Sunday, 27 March 2016

How can you improve your English vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills?

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It's a really interesting question. First thought coming to my mind was - what is your goal with English? - what is the reason you are trying to make your grammar perfect - is it because of some English certificate or test? Or you just want to understand all the grammar constructions, exceptions, tenses and so on?
Check : English Grammar - Quick Revision Notes for BankLICRailway, and SSC recruitment Exam

If this is the case, I think, the best way to learn grammar is by doing practical exercises and watching videos where grammar is explained on the examples from real life.


How can you improve your English vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills?

But, if you want to get better in English in general - speaking, reading, listening - I don't think that extensive knowledge of grammar is necessary. Then you just need to practice English in real life without thinking about grammar. :) If this is the case, check out the following Quora threads:


How can you strengthen your English grammar?


For me, at least, it helped to focus on the rules as rules rather than trying to rely on intuition or what "sounds right". English grammar has its own internal structure, and learning about it explicitly will probably be more consistent than trying to reconstruct it through subconsious pattern-matching. 

Common advice for this sort of question is to practice. But that won't work if you're practicing incorrectly, and you will practice incorrectly if all you have to guide you is intuition. That will not only waste your time but also cement in bad habits that will be really hard to shake later on.

Now, learning the rules does not—should not—mean blindly memorizing everything. Instead, try to understand why the rules make sense and where they come from. Learn about the basic pieces that make up English grammar (like parts of speech and different kinds of clauses) and then build up an understanding of how they work together. It's much easier to remember which pronoun to use where if you understand what it's doing in a sentence rather than trying memorize every special case. This takes advantage of the internal structure I mentioned earlier; it lets you work with the language rather thandespite it.

As dated as it seems, diagramming sentences helped me pick out this internal structure. Understanding what role words can play in a sentence, how they can be replaced by phrases and how multiple clauses can be joined together made more complex sentence structures more accessible both as a reader and a writer. Drawing diagrams might have seemed a bit silly at first, but it ended up giving me a useful mental framework which still underlies my understanding of grammar today.


A couple of example diagrams (from Wikipedia), similar to the ones I learned in high school.

The diagrams themselves do not really matter too much. The core idea is to just somehowdevelop a systematic, structured understanding of English grammar. 

For me, going from an intuitive approach to a more structured, systematic one based on my knowledge of the actual rules had an immediate, measurable effect. Since this was back in high school, I was spending a bit of time on my own preparing for the SAT exam (or maybe PSAT), which has a significant grammatical component in the writing section that was consistently causing me trouble. Just realizing that, hey, I could use all those rules I learned earlier instead of going by what sounded right was enough to resolve all my problems with that section on the practice test. (After that, I was too lazy to do any more practice tests, but it worked out fine on the actual exam too so this story has a happy ending.)

Now, I don't know if this will work for anyone else, but it worked for me. In essence, it's actually very similar to how I learn ideas in mathematics or CS—not all that different from how I approach learning programming languages, for example. In fact, the core idea behind sentence diagrams is quite similar to how we work with grammars for programming languages or even the reduction rules that characterize their operational semantics and types. So I think my advice is particularly well suited to the sort of person that naturally gravitates towards programming or mathematics.


Guide for Vocabulary of the English Language.


I like to share some practical solutions with you.

First and foremost, you need to have the right frame of mind or mindset in order to attain English mastery.

This is a harsh reality, by virtue of the fact that English is our global lingua franca today.

As a matter of fact, it's the Language of the 21st Century!

Putting this mindset into tactical terms, this means that you have got to integrate your practising of English from multi-directional and multi-developmental angles into your everyday lifestyle.

Do  not approach your practising from the standpoint of ESL or EFL.  

[ESL=English as Second Language; EFL=English as Foreign Language].

ENGLISH IS A LIFE SKILL! 

In other words, you must not confine your learning and practising of English to the spending of prescribed hours you are studying or learning in a classroom, within four walls of a school.

It is important for you to understand that English mastery also involves the acquisition of five critical skills sets:

- Reading;
- Thinking;
- Listening;
- Speaking;
- Writing;

as applied in your everyday life activities of real-world communication with real people!

Like    the five spokes of a wheel held all together by the metal rim with the rubber tyre revolving around the hub, each of these areas    need to be strong in order  for the wheel to run smoothly on the  road, where rubber meets the road, just  as you  need  the five skill sets in order for you to attain English  mastery.

Seek every opportunity in your daily activities to practising English. 

- Reading an English story book regularly, or the daily English newspaper; better still, writing down what you have learned from  the    story or the news; in the case of news, expand your writing  with     your  view of their implications, say politically, economically, technologically and/or social-demographically;

- Watching an English movie without subtitles [you can always 'Pause" and/or     "Playback"  to  recap/review useful dialogues]; better still, write down    your     impressions and/or feelings about the movie, say in the form of  a  movie review;

- Listening to pod-casts in English, or the English news broadcasts, like the BBC; 

- Using your smartphone, fully loaded with "Learning English" applications, so that you can apply "just-in-time" learning or "learning-on-the-go" while commuting or waiting in queue; 

- Striking up casual conversations with random Caucasian folks in the queue, say at any Starbucks or in any supermarket; 

- Using FaceTime or Skype to converse with international friends who speak English; 

- Writing to international English-speaking pen-pals; 

- Calling up customer  service of any MNC's, and pretending to put forward your complaint, in English of course; 

- Dropping by a large hotel reception, and pretending to check up the    hotel  for a forthcoming party of international friends, to seek opportunities to speak English;

Sneaky, but who cares!

- Finding  one daily  news article in your native language, and translating it into  English to the best of your ability;  this is absolutely good practice  to perfect your thinking and writing in English; 

[Get hold of a friend  who is a top dog in English so as to elicit candid feedback, or your  friendly English teacher, if any;]

- Listening to,  and singing in the shower with, English songs, as a means to practise your pronunciation;

- Watching YouTube video clips in English,  and pausing in between to repeat what you have just heard;  this   is   to practise your listening  skills; better still, write  down   your   impressions by consolidating and  summarising the key  ideas  and   salient  points, to  practise your writing; you can even do shadowing  practice;

-  Grabbing any postcard or photo or picture at random,  and  proceeding  to describe  in  detail, first orally (on to recorder  of your smartphone), and later  in  written form, what's in the  picture:   

- whats  the theme/
- what's in  the  foreground/what's in the background/
- what's in  the centre or   middle/
- what's on the  right/what's   on the left/
- what's at  the  top/what's  at the  bottom/
- what at the top-right/top-left/bottom-right/bottom-left/
- what's  happening/is it   inside or outside/who's there/
- how's the weather   and/or   timing; how do   you know/
- compare and contrast/
- how do you   feel/
- what do  you  like/what  do  you dislike/
- would you like to be in   the postcard or  photo  or picture; why and why not?

- Inviting, once in a while, your friendly English teacher or a buddy who is a top dog in English,  over a cuppa or a simple quick meal, under the pretext of holding  social conversations/intellectual interactions;

- Joining a local chapter of the international Toastmasters' Club in any city, if any;

I am just scratching the surface, and am sure you can think of more ideas.

Meanwhile, I like to recommend you to carry a pocket notebook with you at all times.

Whenever  you are on the streets, pay attention to the wall posters, bill-boards, window displays, bulletin boards, or even   signboards, where English is  displayed. 

If you come  across  new or unknown  words, jot them  down in your pocket    notebook for reviewing at home with the aid of a dictionary.  

Then, use the famed flash card strategy to master these new words.

Make it a habit to learn at least ten new words a day. In a year, you would have learned more than 3,500 words!

Look around you.  Can you identify all the places or landmarks in English. If not, jot them down  for reviewing at home. 

Likewise,  in the supermarket, ask yourself: can you identify all the items   on      display, in English? If not, you can start learning to read the   labels.

Take  note of casual conversations around you. Go home and review them.

Better     still, do a simulated conversation on your own, aloud, and in front   of   a mirror. You can record, recap and review, too, but more   importantly, to reinforce.

You can use the famed 6W1H questioning toolkit often used by journalists to spur your questions and expand your thinking.

Then,  grab a sheet of blank paper and start writing down your answers as you  think. 

In reality, all these initiatives offer great opportunities - and  practices - for you to think and write in English.

Frankly, the  world out there is full of possibilities and opportunities when it comes  to learning English. 

It's an invisible university!

Stay   alert. Be creatively resourceful. 

Follow up and follow through,   consistently and massively, in real communication with real people, as   much as you can!

Meanwhile, you may want to read this interesting article, as I share the author's   sentiment about learning the language beyond the classroom,  and fully integrating it into one's everyday life activities:


Vocabulary -Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary in any language. Check out these resources for English learners that have dedicated vocabulary sections. They all have free options!

Check now (Recent Update : 26th March, 2016): 


English Grammar - Quick Revision Notes for Bank, LIC, Railway, and SSC recruitment Exam: Aspirants, You know that in all competitive and recruitment exam General English is very important subject. Many more candidates are weak in this subject. English is just funny language and mm team English quick revision notes are very useful for banking jobs as well as all govt jobs, and Indian banking jobs seekers aspirants. English is must for every educated person and interview process. In a series of sharing useful notes for English Language, today we are sharing all the quick revision notes for English Language. [pdf]
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Please note that more part  of this article is taken from Internet and various sources and our main object is that help for users.

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