The 7 Rules to Fluency
Rule No 2
Don’t study Grammar Rules!
Or at least don’t focus too much on grammar rules!
Rule Number 2 is very surprising, isn’t it?
Don’t Study Grammar Rules!
Well, some TPRS teachers are very strict about that rule.
I wouldn’t go that far.
I always say: „Don’t focus too much on grammar rules.“
Wow, I can literally see your surprised face!
„Don’t focus on grammar rules?“
Is he serious?
But my teacher told me…
Teacher: ☞ „You must study grammar!
Grammar is the secret to German!
Grammar, grammar and grammar!“
Student: „But why?“
Teacher: „Because I said so!“
Student: „Some teacher you are – you should be a lawyer.“
Grammar can be very helpful and at a certain point, you need to know some rules to reach the next level and to be able to get rid of some typical mistakes. But if you focus too much on grammar instead of more important things, you will never be able to speak German fluently – or even worse you will get frustrated and quit.
A lot of students go crazy because they can’t handle the grammar rules. The more grammar they learn the more they get confused, because to every rule there are also exceptions and in quite a lot of cases German grammar seems to be completely illogical.
Here is just one example which always raises many questions:
I will go with you. => Ich werde mit dir gehen. => dative
I will go without you. => Ich werde ohne dich gehen. => accusative
If you have been studying German for a while and if you have been focusing on grammar, let me ask you:
Did it work for you?
Are you able to speak German fluently right now?
If the answer is no, why can’t you speak fluently?
If you have been studying German for years and if you know so many German grammar rules, why are you still not able to speak German fluently? Does it make any sense?
I would like to reassure you: It is not your fault!
Probably your teachers told you to focus on grammar. But by focusing on grammar you automatically neglect other things, that are much more important and absolutely necessary.
Why is it not very helpful to study too many grammar rules?
Because every time you want to speak, you think about grammar. You think about using the right tenses, the correct word order, the suitable prepositions and so on. But when you speak, you don’t have time to think about those things!
Over the years I met a lot of students, who had been studying German for years and were still not able to speak German fluently, even though they were very good in grammar. They were even better in grammar than native speakers. Really, I’m not kidding!!!
Put it to the test
If you don’t believe me, just ask all German native speakers you know or meet or get to know during your life and ask them to explain to you the differences between the German cases. Ask them to explain when you should use: nominative, dative, genitive and accusative. I bet 90% of all German native speakers (who are not German teachers) cannot explain the differences.
And why not? Because they don’t know them. Of course they learned all about it in school, but some didn’t understand it back then and almost everybody doesn’t need it in real life and forgets about it (except teachers maybe).
But if they don’t know those grammar rules, why are they able to speak German fluently?
Well, grammar is obviously not the reason. You can speak German fluently even though you don’t know any grammar rules. Or have you ever seen an eight year old German boy sitting on a bench with a lollipop and his favorite German grammar book in his hand? I don’t think so! But I assume he (let’s call him „Karl“ or „Karlchen“ as his mother calls him) can speak better German than you do!
Yes, I know what you are thinking! German is the boy’s native language, of course he speaks German fluently. He speaks German, he thinks in German and he dreams in German too.
Yes, he does! …
And that is exactly the point. The boy doesn’t think about grammar. He just uses grammar automatically. He doesn’t need to think about the cases. It comes out in a correct way just like that. Surely he makes mistakes sometimes, just like every other native speaker. – I am a German native speaker, and I make mistakes too. Nobody is perfect.
Most people, who are studying German but don’t speak German fluently have something in common
When they try to speak German, they…
– think of something to say in their own language
– then they try to translate the words into German
– then they try to change the word order and think of the suitable grammar rule
– and finally they try to say it out loud (very slowly because they pay attention to the correct pronunciation)
This can’t work!!!
Even if you do just one of these steps, you can’t speak fluently. It is also very exhausting and the reason, why so many people don’t like to speak German.
So what is the solution?
In order to speak a foreign language fluently, you must be able to do two things:
1. be able to think in the foreign language
2. feel the grammar (not think about grammar)
You need to feel what is right and what is wrong. If you want to speak German fluently, there is no time to do even one step I mentioned before and especially not thinking about grammar rules. Being able to think in the foreign language and being able to feel the correct grammar are the keys.
I know, it is easier said than done!
And that goal can’t be achieved in a couple of days or weeks! But it is possible and I assure you, you can do it! I will help you to reach that goal. I’m very positive that you can also be fluent in German. I know that, because I have helped so many people to get fluent in German and I receive so many nice letters every day to thank me for the great effort and to help people to master the German language.