How to Improve Your Grammar by Reading Books
Perhaps each of us once asked "How to improve my grammar?". Improving your grammar is not only a laborious process of cramming grammar manuals. It is up to you to make your studies entertaining as well. Previously we suggested polishing up your grammar skills by means of learning English punctuation rules, but now we have something more interesting in store. Does reading improve grammar? Yes! We will show you how you can improve your grammar by reading your favorite books! It requires minimum efforts from you, but the results can be really amazing. So, you will need an absorbing book in English (we advise you to take a book initially written in English, not translated into it), some spare time and one of the next strategies.
Read from 50 to 100 pages a day.
This tip perfectly works alone, but only if you read a large number of pages every day. It is a fair compromise because you do not have to do anything else apart from reading per se. The thing is that such big amounts of written text go through your brain on a daily basis, and you remember different grammar structures automatically, without effort. Later on they emerge in different life situations, and you use all these phrases without even recalling where you got them.
Make use of new words from your books.
It will partially improve your spelling and partially enlarge vocabulary. Moreover, you will learn in what situations it is better to use specific English words, which eliminates semantic mistakes in your written works. We suggest doing it the following way:
- Read your books from electronic devices to simplify the process of highlighting interesting words. You can also copy them to a separate document to store all your reading vocabulary in one place.
- Whenever you come across an interesting word, look it up in the dictionary to check whether you get its meaning right. It is easier to memorize the correct meaning straight away than to re-learn this word in the future because you got it wrong initially.
- Next time you practice your writing, try to include there your new lexical units. Of course, you should analyze their stylistic features before doing so. For example, there is no place for an informal idiom in your essay or for bureaucratic words in your letter to a friend.
- When you have used a new word at least three times in different situations, it is most likely that you have remembered it for good.
Determine your weak points in grammar and pay attention to such structures in books.
Among the most popular difficulties in English grammar students typically name the following:
- the use of articles;
- the choice between tenses;
- sequence of tenses;
- direct and indirect speech;
- the use of prepositions;
- English idioms.
Sure, this list is far from comprehensive, but at least it gives you an outline or a direction in which you can start your work. Strategies suggested by our professional essay writers are numerous.
First, you can follow the above-mentioned advice and highlight interesting structures directly in the books. Then you can browse through them several times after finishing the book and try to think how you can employ these structures in your own speech.
Secondly, you can do this on the spot. When you come across an interesting case of English grammar usage, stop reading and repeat the sentence several times in your head, until you memorize it. Then think of your own examples based on this very structure, and memorize them too. Playing different dialogs in your head and establishing vivid associations will help you remember structures better. Let us show you an example.
For instance, you chanced on the next sentence in one of your books:
- The boy was neither tall nor short; his height was approximately that of an average European man.
Here you can single out this grammar structure: neither … nor …; having learnt from the dictionary that neither means “not either, as of persons or things specified,” you should repeat the sentence from your book several times. It will be even better if you can do it out loud: then you involve your aural memory as well. After doing so, make up your sentences with the structure:
- Neither Kate nor Ann wanted to go to the cinema that evening.
- I wanted neither ice-cream nor chocolate, which was rather strange for a sweet tooth.
- Nick saw neither happiness nor sadness on his friend’s face.
When you are working on making up your own sentences, imagine all these situations you are thinking about. By making these pictures vivid in your head, you increase your chances of remembering the structure more effectively. That is that! Now you can continue reading the book, and we move on to our next tip.
Thirdly, you can copy out grammatically difficult sentences and then show them to your English professor (or any friend of yours whom you trust with such issues). Ask them to explain the use of grammar in the sentence. When you have someone to help you out, the process of learning considerably accelerates.
Try to choose modern literature.
If you want to use books specifically for improving your writing skills, we recommend you to stay away from old works. They contain a lot of archaic grammar structures which will only confuse you even further. Moreover, the vocabulary in such works are mostly outdated, too, so it will not give you any benefits in terms of improving your mastery of the language.
Do not get us wrong: we appreciate classical English literature. We believe that its characters can teach you a lot and the plots will make you a well-rounded individual. However, when your aim is exactly English grammar, you had better choose modern literary works.
So, you can learn grammar by the book (and we mean a heavy grammar manual by that), or you can do it with a book. In the second case, you can take an interesting piece of fiction which will bring you a lot of pleasure together with language benefits. Basically, you should read a lot, pay attention to grammar structures that the author uses and try to copy them in your own writing. Reading books really can improve your grammar, and while you are in the process, our editing services may come in handy for you. We are always ready to improve your essay or paper, no matter how many mistakes there are in your work.