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How to learn English grammar?

by Alan Townend

How to learn English grammar?

Once you have started to learn a foreign language you want to use it, speak it, write it and above all communicate with others. But as we say, you have to learn to walk before you can run. You have to learn something about the way words work together, the way you can express different times or tenses, the way you use adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and so on. But if you are determined to get control of the language, understand it and use it properly, you must not let the things I have listed stop you. One thing at a time. Gradually bit by bit if you work hard, you will find success. The one word that sometimes makes people frightened when they start to learn a new language is "grammar". But don't worry about that word because it's only a very general title used to cover the workings of the language. The danger comes when you let grammar get in the way while you are learning. Remember that it was people who created the language in the first place. The "grammar people" or the grammarians came later.

On our site we have a wealth of different multiple choice tests, texts and stories which show grammar in context. Those are the words I want to stress – in context. It's no good learning just the meaning of a new word, or the function of a tense or the use of a particular preposition because you also have to see how they behave in a sentence or in a paragraph. At the same time we want to make this information as enjoyable as possible and that's why we like to introduce an element of humour and lightness into our materials. The American songwriter, Robert B Sherman among his many lyrics wrote a song in a musical about teaching children how to deal with unpleasant tasks. The most famous line is: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The medicine in our case is "grammar" and we add the "sugar" to make it more pleasant for you.

Our forums too are at your service. Here you can express an opinion for discussion, ask questions about the tests and any other language points that you want to raise. We are not "doctors" giving you nasty "grammar" medicine to swallow. We are here to help you communicate with other people. Do as the waiter says when the food you have ordered is put on the table in front of you: Enjoy.


Explanations of the words article/definite/indefinite and also related words like articulate/define/definition and so on. Then examples of the use of the articles with sentences showing them at work and also the occasions when no article is used.

Again definitions of the word modal and related words. Explanations of may/must/can/would/will and so on.

Definitions of passive and related words. Use of the passive with examples. Comments on why it's used in place of active.

Explain word relative and related words. Examples of their use.

General introduction to tenses and the meaning of the word - then divide into examples of each tense with illustrative sentences.

Explain the word and its function. Use of several adjectives together. Formation of adjectives.

Explain the word and its function. Refer to the different types of adverb -again with illustrative sentences

Brief introduction to purpose of punctuation - and what happens in its absence. Illustrative sentences. Explanation of various punctuation marks

Explanation of the word and related words. Different types of conditional standard ones and mixed ones with illustrative sentences.

Definition of what a phrasal verb is and examples of how they are used. Choice of some of the most common used in sentences.

Commentary on principal parts of the verb such as infinitive, gerund, participles and so on. Illustrative sentences.

Introduction to this formation and its use.

13. Meaning of the word. Use of prepositions and their position in the sentence. Notes about groups/pairs of the most common prepositions and their differences as under/below/beneath.

Definition and purpose and position of conjunctions - examples in sentences of the most common.

Again explanation of 'reported', 'direct', 'indirect' and related words. Reasons for use and formation.

If you have any questions or comments on this article, please post them here.

New words and expressions

Questions and exercises

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