Speaking Fluently and Accurately by Drilling Yourself with Some Grammar Patterns

Posted on Juni 3, 2017


Teacher : “He”
Student: “He goes to school.”
Teacher: “They.”
Student: “They go to school”
Teacher: “She”
Student: “She goes to school”.

This is a typical interaction in an English class in the 1970s and 1980s when it was believed that language learning was a habit formation. The more frequently learners did that kind of repetitive drill, the more they were used to producing the right grammar.



This kind of repetitive drill was considered void of meaningful interaction and soon fell into disfavor among language educators. The newer theory, Communicative Language Teaching, postulates the notion of communicativeness which translates into meaningful exchanges between the learners. Learners learn the target language by communicating.

Only in recent years has there been a renewed interest in drill, particularly in the light of increased fluency at the expense of accuracy. To put it more simply, learners speak fluently but with faulty grammar to the extent that their spoken English sounds coarse, not refined, not polished, like half-cooked potatoes that taste bad.

If you are learning how to speak English, don’t hesitate to include drill as an indispensable part of your daily exercises. Even without a teacher around, you can create for yourselves an imaginary situation which forces you to train yourself in a particular grammatical pattern. This time, instead of meaningless repetitive drills that harks back to the era of 1970s, you engage in a series of patterns that are relevant to your daily life.

Say, for example, you want to brush up the past simple tense that your teacher explained to you the day before. Imagine that you go to your office, meet a colleague in the afternoon, and tell him or her what you did today:

“I woke up at 6. I did some exercises. I swept the floor and I cleaned up my room. Then, I had breakfast. I ate bread and eggs. I took bath. I got dressed. I drove my car. I arrived at the office at 830.”

Or, you imagine coming late to a meeting and having to explain why you are late. Again, you practiced the use of past simple verbs:
“I am sorry I’m late. I woke up at 730 because last night I could not sleep well. I also had my breakfast late because the breakfast was not ready soon. I drove my car but I had traffic jam. . . .”

Thus, depending on your creativity, you may invoke in your mind some more real-life situations which can make you practice certain grammatical structures. Ask your teacher for home assignments like this. It is a good way of learning independently, and if you do it often, you will reap the benefit later. You will be more fluent and accurate in producing English sentences.

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