How to Study English Without Actually Studying English
Until three or four years ago, I had never really studied much English. After learning to read, I never studied grammar or composition of any type. However, I now write for this blog, I do well in my high school English classes, and I do well on standardized tests.
It would seem that I would be at a huge disadvantage, having never studied much English formally, but I believe that I was studying English all along, just not from an English textbook. So how did I study English without actually studying English?
1. Studying foreign languages.
I have taken Greek, and I am now taking Latin. Although it may not seem probable, I have learned an extensive amount about English through studying these languages. Not only have I learned a lot about etymology, but about case, construction, spelling, and roots as well. In high school, I think that this has taught me more about English than any other non-English studying.
2. Reading quality books.
When I was little, I read lots of basic, low-level books. But since then, I have spent countless hours buried in higher level, even college level books. Reading quality books can be enormously beneficial. Quality books are great because they can teach you so much, not just about the topic on which they were written, but on sentence structure, vocabulary, and literary devices. Additionally, they provide examples of good writing in your mind, which enables you to have a preconceived standard for your own writing.
3. Writing as much as possible.
As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. Without actually writing, you never can truly learn to write well. Blogging has been incredibly helpful for me in this area. With Thinkers Incorporated, I am required to write at least one post per week, and that has forced me to write. Unsurprisingly, I can see the tangible results of that practice whenever I compare my first posts with my more recent posts.
4. Rewriting my writings.
After you write something, it can be very helpful and educational to rewrite it. Many times when I read something which I have written, I will find mistakes, and rewriting what I wrote helps me to learn not to repeat those same mistakes. Editing is important, not just for others, but for you as well.
5. Critiquing other people’s writing.
Whenever I read my writing, I tend to glaze over it and my critical side tends to power down. However, I can usually find errors in other people’s writings. Critiquing these writings helps more than just myself, but the other person as well, because I can learn from their mistakes and they can benefit from my critique.
6. Using proper grammar when texting.
This point may or may not simply be here because poor grammar in texts annoys me to no end. Even so, practicing your writing skills will grow them, and using proper grammar while texting can help to ingrain good writing habits, especially if you don’t have a blog or some other medium through which to practice your writing.