Which is more important – grammar or speaking practice?

by Lara Whybrow

The answer is simple – neither is more important than the other. I get this question very frequently and it usually comes from students who have attended classes in which they felt they had little opportunity to practice speaking and which were very grammar oriented.

Learning is like cooking – you need all the ingredients to produce the tastiest dish! These ingredients are skills such as grammar, pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary, and so on.

The only way to test the skills you have learnt is through output which takes the form of speaking, writing and comprehension exercises.

Of course, some students feel that they don’t need “perfect” English they just want to communicate – and that is totally fine – but what often happens is that months down the line the student decides they are not happy with a “substandard” level and they want to improve but they have developed bad grammar habits which they find extremely difficult to break.

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