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4 Simple Ways to Become a Grammar Nazi

Do you use the word irregardless? Or the phrase 'both of y'all'? Are you very confused when it comes to using 'I, me, myself'? Here are four ways release your grammar worries and be a grammar nazi!
BY Skendha Singh & Tina Varghese |   09-11-2015
 

It’s application season! And it is time to think hard about your language skills. Even if you’re applying for STEM or business courses. Applications mean essays, English proficiency tests, and interviews.

No longer can you rely only on writing copybook style English, with the use of rote learning and dictionaries. They’re not going to be immensely useful when you sit for the ‘Speaking’ and ‘Listening’ sections on your TOEFL / IELTS, and eventually, when you find yourself in a heated classroom discussion.

It’s time for you to be that person. You know, the one who shares grammar jokes on Facebook; the one whose vocabulary sends others to the dictionary; and who mentally corrects others as they speak. We mean ‘The Grammar Nazi’. Here’s how!
 

Read


 

We meant simple when we said it.

Everyone -teachers, counselors, parents, grandparents, the entire world, in fact, has been telling you to read. Well, they’re not wrong.  Reading again and again is the building block to language.

There are tons of genres and authors for you to explore as you get started. There’s non-fiction, poetry, drama, fantasy, sci-fi and history, to name a few. Suspense novels are excellent. They’ll keep your nose glued to the pages. Think Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman. You can also check out Braingain’s ‘Ten Iconic Books that Will Change You’ for an amazing reading list that will give you lots to talk about.

How to read: Slowly. Carefully. Get a feel for the construction of sentences, the play of language. Check that you pronounce words correctly (you may be surprised at how often not!), pick figures of speech. Also, discuss your reading with friends, mentors, groups. That will cement your analytical skills. Huge bonus during and after application season.  

Keep in mind that every bit of reading you do is a blessing for your grammatical skills and the best way to be fluent in any language.
 

Write


 

This is of critical importance.  

Writing gives you a chance to process what you’re reading and thinking. You might think you’ve got a handle on the speaking aspect, but when you send off a paper, you’ll have no clue on where you should be adding an ‘s, how you should spell ‘misspell’, and how you can say a thing in ten words instead of sixty-eight. Also, ‘internet jargon’ makes you highly susceptible to writing ‘u, wanna, gonna’ on exam papers and essays.

This is a problem.

So write. Every day. 300-500 words should suffice. You can write a synopsis of the novel you’re reading, or how your day was, or why you love Dean Winchester. If you can, share this with a mentor and get some feedback on it. Pick up a topic and scribble. It is a good idea to record all your writings in one place, like a journal or a blog, so that you can flip back and see how much you have improved.
 

Listen


 

We’ve talked to our colleagues and friends and reached a unanimous conclusion – listening to podcasts, audiobooks and the like, is not just one of the easiest ways to use time (long commutes, anyone?), but it gives a huge leg up to your language skills.

Language and Literature do, after all, have oral origins – whether Greek or Sanskrit.Long before human beings relied on their eyes, they relied on their ears, to receive knowledge. Letting bygones be bygones, this is excuse enough for you to tune into some of the greatest radio out there – BBC 4 dramas, for instance. BGM highly recommends the radio adaptation of ‘Neverwhere’, starring James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer.

This is a great way to experience language in action. You’ll learn correct pronunciation, rhythms of speech, and the dynamics of spoken language.  Beware of slang, though. And colloquialisms like ‘gotten’.
 

Speak


 

It’s obvious enough isn’t it? You learn to walk by walking. 

Make friends with people who have fluency over the language. You can join public speaking groups, debate clubs, interact with people who are fluent. Learn to register new words and phrases in your mind, and use them. Most importantly, don’t ever be shy or nervous. 

The more you speak, the more you master it. Language really is all about the practice.
 


Image courtesy: Quickmeme.com
 
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