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  1. Ined's Avatar
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    #1

    Lightbulb Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Hi,


    I stumbled upon this amazing forum, while browsing the internet, looking for a community where I can improve my English grammar.
    In advance, I would like to apologize for all grammar errors made in this post.


    A little bit of info about myself. I've been using English language for about 20+ years and I am completely aware that my grammar is awful. I lost my job recently, and while I'm looking for employment, I would like to improve my English. I think now's the time, well, I have all the time, and I don't want to waste it.


    I would have love to pay for instructions, unfortunately my current financial situation is not good at the moment, I simply can't. So, I was wondering if teachers could share tips on self-studying and how would you go about it if you have to teach yourself from scratch.


    So, my questions are:
    How would you teach yourself all Parts of Speech?
    Which ones to start with first?
    Would you go one by one or with multiple classes? If multiple, which ones?
    How would you practice?


    Where is my problem?
    I have always been a visual guy, as you can see, I can write, also I can easily remember words and their pronunciation. However, when it comes to rules, well, I simply just ... I don't know. I don't consider myself stupid, but I just can't grasp them. Perhaps, it has something to do with how I was taught in school about 20 years ago. I simply didn't have a good teacher, she was awful and old.


    For instance, about 5 days ago I have watched a video on YouTube where the teacher demonstrates tenses using timelines. It blew my mind! Since I'm a visual guy, it just made sense for me. Afterwards, I've found diagrams about aspects and all made sense for me. If only my teacher used them when I was in school. I've started making diagrams for everything; nouns, pronouns etc. Reading and looking at them multiple times a day.


    Anyways, I've been watching lessons on Khan's Academy and lovely lessons by Ganesh over at Learn English Lab. Ganesh is really a great teacher. I've watched nouns, pronouns and verbs for now. I think this is enough, even now I'm afraid it's a lot of information to absorb in a week. As I already mentioned my visual capabilities, I'm afraid that online tests where I have to choose between words or fill the blanks is not working for me much. Each and every test I took I had a very high percentage of correctness. I've been using English wrongly for 2 decades so I guess it's a memory thing. What I want is to understand WHY certain PoS are used. For example, to understand tense used in a sentence, to identify nouns, pronouns, adjectives etc...


    I don't know if I can link YT videos after reading the rules. However, I found a simple video on how to practice tenses. Not sure if I understood it correctly, but I think it is a good way to practice. So, the teacher drew the timeline on a piece of paper, then he created actions/states and he placed them somewhere on the timeline. I think this is brilliant approach for learning. I am definitely going to use timelines for learning tenses. If there are similar ways for learning other Parts of Speech, please share them, it would be much appreciated from my part.


    Hope this was not long and painful to read. Hopefully I will find a good soul who's willing to help and share knowledge and experience.


    Cheers,
    Ined

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Welcome to the forum, Ined.

    Your English is very good. Why are you particularly struck on investigating parts of speech? What is it that you want to know exactly?

    Of course you are more than welcome to ask any specific questions you have about any aspect of the use of English right here on this forum. Given your level, that might be a more useful approach to fill any gaps that you still have.

  3. Ined's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Hi jutfrank,

    Thank you for the welcome and your candid words, I appreciate it a lot.

    Well, I am always uncertain, whether I'm writing or having a conversation. I'm constantly asking myself: have I constructed this sentence correctly, is it in the right tense, did I miss an article etc... Obviously my brain works automatically while using English after all these years, so I would like to understand why and how. Perhaps for the long run, I would like to translate short novels I have been writing in my native language, but this is not important. I'm not a professional nor I am striving to be one. It's a hobby, it relieves stress for me. Oh, and I get anxious every time while writing emails to clients, it stresses me out. I'm kind of a perfectionist, I guess.

    With that being said, it's not my desire to be able to break sentences like a professional teacher, however, I would like to understand basic stuff. For instance, I can easily recognize all nouns in a sentence, but sometimes I struggle with abstract nouns. Verbs and tenses are hard for me to grasp. I understand simple ones, but let's say perfect or perfect continuous, or even complex sentences are hard for me. The method with timelines opened my mind towards it, so I would like to finally learn it properly and use it without any concern, with ease.

    Since I have time now, I'm willing to start learning English from scratch. I have definitely decided to do such a thing, it can't harm me, I can only benefit from it. I already have some knowledge, so it doesn't have to be like teaching a beginner. What I'm trying to say, I am not searching for a specific thing, rather I want to know what is the best practice to start learning from scratch. For example, firstly master nouns and how to practice them, secondly master pronouns and practice them, afterwards verbs etc .... combine learned together. I guess I am lost on how to practice and what to learn first and what to leave for the end.

    It doesn't have to be very specific and in detail, but I would like to know how would a professional teacher start if he must to teach himself from scratch? Like some kind of a break down. 2, 3 or 6 phases of learning, I don't know, I'm rambling since I am ignorant about it. I hope this explains it.

    I will link a few videos, if this is forbidden please correct me and I will delete them. I don't want to make any trouble, so please don't ban me.

    This video blew my mind, I have never thought of it in this way.
    Credits of YouTube channel: LoveMyESL

    This one, as well.
    Credits of YouTube channel: Advance Consulting for Education

    This guy blew my mind with how to practice.
    Credits of YouTube channel: Canguro English

    Thanks!
    Ined

  4. Ined's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Hmm, well browsing the forum I thought I would find a good soul who's willing to help. Clearly there are many competent people here, not sure why they don't want to give a thought or two. Actually, I really don't need help, a guidance of sorts. Anyways, I guess I will have to take a harder more time consuming route, which is trial and error until I understand it well. Sorry for bothering.

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Maybe the lack of response is because we don't understand what you mean. It's not clear what you're asking for. You can't learn English from scratch if you're already at an advanced level, can you?

    Perhaps if you explain a little more about what you're thinking, maybe we can advise you better. What do you mean by "master nouns" for example?

    One way that I get my advanced students to practise their skills is by giving them reading and writing tasks to do. If you don't have a teacher, there are lots of good books that can provide you with good practice exercises.

  6. Ined's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Thank you for your response, I appreciate it.

    I wouldn't say that I'm at an advanced level, at all, or perhaps my perception when comparing myself to native English speakers is distorted. Anyways, I thought I was clear enough, I guess I wasn't, sorry about that. I did post some questions and I gave an explanation.

    Okay, I would like to go through all Parts of Speech, for once to learn them properly. Let's call it a re-learning process. I don't want to check and re-check myself constantly, I don't want to be uncertain whether my grammar is off or on point. I'd like to understand it, simple as that.

    Let me put it this way, since you all have more experience than me (especially at teaching), I would like to get some suggestions on where (what) to start and how to practice. For example, do I start one Part of Speech by one, or should I learn some of them simultaneously? Which one to star first? What's the best practice of each? For instance, I took a bunch of (pick & choose) online tests, and the results of them were quite high percentage-wise, because of my memory and usage. I would read a sentence with each offered answer and by the sound of it, I know which one to pick. However, if you give me a sentence, I wouldn't know how to break it down. I have the same issue while talking or speaking. In the back of my head I am constantly in doubt, and I don't want that doubt anymore. That's why I think it would be best for me to revisit everything from scratch, it can't do any harm.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I do read aloud while reading articles and books. Also, I've been using English subtitles for movies and TV shows for the past 7 or 8 years. Mainly because characters have tendencies to whisper, so I can't recognize some words.

  7. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Well, since you want to go through things systematically, I might suggest that you simply find a decent book that does exactly that, and read it from beginning to end.

    When trainee teachers are gaining their initial teaching qualification, they are asked to do something similar to what you mean. Even though they may be native speakers or non-native speakers of an advanced level (as you are—believe me), they are encouraged to study the basics.

    When I conduct these training courses, one of the texts on the reading list that is suggested to help with this is Grammar for English Language Teachers by Martin Parrott. Perhaps this could be an idea for you. The book is organised into parts, with each part focusing on progressively more complex features of language. For example, the first part is entitled Words. The first chapter is about nouns, the second chapter about articles, the third about quantifiers, the fourth about adjectives, the fifth about adverbs, and so on. The final chapter of Part 1 is about how to combine all of these elements. Subsequent parts of the book are about, among other things, tenses, modal verbs, conditional sentences, relative clauses and basic sentence constituents. It's not completely exhaustive of course, focuses only on grammar, and doesn't include any practice exercises, but it may be one useful resource to help you achieve your goal.

  8. Ined's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Much obliged, Jutfrank!

    I don't want to jump too early and say it's great, but this looks very promising. Reviews are great, and the content of the book is good. Found it on Amazon.co.uk, awesome! I will not have to wait too long for delivery. Once again, thank you for the suggestion, much appreciated.

    When it comes to practice, do you have any tips?
    It doesn't have to be an extensive explanation, but what works best in practice, in general. For instance, I really like that guy's approach, pick actions and/or subjects, create your own sentences and perhaps inspect them afterwards. Maybe to create cards, cheat sheets etc... I would really love to hear your opinion. By the way, I'm doing the learning process in an old fashioned way, with pen and paper. I have to write it rather than type it, somehow my brain absorb it much better. The only concern with self-studying is that I don't have anyone to check and correct it, that's why I'm asking about best practice, as well.

    Cheers

  9. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Glad to be of help.

    In answer to your request for tips, it does of course depend on what you want to practise, but I think the best way for you to practise most things would be to do practice exercises. This obviously means that you would need to find a good source, whether that be online or another book.

    And as for not having anyone to check and correct what you produce—this is one of the reasons that this forum is here! Make use of us.

  10. Ined's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Self-Study: If you have to start from scratch, how'd you do it?

    Okay great, thanks a bunch for everything!
    I will definitely seek help here, I'm so happy that I found this place.

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