo.
Why we make these mistakes
When we know why we make this mistakes, we can start to address them.
How to fix these mistakes
Knowing how to fix our mistakes and the mistakes of others is one of the biggest steps towards better English.
The “different” grammar points, which native speakers use
Sure, you can learn the simple grammar in textbooks. I think that is great for some people. However, I think that learning the things that native speakers use is going to help you much more. Why? Well, because many of the mistakes you make are very simple concepts. If we teach these simple ideas, you will be very bored. If you learn some new, more difficult grammar, you will study and, hopefully, learn the simple things at the same time.
“SIMPLE” GRAMMAR POINT AND EXERCISE
We do not rise to the level of our expectations.
We fall to the level of our training.
Let’s talk about verbs!
You must use a main verb in your sentence, “but I don’t know what main verbs are.”, I hear you thinking.
Forget what your textbooks at school tell you.
Here’s the deal.
How many types of main verbs are there?
There are 3 types of main verbs in English.
“What are they, Paul, please tell us”, I can hear that, too.
|Main verbs||Non-main verbs|
|Past simple||Past participle (“ed”)|
|Present simple||Present participle (be+ verb~ing)|
|Auxiliary verbs||Infinitive (to + base verb)|
Let’s look at these examples:
I playing soccer every day. – Wrong! There is no main verb.
The correct sentence would be “I am playing soccer.” OR “I was playing soccer.” OR “I will be playing soccer.” OR…. the sentence written with any other main verb between “I” and “playing”.
The main verb must agree with the subject. They show the tense (time). Main verbs and Non-main verbs live together in perfect harmony.
Usually, they doesn’t worry so much. – Wrong! “doesn’t” does not agree with the subject “They”. You would need to use the verb “do”.
EXERCISE – NOTICING
Once you know the rules, you can start noticing them everywhere.
READ – WRITE – THINK – REPEAT
Find an article about something you love. READ IT – WRITE IT DOWN – THINK ABOUT THE GRAMMAR – HIGHLIGHT/INDICATE THE GRAMMAR POINTS (ONE OR MORE) – REPEAT.
- DO. IT. DAILY!
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit.
Notice all that you can in this piece of text below:
This morning, I got up at 4AM. As soon as I got up, I had a glass of water. After I had a glass of water, I brushed my teeth. Once I brushed my teeth, I started to continue working on this document. I get up at 4AM on most mornings because I practice something called The Miracle Morning. Though I am usually very tired when my alarm goes off, I jump out of bed and start my day. Getting up early is necessary for me as I have two young daughters. So, once they are awake, I am not in control of my day.
Write something in the comments. Ask us a question, or just… well… comment J