As with any skill acquisition, learning a new language can be daunting. The English language, whilst it prides itself as being the global language of today, is also known to be one of the more confusing and difficult languages to learn. On top of their complex sentence structures and grammar syntax, there are a lot of exceptions to their language rules. Apart from knowing the different tenses, conjunctions and the like, you will need to also take note of the special cases. The seemingly straightforward yet complex nature of the language is enough to make anybody want to give up.
However, if you wish to reach a mastery level, you will need to have grit and perseverance. To help you out with your learning, we’ve gathered a few learning tips that can improve your grammar.
Basic Grammar Rules
Before jumping to the difficult concepts, you’d have to first start with the basics. When starting your English courses, the first thing you’ll want to familiarise yourself with is the basic principles of the said language. Here is a list of the 5 most basic grammar rules in the English language:
1. The primary sentence structure in English is subject-verb-object, which is also known as the active sentence structure. Thus, understand what comprises the subject, verb and object.
2. Understand the 3 basic tenses: simple present tense, present progressive tense and past tense. They refer to habitual action, current action and past action respectively. For instance: I drink tea every morning / I’m drinking Ceylon tea. / I drank Black tea yesterday.
3. Once you’re done familiarising yourself with the 3 basic tenses, you can jump right ahead to the present perfect tenses, which are: present perfect, perfect present progressive and past perfect. They each refer to the having finished an activity when the time is unfinished, unfinished action and time, and two past actions respectively. For instance: I have drunk 3 cups of tea today. / I have been drinking tea all day. / By the time I drank one cup of tea, Sarah’s dog has barked a thousand times.
4. Another attribute you’ll need to understand is contractions, also known as short forms. It’s important to understand what they refer to and when to use it. Many often get confused and use ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ interchangeably when they refer to 2 entirely different things. For instance, ‘it’s’ is a short form for ‘it is’ and thus, refer to a particular subject. ‘Its’ is a possessive determiner, used when we refer something belongs to somebody or something. For instance, “It’s not easy. Its mechanics are somewhat advanced.”
5. That said, the apostrophe (‘) is also a possessive determiner. For instance, “a girl’s toy” refers to the toy belongs to a girl. If the noun is plural, you will need to put the apostrophe after the plural noun, thus it’ll be, “girls’” instead of “girl’s”.
Despite being seemingly minuscule, punctuation marks are highly important. Not only do they set the tone of the sentence, but it gives you subtle contextual tools. For instance, a question mark allows us to know that somebody wishes to get an answer for something they’re not quite sure of, or trying to probe the readers to reflect and think of an issue if a rhetorical question is posed.
Thus, understand the meaning of each punctuation marks, from your full stops to semi-colons. Once you know when you should use these punctuation marks, you’d be able to pick up the subtle meanings behind each sentence better,
Grit And Perseverance
Whilst motivation has little to do with grammar and syntax as a while, it definitely plays a part in language acquisition. Understand that mastering grammar, or any other rules for that matter, requires grit, perseverance and patience. Reaching basic fluency and proficiency levels, much less mastering a language altogether, takes time and effort.
Apart from that, it’s important that you also know how far you’d want to go in this learning journey of yours. Would you like to simply be fluent conversationally or attain an IELTS certificate that’ll bring you many more opportunities? Knowing what your goal is will allow you to know how much effort to put in and what resources you should tap into. For instance, to get an IELTS certificate, you’ll want to enrol in an IELTS course.
Learning a language is a challenging process. But as with any skill, you will need to master the basics before you can go for the more advanced levels. Take time to know what are the available resources and with consistent effort, you’d be able to seamlessly put your knowledge into practice.