I’ve heard a lot of intermediate and advanced English students say to me “I need to study and review the basics”.
I always say NO.
Most of my students can tell me what the present simple or past perfect are. However, they have difficulty using them in real situations.
This is because learning a language DOES involve a little theory, but you mostly need practice. English is NOT a school subject like mathematics! It is a skill you need to practice like driving a car.
If you do want to study grammar, never start from the beginning of a book. This is boring! Also, you are wasting time looking at things that you already know. That time could be better spent practicing something you don’t know.
So, how do you use a grammar book?
I usually recommend the Grammar in Use books. They have a lot of exercises. More importantly, they have something useful at the back to help you be more efficient.
- Go to the back of the book first! Trust me!
- In the back of the book, there is an exam.
- Do the exam.
- If you fail on any specific areas, those are the chapters that you should study. Don’t waste time studying areas that you got 100% correct!
- Now, make yourself a cup of tea, watch TV in English, speak or listen to our podcasts :-).