What do you need to know in English?


There are different opinions about the difficulty of English. There is a common perception that English (mostly in terms of grammar) is relatively simple. But many, having tried to "conquer this mountain", begin to lean towards the belief that everything is not so simple.

In fact, English grammar is multi-layered and consists of several levels, and the question of whether it is difficult or not depends on the level you want to reach.

For the majority, it is not a task to know English in its entirety and at the highest level - we just want to understand in most situations what we hear and more or less competently express our thoughts. For these purposes, you do not need to know ALL grammar - you need to understand it, and then everything will look a little easier.

What is included in this "necessary minimum"? What needs to be avoided? Traditionally, the first thing most people are interested in is what is the situation with tenses in English? Which in turn leads to the question...

How many tenses are there in English?
Amazingly, if you take 5 people who studied English and ask them this question, most likely, everyone will give a different number. One will answer - 12, the other - 16, and someone will name a shocking 26 or even 32!
Which of them is right?
Our answer may surprise you. Actually, it doesn't matter! The native speakers themselves, for the most part, also do not know exactly how many tenses there are in English - they just use them.

Often English teachers make the mistake of presenting material - they focus too much on covering as much grammar as possible and try to give learners as much time as possible, going deeper and deeper.

Gradually, a person is lost in this “chaos”. He gets the feeling that there are a huge number of times, and all of them are equally important, they need to be known and able to apply (and if you make a mistake - “execution”). This breeds despair and unwillingness to continue studying. This state of "lost" American teachers even came up with a name - 'English trauma' ("English trauma").

In fact, not all tenses are equally "useful", especially at first. The most basic ones are used all the time. Others, on the contrary, are used much less often - their knowledge is not a matter of prime necessity.

In order to communicate at the level of an average Englishman or American, you need to know 5 tenses. To understand 99% of what was said and written, you need to add three more “to the piggy bank”.

The first three basic English tenses to master are present (present), future (future) and past (past) of the 'simple' category.

Further added: the present category 'progressive' (in the British version is called 'continuous') - "continued" and 'Present Perfect' - "perfect" (it refers to the past tense).

No more times are needed at this stage, no need to “collect” them!

Make sure you know it!
If you have already studied English and think that you have reached an intermediate level, then before you go any further, check if you have mastered the following "basic" English tenses:
Present Simple (usually called 'Present Indefinite' in British English): I go there often. ( I go there often ) .
Future Simple (usually called 'Future Indefinite' in the UK): I will go there tomorrow. ( I will go there tomorrow ).
Past Simple (usually called 'Past Indefinite' in the British version): I went there yesterday. ( I went there yesterday).
Present Progressive (called 'Present Continuous' in British): I am reading a newspaper now. ( I am reading a newspaper now ).
Present Perfect : I have heard about it. ( I heard about it . )
For everything else, make sure that at this stage you:
  1. You know how to build denials and questions.
  2. Understand all aspects and features of the verb 'to be'.
  3. Mastered all forms of personal pronouns (possessive, object, etc.).
  4. You are fluent in the English construction of "presence" 'there is'.
  5. You understand (at least) the general logic of using articles.
  6. Do you know how to say “a lot”, “a little” and “a little” in English?
  7. Proficiency in basic modal verbs (can, may, should, must, would).
  8. Know the comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives and adverbs.
  9. You can build sentences according to the "English word order".

All this is the grammatical basis of English - something that belongs to the initial, basic level. If you do not have this knowledge, it is pointless to “get into” grammar further.

Of course, we are all curious and a slight deviation from the “course” is possible. But don't let yourself be dragged into the wild - it's devastating when learning a language.

With a consistent approach, you follow the principle of priority - “from important to secondary” and master only the language that you can use in practice. In addition, each subsequent topic will be simple and understandable for you, since it will be based on a reliable and logical foundation.