Grammar is the foundation for a language. There are many aspects to knowing grammar and many exceptions to the rules of learning grammar.
English is one such language. Although a vast majority of Indian students study English as the first or second language, when it comes to the knowledge of English grammar, there is a need for improvement.
According to a news report titled “In India, who speaks in English, and where?” in the Mint, only a few percent of the Indian population is fluent in English while for a majority English is either the first or second language. The proportion of English speakers might be falling.
Quoting the 2011Census figures, the report said that English is the main language or mother tongue of only 256,000 people, and 83 million people speak it as the second language while 46 million speak it as the third language.
According to the report, English is the 44th most widely spoken first language although it’s the second-most widely spoken second language. This shows why Indian students don’t have proficiency in English grammar.
Why is Grammar Important
If one has to write well, one has to know grammar. Grammar is essentially the backbone of a language. It’s the most important sentence and text-level facet of the writing processes and without its knowledge, it can cause confusion to both the writer and the reader.
In India, children first learn how to use grammar in English, at least in the English medium schools and in other languages including their spoken languages a little later. Some schools teach English grammar along with local language grammar at the same time.
This includes how to write sentences using the right punctuation and grammatical elements—tense, word order and the use of word classes like nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Be learning these elements children know that their words are meant to be read and understood and that that it’s easier if it has the right grammar.
Using correct grammar for both written and spoken communication is important because allows students to have their messages understood with clarity. It makes the process of communicating easier and enjoyable. Using incorrect grammar can cause confusion as the message becomes meaningless, unclear, and liable for misinterpretation.
How to Know If Your Child Has Problems With English Grammar
If a child is unable to or struggles to get their word across in English or any other language, for that matter. Well, it gets quite tricky here. Children are growing and are learning to understand and speak. Some children learn to communicate fast and some take time, so, you’ve to be very careful here about how to react to this situation.
As children miss a grammar or punctuation here or there while writing sentences, their writing comes across as one single statement void of any meaning.
Some children may confuse tenses— for example, they may use past tense for present or present tense for the future tense or vice versa.
There are also other problems like understanding or expressing in English, reading or spelling, writing, or even sequencing.
How To Develop and Improve Grammar?
Children learn grammar as part of their daily learning both at home (native language) and schools (native language and English) and sometimes it can be overwhelming for them. They may not even be aware that they are getting it wrong. Here are ways to correct their grammar.
Correct Them When They Speak Wrong
Children sometimes get their English wrong. They would say something like “The phone felled from my hand.” You must correct it and say “The phone fell from my hand.”
Because English is not our native language, children will get most of the words wrong initially, however, with your corrections, they will improve. If they get their grammar wrong, never say it on the face as it makes them very conscious. Just correct it by saying the right word.
Help Them With Sentence Structure
Sentence structure always differs and it can be difficult to explain to them about the variations at this age.
For example, you can do something like fill in the blank game at home.
- Suraj ________ gulab jamoons. (drinks, likes, walks, takes)
- Fish _________ in water. (live, run, sleep, play)
Tell Them The Right Tenses
Tenses are one thing where most children can falter. It’s easy for them to get the tenses right in their native language but it can get difficult in English. Children can practice by writing one sentence using all types of tenses.
We are in the park right now (Present)
We went to the park this morning (Past) We enjoyed at the park last evening (Past)
We will go to the park (Future)
We are on our way to the cinema (Present)
We saw a movie last week ( Past)
We are going to a movie this Sunday (Future)
It’s also good if you teach them the difference between ‘ing’ and ‘ed.’
Give them these below examples:
Get Their Punctuations Right
Teach your children the importance of punctuation and its uses. Give them child-friendly use case definitions.
Full Stop/Period- Must be always used at the end of a sentence.
Commas- Must be used to separate a list or clauses.
Exclamation- Must be used to emphasize a point.
Finally, tell them to read storybooks and newspapers to understand how sentences are formed and grammar is used. You can also show them movies (age-appropriate and with subtitles if required) to help them understand the grammar.
It’s always better to expose the child to language as it will not only help them learn the grammar but also to the rules and exceptions. Knowing grammar can make the understanding language much better and also fun.
At Orchids The International School, we help our students understand the nitty-grittiest of the English language and ensure that they remain proficient all their lives.