Understand the operation of English grammar and punctuation.

This course teaches formal written English for native speakers, particularly focusing upon grammar and punctuation.

Utilising an exploratory teaching method, it illuminates descriptive patterns of accepted usage of English, rather than preaching prescriptive ‘rules of acceptable usage’.

Course outline

Throughout, the course focuses on helping native speakers of English to activate their own latent understanding of the language, deriving rules from what they already know. It explains dangling participles, the use and abuse of apostrophes, and the difference between a sentence and a fragment.

Session 1

The first session introduces functional terminology for the discussion of grammar and sentence structure. The session also covers the concepts of simple and complex sentences. Participants thus learn when a noun is not a noun, why How to say? does not constitute a sentence, and how to parse.

Session 2

The second session addresses the twenty-four basic tense forms of English, as well as various complex parts of sentences, including different clause types. This knowledge enables participants to differentiate the future perfect tense from the past continuous passive, to distinguish an adjective clause from a noun phrase, and to know when to use which rather than that.

Session 3

The third session considers adverbial and hypothetical forms, as well as certain aspects of syntactic reorganisation. By the end of this session, participants can discriminate between If I was and If I were, and can splice clauses.

Session 4

The final session covers some of the more intricate aspects of English, and utilises the participants’ comprehension of sentence structure to provide functional explanations of the operations of English punctuation. Participants are then able to identify the proper usage not only of apostrophes and commas, but also of semi-colons and colons.

As a whole, the course provides the fundamental skills for identifying correct and incorrect writing.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, learners will be able to:

  • understand the operation of English grammar
  • understand the operation of English punctuation
  • identify errors in usage
  • correct errors.

Who should attend

This course is designed for writers, editors, language teachers, and others who use English in professional situations.

What participants say

“Finally, a course that explains the workings of English language in a clear and straightforward way. There’s nothing that Greg can’t explain and it’s fun!” Donna McTavish

“An excellent course, extremely well presented and well worth attending. I found it very useful to be given the tools to explain why something was correct or incorrect in English Usage.” Barbara Smith

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