Very often, when conveying your thoughts in writing using the English language is also a test of your intelligence. This is because you are judged by how convincing you are able put your message across. Learning English grammar is therefore important in proving your intelligence. There are many tests of such intelligence you need to be wary of.
One common grammar rule that even native speakers forget is in showing possession. This is a common theme in the English language. When showing possession with “your”, be careful not to be confused with “you’re” or “you are”. For example, in this sentence, “The library book is not yours, so you’re reminded to take good care of it.” One way of remembering this rule is to replace the contraction with the phrase “you are” to check if it fits correctly.
Another common mistake is the use of the words “effect” and “affect”. In fact, even professionals sometimes get tripped up on the correct usage of these words. Just be wary that “affect” is a verb and is therefore the action to be done in a sentence, such as “Your diet affects your health.” On the other hand, “effect” is a noun or adjective, and used in a sentence such as “The effect of a poor diet is poor health.”
This leads us to two more words which are commonly confused with each other for learners of English. And they are “there” and “their”. The word “there” is used to indicate a location, while “their” is used to show ownership. However, this one is easy to remember. An example would be “There are many flowers in the vase, and each of their colours is different.”
“Good” and “well” are two words that are often taught wrongly in most English language schools. For example, “I am feeling good,” sounds normal and is common among speakers of English. However, this is actually not correct because “good” is not a noun, it is an adjective. “Well” is a noun, and so it should be used to replace “good” in this case. So, “I am feeling well” is the proper response to the question “How are you feeling?”
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for foreign learners of the English language is the proper usage of “a” and “an”. We use “an” before a word that begins with a vowel like “egg”. This seems easy enough, but gets problematic with words like “hour”, which doesn’t begin with a vowel. Only when it is pronounced do we understand why the word “an” is required.
Although learning the English language can sometimes be frustrating, with patience and practice it can be easily grasped within a year. It’s true that a learner can have the majority of the language down in a year. It just requires practice, practice and more practice.
About the Author
CY Lack is an experienced educator. He has been teaching English and Mathematics for more than 15 years. His mission in life is trying to improve the English standards of students in Singapore. His website is at Learn English Singapore