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English Grammar: All You Need to Know

University College London via FutureLearn


What is grammar?

Grammar is the study of sentence structure, a uniquely human part of our culture and identity.

On this six-week course from UCL, you’ll take an in-depth look at English grammar, learning how to construct sentences, create meaning, and communicate effectively both personally and professionally.

Examine the structure of sentences

Beginning with an introduction to key terminology, you’ll discover how words, phrases, and clauses are combined to create sentences.

You’ll learn about grammatical forms, such as nouns, noun phrases, verbs and verb phrases, as well as about grammatical functions, including Subject, Predicate, Complement, and Adjunct, before moving on to semantic roles.

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to confidently analyse sentences at several levels.

Take a closer look at tense, aspect, and mood

After gaining a comprehensive overview of the forms and functions of grammar, you’ll then examine how different grammatical notions, such as tense, aspect, and mood are implemented in English.

Learn about the principles of effective communication in speech and writing

In the final week of this course, you’ll examine how to highlight certain parts of your message and clarify your meaning using information structuring.

Having studied structural and semantic concepts at different levels, by the end of the course you will have gained a deep understanding of English grammar and the principles of effective communication.

This course is designed for anyone who wants to learn about English grammar in an engaging way, whether for pleasure or in a professional context.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this course is NOT designed to help you improve your English writing or speaking skills.

ALSO IMPORTANT: If you teach grammar in a UK school that follows the specifications of the National Curriculum (NC), this course is NOT SUITABLE for you, because it does not align with the National Curriculum. If you do follow this course as a teacher, you will be teaching a different model of grammar which will lead to confusion for you and your pupils, and will result in lower scores in the tests. We have a solution for this, though! Please check out the FutureLearn courses English Grammar for Teachers and Teaching English Grammar in Context, also from UCL, which are specifically designed for UK teachers, and are fully aligned with the NC.

The course uses a textbook with the same title: English Grammar: All You Need to Know which is available only on Amazon. Purchase is optional. The course also links to the UCL Englicious website (free sign-up).


  • The building blocks of English: word classes and phrases
    • Welcome to the course!
    • Word classes
    • Nouns, noun phrases and pronouns
    • Determinatives
    • Adjectives and adjective phrases
    • Verbs and verb phrases
    • Prepositions and prepositional phrases
    • Adverbs and adverb phrases
    • Conjunctions
    • Interjections
    • Simple and multi-clause sentences
    • Help with terminology
    • Summary and feedback
  • Grammatical functions and semantic roles
    • Grammatical functions
    • Subject
    • Predicate and Predicator
    • Complement
    • Direct Object
    • Indirect Object
    • Predicative Complement
    • What is the difference between Predicative Complements, Direct and Indirect Objects?
    • Prepositional Phrase as Complement
    • Complement Clause
    • Adjunct
    • Semantic roles
    • Analysing clauses at the levels of grammatical form, grammatical function and semantic roles
    • Summary and feedback
  • Using words and phrases to build clauses
    • Subordination defined
    • Markers of subordination
    • Finite subordinate clauses
    • Non-finite subordinate clauses
    • Clause types
    • Summary and feedback
  • Talking about time: tense and aspect
    • Tense
    • Uses of the present tense
    • Uses of the past tense
    • The past tense forms of auxiliary verbs
    • Other ways of referring to present, past and future time
    • Aspect
    • Perfect aspect
    • Progressive aspect
    • Perfect, progressive and passive combinations
    • Aspect and lexical meaning
    • Summary and feedback
  • Talking about what is possible, probable and necessary: mood and modality
    • Mood and modality
    • Three types of modality in English
    • The expression of modality in English
    • The meanings expressed by the core modal verbs
    • Marginal modal verbs
    • Modal idioms
    • Lexical modality
    • Other issues pertaining to modality
    • Summary and feedback
  • How to communicate effectively: presenting information
    • Information structuring
    • Two principles of information structuring
    • Movement
    • Passivisation
    • The Indirect Object - Prepositional Phrase as Complement alternation
    • The existential and presentational constructions
    • Inversion
    • Clefting
    • Final test
    • Summary of this week and the course as a whole and your thoughts

Taught by

Bas Aarts


4.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 16 ratings

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