Learn English grammar or not?

There are two opposing views on the need to learn English grammar.

The first opinion about the study of English grammar can be conditionally called academic, because it is typical of English courses, schools and institutes. According to this opinion, it is impossible to learn English without mastering English grammar, or at least such knowledge of English will be illiterate.

The second polar opinion regarding the study of the grammar of the English language can be conditionally called alternative, because it is formed as a result of dissatisfaction with the results of academic education, and a successful breakthrough in mastering the English language, thanks to independent studies.

In my opinion, both of these opinions about the need to learn English grammar are extreme and distorted. The correct point of view is somewhere in the middle, closer to the alternative opinion.

The lack of an academic view of the need to learn English grammar.
In educational institutions, the study of English grammar is given too much attention. In the pursuit of literacy, it is forgotten that grammar is mainly needed to monitor and correct fluency in English. But since work on English grammar absorbs most of the time in educational institutions, the practical skills of English language remain in an infantile state. It turns out to be a rather comical situation: they bought a saddle – but there is no horse, and there is nothing to ride 🙂

Of course, this is not done out of malice. It’s just that learning English grammar is considered the most difficult part of learning, and therefore, due to the lack of study hours, most of the time is devoted to it. It is assumed that the simpler part of the work – the development of practical skills in English – the student will do on their own. But! Pupils learn not only English, and sometimes they do not even have enough free time to do homework in English grammar.

Disadvantages of an alternative view of learning English grammar.
Upon graduation, most students discover the following:

– they have difficulty reading English unadapted texts;
– they are very poor at capturing English speech;
– it is rather difficult for them to speak English on free topics.

And this despite the fact that they very often speak English grammar better than native English speakers, whom they do not understand. But they dreamed about the skills listed above.

Most of them wave their hands in disappointment, but those who really need English begin to “gnaw” English texts, listen to English speech, and try to develop their English colloquial phrases. At the same time, they have neither the time nor the desire to study English grammar.

As a result, they manage to achieve what they want, and they form the opinion that English grammar is not needed to learn English at all. But! After all, they had studied English grammar before, and they had a foundation that allowed them to move forward quickly.

If you study English without knowing any rules, you will face difficulties associated with the fact that it will not be easy for you to understand why some phrases and words are constructed and used in this way and not otherwise. This is not an insurmountable obstacle, but it will take you an unreasonably long time to independently understand many of the subtleties of the English language. It makes much more sense to clarify incomprehensible situations with the help of an English grammar reference.

A smarter approach to learning English grammar.
To form a reasonable approach to learning English grammar, it is necessary to realize that English grammar is secondary. Those. in the beginning, language arose as a means of communication, and the rules for using the language were formed in a natural way on an intuitive level. Only after that, people were able to abstract these generally accepted rules and reduce them into a system that consolidates linguistic norms. This means that it is not grammar that determines the language, but the language that determines the grammar. Or in other words, perfect knowledge of grammar does not give full knowledge of the language, while full knowledge of the language completely determines the knowledge of grammar. Or in another way, you can learn grammar from A to Z, but you will not be able to build the correct phrases from the point of view of common practice. At the same time, you can master the English language exclusively by practical methods without directly studying the rules of grammar, and at the same time you will be able to build the most complex language constructions absolutely correctly.

If you conclude from this that English grammar is not needed for language learning at all, you are wrong. Vice versa. The grammar of the English language is a wonderful trick that allows you to understand and master language constructions much faster than it happens naturally, due to the connection of logic. It is much easier and faster

for a person to remember meaningful information that has a logical structure. Connections, or bindings, are very important to human memory. If you remember some new information, it is very important that it is somehow logically tied to other information already known to you, and also that it itself has an internal logical structure. Grammar rules make it possible to quickly identif

y such connections and define structure.

Those. English grammar is a set of connections through which you can more quickly and more successfully understand and master new practical material. But if you remove the mastery of practical material from this process and leave only the knowledge of connections, you will get a monkey’s work. The studied connections will not connect anything. They will become a kind of tumbleweed that will wander aimlessly in your memory, not doing any useful work.

In order for the study of English grammar to really be useful, it must be used for its intended purpose, namely, to understand the connections in the new studied practical material. In practice, it looks like this. You are reading or studying some new English text. You come across some point that you do not understand from the point of view of English grammar. You open the corresponding section of English grammar, and study it exactly as much as you need to clarify the situation. If, while studying the English text, you do not have grammatical questions, then there is no need to study grammatical rules. many grammatical phenomena are intuitive and do not require special explanations. This is the best way to learn English grammar. Ultimately, remember how often you use the rules of the Russian language in your daily life, and whether all the learned rules of the Russian language turned out to be necessary for you. So in English, only a few rules will be needed, and it is they that need to be studied if necessary. Naturally, we are talking about the everyday level of English proficiency. If you are a philologist, knowledge of English grammar is your professional responsibility.

Learn English grammar or not?