Tips for Effective Syntax/Grammar Learning

Speech Therapy
                        Tips for Effective Syntax/Grammar Learning

Grammar refers to the types of words and word groups that make up sentences in any language.

Often, children begin to use syntax when they develop short sentences to communicate. A child needs about 50 words to begin combining them into short sentences. If a child uses incorrect grammar, it can lead to meaningless sentences that can lead to misinterpretation by the communication partner.

As you progress in reading this blog, you will be able to learn a few tips and activities that can be used to help children develop syntax.

  1. Build on the child's existing knowledge: Teach simple and easy structures first and make sure they are integrated and internalized before teaching newer structures.

For example, start with the simple present tense and gradually the complexity can be expanded as below:

For example, progress from:

The girl is eating.

She is eating

The girls are eating.

They are eating.

2. Use actions: Since each child is different and learns in a different mode, a multisensory (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) approach must be used. You can use gestures to prompt a certain conjunction such as ‘and’ or an article ‘a’. Illustration is given below to help you understand.

Targeted sentence: There was a lion and a leopard in the zoo.

Using it with a gesture prompt: There was a lion and (clap hands) a leopard in the zoo.

3. Teach grammar in context: Grammar and context are often so closely related that appropriate grammatical choices can only be made based on the context and purpose of communication (Nunan, 1998, p. 102).

             For example (a) Marie would like to go to Singapore.

                                  (b) Norbert had been to Singapore last month.

4. Use reading and literacy skills to catalyse learning: Here is an axample of how to use a simple activity to teach grammatical structures using the child's reading abilities. 

Arranging sentences in order: Write the words of a simple sentence on a piece of paper and arrange them in an incorrect order and have them rearrange in the correct order. 

Example: (Incorrect sentence) is asleep. The dog

(Correct sentence) The dog is asleep

The strategies shared in this blog can be used as activities for various goals. Ensure to generalise concepts in different contexts to make the use of grammatical structures more functional. For further information contact us.



  1. The Handy Little Guide to Dyslexia-Joanna Nijakowska


Curated by, Ligin John (Clinical Coordinator & Speech Language Pathologist)

 Edited by, Chitra Thadathil (Director & Speech Language Pathologist)


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