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How do you improve your grammar?


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Grammar has always been my weak link, but as I went into university where I had to study in English, things got busy fast and I never got enough time to work more on it. Of course, I improved with the years, but I am pretty sure my grammar needs a lot of work.

I have some books on basic grammar, as well as "Elements of Style", but I have no clue where to start.

I would like to find a way to figure out exactly where I stand with my grammar, and what to work to improve, instead of just randomly going through all information I have, but I have no clue how to start.

How do you guys work on your grammar?

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I know this is perhaps the most "basic" answer ever, but it really helps a lot if you 1.) practice a lot, 2.) write a lot, and 3.) read a lot.

Four years ago, my writing was trash. Seriously. Maybe my writing now is comparable to dust, but it's still not good. My English lessons weren't good enough. My books weren't good enough. The only thing I could simply run to was either a book or the Word Processor.

For me, I've always believed I used books as an inspiration to force me to write more. I always expose myself to books that I know I like, which forces me to read them - perhaps for more than a few times - which then urges me to write. I don't care if I don't show my writings to anyone, or if no one appreciates my work. What matters is that I'm being able to write, and writing lets me expose my grammar in something I could read and check. Even if it appears as something you should improve a lot, it will eventually get to a point that you're so used to seeing your mistakes, you simply start forgetting about them and automatically correcting them in the process.

Don't worry, you'll eventually get to the point that you'd be able to perform in the way you want to perform, but the best way of doing this is to practice and to always expose yourself to things that can force you to write - because writing is the only way we can exercise the things we learn about grammar and actually help us improve.

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Skywatcher explained it pretty well and yes, reading a lot is the most essential, only after reading a lot, you can write better and writing is the best practice, so you can get some good English books and it'll keep on improving with time.

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I'd recommend starting by reading comic books, and if you find them boring then maybe go for something more "mature" like graphic novels. They are very good for learning individual phrases and the dialogue isn't too technical and complicated, usually. I also think it's much better to learn this way because if you learn it from a technical standpoint then you risk getting confused by the rules and terminologies whereas if you read comics then you will eventually just "get it" before you know it. I read a good amount of comic books when I was younger and it's a major reason why I had an easy time with English classes when I got older.

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The only thing that has really helped me with my grammar so far is making a list with all the grammar issues I have - By being fully aware of what my grammar issues are I can work on them in a more efficient way.  Otherwise it would feel as trying to cover the sun with only one finger, just like they say in my home country.

Isn't as hard as it sounds, you just have to think long and deep about the areas in English grammar that cause you more trouble.  Then focus on those areas only, that way it will be easier to solve this.  I'm sure you can do it :)

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  • 1 month later...

I improve my grammar in many ways possible like speaking, reading and most by writing. I think writing helps me most in improving my grammar because during this activity where I am very most particular with grammar.

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I write a lot to improve my grammar. I'm blogging and I always have something to write everyday. My husband who is a native English speaker will edit and tells me which needs to improve, change, add, and so on.

I guess I'm improving everyday but I still feel insecure to publish my new post until my husband had a look at it :D

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Learning grammar is hard in every language, including native ones. I'm still learning grammatical rules for English.

Anyway, to answer your question, the best way to improve your grammar is through reading. And then through writing. But again, reading is first because books will show you what you are lacking. It's hard to know what you are lacking when you don't know what you are lacking. I'd also recommend you read mostly non-fictions. Fictions are notorious for bad grammar. Fiction writers don't have to follow rules or guidelines like APA guidelines.

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There are so many ways to improve your grammar. For starters, you can start watching some English TV shows. Not only they are fun to watch, they will teach you how people actually converse with each other.

If you are into novels, you can try them too.

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I improve my grammar by reading and writing. I read and write...A LOT. Everyday. I suggest reading authors like Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Carl Hiaasen, Jim Butcher, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roger Zelazney, Stephen King and lots of other great authors to help improve your grammar, spelling and punctuation.

When you're reading, and you start reading a lot, you'll tend to start recognizing styles of writing as well as remembering how the sentences and paragraphs were constructed; as well as the sort of punctuation used.

Reading and writing. Works like a charm.  :wink:

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  • 1 month later...

It takes a lot of reading to improve grammar. If you communicate with someone who doesn't have much problems in grammar you could ask that the person to correct you whenever you err. Also, always edit whenever you write since the errors you make may be something you can figure out with patience.

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  • 2 months later...

For me, constant exposure on all aspects will always be the key.  Here's an example based on experience.  Previously, I worked as a customer care specialist and had to talk in English 8-hrs a day, 5 times a week.  Sure enough, I got fluent speaking the language and thought I was doing okay, so I stopped reading novels.  That was my mistake.  I can speak English alright, but my spelling and punctuation has gone bad.  So, the lesson is to never stop reading, listening, and speaking the language to make sure that your grammar stays good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Though I'm already proficient in the English language, particularly as to spelling, there are still many aspects of grammar which I have not substantially absorbed.  I'll be taking a major examination this coming week, which is why I'm reviewing for it as well.  I'm studying to improve my diction and expand my vocabulary.  In addition, I am also studying grammar for purposes of reading comprehension and paragraph organization/development.

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You can improve your grammar by analyzing whatever sentence you make. If it "feels wrong" when you read it, then you already know you have to improve!

I agree. If you're someone who consumes a lot of English media such as movies, books, or even just articles online, then you'd get used to it enough to know when something sounds out of place, and considering most of us probably encounter English based media everyday then it shouldn't be too hard to miss.

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I find that reading is a fantastic way to improve grammar. I always tell my kids to read as often as they can as it gives you more literacy and it also gives you more intelligence.

There is nothing better than being able to use big words in a sentence as it sounds fantastic and the peson speaking sounds well educated.

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For me, there really is no perfect formula to improving grammar as there are as many ways you can try. From there, you can best gauge which method works best for you. Memorizing rules while helpful discourages me, and it sometimes makes me more confused. thus, i agree with everyone who said that constantly exposing yourself to language materials (movies, comics, etc.) can help a lot as you become more familiar with usage and syntax, that eventually you just know something is 'off' when you are writing something.

However, if your goal is to gain technical knowledge, knowing how to explain why such and such is wrong and whatnot, then memorizing rules is key.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What I did to improve my grammar is proof-read what I wrote. It may sound stupid but it helped me improve my grammar. Next to that is reading English books and listening to English songs. I wanted to have a better grammar than everyone else either in school or on the internet. Pronouncing words helped me also.

If that isn't enough, you can take online tutorials and ask a friend, who is good in English, to help you improve your grammar.

Good luck!

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  • 11 months later...

I continuously improve my grammar by reading grammar books, taking online grammar tests, and proofreading. When I became a proofreader that's when I started to be very meticulous in my grammar. Also, I focus more on my weaknesses such as prepositions and punctuation. It will also be helpful to have someone who is very good in grammar, so you can have explanation and answers to your questions. :smile:

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If you have a good reliable grammar book or online resource I guess that is better than nothing at all. It is a challenge doing it randomly but for me having some bits and pieces of lessons each time is fine I will just try to put everything I learn together and apply them. There is no perfect time except for NOW

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I try to focus on what other people write, and then I slightly mimic them. That's pretty much how I learn languages, I read and mimic people's way of wording, speaking, etc. Sounds kinda lame but that's just the way I am, I guess. And as mentioned multiple times before, reading and writing helps tremendously too - I've written a few of my own novels (well most are unfinished, but a novel is a novel) and I also spend most of my free time reading books.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Aside from reading like it's your job, and watching movies and series till your eyes cross, there's also listening to podcasts on your commute. Find a topic that interests you and ignore the rest of world. It'll make you less frustrated about the traffic and the pervs you encounter. :) Also, when you have to look something up, pick a website that's fun and lively, like Grammar Girl. Basically, do everything you can to make learning fun. I promise, eventually, grammar will be the least of your worries.

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  • 6 months later...

Practice.  That is all it takes... I learnt English on my own (I feel like a broken record repeating this oooooover and ooooover) when I was 16 years old...  Well, let's say that what they say ''If you don't use it  you lose it'' it's very true.  At least when it comes to languages.  I use English daily... but I do feel at times my grammar is not as sharp as before. Sadly the posts i read in forums (from natives and non natives) don't help much... most natives seem to make a lot terrible grammar mistakes, like for example using ''their'' instead of ''they're'' and so on. 

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