10 Reasons Why Students Say They Hate Grammar


Here they are –  the top 5 reasons:

5.     They equate having good grammar with mastering terminology. Advice: Remind grammar lovers and grammar haters alike that knowing terminology isn’t the same as being able to use grammatical structures. Knowing terminology places more reference tools in the learner’s hands, but discourage memorization for the sake of memorization. The grammar lovers who focus too much on terminology will eventually (and likely with great disillusion) understand that skills and not terms allow for communication. The so-called grammar haters should rejoice over the fact that you won’t be quizzing them on memorized terms but rather assessing their ability to communicate accurately.

4.     They don’t like doing grammar homework. Advice: As you do with classroom activities, make homework assignments meaningful and manageable.  Emphasize the need to reinforce what is learned in the classroom through independent practice; learning is a shared responsibility. (See my entry on 5 Ways to Get Students to Do Their Homework.)

3.     They don’t see the practicality of studying grammar. Advice: Some students have great fluency if not accuracy in their oral expression and feel hampered when forced to think of grammar when speaking. Other students simply prefer to learn grammar indirectly and not from a book or in a grammar class. In any case, you can point out that grammar classes provide the opportunity to efficiently clarify misunderstandings and learn structures that might otherwise go unnoticed. Knowledge is good. Accurate knowledge is better. Accurate use of the knowledge is ideal; it’s what makes communication effective.

2.     They are overwhelmed by the volume of information. Advice: Grammar books can be intimidating…even for teachers. Some heavy reference books with fine print tend to overload my brain after five minutes of reading. For students, even the visually engaging textbooks can fail to disguise the amount of grammar contained within. It’s our job to present that grammar in digestible chunks. (See my entry on 5 Ways to Improve Your Grammar Presentation.)

1.     They lack confidence in their ability to use grammar for communication. Advice:  Too many learners are quick to criticize themselves and their English skills. A common reason for not liking grammar is: “I’m not good at it.” It’s our job to help build the learner’s confidence in his or her abilities. As stated above, we need to foster a supportive atmosphere and make all tasks manageable. 


One Comment Add yours

  1. Lucy says:

    I find that with my French first language students, grammar is not usually a problem…As a matter of fact, because they have learned their first language in regemented fashion (‘learning by-heart’, memorizing followed by dictations), they usually can’t get enough of grammar. this is what they’re used to. I have to remind them that English is not taught or learned the same way (being bilingual, I know both systems very well). They often need coaching to re-program their learning style. It’s not always easy for them. I’ll be posting about this soon and will be sure to link you. Thanks;-)

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