I had a potential client tell me that he only seems to be learning grammar but he keeps forgetting it and has to “relearn” it. He wonders if he is moving toward becoming a better English speaker.
His question to me was, “Is English just grammar?”.
No, English is not just grammar, it is much more than that.
It is words and how to use them to get people to listen to you with anticipation.
It is using phrases to move people to do good, or bad, things.
It is putting your thoughts and ideas into sentences that make people understand you and either agree or disagree with you.
Grammar is just a very small part that can help you to get a basic understanding of the rules of the language but it really isn't that important to spend hours, days, weeks or months learning, unless that is what you plan to teach and nothing else. Once you understand the basics, then you need to use the language that you have to build more vocabulary and understanding of how the language functions in everyday life.
I always tell my clients that, when you are speaking to a native speaker, in everyday conversations, grammar isn't that important. Most native speakers don't really care whether the grammar is perfect, the pronunciation is perfect or the sentences are perfect, if they can understand you that is okay.
Now, in a presentation or talking to someone you are trying to convince of something important, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation are more important, but again, perfectionism is not necessary.
You can make mistakes in speaking as long as you learn from those mistakes.
Look at learning English as a whole process, not just individual pieces that need to be connected later which will make you a good speaker.
Learning English, or anything, takes time and effort, but spread the effort throughout the process, grammar, vocabulary , pronunciation and speaking and writing. Then you will become a better English speaker.
As you practice and build on your skills, you gain confidence and you will find that you speak better, use more of your vocabulary and your pronunciation improves.
Reading, listening and speaking English daily is how you improve. Build short periods of using English into your routine. Speak to people, learn from any mistakes that you make, make the changes that you need to and continue to use your vocabulary and knowledge to make yourself a better speaker.