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9 Ways to Improve Your Grammar | 002

Grammar is a concerning topic for many language learners. What’s interesting is that both introverted and extroverted learners tend to study grammar in the same way— through textbooks and thousands of worksheets. Even though these study methods are quite useful, they get boring and they aren’t so helpful with developing speaking skills.


Below is a list of activities you can do to improve your grammar, boost your confidence, and give a little variety to your study habits.


1. Listen, read, and learn

Look for audio discussing historical topics or expectations of the future. Listen to the audio straight through ((from the beginning until the end without stopping)) while reading the transcripts or subtitles.


Some learners are against reading these kinds of texts because they believe that it is a form of cheating.


“You won’t have subtitles while having a real conversation.”


That is true, but the point of studying is to utilize the tools that are available to you so you can develop the skills you need to be a stronger communicator.


Don’t cheat yourself out of a quality resource like typed texts.


2. Listen again and again and again...

Our brains learn best from repetition. When you already know a story very well, you can spend your time focusing on specific grammatical features. The more you listen, the more you learn. Eventually, you will discover that you can repeat the sentences aloud. If you learn the phrases, you can learn the grammar.


3. Keep things simple

There are so many resources available today— apps, artificial intelligence (A.I.), books, courses, programs, translators, etc. It can be overwhelming and expensive to pick one or two or ten!

In truth, people can learn from just a handful of ((a small amount of)) quality resources. Low-tech and low-cost options, include short novels, a good grammar book series, and a movie subscription service.


Of course, there are always high-tech and more costly options being advertised, like virtual reality language schools, language gaming apps, and digital translation services. Just be careful that you don’t get distracted by your devices when you should be studying.


4. Control the arena

Introverts have a limited amount of energy they can devote to interacting with people. To be more energy efficient, successful introverts often mentally and physically prepare for potentially difficult situations.


Before going into a real-life situation (i.e., going to a restaurant), think about the people you will be interacting with, the questions you might want to ask, the answers you might give, the types of questions and answers you might receive. Think about potential distractions and how to respond to them.

If you’re not ready for real-life situations, plan your practice time well. Be sure to talk to kind friends, teachers, etc. If they make you feel discouraged or inadequate, look for another language partner. Your partner should be encouraging. They should also be able to give constructive criticism in a kind way.

In general, language learners learn best when they are relaxed. So, having some control of your learning environment will give you more freedom to focus on the important things.


5. Use the language and make mistakes

“I’ll speak when I know the grammar better.” So many learners have said this, but it goes against the science of learning.


In order to learn, you must make mistakes. Those big and small errors you make are helping you grow as an English speaker. Just be sure that you are taking time to study those mistakes and improve them.


6. Learn grammar in an active context

This requires you to relinquish ((to let go of)) some of the control mentioned above, but it’s well worth it. Look for inexpensive and practical opportunities to speak English. This may include joining an online (or offline) club, participating in a week-long language exchange program, or attending a guided tour at a museum in English.


Again, practice with people you trust, so you can avoid triggering stress and anxiety. You should practice with people who will laugh with you, not laugh at you.


7. Give yourself grace

In high school, I stayed the night a friend’s house. Her male cousin was visiting from Puerto Rico and could only speak Spanish. So, we all sat in the living room and watched Spanish TV.


When it got dark, my friend decided that she and I should go to her bedroom so her cousin could sleep on the couch in the living room. Just as I was leaving the room, her cousin said something to me that sounded like, “Hey! Apagalaloo”. I had no idea what he was saying. It was so fast, so direct. He looked annoyed and said it again. He gestured with his hand. “Apagalaloo! Laloo! Laloo!” I started sweating. Eventually, I realized he wanted me to turn off the light ((Apaga la luz.)).

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I stayed awake feeling horrible because “I couldn’t understand a simple sentence that I had learned years ago, but I was able to understand the TV”.


I had to give myself grace, meaning that I had to be kind to myself. My abilities in Spanish were limited because it was not my first language. I just simply wasn’t prepared for the situation. In fact, I was shocked he was talking to me!


If you ever find yourself in an awkward situation in English, remember to give yourself grace. You are still learning, so use that situation to motivate yourself by determining what you should practice next.


8. Take good notes 

Creating a quick and easy reference for yourself is incredibly important. Use notebooks, digital documents, index cards, etc., whatever works for you. It just needs to be something easy to reference.


Be sure to get creative by making useful or funny sentences to help you remember!


9. Consider varying your sentence structures

Sometimes using one phrase instead of another requires some new, grammatical considerations. If your goal is to speak well, practice rearranging your sentences while speaking aloud.


What’s great about this method is that by varying your sentence structures, you develop more flexibility and variety within the language. It’s like gymnastics for your brain!


This concludes our list, but it is not exhaustive ((does not include all the possibilities)).


If you notice that you are losing interest or are not making as much progress, remember that variety is your friend.

It’s not recommended that you do everything all at once, but you should choose a few things and consistently do them for a while. Your progress might surprise you!

Take care!


Yes, even YOU can improve your grammar skills!


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