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Title Slide of The teacher's grammar of english ron cowan. Preface. The Teacher's Grammar Book is designed for students who are preparing to be- In addition, it provides an overview of English grammar that is in-. The Teacher's Grammar of English is a comprehensive resource text designed to help ESL/EFL teachers understand and teach American English grammar.

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All downloads are in PDF Format and consist of a worksheet and answer sheet to check 1 Language, Grammar and Linguistic Theory This book attempts to describe some of the basic grammatical characteristics of the English language in a way accessible to most students of English.

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The book is a comprehensive survey of structures and forms, written in clear modem English and illustrated with numerous examples. Natalia Adamus. Change the sentences from singular into plural? Espresso English has fun, fast online English lessons every week!

These are topics you need to study at A1 level. Most exercises require no actual writing but simply choosing between various options, thus facilitating e-reading and rapid progress. A comprehensive site for free English courses and exercises. Search exercises in search bar above 2. Do you work on Saturdays? English grammar practice exercise for beginner level. And really understanding the rules of English grammar is an important step to really learning English. Insert definite or indefinite articles, the an, a, where necessary: 1.

E T E R S O N Each of the twenty chapters in Developing Writing is introduced by a topical reading selection incorporating the lessons model structures, mechanics, and grammar points. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Grammar: Adverbs of time at the beginning of the sentence.

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See more of English Tests Online on Facebook. Jump to. A1 Set of model exercises -- play the listening module sample audio min. This book is a comprehensive guide to make you perfect in English. Secondary A1-A2 Photocopiable material. This is a grammar test at B1 level, with three different exercises: 1.

Beginners German Course - Test your knowledge of German grammar rules with these free grammar drills. I invited Jeff to come for lunch but he wasnt hungry. Learn to conjugate all of the tenses. P resen t per fect The Present Perfect, I have written, is used when we are specially concerned with the present results of past action, when the evidence of past action lies before us. There is much truth in this.

Hurray, I ve fou n d it. Here it is, and many similar examples would prove the rule. Yet even here we have not found a factor apart from the form of the construction which is common to all examples of the Present Perfect. When I tell you that I have lived in China, I am not necessarily concerned with present results at all, I am not in China now and have not lived there for many years.

Evidence may exist of my having lived there, but that evidence would be there just the same if I said I lived in China before the War; and I could still say I have lived in China though every shred of evidence had disappeared.

That would be true in some examples, e. Its stopped raining. But the converse is also true: The post came fiv e minutes ago. England has had its civil wars the last was in the seventeenth century. P resen t p e r f e c t c o n t in u o u s The Present Perfect Continuous, as in I ve been writing , is used for action begun in the past and still going on in the present.

The exact opposite of the last part of this rule still going on in the present is so often true that I doubt the value of teaching it even as a temporary aid. The rule applies to such examples as I ve been writing this book fo r six weeks and am still writing it and Youve been learning English fo r six years and havent stopped doing so. It does not apply to other examples, such as W hos been sitting in my chair? P ast c o n t in u o u s The Past Continuous, I was writing, is used for an action which is interrupted by another action in the past.

This is part of the traditional dogma of European language teachers. It sometimes applies to English, but only incidentally and by no means invariably. In I was writing when the bell rang, an interruption is 10 A Teachers Grammar implied. In The bell was still ringing but I w orked on without noticing it or in Someone was taking notes all the time you were speaking, what is interrupted by what?

I was writing steadily throughout the afternoon suggests that I was not interrupted for a moment. P r e p o s it io n s In referring to location, in is used with a capital city or town with a large number of inhabitants, at with a smaller place. Insofar as this is true, it is a good example of the grammarians prescription and of conventional usage.

I have often found myself saying in Edinburgh, in Prague, in Tokyo, in conscious obedience to this rule, or to please such inhabitants of those great cities as might expect the rule to be observed for their benefit.

Yet the rule is not invariable. An aeroplane flying round the world can be said to stop at Tokyo, at New Delhi, at Athens, at London, on its way to New York; and we can say in the smallest of villages if that is the world we live in. But let us be careful not to make more rules out of these exceptions.

It is a fact of which we can be certain that we often use at with capital cities on air routes and in with villages when we are living in them; but a more fundamental point of which admittedly we cannot be certain but which would make sense of both normal and exceptional usages might be that we tend to associate at with what we imagine at the time of speaking to be a point, and in with what we imagine to be a space, as we shall see later. Readers may come across other over-simplifications.

They can always discover how far rules are inadequate by testing them against genuine and generally acceptable usage. Rules that break down under that test should not be regarded as axioms, but at best as temporary scaffolding poles which, if allowed to remain, could be mistaken for the real architecture of English and could prevent us from ever seeing it. T h e E f f e c t s o f O v e r - s im p lific a t io n Over-simplified rules may seem to help, but they produce these effects: a Usage is often distorted to support them.

The teacher who places a pen firmly on the desk announcing, I am putting my pen on the desk, in obedience to the rule criticised earlier, is as guilty as the old-fashioned pedagogue who expected students to translate artificial sentences like This is the pen o f my aunt.

Expressions like Would you like some more tea? A teacher I knew, whose mother-tongue had no exact equivalents of a and the, had once been instructed as follows: Use a when a noun is first introduced, and the when the same noun occurs again. He believed that was the whole truth; and could never understand why the line from Shakespeares Richard III, A horse, a horse, my kingdom f o r a horse should not be A horse, the horse, my kingdom f o r the horse.

C o m m e n t a r y a n d D is c u s s io n P o in t s Close argues that many so-called classroom rules are at best half truths.

Can you give three examples? He gives four clear problems which arise as a result of over-simplification. Which do you consider to be the most important? Is there anything to be said for students forming their own rules on the basis of the examples they have met?

The advantage is that the rules they formulate will reflect their experience of the language up to that point, and will certainly be in their own range of understanding.

Could this be more useful than presenting students with rules which they may not understand? Though English speakers may sometimes be faced with a choice between one form and another, what they actually say and in what circumstances they say it are matters of fact, and a general statement about usage is incorrect if it is contradicted by the facts of generally accepted usage itself. It is not good enough to pretend that any usage is exceptional if it fails to fit the rules we believe.

We should therefore consider the difference between a irregularities in a system and b exceptions to a so-called rule. By the logic of Graeco-Latin grammar, which determined the thinking of teachers for centuries, every situation in language had its Rule and every Rule its Exceptions. Now we can establish a rule about some parts of the solid core of English grammar, e. We can call them exceptions to the rule if we like: thus cow, cows; goat, goats but sheep, sheep.

It is tempting to do this with the whole of the grammar and assume that there will be exceptions to any rule we formulate.

This assumption is dangerous. Though we may say cow, cows but sheep, sheep, we cannot allow exceptions to the rule that English-speakers make a mental distinction between one unit and more than one, whatever the name of that unit may be. If we believe that exceptions are inevitable, we can always make that an excuse when our rules fail to work.

W ord O rder The fact that words are put together in patterns and in a certain order is very important in English grammar.

For example, no alternative order is normally possible for the words in the following two sentences: [1] Harry has done that job very well. However, it is not those particular words but what we call the elements of sentence structure e. Now consider the following: [3] Please show me how this works. In example [3], only a limited set of verbs could replace show e. In [4], what follows was is an obligatory element: the sentence would be incomplete without it; it can be either a noun success , adjective phrase very good , adverbial of place in the open air or adverbial of time yesterday and because of the tense of was it must be an adverbial of past time.

Learning to construct sentences on such models is an essential process in mastering solid core grammar, though the analysis is something that can be done at a later stage, if at all. Words also go together in what we call collocations. For example, we try to do good, we make a discovery, we pay attention to somebody or something but draw som eones attention to it. We can only learn these collocations through use of the language or by finding suitable examples in a good modem dictionary.

E s s e n t i a l a n d In c i d e n t a l F a c t o r s In example [4] we could not replace was by has been because of a solid core rule which tells us that we must have the Simple Past and not the Present Perfect, in association with an adverb of past time.

But while this association between the Simple Past and a past time adverbial is an important factor, it is not decisive in our use of that tense. If I lose my watch and find it again a few days later, I can quite correctly say, Oh, I fou n d my watch, without using any past time adverbial. Adverbials undoubtedly play a part in tense usage, but they are usually incidental factors, not essential ones.

When I put on a raincoat, I usually take my umbrella too. When I wear an overcoat, I feel in my pocket for gloves. As a habit and language is very much a matter of habit , I associate raincoat with umbrella, and overcoat with gloves. Thus I often put on my raincoat and pick up my umbrella automatically. But is it not possible that I perform both actions primarily because I know it is raining?

I found, in automatic association with an adverb like yesterday or a moment ago ; but is it not possible that I use both expressions primarily because my attention is focused, in both instances, on a specific point in past time detached from the present?

We can also say I ve found my watch. Here it is; and we can argue that the fact that I now have my watch and can show it to you is my reason for using the Present Perfect. But this present evidence - though, again, it is a very important factor - is still only an incidental one, since I fou n d my watch. Here it is is equally acceptable. Thus we can say: [5] I ve found my watch.

Here it is.

Present evidence is only an incidental factor in the use of the Present Perfect in [5], since [6] is acceptable also; and because [6] is acceptable, the co occurrence of yesterday is not the essential justification for the Simple Past in [7].

We must therefore look elsewhere Chapter 5 for the essential deciding factors in our choice of the Simple Past and of the Present Perfect. Nevertheless, it is a good idea in teaching the Simple Past to associate it at first with an adverbial of past time, especially a phrase ending in ago, which means back from now.

Later, it can be made clear that such an association, though always possible, is not indispensable. It may also be a good idea to introduce the contrast between the Simple Present and the Present Continuous with the help of adverbials, thus: [9] Were speaking English now.

But it would be wrong to leave pupils with a firm impression that the continuous is used because of association with now, while the Simple Present is used because of always. It would be just as correct to say [11] Youre always writing. Dont you ever read a book? Indeed, always, or a synonym for it, is necessary in [11] if the meaning is You never stop writing. By firmly linking now with the continuous and always with Primary Distinctions 15 the Simple Present, we may be preventing our pupils from ever seeing the real distinction in meaning between the two forms.

D is t in c t io n s o f T h o u g h t Since we are concerned in these problems with distinctions of thought, we should look for the essential factors both in the distinctions which all human beings find it necessary to make, and in those that are characteristic of the English-speaking people.

Universal distinctions, e. Nonetheless, students may confuse he and she for purely phonological reasons; and may make errors in concord, e. Other distinctions common to many languages, e. Still other distinctions may be quite unfamiliar and students may not at first see that these distinctions are important or even that they are possible. A language cannot help reflecting the ways of behaviour and thought of the people who speak it as their mother-tongue.

English has developed through the centuries in the daily life of people whose instincts - or whose climate, or whatever it may be - impel them to physical action. They think in physical, rather than in abstract, logical or mystical terms. They are matter-of-fact. They like to get on with the job, to get things done, to get results. English-speakers reading this paragraph will want to know where it is all leading to. They are concerned with action, movement, direction, mathematically definite relationships in space.

To them, there is an important difference between activity and achievement; still more between the word and the deed. They distinguish sharply between the idea and the reality, the general and the particular, the limitless and the strictly confined, the unspecified and the specific, the symbol and the thing it represents.

To questions of fact, they want a straight answer; yes or no. They say, You know the answer, you remember it, forget it, like it - or you dont. On the other hand, they are prepared to concede that the answer may depend entirely on ones point of view, on what exactly one has in mind, on where one wants to put the emphasis. Highly individualistic in a close-knit community, they distinguish between the person and people as a whole, between each one and everybody, between the unit and the mass.

That is the sort of attitude I see reflected in English grammar and the sort of criterion I shall be using in this book. One of the basic characteristics of that attitude is faith in the unalterable nature of fact. My first word of advice to those who want to understand English grammar is therefore: prefer the facts 16 A Teachers Grammar of authentic and acceptable usage to the grammarians rules. The grammarian can provide students with rules which will prepare them for some of the facts they will meet, but not for all of them.

There is no way of anticipating idiomatic conventions such as go to school side by side with go to the theatre, or fa il to do something with succeed in doing it.

However, I hope that by the time readers have finished this book they will be able to recognise and form for themselves the distinctions which have become stereotyped in such idiomatic phrases and which in the living language are constantly at work.

One member of a pair may stand in contrast to the other; or each may stand in contrast, in its own way, to some element outside the pair. Zandvoort, Handbook o f English Grammar Longman, It is around such oppositions that the grammatical system of the language is to a large extent built up. As we shall be continually referring in this book to contrast, let us use the symbol v instead o f in contrast to.

Thus we may have every v each; all v every; all v each; a v the; no article v a; no article v the; and many others. One member of a pair can be marked in some way; the other unmarked in that way; or both may be marked, each standing in contrast in a different way with something unmarked. To appreciate the principle involved here, notice the marked and unmarked members in the following pairs of words: Unmarked horse duck school Marked mare drake kindergarten v v v Ordinarily we speak of a horse whether the animal is male or female.

In saying mare we are specially concerned with the fact that the animal is a female of the species. In other words, we use the marked form when we wish to make a particular distinction, the unmarked form when that distinction is not felt to be necessary. Notice that we can say horse even though we know the animal is female: in that case, we do not feel the distinction worth making, or it is not there that we wish to place the emphasis.

Notice, also, that we must say horse when we wish to indicate that the creature is male, not female. Horse v stallion forms a less common pair. In stallion v mare both members are marked in contrast to horse.

We can summarise the matter thus: Primary Distinctions 17 Unmarked 1 horse sex of no concern; either sex 2 horse male in contrast to female Marked mare female in contrast to male I shall call the first horse the weak unmarked form; the second horse , strong. With duck and drake the roles are reversed: the female happens to be unmarked, the male is the marked member.

With school and kindergarten we have: 1 school for children of all ages kindergarten for small children only, not older 2 school for older children, above kindergarten age The difference between the marked and the unmarked member of a pair is the particular distinction made on the marked member but not on the unmarked; for example, it is the distinction we wish to make when we use mare instead of horse , drake instead of duck, kindergarten instead of school.

If you like, we might say that horse, duck and school are the norms, the other words are variants. What particular distinction do we wish to make when we use mare instead of horse, drake instead of duck?

Is it a question of size? It might be, incidentally. Is it a question of colour? Again, it might be. But it is of course primarily one of sex. A distinctive feature of a kindergarten might be the smallness of the classroom furniture; but it is primarily the fact that it is designed for children of a certain age. The contrast between unmarked and marked applies to both lexis i.

I would regard the Simple Present as unmarked and the Present Continuous as marked: that is to say, the former is the norm, while the latter is used when we wish to make some special emphasis. As with horse v mare, duck v drake, school v kindergarten, there may be incidental differences between members of a grammatical pair, and essential ones.

For example, the fact that in is used with reference to a capital city while at is used with a place with fewer inhabitants is not the essential distinction in the contrast in v at. P r im a r y D is t in c t io n s We turn now to some of the most important distinctions of thought which are reflected in English grammatical structures. The various primary distinctions, 18 A Teachers Grammar and combinations of them will recur frequently in different contexts in later chapters.

However, far more important is the difference between unit nouns and mass nouns see 5 below. What students have to learn about abstract nouns is really as follows: a How they are formed, so that they can easily change: Thank you f o r being kind to Thank you fo r your kindness.

Thus: We discovered something interesting can be re-phrased We made an interesting discovery. There is a distinction between concrete and abstract which appears in the following examples: [13] We arrived at the right station.

The passive of [14] is quite acceptable, The right conclusion was arrived at, but is unlikely to occur with [13]. Note what kind of nouns can act as subject and object of delight, enjoy, remember, remind: [15] Hector and his songs delighted the audience. Furthermore, the genitive with apostrophe s will not normally occur with a noun referring to something inanimate, though it does occur with nouns referring to human beings, human institutions, animals and birds; and the indirect object see examples in Chapter 7 will always be a noun or pronoun referring to something animate, except in cases like Please give my car a wash.

Primary Distinctions 19 We can take our passports to an officer or to an office, but only the animate noun is allowable in the sentence Take the officer your passport. Notice how this affects the use of the interrogative Who? It affects relative pronouns, who or that and whom being reserved for personal antecedents, and which or that for impersonal ones.

He and she replace only nouns referring to male and female humans or to domestic animals whose sex is known and relevant. She is often used by a proud owner, usually male, when referring to a machine or ship Shes a beauty, isnt she? It looks like a horse, or a donkey, with pyjamas on. I ve a stone in my shoe. We can also have the substances wood and metal, and separate objects, e.

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There is a similar distinction between material i. This distinction is very important in modem English grammar, as we shall see Chapter 3.

Abstract nouns, e. He had a good education. With the distinction between mass and unit, goes that between amount of a mass and number of units. Similarly, wood in Wood floats in water , refers to the whole class of a certain substance; whereas wood, in a piece o f wood, refers to one example of it only.

The language and The students are particular in He speaks the language well and The students are drinking coffee. But see 8. They would be specified in The language we are now studying and The students who ought to be sitting here. Unlimited choice is implied by What book would you like? The Primary Distinctions 21 continuous form of the verb is very unlikely to be used when the speaker is referring to the activity in general: it is much more likely to be used with reference to particular performances as in I know where Dick and Harry are.

Theyre swimming in the lake. What are you doing? Are you busy? It is on the result in make, as in I m making some bookshelves. Notice how this affects the tense associated with since: [22] Since we moved here since that event , weve made many new friends.

The caretaker is shutting all the doors. The continuous form of the verb is unlikely to occur in natural English with reference to a single point-of-time act: it is much more likely with activity having duration. But certain verbs, called stative, do not refer to purposeful activity: they express a relationship, as in the case of be and have, or sensory or mental 22 A Teachers Grammar states, as in the case of see, hear, know, understand.

Dynamic verbs can easily occur in the continuous, with adverbs of manner e. They will also be considered as expressing various degrees of certainty on the part of the speaker with regard to the statement the speaker is making. I waited till the ambulance arrived, the accident happened at one point of time, the ambulance arrived at another; since marks the point at which a period of time began; till marks the point at which a period ended; fo r signals the length of a period.

Primary Distinctions 23 D. Wait at the door. Stop at that point; whereas on is more often associated with one dimension on the line or two on the surface , and in with three in a space or area. Hard is therefore called gradable, unique ungradable. It can also be applied to verbs; like and appreciate are gradable, but see and meet are not; hence the different adverbial in I like, or appreciate, that very much, but I see, or meet, him very often.

Any, yet and either are normally associated with negatives or with questions that seem prepared for either a negative or affirmative reply. Thus: 24 A Teachers Grammar [26] Ive found some mistakes in this book already.

Have you found some or any? In [27], the relative clause, who waits, is restrictive or defining: it answers the question What man? In [28], the relative clause, who was etc. Similarly, in [29], Tom Jackson is in restrictive apposition to your friend: it tells us which of your friends. The significance of this is as follows: that could replace who in [27], but not in [28]; and commas, with a break in intonation, are obligatory in [28] but would not occur in [27] and [29].

Other factors affect linguistic choice and we must also take into account: a What exactly the speaker has in mind at the time of speaking. The important thing is not what the object to which s he refers is in reality, but what the speaker imagines it to be at the time. At a p lace is right if the speaker imagines that place as a point on the map. In it, is right if the speaker sees it as a space-area. We can say the committee thinks if we have in mind a body of people, or the committee think if we have in mind a body made up of individual persons.

Both are acceptable, so long as the speaker does not change point of view erratically.

The Teacher’s Grammar Book

The speaker may say The committee have finished their work, but not put has with their, or have with its. Nevertheless, in unscripted speech even educated and effective speakers change their mental image in the middle of a sentence; and thus produce mixed forms. It Primary Distinctions 25 is safer to avoid this in writing, which, as a more reflective process, affords the chance to ensure consistency.

The importance of the speakers point of view is obvious in here and there, this and that.With the SECs plain English rules in place, every prospectus will have its cover page, summary, and risk factors in plain English. Exercises; Get more Perfect English Grammar with our courses.

It is very unlikely that they could acquire the faculty by being given abstract explanations first. There is a mouse under the bed. Pedagogical Grammar 4.

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