Learning English is always painstaking work that requires a sincere desire to master the necessary knowledge. Without motivation, it is impossible to learn new information, even with the best teachers and textbooks. Are you sure you want to learn English? Congratulations, because everything is easier with the right attitude.
Think about why you need English: for work, study, taking exams, traveling abroad, reading original books, translating texts, communicating with foreigners, self-improvement… The more reasons you have, the more likely you are to succeed. The global goal (to learn English) should be supplemented by a number of intermediate objectives. For example, by Monday I will understand English word order and learn how to construct different types of sentences. Always try to keep your promises, because even a little success creates enthusiasm and a great desire for a new language.
Where do you start?
Of course, the foundation of any language is grammar. Without grammar rules, even the most extensive vocabulary in a foreign language becomes useless. Without a basic knowledge of the structure of the language, no one would be able to speak, read or translate, because grammar focuses on the regularities of constructing correct speech segments that carry a certain meaning. It is important that once you understand English grammar, you will be free to construct sentences, intuitively guess the appropriate tense form, etc. According to traditional methods in the beginning of learning the rules are memorized, gradually the skill is developed, and thus the knowledge is applied in practice automatically, without thinking. The more you study, the more effective and faster the educational process is.
How to choose a grammar book?
Learning grammar is always more about working with written exercises than it is about speaking. That is why it is so important to choose the right textbook. Before buying a book, make sure that it has an accessible set of rules, examples and a variety of exercises to consolidate the material. For people who are completely unfamiliar with English, it is best to choose a textbook with the rules in Russian. Ideally, if at the end of the book there are “keys” with answers, and colorful illustrations, diagrams and tables are also welcome. Choosing a textbook is always an individual choice: the edition must meet the requirements you have set and be interesting for you.
Many modern American, British, and domestic textbooks are designed specifically for beginners, and each has its own advantages. They all include a fairly wide range of topics or, conversely, are highly specialized for specific purposes. The most popular editions these days are:
Russian authors worth mentioning include Galitsinsky, Bonk and Vereshchagina. One of the most popular among those who start learning English grammar is Essential Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy. This is one of the best editions not only for beginners, but also for anyone who wants an excellent grasp of the basic rules of the language. However, this reference self-study is written entirely in English and is not really suitable for the very first lessons.
You should prioritize your choice of assignments depending on what your goals are (fluent grammatically correct speaking or error-free written grammar). If speaking is more important to you, practice your communication skills in English as much as possible. If you need to write correctly, emphasize writing exercises. Remember, however, that the best effect is a “golden mean.
Doing written exercises helps to bring knowledge to automaticity, but you shouldn’t lose sight of oral practice as well. Agree, while writing you have a second to think, calculate options, and in a conversation such a hitch will be strange. Constant application of new knowledge in speech is the key to better memorization and fluency in grammatical constructions.
Reading English literature, even in the adapted version opens up a lot of opportunities for learning. And it is not for nothing that it is recommended to read as much as possible in order to form foreign language literacy! Books are an excellent example of the correct use of lexical and grammatical forms.
Listening also takes a significant position in the comprehension of English grammar. Watching authentic movies, listening to songs and audiobooks promotes the correct understanding of the scope of a particular construction or grammatical phenomenon and expands the boundaries of “book” knowledge.
Grammar and Vocabulary
Of course, grammar is inextricably linked to vocabulary, and it is incongruous to “dive headlong into” only one of them. Whereas vocabulary is a layer of knowledge in constant need of updating and expanding, English grammar is a static concept with a rather limited range of rules. In this regard, at the initial stage of learning English grammar structure is worth paying double attention.
All brilliant is simple!
English is considered one of the easiest languages to learn, because it has a clear structure and strict rules. Being an analytic language, English often uses the initial form of words, unlike synthetic Russian. The grammatical relations in an English sentence are realized precisely through syntax, that is, through word order and function words, rather than through word changes by means of dependent morphemes.
English grammar for beginners seems like a huge heap, but in fact, everything is easier than it seems. What’s more, you will probably be interested in learning the basic grammatical rules without going too deep into the “thicket” of exceptions. Decide how far you want to go at the beginning of your studies, and remember that it is inconsistent to learn everything. It is much better to learn what you will really need. For example, in real life, you do not need to know all the subtleties of using English articles – the basic rules will be enough for starters.
Everyone faces the choice of a suitable method of learning a foreign language. Some people prefer lessons in groups, others prefer an individual tutor, and some want to “overcome” the material on their own.
Whatever it was, the most common is the traditional method, which is based on a thorough study of grammar, memorizing words, rules, exceptions. Compilation of dialogues, execution of question and answer sentences, and retelling of texts are obligatory. This method provides a more fundamental knowledge, but unfortunately is not suitable to learn the language in a short time.
The non-traditional method, on the contrary, aims at learning to understand and reproduce grammatical constructions in speech. Most often it implies learning in a relaxed atmosphere, role-playing and communicating in a foreign language. Knowledge in this case is not reinforced by a sufficient amount of theory, and therefore remains rather superficial. Plus – due to the intensity of practical lessons, communication skills are developed quickly enough.
The word order is not random!
Start learning English grammar with the basics. The first is the word order in an English sentence. Since the syntactic connections between them carry paramount semantic meaning, the order must be followed exactly. In any English sentence, there is always a strict word order, to break it means to make a grave mistake. That is why it is worth beginning the study of grammar with the basics of the structure of narrative and interrogative sentences.
Oh, the tenses…
Do not be surprised by the huge number of tenses and some suspicious “pledges”, examples of which seem to be a meaningless set of words. When starting to learn English grammar, settle on Present Simple, Past Simple and Future Simple. These fairly simple temporal forms will become the basis on which the other English tenses will later be stacked with neat bricks. When learning the boundaries between similar tenses, you should also consider additional cues that explicitly or implicitly influence the choice of grammatical structure, such as the circumstance of time.
One, two, three, four, five…
In parallel, it is recommended to pay attention to English numerals, personal pronouns, and the study of the verb to be, which has many functional meanings, so it is important to understand this diversity from the beginning.
Differences between English and Russian grammar
1. The form of a word does not change depending on the gender. The exception – nouns with the so-called “female” suffix, for example, waitress – waitress, and also words which inherently already belong to a certain gender, for example, boy – boy, mother – mother.
2. common and possessive – only these two cases are used with English nouns. As a rule, nouns are used in the general case, that is in the form indicated in the dictionary.
English adjectives do not change form depending on the number and gender of nouns and are always used the same way.
Pitfalls in the sea of English grammar
Very often a stumbling block for the Russian person in studying English grammar are articles. In our language they do not exist, and we do not understand their function. Nevertheless, the correct use of the article carries an important semantic meaning, while the article used incorrectly distorts the sentence and immediately reveals ignorance of basic grammar.
In addition, because of the discrepancy with the Russian rules, the use of some English prepositions can cause difficulty, and the discovery of the fact that there are twelve tenses instead of the simple and familiar three can cause a feeling of utter hopelessness. Nevertheless, any difficulties can be overcome if one is willing enough to learn.
Thus, English grammar at first glance seems incredibly complicated, but once you start studying it, you will soon realize that the tangled constructions are not random at all, and their choice is stipulated by strict rules. The grammar base is the most important part of learning English and you can’t do without it. We wish you the best of luck, so that you learn quickly and effectively, and your knowledge is deep and useful!