Typical composition and usage problems I get in my conversation in English classes in INDIA:
I will call them limitations or lack of exposure to ‘right usage’ as they can be learned by speakers given the right environment to practice. The brain needs time to migrate from Hindi Grammar platform to composition and usage in Spoken English. How much time is enough depends on the intensity of your practice and knowing what’s going wrong. Read on for 7 most common grammar limitation faced by us as Indians.
An essay on ‘My Cow’ when I am actually talking about ‘My Company’. Does this Sound familiar? Do you know how to form a question when you are making a request? Learn to make sentences in many different ways.
As long as you can understand Comics and relate with the humor its fine with me 🙂
What a grammar book does for me is give me the tools in the same way that I had the tools when I learned the alphabet. If you give me the tools, the syntax, and the grammar, it still doesn’t tell me how to write Ulysses – a novel.
Do I need to do ‘all the grammar’ before I begin to Speak?
Can you drive a car in a city like Delhi without knowing the directions or traffic rules?
Not possible … without getting lost or caught. So, knowing and following basic directions and rules are needed if you don’t want to get caught or get lost!
Whereas, if you don’t need to be a traffic cop in Delhi, you don’t need to know or even read the complete ‘Motor Vehicle Act.’ Similarly, for Spoken English you only need functional or Basic Grammar which is taught to you in the form of activities in the class and simple DOs and DON’Ts. The good news is that you don’t need to learn all the rules, learn all the tenses or read through the complete grammar book before you begin to speak right sentences. Another good news is English Grammar is very easy even as compared to Hindi grammar. There are also lot of similarities to understand quickly and some differences that you may need to know.
In doing conversations in English, there is no possibility that you can cram all the sentences that you may need to speak even as you do simple chit-chat or gossip with a friend – forget answering interview questions without basic knowledge of Grammar. By this time, you may have realized that applying Hindi grammar OR any translation based method from any book does not work. In my view it cannot work, it won’t work. So my humble request to you “stay clear from English teachers or trainers who tell you that you don’t need any grammar.”
On the other side, you need to learn ‘Wren & Martin’ level of grammar and composition if you want to be an excellent speaker – a TV anchor Or ‘write a book’. And yes, I agree with you that learning grammar by the book, from the CD, without any speaking practice, opportunities or real-life situations and on your own is a rather tedious task ‘akin to’ knowing the complete Motor Vehicle Act.!
So, you have understood that, you don’t need ‘all the Grammar’ but you need to know the Basic rules of the game before you start playing it or to play it better. As you begin to play the game, you lose more than you win but you are learning ‘as long as’ you stay ‘in the game’. Later as you absorb more and more of this rule-book called grammar, you definitely also play better.
The start point is self-assessment and if you are able to speak your sentences than you know the basic grammar behind even if you don’t know the terms used by a grammar teacher….you only need to speak more, use new words and expressions and keep correcting your mistakes under the guidance of qualified coach.
I am a trainer of communication skills, my task in the language class is to get my students to speak as much as possible while I do grammatical corrections on the go…pointing out mistakes as politely as possible. I sometimes need to explain to you the grammatical error and its implications on your image as an English speaker.
Since some of you may not understand the ‘Terms of Grammar’ (or English Jargon), what I do in my first few classes is avoid using any grammatical term before we discuss it and all the students in the class understand it properly. To make you Learn functional Grammar usage and composition of sentences for your ‘Spoken English’; We do a lot of activities and I give you a lot of examples (we need to avoid Hindi but grammatical similarities can be drawn). The result is that you understand the BASIC rules of English grammar as deeply as possible almost as much as you understand them for your first language. You also See, listen, Read and Speak (or do it yourself activities in the L@b) so that you really learn the grammar by interesting and ‘fun-to-do’ methods. you do not really need to cram the rules or learn them ‘by the rote’.
I also keep correcting your small grammatical mistakes as you speak in the class; so you follow ‘the rules of the game’ and learn them. Next time, you try to play it right and when sometimes you do it wrong your still learn from the mistake… Later, as you grow with the usage of simple DOs and DON’Ts of English conversations, you win more & more games and lose some…You learn best by ‘staying in the game’ and playing it again and again.
Keep playing the game of ‘English Conversations’ and have fun as you go for the Long Drive!
At T.r.i.c.k.s , we give unlimited practice time in an English Language L@b and have the most innovative tools to help you understand the functional parts of grammar and give you ample opportunities to use it for construction of new types of sentences/questions or expressions and speak them out in the class…
To demonstrate the importance of PoS, let me use an example to explain ‘What are parts of speech’ and ‘How many do need to identify for quick formation of sentences’. Assume that in place of teaching you ‘How to make a sentence’, I am explaining to you ‘How to make a cup of tea’. You need to know the ingredients before you even start, right? Similarly our mind needs to understand various ‘Types of words’ before it can start making sentences in any language. These types of words are Parts of Speech (or PoS) as they are called in a grammar books. You sure got it and also how vital is the understanding of PoS or in other words ‘Why do we need to start from the basics?’
‘Parts of Speech’ or different types of words viz. Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Adjectives etc. are the ingredients for making a sentence, they are like milk, water, tea-bag, sugar etc. for making ‘a cub of tea’ You have to know the ingredients pretty well and identify them clearly before you can make a sentence in the right sequence and quickly enough to speak it. The demand for quick formation of a sentence is more when you want to be spontaneous with your response. You also need to know them for attending an Active Vocabulary session, as well. There we need to Learn the meaning of a ‘new word’, is it ‘a Noun’ or ‘a Verb’. You want to speak ‘the new word’ in a sentence of your own. You cannot use ‘a verb’ in place of ‘a noun’ … could you?
At first, to Speak English at the very BASIC level you only need to know 3 types of words: Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives and you need to know them along with the usage – particularly Nouns -Count/Uncountable. Simple definitions of these three types of words are:
If it is a Noun, you have to identify it as Uncountable or Countable and within Countable there can be Singular or Plural; uncountable by definition can’t have singular/plural forms. Some Nouns can be used both as Countable and Uncountable. e.g. How many times have I told you to do it in time.
Grammar milestone #1 for Spoken English BASIC class: To Know and identify the ‘Parts of Speech’ or Types of words particularly: Nouns (countable and uncountable), Verbs/Helping Verbs and Adjectives. Please give yourself 3-4 days and build some Active Vocabulary along with it. Do some Activities in the class and practice the usage in the Language L@b.
Grammar Challenge for Students of Intermediate/Advanced classes: If you understand and can identify and use all the ‘Parts of Speech’ 8 or 9 – depending on the grammar book you refer to; We offer attractive scholarships!