How to Master English Grammar for Learners

Guest Article

I'd like to thank Mike Shelby for offering this advice on how to master English grammar. Mike is an experienced teacher with some great ideas on precise exercises that will help you improve your English. Here is his advice:

In my view learning English grammar in the following sequence ensures firm solid thorough knowledge of English grammar:

  1. Read a short clear easily understandable explanation of a grammar rule.
  1. Study several practical usage examples (sentences) illustrating that particular grammar rule. Check yourself whether you have mastered the examples.
  2. Do several exercises for that rule with communicative content (with sentences that most likely can be used in real life situations).
  • Grammar exercises that contain dialogues, interrogative and statement (or narrative) sentences on everyday topics, thematic texts and narrative stories are especially effective for mastering grammatical structures.
  • Grammar practice should also include exercises in listening comprehension and speaking, not just in reading and writing.
  • Grammar exercises must help learners not only form correct sentences, but also use them correctly in context in real life situations.
  • Contrastive and contextualised exercises give practice in form, meaning and use.
  • It is very important to learners for practising English grammar on their own that there are answers provided to the exercises (the key) in the grammar practice book for self-check.

    A learner of English can't rely on real life communication alone to be proficient in using grammatically correct English. Learning English grammar from books, audio and video aids is equally indispensable to substantially accelerate mastering of English grammar. Correct oral communication in English is based on knowledge of English phonetics, grammar, vocabulary, and on practice and experience in communicating with native English speakers in real life.

    I would argue that first a learner must master at least basic English grammar from books with exercises before being able to communicate grammatically correctly in real life with native speakers of English.

    Thank you to Mike Shelby for offering this advice on improving listening comprehension skills in English based on his considerable English teaching experience.

    Kenneth's Note:

    I think these are very interesting and productive exercises. However, I'd like to remind students that it takes years to truly master English grammar. That's not to say that you won't be able to use English fluently, and write like a native speaker. It's just that English grammar is difficult for everyone - even native speakers. There are so man exceptions to the rules including variations based on nationalities and differences among the British, American, Canadian, Australian and other nationalities' use of English. I'd suggest that it's possible to have an excellent command without having to necessarily master every single grammar concept. In fact, I'm sure I make a mistake from time to time. The most important point is that these types of exercises will help you master using English with ease - even if you make a mistake from time to time.