Hey there! This is TOP episode 216. How to Stop Making Grammar Mistakes? 5 Steps Plan
I’m Ola, an English teacher with over a decade of teaching under my belt. I firmly believe that unlocking fluency is within your reach. In fact, the key to fluency is in your pocket. Imagine confidently speaking English, conquering your fears, and embracing effective communication.
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Hello there, thank you for being here! In this episode I’ll show you the plan that will help you start feeling confident wih your grammar knowledge. What’s the most important element here? It’s you and it’s you being active. Please incorporate at least one tip I’m giving out today and tell me later know about the results, ok? Deal.
Step 1: Understand the grammar rule
It’s crucial to start with a deep understanding of the grammar rule you want to master. Imagine you’re setting off on a road trip; having a reliable map makes all the difference. Begin by doing it old school way, sit and study. Do it because it’s important. Use a grammar book, or a grammar website, choose a reliable resource and study. Buy a notebook and study. It’s that easy. Things you have to do are very easy but the problem is, the things you should not be doing are also easy. It’s easy to start scrolling, to start complaining, to choose to do something else then studying. But, that’s a different topic.
For example, English verb tenses. What seems to be the biggest problem for you? Perhaps it’s present perfect tense, a tense often used to describe actions or situations that connect the past to the present. Get your grammar guide in hand, and read explanations, exercises, and examples.
As you read, you come across many sentences. For example: “She has lived here for ten years.” The grammar guide explains that the present perfect tense is formed by using “has” or “have” with the past participle form of the verb. You see how this tense can convey actions that began in the past and continue into the present.
Understanding the rule is the first step toward effective communication. BUt, hey, don’t learn by heart. Focus and try to really embrace the theory. Now that you have a solid foundation, it’s time to explore and practice.
Step 2: Explore diverse examples
The next step is to immerse yourself in diverse examples. It’s like stepping into a busy shopping centre, it’s confusing, it’s messy, exceptions show up, etcetera.
Suppose you’ve been learning conditional sentences, particularly the first conditional, used to express likely future events. You have your knowledge of the rule, and now you explore various examples.
You come across a sentence: “If it rains tomorrow, we will stay indoors.” This conditional structure captures the idea that a future event (staying indoors) depends on a specific condition (rain tomorrow).
Now, you seek more examples. You find sentences in books, hear them in conversations, in vlogs and podcasts and videos, and uncover them in articles. Listen and read, but mostly listen a lot. Be vigilant, be sensitive and try to catch the structure you’ve been studying. You discover how context and sentence structure can alter the meaning and usage of this grammar rule.
Every time you hear the structure you know, you feel great. It’s because dopamine is being released, that’s your reward. This mechanism will keep you motivated.
Step 3: Memorize and practice
Now, you’re at the point in your grammar journey where practice and repetition become very important elements. Now it’s time to practice until those rules become second nature.
You have to focus on irregular verbs. You’ll feel much more confident knowing them. In my view the best way to learn them fast and long term is to create flashcards. Smart flashcards, with example sentences. Gradually, these verb forms become ingrained in your memory.
But practice doesn’t stop with rote memorization. It’s about applying what you’ve learned in real conversations and written communication. Obviously, listening is still important. Listen and recognise the structures, catch irregular verbs.
Step 4: Listen and record
Your goal is to speak English with clarity and confidence. To achieve this, record yourself saying sentences and paragraphs with the grammar rule you’re mastering.
For instance, if you’re focusing on questions, you record sentences like, “What time is the meeting?” and “How was your day?” Listening to your own voice helps you identify areas for improvement. Make one question in various tenses. For instance: “What do you do?” “What are you doing? “What did you do? “What were you doing? “What have you done?
As you record yourself, you refine your pronunciation, rhythm, and fluency.
Step 5: Apply the rule in real-life situations
Applying the rule in real-life situations. Don’t pay too much attention o the order. I mean, it’s number 5 on my list but make sure you do this from the very beginning. Make as many mistakes as possible but do it, use new structures whenever you can. Expose yourself and practice. If you have zero possibility to do that, stop lying to yourself because if you really want to you can find a speaking partner or a speaking club. But let’s say your fear is blocking you from doing that. There’s no good news, at some point you will have to push yourself out there and do it. But for now, for today, speak to yourself out loud. Imagine a situation in which you meet your friend and you want to ask this question: Have you watched that new Netflix series? Just imagine asking this particular question. Say it out loud. Have you watched that series? Imagine her or his response. Act it out, visualise it and I promise one day or another you’ll have a chance to use it and it will be a breeze.
Your turn! Let’s practice just a bit. Listen to the sentences below and say them out loud:
Imagine you’re setting off on a road trip
What seems to be the biggest problem for you?
If it rains tomorrow, we will stay indoors.
This mechanism will keep you motivated.
In my view, the best way to learn them fast and long-term is to create flashcards.
But practice doesn’t stop with rote memorization.
Your goal is to speak English with clarity and confidence.
Make one question in various tenses.
Make sure you do this from the very beginning.
At some point you will have to push yourself out there and do it.
That’s it for today’s episode! I hope you made some notes, listened actively and now you’re going to implement these things into your routine. Find me on Instagram and say hello! I’ll be so happy to see you there.
Don’t forget to check out the Worksheet for this episode at teacherola.com/216. I’ll be back next week, until then, stay fearless, keep speaking, and take care. Bye for now!