Learning grammar can be challenging at times, especially if it’s a new one which you haven’t encountered before. Often, students rely on their first language for the new grammar topic to make sense to them. While this may be helpful sometimes, however, don’t let this dictate how you should learn grammar in English.
One comment I often hear from my students when we’re learning grammar is: “But in Russian, we can say like this.” Yes, you’re right! It may be possible in your native language, but it doesn’t mean that you can always apply it in English. Remember that each language has its own properties. What’s possible in one language may not be possible in another. When I was learning Japanese, I also thought about English grammar. I tried to use grammar rules in English to construct sentences in Japanese. To my frustration, it didn’t often work. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. Don’t let your first language get in the way, or worse, force its way when you’re learning English. It’s best to understand the target language from the point of view of its native speakers, not from your own language.
To sum up, while your first language can be helpful in learning another language, don’t let it be the sole basis for your language learning. Instead, let it work like a guide, but still considering the unique aspects of the target language. Always remember that there are properties in the target language that can never be explained by your first language.
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