Learn English Grammar with the "Buddha Formula"
Looking for a way to improve your grammar with little effort?
I’m going to show you how to utilize a Buddhist philosophy for English learning. That might sound a little crazy, but just give me a chance. The only thing you have to lose is a few minutes of your time.
It’s called The Buddha Formula.
Am I Buddhist? No, I’m Kevin, 😉 and I help people improve their lives by becoming confident English speakers.
When I think of Buddhism, I think of accepting the present moment, and not trying to force things to happen.
There is something in Buddhism called “right effort”, which is using your wisdom and insight in order to apply just the necessary amount of effort to achieve a result. Not too much effort, but not zero effort either (that’s just laziness).
I am going to show you how to apply this concept of “right effort” to learning grammar.
Make sense? Confused? Scared?
Well, let’s go.
The issue on whether to study grammar is complicated.
There are different opinions on how much you should study grammar to become fluent in a foreign language.
Some people say it’s vital, others say it’s a waste of time.
So who’s right? Well, in my opinion, neither.
I have seen people become great English speakers studying a lot of grammar, and I have seen people become excellent speakers studying almost zero grammar.
Now if you like grammar, then definitely keep studying it. That is totally fine.
But if you don’t like it, there is no need to tell yourself that you must spend more time on grammar if you want to become a great speaker. That is simply not true.
You can continue to improve in English by doing just the right amount of grammar study, which isn’t much at all. Grammar improvement will come to you as naturally as the weather (hopefully it doesn’t snow, I don’t like snow).
There is no need to force grammar, and often it is a waste of time and stress.
Here’s an example…
You already know that at the end verbs in the 3rd person present simple tense you use an “S” at the end. ex. ouy go, he goeSI troubleshoot, she troubleshootS
And have you ever made a mistake with it?
Of course you have.
It is one of the most common mistakes I see. Even advanced speakers make mistakes sometimes with that stupid “S”.
So why would you make a mistake with it if you have already studied it so many times?
Even though you know the rule about “S”, until your English level is where it needs to be, you will continue to make mistakes with this rule.
But when the time is right, the “S” will magically correct itself.
And that is what I want you to start considering. Be patient, and wait for your English to correct itself, which will happen because of your commitment to daily practice.
You will start to notice that there are moments of clarity, like when a complicated rule finally makes sense or a strange sentence structure does not seem strange to you anymore.
These moments happen naturally without much effort; the Buddha way.
It’s happened to me. It’s happened to my students, and it has (or will) happen to you. Moments of clarity will come when something that didn’t make sense suddenly does.
Why does this happen?
Some linguists say that we learn grammar in a sequence. There has been research done that shows which parts of grammar come first, and how following the correct sequence is the most effective way of acquiring it.
Now this doesn’t mean you learn grammar from chapter 1-10 in your book, it means certain grammar is naturally integrated into our speech at certain points in your language development.
So that’s why trying to learn the 3rd person “S” when you’re a beginner is futile. You have to understand and use basic grammar before you can correctly use the “S” in “goeS”
Is this something to worry about? No, just the opposite. You can relax in knowing that you don’t need to worry about learning all that grammar in your English Grammar in Use Book.
When your English level reaches the right point you will integrate the necessary grammar, naturally.
I myself have had tons of moments of clarity.
As you might already know, I was a miserable Spanish student. I literally was one of the worst in class, and never gained any good speaking abilities or even the confidence to try to speak. I studied grammar and took tests and all that boring crap, but it didn’t work.
A few years later, when I started traveling and learning languages naturally through communication and experience with the language on a daily basis, things made a lot more sense.
Grammar would come to me naturally, with just the right effort.
I can’t tell you I did zero grammar studying. I would very quickly read something in a grammar book or just think to myself about a grammar concept (usually comparing it to English) but it wouldn’t make sense to me until some day in the future when something finally “clicked”.
All of a sudden I would be able to understand why a certain grammar rule was used, and all I did was “notice” it being used in a conversation or by reading something.
How to Apply the Buddha Method
Remember, there is a balance between doing nothing, and stressing out about complex grammar.
Step 1 – The first thing you’re going to do is figure out an area you know you have problems with. Verb tenses like the Present Perfect or Past Perfect could be a good start. Or maybe conditionals? Just choose one.
Step 2 – Next you will want to find a good resource for a very quick review of this grammar. The point here is not to try to correct your mistakes by reviewing this grammar, but just to get an idea of how it works. Check several different resources if need be, and you can go back to these resources for a few minutes whenever you think of it.
Step 3 – As always, get as much contact as possible with English. Use genuine content, like podcasts, Youtube videos, series, etc. Avoid the fake, boring stuff, like stupid dialogues and textbooks.
The absolute best way would be to interact with someone else in English, preferably a native speaker or very advanced speaker/teacher. You want to make sure they use grammar correctly most of the time (even natives make mistakes).
Most of these moments of clarity happen during real conversations. When you are using English to communicate with someone out of necessity, your brain seems to work even harder to figure the new language out. For me, I’d say 75% of my “Buddha” moments have come during conversations, either with friends or trying to get some sort of business done.
Step 4 – Repeat. Just keep practicing daily, and occasionally looking up something about grammar. Use the “right effort”, just enough to keep it fresh in your brain.
This is a constant process and will continue to help you improve in the future. It’s gradual yet consistent. Again, being patient AND persistent is so important, and using this method requires both.
So stop saying, “Wow, I really need to study grammar” thinking that this will be the answer to your problems.
Figure out the REAL REASONS behind your English problems, and take care of those.
Spend more time with more enjoyable English activities, and if you’ve been stuck in a room for 5 years studying grammar, get out of your comfort zone and speak with someone,!
My final words, more than anything language learning should be personalized and customized to fit YOUR style, and you need to discover methods that YOU enjoy and that work for YOU. If you think this method isn’t for you, then just tell me I’m crazy and move on.
And last question…
Have you ever had any moment of clarity in English? When something difficult finally became easier for you? Tell me your story in the comment section below.