English Grammar

English grammar – what you need to know

English grammar can be tricky for native and non-native English speakers alike. Those who learned grammar formally at school often have a hazy recollection of the rules. And the rest of us never learned it in the classroom at all – we kind of just picked it up as we went along.


When I give grammar coaching and training, clients will often state categorically that a particular rule is correct when it isn’t, and vice versa. Some older students have horror stories about being drilled in grammar at school, and then being punished when they made mistakes. No wonder it’s an emotive subject!


So, if you are grammarphobic, you’re not alone. And the good news is that you actually don’t need much grammar for letter writing, essays,resumes & CVs or business writing. So don’t worry too much about conditionals or prepositional phrases (unless you’re teaching English to foreign students).

This section covers the basics and the areas that cause confusion for the average writer.


You can be a good writer without knowing hundreds of grammatical terms

Multilingual people tend to be comparatively good at the terminology. It makes sense – I didn’t know the difference between an adjective and anadverb until I tried to learn French.


There are some terms that are handy to know, though, because they help you avoid the most common errors. Or at least understand what your computer grammar checker is telling you when it underlines your sentences with green squiggles. Good examples are contractions and subject verb agreement (not as scary as it sounds).

It also helps to refresh your memory on punctuation, capitalization, run-on sentences and how to write numbers. And you’ll avoid a lot of mistakes if you check your writing against frequently misused words. My bonus report The Seven Deadly Writing Sins, free when you sign up for my newsletter on the right, covers all these in more detail.

Are you learning English? Do you need help with things like verb tenses, vocabulary and pronunciation? Click on this great learn English link for fully illustrated explanations, vocabulary & grammar exercises.

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