How to Learn Proper Grammar

How to Learn Proper GrammarYou haz cheezeburgerz. I haz cheezeburgerz. We all haz cheezeburgerz. The “I Haz Cheezeburgerz” Internet sensation might be cute. It might produce some giggles. But that fat cat does not know the first thing about proper grammar. He has completely misused the to have verb, and he has left out the indefinite article “a.” His online meme would be grammatically correct if he had written, “You have a cheeseburger. I have a cheeseburger. We all have a cheeseburger.” There is nothing wrong with having fun with grammar (like with “I Haz Cheezeburgerz”), but there is a time and place for such language-play. In academia, business, and most of everyday life (e.g., menus, signs, newspapers, etc.), it is important to learn proper grammar (and use it).

If you owned an upscale burger restaurant, you would not tell your prospective clients that you “has cheeseburgers for sale” (unless you were the creator of the “I Haz Cheezeburgerz” meme). Instead, you would tell your hungry customers that you “have burgers, including cheeseburgers” on your menu. The difference between has and have might seem minor, but if you consistently use poor grammar, you will appear unprofessional and may lose many potential customers.

While it is one of the most widely used languages in the world, English is also one of the most difficult languages to learn. It might seem daunting at first to learn proper grammar (including when to use full verbs, auxiliary verbs, and definite and indefinite articles), but the more you practice, the better you will become at speaking and writing grammatically correct English.

There are five useful tips that can help native- and non-native English speakers learn proper grammar. The first tip is to read, read, and read. Go to the library, download e-books, read magazines and cookbooks (The Book of Burger by Rachel Ray is a cookbook that will help you find wonderful recipes while learning proper grammar). The point is to read as frequently as possible. Pay attention to every sentence that you read. Make an effort to fully grasp what the author is trying to tell you. This will help you to understand how sentences are structured and learn English grammar faster.

Another great tip is to read aloud. Reading the written word aloud has many proven benefits. It helps individuals discover the relationship between how words appear on a page and how they sound when spoken. There is a difference between written and conversational English; reading aloud will train you to notice the subtleties between the two, and in so doing, will help you to learn proper grammar. This brings us to the next tip: the parrot method.

When you are about to travel to a country where a different language is spoken, you might try to learn the very basics of that language. Books, podcasts, and language CDs are excellent tools that will help you learn basic English grammar. When you use a podcast or language CD, a language instructor will typically encourage you to repeat after him or her. This repetition of a word or phrase is known as “the parrot method.” Verbal repetition is a great way to learn how to precisely mimic what an instructor is saying. The more you repeat, the better you will become at learning how the consonants and vowels of a language should sound. It also teaches you where to place the subject, object, and verb in a sentence, which are key  components for anyone who is trying to learn proper grammar.

While some people watch television or listen to the radio to learn how to speak a language, you have to be careful. TVs and radios are powerful tools for learning conversational English and building your vocabulary, but they are not necessarily the best avenues to learn proper grammar. You may also want to consider taking online English grammar courses to help learn grammar. There are many available online, so be sure to find one that is from a reputable company.

The last tip is to practice writing to enhance your grammatical prowess. Be sure to write in complete sentences (which means including a subject and a verb). If you have a friend who has impeccable English skills, you might ask him or her to read what you have written. Feedback from an English language expert should help you to improve your grammar as well.

If you do not wish to sound like a virtual cat, you can learn proper grammar by practicing one, some, or all of the aforementioned tips.

Image source: stuartmiles/BigStockPhoto.com

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