English

Why do you need to learn English?

It is a pity that most of the ESL (English as Second Language) teachers across the world (at least the ones I met in a MOOC in 2012) say that current generation of students neither learn English beyond the level required to be a mere consumer of goods and services (be it computer games or online travel information) nor they learn their own mother tongue.  While most students could possibly read well, very few are able to write and speak well in any language.  Is this a side effect of stress on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or is there some other cultural change that no one is bothered to identify and address?

While this TED video, World's English Mania, raised few controversial points discussed in the comments section, it asks the right question; is English a tsunami washing away other languages? "Not likely. English is the world's second language. Your native language is your life.  .......  The world has other universal languages.  Mathematics is the language of science.  Music is the language of emotions.  ....  English is becoming the language of problem solving. .... " 

Grammar Resources for Primary School Students

While English language teachers and literature students may offer their own book lists and methods to learn, here is our list for the serious student:
  1. WREN - New Simpler Parts of Speech
  2. WREN - New First Lessons in English Grammar
  3. WREN - New Beginner's English Grammar
  4. WREN - New Simple English Grammar
  5. WREN - New Elementary Grammar on Modern Lines
  6. WREN - New Shorter English Grammar

P. C. Wren is the author for all of the above books. This is a grammar series for children in multi-colour. 

School textbooks should usually suffice.  However choice in schools, curriculum, and textbooks (both private publishers and government publishers) has created a huge mess. A child may not continue in the same school or curriculum.  A given school itself does not usually stick to one publisher for more than few years. This creates the weird situation where siblings going to the same school may not even use the same textbooks few years apart.  Is this really warranted?  So the above list is for those parents who are confused and would rather make sure their children are not lost.

If your ward has finished primary school before you came across this series, you may use the following for diagnostics and reinforcement:

  • Essential English Grammar - A self-study reference and practice book for elementary students of English with Answers. Author: Raymond Murphy
  • Essential English Grammar - Supplementary Exercises With Answers. Author: Helen Naylor with Raymond Murphy.
  • If the above two books are not available anymore, you may use the newer edition titled: Essential Grammar in Use - A self-study reference and practice book for elementary students of English with Answers. Author: Raymond Murphy

Resources for Middle School (6th through 8th class / grade) Students

Assuming that textbooks are useful (use NCERT and SCERT books linked elsewhere on this site if your own textbooks are not good enough), use the following for diagnostics and practice:

  • Murphy's English Grammar - A self-study reference and practice book for intermediate students of English with answers. Author: Raymond Murphy.
  • Function in English. Authors: Jon Blundell, Jonathan Higgens, Nigel Middlemiss

Resources for High School (9th through 12th class / grade) Students

  • High School English Grammar & Composition by Wren & Martin; Revised by Dr. N.D.V Prasada Rao
  • A Final Course in Grammar and Composition. Authors: Wren & Martin
  • Advanced English Grammar - A self-study reference and practice book for advanced South Asian students with answers. Author: Martin Hewings

Beyond High School

You may have already been introduced to etymology (word roots) in high school either as a part of biology or independently.  Your dictionary usage should come down dramatically in college years.  This is not possible if you have not developed superior vocabulary in a methodical way and have the capacity to learn words in a given context without looking up meaning in a dictionary.

Here are some of the classic resources for vocabulary:

  1. Word Power Made Easy - Norman Lewis
  2. All About Words - An Adult Approach to Vocabulary Building. Maxwell Nurnberg & Morris Rosenblum
  3. Word Origins and Their Romantic Stories - Wilfred Funk
  4. Growth and Structure of the English Language - Otto Jespersen

Avoid common mistakes:

  • Practical English Usage - Michael Swan

Read, Read, Read

  1. Read NCERT textbooks online
  2. Read AP SCERT textbooks online
  3. Go beyond the textbooks and browse through any book at www.ArvindGuptaToys.com or read through textbooks and workbooks from other countries or try the completely digital textbooks used in schools in California, USA.
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