How can you speak English with no grammar mistakes? Without being a native English speaker, you might think this is impossible. This couldn’t be further from the truth: Many learn English perfectly as a second language, but it does take some practise to get it just right.
What is the best way to learn English grammar? From lessons at school it may seem that grammar is always dry, repetitive and without context, memorising long lists of irregular verbs that doesn’t inspire much creativity. The very word “grammar” can put students off completely, but learning grammar can be involving and fun when part of a bigger picture: learning to use the system of the English language properly. As with any system, you need to understand the rules of grammar before you can break them.
The Atlantic magazine has some great suggestions for how a grammar lesson may be made fun by creating a situation and a context for the grammar which the students enjoy investigating. One good tip from The New York Times to learn better punctuation consists in picking a punctuation mark, the semicolon for example, and scanning a text for that particular sign. This allows you to see how it is used.
For beginners, there is no one way to start. Involve yourself by listening to English radio, watching English films and series, read English books or graphic novels, and you will start to recognise how certain structures are used. Pictures are an easy way to start learning: you can go through an English lesson as a complete beginner, without using your first language at all, and have really learnt something at the end of it. One of the best sources to start learning English grammar is via the British Council’s English Grammar pages where you can find quiz games and exercises for any level. The best way to learn good grammar is to have an engaged teacher who can make the material engaging and follow your development, and who can support and sensitively correct your mistakes.
When studying English for a test, grammar can be particularly daunting. The gap fill exercises and one option answers can make it seem that there is only one correct way. You will discover just how wrong that is when you learn to use English grammar for writing; it is very adaptable. When studying English for a placement test, ssc exam, cat or bank exams, what is tested is the basic correct usage, which needs to be practised extensively and in many different scenarios. Intensive study with a group of peers and the support of a teacher is the best way to learn proficiency - their input will help motivate you towards your exam. Reading lists of grammar rules has limited potential, as you have little experience in applying it. Our best advice to you is to keep grammar learning involved in the bigger picture - and practice in any way you can, as often as you can.