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4 Essential Grammar Tips to Improve your Speaking
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.
HERE ARE THE FOUR ESSENTIAL GRAMMAR TOPICS TO IMPROVE YOUR SPEAKING:
- The Subject
- The Predicate
- The Verb
- 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.
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:
- I am happy.
- My friend is very tall.
- Why are they taking so long?
- That car is super fast.
- We are going to watch a movie.
- Who are you going to watch a movie with?
- The water is too cold.
- When is he coming home?
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:
- I am happy .
- My friend is very tall .
- Why are they taking so long ?
- That car is super fast .
- We are going to watch a movie .
- Who are you going to watch a movie with ?
- The water is too cold .
- 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.
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:
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
- Give this to your sister.
- Read your book every day.
- Forget all you know about learning English.
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:
- An elephant.
- A telephone.
- Please pass me the screwdriver.
- 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
theFrance, 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