Figure out what your specific issues are with English grammar

In order to get to the bottom of your issues with grammar, you need clarity about what grammar actually is. It’s not just about the ability to function in English. Having good English grammar is about knowing the rules, patterns, and commons structures of English and being able to understand them and use them.

Grammar rules can feel annoying, but ultimately, we need them so that people can understand us in the way that we want to be understood. 

And, the thing that most people may not want to hear is: it takes a bit of study and practice. 

To get a clear sense of where your grammar problems are, you need a reference. If you can, take a look at something you’ve done in English, like a recent piece of writing or a lesson you had. 

If you don’t have any recent materials for reference, create something now. Sign up for a lesson with a teacher, or find an honest friend or language partner. Let them know what your goals are, and ask them to assess your writing and speaking. Don’t be satisfied with the response, “You just need more practice.” Ask them what you need to practice with your grammar specifically. 

If you like rubrics, which are charts that teachers use to assess students based on specific factors, you can ask your teacher to assess you based on a rubric and ask them to share that rubric with you so that you can use it in the future.

If you don’t have access to a lesson with a teacher, try to assess yourself. Record yourself speaking for two minutes. Then, write for five minutes, and read what you’ve written. If you can, find someone to send your materials to for feedback.

But, if you don’t want to send your materials away, try to assess it for yourself. Assessing yourself is also great practice, and it’s something you should get used to doing.

Ask yourself: 

  • Do you struggle to use a specific tense? 

  • Are you using the same tense or structures over and over?

  • Are your sentences too short and simple?

  • Did you forget how to use specific structures? 

  • Do your subjects and verbs agree? 

  • Do your ideas make sense?

The more specific your problem, the easier it is to fix it, and, again, the more likely you are to fix it.

And, if you still have absolutely no idea what your issues are, here’s a list of resources for inspiration:

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