In this post you will learn how to easily remember English grammar rules using my ESL Connection Method. This is a useful tool that has really helped me in my own language study, and of course it has also helped my English students too.
I’ve been teaching English as a second language since 2006. One question I have been asked by many of my students is…
How can I improve my English grammar?
Great question. I live in Japan so I’m not only a language teacher, I’m also a language student. This lets me see language from the teacher’s side and the student’s side. From 2 points of view. Seeing language as a student and a teacher has helped me create this technique.
I found that as a language student it was easier to remember new grammar rules and vocabulary if it was connected to my own experience. A real experience in my own life. I started helping my students connect the English that we practiced with their own experiences and real memories.
Remember NEW English grammar easily with this one technique. Make English grammar easy with the ESL Grammar connection method! You will learn how to connect new English grammar to real experiences from your own life. Real examples and memories that have extra meaning for you.
Learn English grammar rules
English Grammar example sentences that are connected to your own experiences are easier to remember.
The website 5 Memory Association Techniques for students says:
“It helps to use a real-life memory, your mind already remembers that on its own.”http://mafadi.co.za/5-memory-association-techniques-for-students/
Here is a real example.
Many years ago during a Japanese lesson, my teacher was teaching me how to talk about a trip I took. I was still a beginner, so the first sentence was very simple.
“I went to Hakone with my girlfriend.” *Hakone is a resort area not far from Tokyo.
(Of course, I learned this in Japanese!)
I was very happy to have a real-life sentence. I could use this sentence with my Japanese friends because it really happened to me.
Now compare my real-life sentence to a sentence example you might find in a grammar textbook:
Textbook: “Jim went to Italy with his wife.”
Real-life: “I went to Hakone with my girlfriend.”
Both examples use the same grammar.
Grammar point #1 – Past tense verb
~went is the past tense of the verb go
Learn 50 Irregular Past Tense verbs HERE
Grammar point #2 – The preposition to with places
~we go to a place
Textbook: Jim went to Italy…
Real-life: I went to Hakone…
Grammar point #3 – The preposition with
~with = accompanied by (another person or thing).
Grammar point #4 – Possessive pronouns my and his
~possessive pronouns show that something belongs to someone or something or is connected to someone or something
Textbook …with his wife.
Real-life …with my girlfriend.
Both examples use the same grammar, BUT…
The first example is someone else’s story. I don’t know Jim or his wife and I have never been to Italy.
This is not my own experience.
*I would love to visit Italy someday. I just don’t have that experience, yet…
Learn with real memories
The second example is from a real-life experience. It is connected to a real memory. It’s my own experience so it’s easy for me to remember! ✔
Real photos [real memories] from my trip. This is VERY easy for me to remember!
The web-page Memory Improvement TIPS says that visual images are easier to remember than just words.
“These images are literally mental hooks that allow you to retrieve (get) the information from your long-term memory.”https://www.memory-improvement-tips.com/best-memory-trick.html
Your personal experiences are visual AND emotional, they have images and feelings attached to them. This is a great way to connect your new English.
Grammar that I connect to my own experiences is very easy to remember. It is also very easy to use in a natural conversation.
Improve English grammar
Please don’t misunderstand, textbooks are very helpful and I use them a lot with my students. The ESL Grammar connection method is an extra tool that you can use to make your grammar lessons even better. This method can help you remember advanced English grammar too.
Here’s an example of how you might use the ESL Grammar connection methods in your own study. This example is from a textbook called Cambridge – English Grammar in Use. I really like this textbook because it teaches with lots of examples. (Just like me!) This is an example from the text:
Textbook: I almost fell as I was going down the stairs.
Real-life: I almost fell as I was getting off my bicycle.
This is a true story!
Don’t change the grammar of the sentence, just replace the nouns that describe the person/people/place (topics). Choose something that is easy for you to remember.
*I changed “going down the stairs” to “getting off my bicycle.” The grammar didn’t change, just the actions and locations.
The actions use the same grammar. Phrasal verbs in the continuous form.
- going down
- getting off
And the location of the action.
- the stairs
- my bicycle
Remember any English grammar
You can use this method with different grammar points, anything you need to study. This method can help you improve any area you like. For example:
Use prepositions you have learned to describe your own room
What is on the wall?
There is a picture of my family on the wall of my room.
What is in the corner?
There is a small plant in the corner of my room.
What is under your bed?
I have a box of camping gear under my bed.
Learn more preposition examples at my post HERE
I used this technique to correct a mistake I was making in Japanese.
Correcting Grammar mistakes
This time Vs. Next Time (今回 vs. 次回)
I was always confused about the phrases this time and next time in Japanese.
I would often say things like “See you this time!” to my Japanese friends after a night out. That’s STRANGE @*#! I wanted to say “See you next time!” but I was always confusing the 2 expressions.
I used the Grammar Connection method to fix my grammar mistake. I connected this grammar (Next Time) to a real experience. Please read the following example:
Do you want to learn real English that native speakers use?
My wife and I went shopping at an outlet mall in Tokyo. There were lots of great stores and we had a fun day. As we were leaving we saw a pizza restaurant near the train station.
We talked (in English) about eating at the pizza restaurant next time. I made a sentence (in Japanese) about this experience, using the Grammar connection method.
This was my practice sentence:
“Today was awesome! Let’s have dinner at the pizza restaurant the next time we come.”
Today REALLY was awesome. (I bought new shoes and a leather belt, they were very cheap!) I’m also excited to eat at the pizza restaurant the next time we come. (I love pizza!) I locked the correct phrase for ‘next time’ into a real experience in my mind.
I have not confused those 2 phrases since!
This is a powerful technique for learning English so make sure you are using it with good examples. Check the grammar you want to practice before you make your example sentence. Look in your textbook or ask your native speaking teacher or a native speaking friend. Don’t connect your experience to a sentence with incorrect grammar! If you use examples from a good textbook or a native teacher you will be OK.
Now you have connected your new English to your own experience. You can remember it much easier the next time you want to use it. Example sentences that use new grammar to describe your own life are easy to remember.
“But what if I don’t have my own matching experience?”
Improve English Grammar with stories
Just think of your favorite characters from TV, movies, comics, etc. Someone or something that you like. Use these characters as the subjects for the example sentences with your new grammar. Here’s how I used this technique with a student here in Tokyo.
2 days a week I teach kids at a special English conversation school. Students learn English by doing regular and interesting activities with instruction all in English.
In one activity we used flash cards to learn some new verbs, new actions. Verbs like wash, ride and eat. One of my students really loves Marvel superheroes and movies. After we saw the flashcards we made our own example sentences using the action words we just learned.
- “Captain America washes the dishes after dinner.”
- “Spiderman rides his bike to school every day.”
- “The Hulk ate some ice cream.”
The examples were silly and fun and, most important, they are very easy to remember for my student! They were easy to remember because they were connected to comic book characters that he already loves.
You can use any dream or fantasy that already lives in your brain.
By using experiences from your own life you can remember new grammar easily when you need it. I often use this technique myself with Japanese grammar. When I connect new vocabulary, new grammar or a new phrase to my own experience, it’s much easier to remember. I have used this method many times in MANY situations, it has been very helpful!
Give it a try today! Choose some English that is hard to remember or something that you just learned.
Write an example in the comments below and we can all learn together 😁