How to Improve English Grammar?
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One obvious answer would be to join a good English course. However, the age of the internet has brought along many wonderful and useful tools that have made our life easier. Sat-navs, e-book readers and the myriad tools available in Microsoft Word such as spell-check and auto correct all attempt to improve our productivity in some way.
The downside of using these tools without giving it much thought, especially inbuilt typing tools such as auto-correct commonly found in MS Word also means that without a conscious effort, we could very likely be using words inappropriately without having fully understood what they mean.
Lets take a look here at some very simple ways you can steadily improve your English grammatical skills and mistakes to avoid
1) Understand the meaning and spelling of the more complex words in your vocabulary before you use them
This is perhaps the most common mistake people make when speaking in English: using incorrect spellings not just of complex words but often very simple ones as well. Take the example of ‘they’re, their and there’.
Pronunciation-wise, all 3 sound almost the same but have entirely different meanings and when writing, it’s important to distinguish between the 3 and to know which one to use when. Due to the similarities in the way these 3 words are spoken it’s not surprising that when spoken, you know exactly which one you are using. However, when you write them down, you may have used the incorrect spelling in which case your sentence may not make much sense, at best.
How can you fix this? One simple way to avoid mistakes like this is to type out text using MS Word. The inbuilt word editor is quite effective in identifying mistakes like this and will most likely alert you (by highlighting the word it thinks has been used incorrectly in red).
Here are some more examples of Homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and often spelt differently as well):
Here’s a tool you might find useful – http://www.spellchecker.net/spellcheck/
2) Another common mistake when speaking and/or writing is using the incorrect pronoun.
Perhaps, the most common mistake is using ‘I’ instead of ‘me’ or vice versa. Take the example of ‘John and me went shopping yesterday’ vs. ‘John and I went shopping yesterday’ – which one do you think is correct?
Rather than answer that for you, here’s a trick to help you figure it out: try using that sentence if the other person was removed from the sentence. In that case, the sentence will become either ‘I went shopping yesterday’ or ‘Me went shopping yesterday’ – now which one do you think is correct? I’m betting you know that ‘I went shopping yesterday’ is correct. And you are right. That is correct.
So the correct use of pronoun in the original sentence would be ‘John and I went shopping yesterday’.
If you need professional help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us : we’re a School of English in London.
3) Learn a different language
Whilst I am not suggesting you begin learning an entirely new language before you have perfected the first one you want to improve your grammar for, it will help to be able to understand the basics of perhaps another language or two. By understanding the mechanics of how another language is “built”, it can help you learn how different languages work differently
4) Read a newspaper
You have probably heard this a million times before and there’s a reason for that: a newspaper can greatly help improve not just your English grammar but your language skills overall.
When doing so, analyse the way words are written, use of grammar, punctuation marks, spellings and the way the words are constructed. Very quickly, you’ll be able to uncover some very fundamental mistakes you may be making without even realising it.
What are your best ways to improve English grammar? Share your thoughts with us…
More about English improvement:
– All You Need to Know about Present Perfect
– How to Improve English Vocabulary
– 6 Tips to Improve Reading in English
– General English Courses to Improve Your Grammar
– How to Learn English at Beginner Level?
– English Levels – Comparison Table