Using Grammar when Speaking

Using Grammar in Conversation

I answer a listener question regarding a very important topic – using grammar while speaking. We know how to learn grammar and how to practice speaking, but how can we combine them? How do you speak using correct grammar? How do you transfer what you learn in textbooks over to real-life situations?

In this episode, I give my current experience on what to do.

My Method

I’ll explain what I like to do, but keep in mind this won’t work for everyone. 

Believe it or not, I never study grammar!

When I’m reading a text in another language or talking to my teacher, I might sometimes come across grammar I’m not familiar with. In those cases, I’ll note it down and research it when I’m free. Then I’ll make some example sentences using the grammar and also find some sentences from the internet. I’ll also add it to flashcards so I can continue to study that grammar and consolidate it in the future. Finally, I’ll add the grammar structure to my language cheat sheet, and I’ll have the intention to use it in my next speaking session. My teacher will correct me if I’m using it wrong and often help me use it in more situations.

Doing this repeatedly helps the grammar stay in your mind for longer.

In short…

  • See grammar through reading or other input methods
  • Study the rules by researching online or in books
  • Make some example sentences 
  • Add them to flashcards to study in the future
  • Add to my language talk cheatsheet 
  • Practice with my teacher

This may not work for you. This is just the method I prefer to use. I’m not a huge fan of studying from grammar books. If you like it, then go for it.

However, I would warn that I think this is the reason most people struggle to incorporate correct grammar in their speaking.

They focus too much on the theory and not enough on the practice.

Deliberate Action -> Fluency

In my view, it’s a good idea to start with some deliberate practice and that will eventually lead to doing it naturally. 

It’s like riding a bike. The first few times, you need to really focus on how to do it and try really hard not to fall off. But after that, it will become natural. Deliberate action leads to proficiency. 

Vocabulary

Some of the harder vocabulary I mentioned in this episode.

  • Incorporate – to include something, absorb
  • Deliberate – On purpose (not accidentally)
  • Intention – Plan, goal

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