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Wake Up from the English Grammar Matrix!

English Grammar Matrix
I have an impression that the majority of foreigners who want to improve their English are obsessed with English grammar. And mind this – I’m not using the word “obsessed” lightly. I’m using the word’s “obsessed” most extreme meaning!

Now I’m going to draw a typical profile of someone who wants to improve English – and don’t be offended if you recognize yourself by my description. I’m doing it for your own good, and you’ll find out why I’m doing it in a few paragraphs!

So here’s the typical foreign English speaker talking about his/her English fluency issues:

“I want to improve my English. My grammar is very bad and I feel embarrassed when I speak English with others. I can understand English very well when I read newspapers and when others talk to me, but when I start speaking I make many grammar mistakes. I know that I should improve my English grammar to start speaking better, and I’m desperate to become more confident. Can you suggest a good English grammar book or software that would help me improve my English grammar?”

Whenever I get to read or hear something like this, it makes me angry. No really, putting all jokes aside, it makes me really angry 😡

“Why don’t you understand that English grammar has nothing to do with your spoken English confidence! Arghhhhhh!!!”

I’m not talking about those foreigners whose basic English knowledge is very poor. Those folks should indeed go and learn basic English grammar and vocabulary in the first place, it’s out of question.

I’m talking about those whose general English knowledge is good; they simply lack spoken English confidence and fluency.

But instead of jumping into enjoying life through English and communicating AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE they’re still stuck in the mindset of an English learner drilling through English grammar textbooks and writing sample sentences in a copybook. They’re still having a tunnel vision and can’t think outside the box. They’re still so obsessed with English grammar that they can see grammar as the ONLY way to confident and fluent English!

They think – “I need to improve my English… All right… Then I need to learn English grammar, right? Yeah, that’s what I need! English grammar, English grammar, how to improve it? What are the best ways to improve it?” So they commit themselves to this narrow, single-minded approach of English improving by focusing on grammar EXCLUSIVELY.

Are you a taken aback by what I just said? Are you even offended? 😯

Sorry, but I won’t take my words back because I believe a shock therapy sometimes is the ONLY way to open one’s eyes to reality!

Welcome to English Grammar Matrix!

Remember Neo from the “Matrix” films? You’re the same if the only thing you can think of when it comes to improving your English is English grammar!

Just like Neo you live in a virtual reality. But unlike him, your virtual reality is created by your own beliefs. In this case, it’s a self-imposed and a thousand times reinforced belief that the only thing that you have to work on is English grammar, and then you’re English fluency will improve.

Sooner or later, however, the day of reckoning comes and the plug has to be unplugged and I’m not really sure if you can do it yourself…

Wake up, you don’t need English Grammar!
WAKE UP! YOU DON’T NEED ENGLISH GRAMMAR!

Are you shocked? Good! If you haven’t got a clue why I’m so against English grammar, here’s another confusing bit of information – I’m not saying English grammar is bad. I’m just saying you DON’T NEED it!

English grammar is something that exists on its own – it’s the rules that constitute English syntax and determine how the words are positioned in a sentence. Grammar is there regardless of whether we want it or not, and most importantly – regardless of whether we’re AWARE of it or not ❗

I truly believe that you need to be able to explain the most advanced English grammar rules only if you want to become a professional linguist. Other than that, you’re perfectly fine by being able to SPEAK correctly, and while it doesn’t exclude speaking with perfect grammar, it focuses on natural speech pattern acquisition rather than on learning and recognizing grammar rules.

Do you start getting the picture now?

Once your general English knowledge is decent, you need focus your English improvement on communication and speech instead of the “I-need-to-improve-my-English-grammar” mindset. By improving your formal English grammar you’ll become proficient at knowing grammar rules and writing sentences on paper; when it comes to speaking English – it’s an entirely different story altogether!

Your formal grammar becomes useless, but not because it would be useless as such. It’s simply because when you try to apply English grammar rules in your speech, it becomes interrupted, hesitant and slow.

You can create a vicious circle whereby grammar books only exacerbate the issue but you’re clinging to them with even bigger vigor simply because… you believe that the more grammar you’ll learn, the better your English speech will become!

As I already pointed out previously, this belief is founded in the traditional English learning industry and quite naturally most foreigners adopt the same attitude. The reasoning is the following – “if it’s done at school, it has to be right!”

But no matter how badly you want to believe that it’s true, nothing could be actually further from truth! 😉

Academic approach to English improving will make you more knowledgeable, no doubt about that. Your communication skills, on the other hand, will be left far behind ❗

Is that what you want? Behind left behind and living in the glass cell like millions of other foreign English speakers in English language Matrix?

WAKE UP!

Robby

P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

 

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Thanks for your comment, and I completely agree with you about 5 days of real-life English practice being worth more than a month of typical grammar studies. Grammar is what exists in spoken English naturally and the best way to achieve fluency is practice, practice and practice once more with maybe a little bit of grammar! 😉

  • mans404597

    great article. you know i am also very angry about this traditional english learning mechanism. grammar, reading, collection of new words(vocabulary) this is helpful but not in real life when it comes to speaking in english. you know 5 days of communication program which include anything but practical, worth more than a month by spending time on writing, reading, grammar. but don’t know when that english teachers will understand this.nanyways you are doing a great job. keep it up. keep writing.ntake care.

  • Hamza Alharbi

    good

  • Yes, I have to agree with you 100%. Unfortunately even so called “modern” language teaching methods have changed little over the years and still focus on memorizing word lists, grammar rules etc…nnHere’s an example from my experience with my daughters. They attend a primary school here in Ireland and their English is brilliant as they learned the language naturally. English is spoken all around them and it was the very same way I learned Russian when I was little.nnThey also learn Irish at school, but guess what – even after five years of constant Irish studies they can’t even maintain the simplest conversation in Irish… They are very good at classroom studies, writing etc, but they can’t speak anywhere near the level of English they spoke having only spent a few months in the country!nnThe Irish teaching methods used in a 21st century school are just ridiculous, for example they are required to cram Irish word lists and know their spellings despite not knowing… what those words actually mean!!! And I’m not joking, it’s a fact. They’re being given 100 times more learning material than they can digest, so they just do what they’re asked – mechanical spelling memorization, intuitively filling in grammar tests etc. nnAnd they still have ambitious plans about increasing Irish speaker numbers 4 times by 2050 or something – it’s all b&*$*t!!! All those old grey men sitting in government are light years behind of what’s going on in real life and they just don’t get that you just can’t 1) force language upon children – they won’t embrace it if stupid teaching methods are used; 2) you can’t make someone speak a language through meaningless, boring and idiotic mechanical repetition, memorization etc. – only by actually USING the language NATURALLY one can start speaking it! nn

  • Well, fluent speech can’t be measured as such, while grammar can; that’s why school education’s filled to the top with it.nnThe more I read about language education, the more I firm my belief that there’s a desperate need to teach students HOW TO STUDY. nnAfter school they end up in a vacuum, which they fill by shattered memories left from classes. Guess what they did in class? Studied grammar, for sure. So that’s what they intend to do. nnIt would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

  • Hi Franz,nnThanks for your comment – you’re absolutely correct!nnI only suspect that English teaching institutions won’t take my ideas on board because the old-school methods have been there for hundreds of years and my suggestions would be viewed as preposterous.nnAlso getting rid of thousands upon thousands of academics whose only purpose is to write grammar textbooks (which don’t actually make English students fluent!) would result in a massive overhaul of the whole industry – and everyone will be against it. nnAfter all, traditional eduction is a money making machine and for someone to come out and admit openly that the average English student doesn’t need grammar studies would take real courage.n

  • Franz Hauser

    Thank you for this wonderful articel. Your comment should be transfered to all english teaching institutions/schools around the world. Its a problem that hours and hours are spent to the correct grammar and not to speak fluently. n