This is a question that has been debated by linguists over many years. When it comes to learning a second language, is it necessary to learn grammar?
When we learn our mother tongue, did our parents sit us down as toddlers and teach us the grammar rules of our language? Of course not. So the question is, can we learn a second language like we learnt our own language without having to learn grammar?
If people are immersed in (totally surrounded by) the language they want to learn, especially (but not limited to) being at a younger age, then picking up the language without any formal learning is possible and quite common.
This is, however, not how many of us learn a second language. Sure, if we go to the country of the language we wish to learn, we will hopefully acquire a lot of the language naturally (vocabulary, idioms, slang and so on), but when it comes to putting the language together to make coherent sentences, grammar is important to know. Making grammatical mistakes when we speak or write is a natural part of learning a language and this is fine but to improve our production skills (writing and speaking), learning grammar is essential. Grammar is the building blocks of any language and necessary for us to convey what we want to say properly.
Also if you are interested in taking English Language proficiency tests where there are grammar parts to the test, learning grammar is essential for passing these tests with a high score.
For example, let’s try a typical question from part VI of the TOEIC test.
The new software _________ by many companies since 2015.
- is used
- have been used
- has used
- has been used
The correct answer is……
4. has been used. Why ?
There are different grammatical concepts to think about here:
- Subject verb agreement– software is uncountable and therefore a singular verb must be used.
- Tenses – we must use the perfect tense as we have used the time marker “since” plus a specific time.
- Passive voice versus active voice– we must use passive voice here as the verb “use”is transitive so it must have a direct object following it but there is no direct object after the verb in the example so the verb must be in the passive voice.
A native English speaker would automatically choose the correct answer because it sounds correct but if English is not your first language, it is often hard to tell if something sounds correct or not and so you should know your grammar !
Grammar is necessary and it can also be fun to learn so please remember this when you are learning grammar next time in class 😀
Let’s practice some grammar! Are you ready?
Choose the correct answers :
I have been learning English _____________.
- since two months
- during two months
- two months ago
- for two months
My teacher does not _________us use our phones in class.
Find the mistakes :
- On the weekend, I will go bushwalking because I like to be in the nature.
- I have met a lot of people when I was in class.
- I like my class because everyone are friendly.
You can get my contact information from the contact page of this website or connect with me on social media for the answers and explanations to these mini quizzes 😀