26/04/2016 EnglishOne

Basic Grammar for Speaking

4 Essential Grammar Tips to Improve your Speakingbaby-reading112

Think about how you learnt your home language – your parents didn’t start by teaching you grammar rules did they? You learnt your language through speaking and listening. So why would you try to learn English by studying grammar first?

Speaking is the first step for anyone who wants to learn English. We highly recommend working on your speaking and listening skills first, before you start to study English grammar.

Once you begin to speak English with a bit of fluency you will find grammar much easier! It doesn’t work the other way around: studying grammar will not help you with your speaking.


  1. The Subject
  2. The Predicate
  3. The Verb
  4. The Article

These four topics are the minimum you need to know for fluent speaking. Once you are comfortable with these then you can move on to more advanced grammar.

The Subject

Every sentence in English needs to have a subject. This is the person or thing that you are talking about – the who or what. Without a subject your sentence won’t make sense and nobody will understand what you are talking about.

Here are some sentences with the subject highlighted:

  1.  I  am happy.
  2.  My friend  is very tall.
  3. Why are  they  taking so long?
  4.  That car  is super fast.
  5.  We  are going to watch a movie.
  6. Who are  you  going to watch a movie with?
  7.  The water  is too cold.
  8. When is  he  coming home?

The Predicate

The predicate is the phrase in a sentence that contains the verb. The predicate tells us what the subject is or what the subject is doing.

If we look at the sentences from above we can now see which part of the sentence is the predicate:

  1.  am happy .
  2. My friend  is very tall .
  3. Why are they  taking so long ?
  4. That car  is super fast .
  5. We  are going to watch a movie .
  6. Who are you  going to watch a movie with ?
  7. The water  is too cold .
  8. When is he  coming home ?

So now we have identified the subject and the predicate in sentences. What we need to look at next is the action associated with the subject. This is where the verb comes in.

The Verb

A verb can either be the action, existence or occurrence in a sentence. Most of the sentences above use the existence form of the verb:  am  is  and  are .

The most common type of verb though, is the action verb:

laugh, run, walk, cry, sing, dance, play, read, drink, talk, sleep, jump, eat, drive, swim, write, type etc.

You get the idea right?

While it is important to understand the verb, you can’t have a sentence with just a subject and a verb:

Eg: Alice talk. icon-times 

This is why the predicate is needed – with the predicate we can turn this into a proper sentence:

Eg: Alice is talking. icon-check 

The verb can also come at the beginning of a sentence.
  •  Give  this to your sister.
  •  Read  your book every day.
  •  Forget  all you know about learning English.

The Article

While articles appear so easy, they can be quite tricky. But by paying careful attention to them you can quickly avoid making any mistakes. Here are the three articles used in English:

  • A
  • An
  • The
 A  and  An  have the same meaning and are known as indefinite articles. You use  A  before words that start with a consonant, and  An  before words that start with a vowel.

For example:

  1.  An  elephant.
  2.  A  telephone.
 The  is what we call a definite article.  The  is used to show that you are talking about a specific noun that is known to both you and the person you’re talking to.

For example:screwdriver

  1. Please pass me  the  screwdriver.
  2. I am going to  the  supermarket.

What you can see from these examples is that we are talking about a specific screwdriver or supermarket. Both of these things are known to you and the person you are talking to. If you were to say “Please pass me  a  screwdriver” then I could give you any screwdriver that I can see.

Sometimes you don’t want to use an article, here are the four main instances when you don’t use an article:

When referring to a name:

  • “I’ll see you at Starbucks.”  [no article]      VS     “I’ll see you at the coffee shop.” [article]

When referring to general things in conversation:

  • Exercise is good for you.
  • Eating too much sugar is not a good idea.

When referring to sports:

  • I like to watch football.
  • Tennis is more difficult than it looks.

When referring to a country:

  • You don’t say the France, but France.
  • But, if you’re talking about several countries or regions then you can use  the  –  the  European Union,  the  United States.

To improve your fluency while speaking English, start by practising these elements first. Once you feel comfortable with these four topics then you can begin to

If you want more ideas on how to improve your English then contact us. By joining one of our specialized English courses you can develop your English skills quickly. And if you don’t feel like travelling you can have private online lessons. We are here to answer your questions!

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