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FAQ

I have always held that while grammar is an integral part of learning any language, studying grammar as we used to back in school isn't going to help much. If it did, you wouldn't be asking this question.

Grammar has to be learnt in context, much like vocabulary and it is absolutely not worth your time to memorise complex grammar terms and rules or even be aware of them in most cases. As long as your basics are clear and your foundation is strong, you are set. So, stop fretting over the names of tenses and the forms of verb and the rest of the blah, unless of course, you intend to become an English teacher, like me. If your goal, however, is to speak fluently and impressively, you don't need to learn grammar. You just need to use it correctly. And any English language teacher, worth her salt will tell you so.

Well, I don't know. And that's the truth. It depends on what your goal is, how quickly you learn, how much practice you get, what level you are at right now, and a lot many other factors. So, my suggestion is that instead of worrying about how long it will take, start now. Make short-term goals and persevere.

Remember, every learner is different. Similarly, every instructor/mentor/teacher is different too. It is but natural that the pace will vary. Anyone who claims otherwise is either a novice or a liar. Having said that, most language courses are designed based on the average time take by an average learner at any given level of proficiency. If you find the pace of a course too fast or too slow, don't worry. It simply means you do not fall among the average.

The spellings and pronunciation. Otherwise, the language is quite simple, especially when compared to other European languages.

The vocabulary can be a tricky thing to master, especially because of the different meanings and connotations associated with words, phrases, idioms and expressions. However, a simple rule is that when in doubt, stick to basic English instead of trying to show off your lexical skills. That's where most people end up making mistakes.

Oh yes, absolutely! This is something I can guarantee. People struggle with the language only if they cannot let go of the innate urge to translate everything. Once you get a hang of the basics, it won't take long to master it

Well, that's not exactly a question, but I'll try to address the issue. Everyone falters and even the best English speakers make mistakes. It's perfectly normal. So, first of all, you need to stop worrying about being embarrassed before your friends or colleagues. If you realise you've made a mistake, correct yourself. Don't ignore it thinking that if you let it pass, nobody would notice. Chances are somebody did. Big deal. Smile, shake your head, bite your tongue and correct your mistake. Right then and there. If it was a blunder, laugh while correcting yourself.

If you don't realise you've made a mistake and someone else points it out to you, acknowledge the mistake, thank them for correcting you and make a note of the error so that you don't repeat it in the future. Pretending it didn't happen won't change the fact that it did. Getting embarrassed to the point that you stop speaking English won't help you improve. And denying that you made a mistake or arguing over it will only make you look like someone who is insecure.

So, take a deep breath and don't give it undue importance. It's okay to make mistakes. And it's okay to be embarrassed. Neither is fatal. So don't let either stop you.

No, I don't and no, I won't. I've found that people don't appreciate the free things in life. However, if you have a skill that you think I'll benefit from or will be interested in acquiring, we could try the time- ested barter system of some sort.