Simplify Grammar – How to Eat Grammar Books for Breakfast

“Whenever you correct someone’s grammar just remember that nobody likes you.” – Jim Gaffigan

Ok, the very first thing I have to say is that grammar is not as important as most teachers and students think it is. What I mean is, of course that grammar is important – it’s how we make sentences – but it is not so important to sit down with a grammar book and learn it. Especially not early on in your English journey!

It’s far better to begin making sentences straight away. As you speak those sentences the grammar hidden inside them is going straight into your brain. That’s how children learn to live and speak their language, and they don’t sit down with a grammar book to conjugate verbs.

However, it is useful to Quickly go over the grammatical rules for certain sentences sometimes. Don’t make it the priority of your learning, and do it the fast and effective way.

Grammar can be super-simple. When you see a new sentence structure, make a game out of it. Quickly read it to understand what it is trying to say. Then ask yourself if you see any new words in there. Ask yourself if you can see any new word forms in there. And ask yourself if anything about the word order is surprising you.

So once again. Let’s call these Gabriel Wyner ’s three questions:
1. Can I see any new words here?
2. Can I see any new word forms here?
3. Is this word order surprising me?

Every new bit of grammar does one of these three things.

Quickly write down your answers on a flash card, or in your notes. Then start using it in sentences, just like always. Make lots of large new sentences. Have fun with it. Move on.

That is the fast and furious way to destroy grammar quickly. Trust me, do grammar this way, and then get back to the fun part of English as fast as possible – actually using it.

Make sure that before you look at a grammar book you are already making full English sentences and speaking English already. Like we’ve spoken about many times before, old-fashioned English classes from over 100 years ago worship English grammar. They think grammar is the foundation of English-speaking skill. It’s not. You have to know your grammar, true. But speaking and sentence structure is the foundation of English as a practical skill.

Make grammar the thing you do later to enhance your English and gain a deeper understanding. Just like reading. The next chapter will show you some excellent ways to read English to improve as quickly as possible.