By Team Learning Minds
Imagine you want to build a house, but you only have blocks to build, without any cement, mud mortar or even paint. If you are missing these elements, will you be able to give your building a strong foundation or an aesthetic look?
Communicating in English without using the proper grammar is pretty much the same. Therefore, learning grammar of a language is the most essential part of learning a language. Many might disagree. In my part of the world people often say, “but Americans speak good English without learning grammar” or “I don’t like cramming the grammar formulas.” What I can say here is – these are the myths that keep people from learning grammar and achieving better proficiency in a language, especially English.
Let’s discuss the 5 most popular myths circling around learning grammar.
- It is your enemy
Many people see grammar as some equation in Chemistry that needs to be balanced. I’m sorry you won’t be able to relate to it if you were good at Chemistry in school. They either don’t know the rationale behind using verb or an auxiliary in a certain way. Once they realize why it was so and start using it, there seem to be some other reason why they used it wrong again. Hence, they start seeing grammar as their enemy.
The simple thing to do here is to see grammar as the wheels to your car. To drive well, you must use the right wheels in the right condition. But more importantly your focus should be on enjoying the ride instead of changing the tire. When natives speak, they tend to focus on the communicating well, period. Grammar only helps them make good sentences. In short if your tires are not right, understand which tire to use and change them. But keep your focus on enjoying the ride.
- It is only important while writing
In countries where English is not used as the first language, you often find people mixing present tense with past or making basic mistakes such as “I didn’t went there.” Whereas if you read their emails you will find them very professional and error free. To the extent that readers may feel you had an assistant write your emails. The reason behind it is not giving the grammar enough importance while speaking. This gets them in the habit of making the same mistakes repeatedly without realizing them. Hence, the myth that people won’t notice it much if the errors are only made while speaking keeps people from communicating well and maintaining a good impression.
- Americans don’t need it
If you are too convinced with the idea that Americans and some other native speakers speak English really well without knowing grammar and so can you – you are mistaken. While I was teaching English in the past, I had the opportunity to meet and work with people of different nationalities. Out of around 8 native speakers that I asked to explain to me the difference between present indefinite and present progressive, or something like an auxiliary verb, only one answered my questions. After this little experiment, I got to know where this myth comes from.
The thing to understand is that the native speakers know the grammar very well. What they don’t know are the grammar rules or the jargon teachers need to know while teaching English grammar. To relate to that just think if someone asks you about some grammar rules of your own first language. If you don’t teach your own language, nine out of ten times even you won’t be able to answer them; but that doesn’t stop you from speaking your first language perfectly. So, we know the grammar rules and use them perfectly. What we don’t know is the jargon of grammar.
- Cramming formulas is necessary
As a language instructor in the past, I realized that most students start hating on grammar because they feel that it is mandatory for them to learn the grammar rules and formulas. Then there comes the time when they stop paying attention to or learning these rules. In some cases, they stop using English in their everyday life because they feel without learning these formulas, they’re not good enough to use English.
The solution here is to learn the formulas without learning them by heart. Instead learning them by listening to the native speakers constantly through videos and reading their books and articles, coupled with practicing using similar sentences while communicating in everyday life. It puts you on the path where you learn and use all the grammar naturally.
- It Is Boring
No, it’s not. the idea is to see it more like a game instead of an exam. The thing about humans is that they never enjoy playing the games they aren’t good at. The moment people, and you yourself notice the first hint of improvement while speaking or writing in English – thanks to the new learnt grammar usage, you start enjoying the process. The first step of the process is to acknowledge the importance of grammar, then practice it naturally and enjoy the achievement before moving on to a new area in grammar.
While learning and using the correct grammar and being vigilant about your mistakes may seem like a daunting task in the beginning, improving and using it swiftly can be extremely rewarding. Just stay committed and it will get you enthusiastic and excited as you grow better.