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At Speakada, we offer a range of Anki grammar flashcards to help you learn words in a foreign language effectively. We’ve broken down our done-for-you Anki flashcards into CEFR (Common European Framework Reference for Languages) categories: A0 to C1. To purchase select your target language below:

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How to Learn Grammar Fast Using Grammar Flashcards

Grammar serves as the backbone of any language. It dictates how words are arranged in sentences, ensuring clear communication. To speak a language fluently, you need to grasp its grammatical rules so well that it becomes automatic. 

So I bet you want to know: How to learn grammar fast and effectively?

In this article, we delve into an efficient and accelerated approach of how to learn grammar fast using grammar flashcards.

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What are Grammar Flashcards?

At their core, grammar flashcards are digital flashcards that cover essential grammar rules, concepts and examples. The best grammar flashcards are digital flashcards compatible with Anki, a spaced-repetition app and software. 

The reason why grammar flashcards can be so effective is due to their simplicity. 

Each card typically focuses on one specific grammatical element, making the complex world of grammar more manageable. These cards often include concise explanations, examples, and sometimes even audio, simplifying complicated concepts for learners.

3 Types of Grammar Flashcards

Here are examples of the 3 types of Speakada’s Grammar Flashcards, as well as the key benefit of each:

1) Comprehension Card Grammar Flashcards

Receptive ability – This grammar flashcard type helps learners to understand a sentence, with particular emphasis on the highlighted grammatical element within that sentence.

2) Fill-in-the-Blank Card Grammar Flashcards

Productive ability – This grammar flashcard type helps learners to use the grammar rule in practice, in the context of a real sentence. This fill-in-the-blank card is also known as a cloze card, where the goal is to correctly replace the blank with the relevant foreign word, according to correct grammar rules.

3) Multiple Choice Card Grammar Flashcards

Self-correcting ability – This grammar flashcard type helps learners to distinguish between an incorrect and correct way to use the grammar rule. The incorrect way is a common mistake made by learners of the language, so this flashcard is also helpful for self-correcting for real situations.

3 Principles for How to Learn Grammar Using Flashcards

The power of grammar flashcards lies in their methodology. Here are 4 key principles of learning grammar with flashcards:

1) Grammar Study to Support Communication & Comprehension:

The goal of language learning should be for communication and comprehension. That is, you should remember that you want to fluently produce and understand the foreign language. 

Grammar study should therefore be used to the extent that it helps you achieve this. Don’t get lost in studying grammar for its own sake.

For example, Ali Isik’s study (2000) shows that a combination of 75% comprehensible input and 25% grammar study is more effective than 80% grammar and 20% communicative activities. This study demonstrates that grammar study can be useful as a support to help you comprehend native language materials, but grammar study shouldn’t be your only and main activity.

This is our philosophy as well at Speakada.

2) Pop-Up Grammar:

Pop-up grammar refers to brief explanations or insights into grammatical rules and vocabulary items that “pop up” during language learning activities. It’s a practical and straightforward method that offers quick clarification on essential language elements without delving into extensive grammar lessons. 

Let’s explore how this pop-up grammar technique can benefit your grammar flashcards.

1. Self-Correction

Pop-up grammar serves as a helpful tool to self-correct and refine your language usage. It provides quick insights into grammatical rules, helping you navigate language nuances as you learn.

2. Enhanced Comprehension

By making input more understandable, pop-up grammar clarifies complex language structures. It acts as a language decoder, making it easier for you to understand and process linguistic concepts.

3. Language Appreciation

While not a comprehensive grammar lesson, pop-up grammar encourages appreciation for language intricacies. It offers brief explanations or vocabulary insights that enrich your overall language learning experience.

Pop-ups within grammar flashcards are designed to be brief and informative, making them suitable for learners at all levels, especially beginners. They’re optional, allowing you to choose whether to absorb the information or skip it based on your needs and preferences.

Moreover, pop-up grammar in flashcards can serve practical purposes. In real-world situations where you need to communicate beyond your current proficiency level, consciously learned language can be a valuable resource. It helps bridge gaps in communication and ensures accurate message delivery, even if temporarily.

3) Active Recall & Spaced Repetition:

Effective grammar flashcards operate on principles of active recall and spaced repetition. 

These are two cornerstones of Anki. Anki is a digital flashcard program and app that leverages spaced repetition algorithms to optimize learning and memory retention.

Using Grammar Flashcards & Optimizing Memory Retention

Grammar flashcards are designed to be reviewed at intervals that optimize memory retention. This technique is called spaced repetition. The more challenging or unfamiliar a grammar concept is for you, the more frequently it will appear in your flashcard rotation. 

As you become more proficient, the card’s appearance diminishes, ensuring you focus your energy where it’s most needed.

In addition, with each grammar flashcard, you are prompted to actively engage your memory and understanding. When you flip a card, you’re not merely reading passively. 

You’re trying to recall the associated grammar rule or concept from memory. This cognitive effort solidifies your understanding and memory of the rule. This technique is called active recall.

Long-Term Retention Challenge & Insights from Research

One major challenge in language learning is the retention of grammatical knowledge over time, especially with explicit grammar instruction. “Explicit grammar instruction” means when you try to learn grammar actively, rather than passively or subconsciously.

While explicit instruction can lead to significant short-term gains in understanding, the real test lies in ensuring long-term retention of this knowledge.

Research conducted at the Hiroshima Shudo University in Japan sheds light on this issue. In the study, Japanese beginning-level high school learners were divided into three groups, each consisting of approximately 89 learners.

The findings revealed that learners who received explicit instruction experienced notable short-term gains in their understanding of the auxiliary verb “to be.” However, learners who were taught implicitly through exposure to examples did not show the same level of improvement.

Importance of Long-Term Retention & Anki’s Role

This Japanese university study underscores the importance of not only providing explicit grammar instruction but also ensuring long-term retention of the learned material.

Anki flashcards can play a crucial role in achieving this goal. By utilizing spaced repetition algorithms, Anki flashcards facilitate regular review sessions that reinforce learned grammar rules and concepts over time. 

This systematic approach to review helps in solidifying grammatical knowledge and promotes long-term retention, addressing the issue of short-term gains commonly associated with explicit grammar instruction alone.

Should You Consciously Study Grammar or Not?

Some researchers and language learners go as far as to advocate that there is no need at all for explicit grammar learning. They argue that ongoing exposure to authentic native language materials is sufficient for you to progress in your grammar knowledge. For them, conscious grammar study is not needed whatsoever.

Nonetheless, other researchers and language learners have discovered that there are some benefits to deliberate grammar learning. 

Consider the research by Professor Rod Ellish from Curtin University (Australia) who argues that raising awareness of the grammatical rules of the language is necessary for learners’ linguistic development.  When language learners are aware of the grammar rules, it can lead to learners noticing their own errors, so that they can fix them.

Consequently, this causes learners to reconstruct their own understanding about grammatical structures.

3 Benefits of Deliberate Grammar Study 

Our position is that grammar study should act as a support for your ultimate goal for fluency in communication and comprehension. If you want to study grammar deliberately with flashcards, you certainly can, because these flashcards can make understanding content and interacting with native speakers run smoother.

In our point of view, there are 3 main benefits of doing some deliberate grammar study with flashcards:

1. Precision in Specific Grammar Points

In particular, explicit grammar learning can help you if you want to fine-tune your accuracy for specific grammar points.

Grammar flashcards can be useful because some native language input may not give you enough practice or exposure of certain grammatical features that you want to master.

2. Mastery of Rare and Advanced Grammar

In addition, you might want to reach much higher levels of proficiency so you need grammar flashcards to practice rare, high-level grammar.

You may also want to study grammar deliberately in order to pass proficiency level tests that contain certain grammar rules. 

3. Clearer Path of Progress

Grammar flashcards can even provide a clearer path of progress. In contrast, if you only read and listen to random native language materials, this may not give you a sense of progress, and you may feel like you’re in a plateau.

For learners who actually enjoy understanding the grammar rules, flashcards can also give you confidence that you can master them efficiently.

Why Use Grammar Flashcards to Learn Grammar?…3 Reasons

Let’s delve into why grammar flashcards are often used by language learners to achieve fluency success:

1. Efficiency: 

You invest your time and energy where it matters most. Instead of mindlessly reviewing grammar rules, you engage in targeted, meaningful practice.

Grammar flashcards cut through the noise.

They offer a streamlined approach to tackling grammar by breaking it into small pieces. Rather than grappling with entire grammar textbooks or lengthy exercises, you can pinpoint specific grammar rules that pose challenges. This targeted approach not only saves time but also ensures your efforts are channeled where they’re most needed.

2. Retention: 

The active recall and spaced repetition techniques employed by grammar flashcards are tailored to enhance long-term retention. When you actively engage with the flashcards, you’re not only learning but also reinforcing your understanding.

The spaced repetition system ensures that you revisit and reinforce your grasp on grammar concepts at the optimal intervals. This means you remember what you’ve learned, and it sticks with you as you progress in your language journey.

3. Adaptive Learning:

The system adapts to your unique needs. If a particular grammar concept poses a challenge or is difficult to remember, the flashcards system provides additional practice until you master it in your daily reviews. 

With each repetition, you enhance your mastery of grammar, making it second nature as you converse, write, and express yourself in your new language.

Grammar Levels According to CEFR

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a widely recognized framework that provides a standardized way of describing language proficiency.

The CEFR can provide a blueprint for language proficiency, breaking down the journey into well-defined levels. It divides language skills into six levels, ranging from A1 (beginner) to C2 (proficient/native-like). A0 is sometimes also used to refer to an absolute beginner with no prior knowledge of the language. Each level reflects a particular stage of language mastery, from the basic foundations to near-native fluency. 

The CEFR framework can be beneficial for language learners as it offers a clear roadmap for language acquisition. It defines the skills and knowledge required at each level, making it easier for learners to set goals and track their progress.

The CEFR levels are:

LevelDescription of Level
A0 (Absolute Beginner)This level is for individuals who have no prior knowledge of the language. Learners at this stage are starting from scratch and are introduced to basic greetings, simple vocabulary, and elementary grammar concepts.
A1 (Beginner)At this level, individuals have basic language skills and can understand and use simple, everyday expressions. They can introduce themselves, ask and answer basic questions, and interact in straightforward, routine situations.
A2 (Elementary)A2 level speakers can understand and use commonly used phrases and expressions related to familiar topics. They can communicate in simple and routine tasks and describe their background, immediate environment, and personal experiences.
B1 (Intermediate)At the B1 level, individuals have developed more independent language skills. They can understand the main points of clear standard input and can handle most situations while traveling in a region where the language is spoken. They can express opinions, describe experiences, and plans.
B2 (Upper Intermediate)B2 speakers can understand complex texts, engage in more in-depth discussions, and produce detailed written or spoken content on a wide range of topics. They can communicate effectively in most social and professional situations.
C1 (Advanced)C1-level speakers have advanced language skills and can understand and produce complex texts and academic content. They can express themselves fluently and spontaneously and engage in more nuanced discussions and debates.
C2 (Proficiency)At the highest level, C2 speakers have near-native or native-level language skills. They can understand virtually everything they read or hear, including complex, abstract, or technical content. They can express themselves with precision, clarity, and subtlety in any context.

Grammar flashcards designed according to CEFR levels can be extremely effective for learners. They allow learners to focus on grammar concepts relevant to their current proficiency level, ensuring targeted and efficient practice.

By aligning grammar study with CEFR levels, learners can systematically improve their language skills and work towards achieving their desired level of proficiency.

Why are CEFR Levels Used for Anki Grammar Flashcards?

Grammar flashcards offer a structured and effective approach to learning the rules and intricacies of a language. When integrated with CEFR levels, they become even more powerful.

Here are some the main reasons why Anki grammar flashcards should be organized according to the CEFR levels:

1) CEFR Used by Many Language Courses & Tests Worldwide

One compelling reason for using CEFR levels in Anki grammar flashcards is the widespread adoption and recognition of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) across the globe. 

A study by Professor McCarthy from the University of Nottingham, UK, highlighted the applicability of the CEFR framework in assessing students’ grammar competence, emphasizing its relevance in language education.

As such, the CEFR framework has garnered significant interest and adoption, with over 40 countries worldwide incorporating it into their language education systems over recent decades.

This widespread acceptance and use of CEFR levels make them a reliable and standardized reference point for designing Anki grammar flashcards. By aligning with CEFR levels, learners can ensure that their grammar practice corresponds to internationally recognized standards, enhancing the effectiveness and relevance of their language learning journey.

2) CEFR As Criteria for Many International Universities, Organizations & Companies

International universities, organizations, and companies often rely on CEFR levels as a standard criterion for evaluating language proficiency.

Universities’ Language Requirements

Here are just some examples of top universities worldwide requiring proof of language competence according to the CEFR levels:


In Mexico, Universidad Panamericana requires a B2 level proficiency in Spanish (CEFR) for attending Spanish-language classes. 
MIU City University Miami, USA, accepts official tests conforming to CEFR (DELE, SIELE exams) certifying B2 proficiency or higher, with Erasmus incoming students recommended to have a basic knowledge of Spanish (B1 level, CEFR). 
The Complutense University of Madrid sets the requirement at B1 (CEFR) level, with specific levels recommended for different programs.

At Sorbonne University, B2 or higher (CEFR) level is required for courses in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities or Faculty of Science & Engineering, while C1 level is necessary for studying at the Faculty of Medicine.
Université de Liège mandates a B2 level proficiency in French.

Università di Bologna accepts Italian Language competence certificates corresponding to B2 level (CEFR).
Università della Svizzera italiana requires a good knowledge of Italian (at least B2, CEFR) for non-native speakers.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin demands German language skills at C1 level (CEFR) for Bachelor’s and German-language Master’s courses.
University of Vienna requires proof of German language proficiency at C1 level for admission to degree programs.

Harvard University & MIT require a minimum score of 185 for Cambridge English C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency assessments.
University of Cambridge accepts IELTS, TOEFL, C1 Advanced, and C2 Proficiency tests for English language proficiency.

International Organizations & Companies

CEFR levels are not limited to academia but also extend to international organizations and companies. Proficiency in languages like English is often assessed using CEFR-based exams such as Cambridge English C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency, IELTS, TOEFL, and others. 

Companies and organizations use these exams as a benchmark to evaluate candidates’ language skills for employment opportunities or international assignments.

CEFR Levels: A Global Benchmark for Language Proficiency

In essence, CEFR levels serve as a universal language proficiency standard, facilitating communication and collaboration across borders. 

By aligning Anki grammar flashcards with CEFR levels, language learners can prepare effectively for academic, professional, and personal language challenges, ensuring they meet the standards required by universities, organizations, and companies worldwide.

3) Customized Learning: 

By categorizing grammar flashcards according to CEFR levels, learners can focus their attention on the specific grammar rules and structures relevant to their current proficiency. 

This tailored approach ensures that you’re not overwhelmed by advanced concepts if you’re still at a beginner level or vice versa.

4) Progressive Mastery: 

As you move from one CEFR level to the next, your grammar flashcards evolve alongside your proficiency. 

You can transition from basic sentence structures to complex clauses, tenses, and nuances, gradually building your competence in the language.

Anki Grammar Flashcards Examples With CEFR Levels

1. A0 (Absolute Beginner) Grammar Flashcards: 

2. A1 (Beginner) Grammar Flashcards

3. A2 (Elementary) Grammar Flashcards

4. B1 (Intermediate) Grammar Flashcards

5. B2 (Upper Intermediate) Grammar Flashcards

6. C1 (Advanced) Grammar Flashcards

Our Grammar Flashcards will test whether you understand grammar in context, not whether you memorize the grammar rule. This means that the cards don’t ask you to memorize the grammar rule word-for-word. 

Rather, you’re asked whether you can understand and use grammatically correct words or forms in the context of real sentences. 

The actual grammar rule is only shown on the back of the card, as a supporting hint. This “pop-up grammar” is just in case you need a more explicit explanation. However, the main goal of the grammar flashcards is to see whether you can understand various grammar features in context, and use them yourself within a sentence.

Final Thoughts About Learning Grammar with Flashcards

Grammar often stands as a formidable hurdle on the path to language fluency. Its intricate rules, verb conjugations, and sentence structures can leave learners feeling overwhelmed. 

However, figuring out how to learn grammar can be simplified using Anki grammar flashcards. 

Anki grammar flashcards offer a dynamic and efficient way to learn and retain grammar rules from the beginner CEFR levels of A0 and A1 to the advanced and proficient levels of C1 and C2. 

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