How to Retain What You Learned in English?

We keep forgetting the grammar rules when we study English as a school subject, especially, to learn a lot of phrases and grammar rules, but we seldom fail to retain these rules, words, and phrases in our memory. As a result, we often do not remember these rules when we need to use them.

The whole process of learning and forgetting useful details may be frustrating for a lot of beginners. I must tell you that this is a common problem with learning everything and not just English.  

You may have some questions like, what to do to get rid of this problem or how to remember what you learned, so that you can use it confidently whenever needed?

Don’t worry! Below are some tips for retaining the rules and words, so that you are not out of words whenever needed.

Practice Makes You Perfect

You do not have to study the whole day, not even for long hours. Just practice for a few minutes every day. Studying for a few minutes every day is better than studying lessons all day long. When you practice for a small period of time, you constantly refresh your knowledge which eventually helps you to retain what you read or study. For learning English, when you study for a few minutes every day, the rules will be easier to remember and you will be able to recall it faster. 

All of us have busy schedules due to work or study. There is no doubt that we don’t have enough time to practice. Time boundness is a reason why people don’t practice. However, with 10-20 minutes of practice every day, you will see good results within the first month.

Make Notes and Use Visual Aids

Whenever you attend a class or any sessions online, make sure that you make notes. Take the main points of the lesson and note them down as per your understanding. Note down examples from the class along with the rules. I suggest that you keep handwritten notes in a notebook because handwritten notes are better than copying and pasting a lesson from any website. You don’t need to visit the website or look through the rulebook every time you sit down to study or revise a lesson. If you copy-paste without any modification in examples, you may forget the content of the lesson easily. The action of writing down your notes will help you absorb the  knowledge for a longer period of time. If there is enough time, write the summary of the lesson in your own words.

I recommend that you create notes by making pictures, drawings, or any characters that relate to your lesson. You don’t need to be good at art, but you just need to make some objects, tables, or pictures which you can understand when you refer to the notes next time. Our brain is better at remembering images than text. Try it. It will surely help.

Make Sentences on Your Own

We learn new rules and words but can’t remember them when those are needed the most. The best way to remember the rules and vocabulary is to make real-life comments on objects or things that are happening around you. 

For example: If you see any person watering the plants in the morning, you can make a sentence in English. You can say, “He is watering the plants.”

You will remember the words and rules connected to the picture. When you do this, then you will be able to absorb that information easily. 

When you learn a new word or grammar structure rule, your coach will probably show you many examples to help you understand the concept better. You can make some other examples that are associated with your routine life. This personal connection with examples and rules will help you hold the concept and meaning for a longer period of time.

Suppose you learned a new word ‘Tall’. Think of some people or anything related to the word ‘tall’ and make sentences. For example: My father is tall.

When you learn about the future tense, write your plans. When you learn about past tense, write examples related to your past experiences. 

When you follow this, you practice and make sentences that are related to your life. This way, you’ll easily remember the words whenever needed.

4R’s – Receive, Relate, Reflect, and Review

Try to understand the rules, apply them, and reflect that by using them in real life. Review the previous lesson notes before you start a new lesson. Revise your one week’s learning on a single day without doing anything new. This process won’t take a lot of time. As per some scientific studies, we remember more information when we revise it over time. Follow the order mentioned below to practice efficiently:

  1. Receive the knowledge and make notes. 
  2. Relate the information received to your daily life and make sentences. 
  3. Reflect by speaking it out loud.
  4. Review what you learned before proceeding to the next lesson.


Many language learners have followed this cycle and observed a change. It will help you enhance your retention power and will make you feel refreshed, so that you don’t run out of expressions and be fluent when you speak English. I believe that you will use these tips and retain the words and grammar structure of different types of sentences and other concepts that you learn.

December 14, 2021

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