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Debunking Common Misconceptions about English Grammar for ESL Learners

Debunking Common Misconceptions about English Grammar for ESL Learners

Believe it or not, grammar is the structural foundation on which our ability to express ourselves is built. It is a common misconception among non-native as well as native speakers that one doesn’t need to learn the rules of grammar to express themselves in English. Whether you consciously understand the rules of grammar or unconsciously pick the concept from your surroundings, you need to know grammar to express yourself in the English (or whatsoever) language.

Many misconceptions built around grammar create a mental hurdle for ESL learners. Today we are debunking some of the most common misconceptions about English Grammar for ESL Learners.

Myth 1: English Grammar is too complex and difficult to learn.

English is considered tough compared to many languages, mainly due to its humongous vocabulary, challenging pronunciation, and tricky grammar. We cannot deny the fact that English grammar may seem intimidating to non-native speakers for whom English is a foreign language. But learning can be fun if you have the right resources and support.

You can simplify and make your English grammar learning experience fun by utilizing resources like ESL Grammar Workbooks. You can additionally take advantage of some ‘out of the book’ techniques as follows –

·       Interact with some native English speakers without bothering about speaking correctly or fluently.

·       Watch a video in English with subtitles. Repeat watching it with subtitles on and sometimes off. Try to learn the pronunciation, vocabulary, and sentence structure by repeatedly watching the video.

·       Follow an English newspaper or a website regularly. Read varied topics and subjects regularly.

·       Whenever you read something interesting, try to write it down in your own words (in English, of course)

·       Try journaling every day and writing about your everyday experiences.

·       Play grammar-based games if you find them interesting.

·       Join a conversation or speaking club to practice English in a real-world situation.

Myth 2: Grammar rules are set in stone and can never be broken.

One of the greatest misconceptions about English grammar is its rigidity. Many non-native people try to mug up grammar rules as they believe they are set in stone. It is essential to understand that despite grammar being a set of rules, it needs to be understood, not mugged up.

If you believe that the rules of English grammar cannot be broken, you need to open some English language learning books and check for yourself the long list of exceptions to the grammar list. You, too, can break the rules of grammar without being wrong. For that, you must know English grammar well because you need to know the rules to break them elegantly. Let us give you some examples of breaking grammar rules that you can see all around you.

·       English grammar dictates that sentences should not end with a preposition, but writers constantly break the rule elegantly. You can also do it without bothering about where these rules come from.

·       Grammar rules state that conjunctions are for joining two sentences, and no sentence should start with a conjunction. But, have you ever noticed how many sentences begin with ‘and’ and ‘but’?

·       The traditional grammar rules tell us that ‘they,’ ‘their,’ and ‘them’ are plural pronouns and must follow a plural noun. Now, they are accepted as a ‘gender-neutral’ term and are being used interchangeably with ‘he’ and ‘she.’ Instead of ‘he or she,’ we are writing ‘they’ as a singular pronoun without a specified gender.

These are just examples; when you pay attention to your surroundings, you will find a whole bunch of examples highlighting the fact that grammar rules are not set in stone; they can be altered and broken.

Myth 3: It’s not essential to focus on grammar when learning English.

The above-discussed point may push you toward the assumption that there’s no need to focus on grammar when learning English. This is wrong. Though grammar rules can be broken at some points and may get altered over a period of time, the rules are essential.

Grammar is the skeletal or the basic structure that gives shape and a framework to English sentences. You cannot express yourself in any given language unless you know grammar rules. Having proper knowledge of grammar ensures that the message you want to deliver reaches the other person correctly. However, knowing the rules of grammar is not important. You must practice implementing the rules in your sentence. For this purpose, you can use resources like ESL workbooks and Grammar workbooks.

Myth 4: You must memorize all grammar rules to be fluent in English.

This is one of the most dangerous myths, as it can impede your progress in English. When you focus too much on grammar and its rule, you cannot bring fluency to your speech or writing. Many experts believe that focusing too much on grammar is the biggest obstacle that comes in the way of English fluency.

If you want to write well, you need to be proficient in grammar, without a doubt. But, if you wish to be fluent in speaking English, you can pay little attention to grammar as speaking doesn’t require us to be perfectly correct. You are considered fluent if you can express yourself and others get what you say easily.


Grammar is an integral part of any language as it contains the rules and regulations of that particular language. English grammar is tricky compared to many languages and can sometimes be intimidating. But, having the right tool and resources can help anyone to be proficient in English easily.

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