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English Lessons:  Improve your Grammar

By Mike Davies, Private English Tutor at Unique

Learning English grammar is a necessary part of gaining greater fluency and accuracy in the language.  While developing a sixth sense of English grammar takes a lot of one-to-one work with your tutor as well as many hours of self-study, I hope that this page can give you a slightly better understanding of the subject.

 

Learn to love the comma...but not too much!

Some people overuse the comma, but others underuse it.  We cannot cover all the ways to use the comma here, so shall give you one simple tip:  Always use a comma after an introductory phrase, unless the phrase is short.  You do not use a comma every time you need to pause in a sentence, but in this case it is wise.

 

"Looking back, he knew he could have done it differently."

"Without a doubt, this was the greatest day of her life."

 

Definite and indefinite articles

Foreign speakers of English struggle with articles, and it is easy to see why.  They are awkward and you need to put them in the right place.  Try and remember this rule though:

 

If it is general - use 'a:  "I am going to see a play tomorrow".

If it is specific - use "the":  "I am going to the park.  Would you care to join me?"

 

Countable and Uncountable Nouns

This is another aspect of grammar that confuses ESOL speakers.  Remember that if you can count something on your fingers, it is "How many?" or "There are" and if you can't, then it is "How much?" or "There is"

 

"There are two cups of coffee on the table."

"There is a lot of coffee in the cup."

 

Improve your English vocabulary

Another common question from our students is how to improve your English vocabulary.  A rich vocabulary enables you to communicate with greater fluency and confidence and is a vital part of communication.  During your lessons, your tutor should spend a significant part of the class on vocabulary.  You can also read newspapers, magazines and books to enhance your word skills.

 

Learn to love the apostrophe as well

Apostrophes can be just as baffling as commas sometimes, and even native English speakers get confused by them so if you do learn to use them correctly, you will be in a select group of English speakers.

 

Use the apostrophe as a contraction.  It will replace the missing letter:

"He's going to the football match."

 

Use the apostrophe to show possession:

"The dog's dinner is in the kitchen."

 

 

For more English grammar lessons, contact Unique Languages on 020 3566 0145 or e-mail [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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