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Britlish Library - Grammar Lessons

These lessons focus on the grammar of English. English grammar compared to other grammars is quite simple, but in its simplicity lies its complexity. The lessons here cover all aspects of English grammar from the aspects and tenses to sentence structures.

22 Grammar Lessons

Chronological Categories

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Prepositions are difficult for students of English and when they are used with two very similar expressions they can be especially difficult. This lesson will show you how we use the two expressions attracted to and attracted by and will give you practice using both. I have selected real examples of the expressions from the British National Corpus, and have included several ac...

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Oscar Wilde, a great British writer, once admitted to spending an entire morning removing a comma from a poem. Asked if that was all he had done, Wilde replied, “By no means: on mature reflection, I put back the comma.” If a great writer like Oscar Wilde had difficulty in deciding where and when to use a comma, what chance have the rest of us got? In this lesson I will teach you abo...

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Welcome to the first in my series of Grammar Activation Packs at Britlish.com. Together, the Grammar Activation Packs combine to provide you with a clear overview of English grammar in use. When I teach grammar to my students, I first teach them what I call the three keys to English grammar. The three keys are the three verbs, do, be, a...

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As you have already learnt, the past tense is indicted by the past forms of the three key verbs, do, be, and have. With do, the past is indicated by did for all persons. With be, the past is indicated by was for third persons, and were for all other persons. With have, the past is indicated by had for all persons. The past tense is shown by the inflected past form of the verb have, had, and thi...

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Regular verbs form their past tense by adding ed. Irregular verbs have a past tense form that you must learn individually. Remember, too, that the continuous aspect of the past tense is marked by the auxiliary verb be plus the ing form of a verb. If you see the verb be followed by an ing form, it’s the continuous aspect. Verb to be plus ing! is really all you need to know to identify the ...

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In the previous Grammar Activation Packs I have introduced you to the present and the past tenses, along with the simple, continuous, and perfect aspects. I also mentioned that English has only the two tenses, present and past. So where does this leave us when we want to talk about the future? Don’t worry, there are several ways that we can talk about the future, including using the prese...

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In the previous Grammar Activation Packs I have introduced you to the present and the past tenses, along with the simple, continuous, and perfect aspects. I also mentioned that English has only the two tenses, present and past. This lesson looks at Will or Shall for Future, Asking for Decisions, Promises and Threats, Decisions Made at the Moment, Predicting, Conditionals, Giving Orders or Instr...

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The second most common way, after will, of talking about the future in English is by the use of be going to. I have already shown how an –ing form needs the finite verb be to form the continuous aspect. Be going to is the present continuous and acts as an auxiliary verb, like will, to talk about the future. We use be going to to talk about future things which are already planned. We use b...

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In Grammar Activation Pack 13, we looked at how we use will and shall to talk about the future. In this Pack we will be looking at other ways to use will to talk about the future. You already know that the future tense is marked by will, the continuous aspect is marked by be +ing, and the perfect aspect is marked by have plus past participle. In this pack we will be looking at the differences b...

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I told you about the past and present tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I also introduced you to the aspects – simple, continuous, and perfect, and showed you why the three key verbs, do, be, and have, are so important. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you about the first of these key verbs, do, and how it is used for the simple aspect, present tense. The simple aspe...

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I told you about the past and present tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I also introduced you to the aspects – simple, continuous, and perfect, and showed you why the three key verbs, do, be, and have, are so important. In Grammar Activation Pack 2, I looked at the Present tense, simple aspect. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the first of the key verbs, do, ...

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I told you about the past and present tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I also introduced you to the aspects – simple, continuous, and perfect, and showed you why the three key verbs, do, be, and have, are so important. In Grammar Activation Packs 2 and 3, I looked at the Present and Past tense of the simple aspect. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the second...

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I explained about the Key Verbs, be, do, and have and their inflected tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I told you about the past tense, simple aspect in Grammar Activation Pack 3. I also explained the present tense, continuous aspect in Grammar Activation Pack 4. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the second of the key verbs, be, is used for the continuous aspect, p...

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I explained about the Key Verbs, be, do, and have and their inflected tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I have looked at the simple and continuous aspects, both present and past tense in Grammar Activation Packs 2 to 5. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the third of the key verbs, have, is used for the perfect aspect, present tense. When a form of the verb have is n...

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We can talk about finished actions using both the present perfect and the past simple. It’s logical that anything which is finished must be in the past. What the present perfect does that the past simple cannot do is to form a connection between the past finished action and the present. We can only use a finished time expression like last week with the past simple.In...

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English uses time markers to accurately say when something happened or happens. Yesterday, last week, last month, last year, and many more expressions tell us the when of an action. We cannot use the above finished time markers with the present perfect because they show finished periods of time. We use these time markers with the past simple. We cannot use finished time markers like yesterday, ...

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Just to recap from earlier Grammar Activation Packs, the continuous aspect of the present and past tense is marked by the auxiliary verb be plus the ing form of the verb. If you see the verb be followed by an ing form, it’s the continuous aspect. Verb to be plus ing! is really all you need to know to identify the continuous aspect. I’ll remind you also that perfect means finished or...

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Inversion is the reversal of the usual order of the words in an English sentence. The normal order of an English sentence is subject – verb – object. We use inversion for various effects. There are two types of inversion in English. Subject and verb inversion to become verb – subject. Subject and auxiliary inversion to become auxiliary – subject – verb. This Englis...

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Question tags are short questions placed at the end of statements in informal writing and normal speech, and they are used to indicate that we want some information or that we want confirmation of something we believe to be the case. Usually we use positive question tags with negative statements and negative question tags with positive statement. We can, however, use positive with positive in s...

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If you could predict the future with 100% accuracy, you would be the richest person on the planet. It is the uncertainty of the future which dictates how we talk about it. There are four common ways to talk about the future in English, and it is the purpose of this English Activation Pack to show you how to talk about the future accurately. We will explore the use of will and other modal verbs,...

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The full stop or period is the most commonly used punctuation mark in English. The most common use of the full stop is to mark the end of declaratory sentences. It can also be placed after initial letters used to stand for a name, as in R.I. Chalmers, and also to mark the individual letters of some acronyms and abbreviations. While first introduced by Aristophanes of Byzantium in the third cent...

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How to say all of the 118 elements of the periodic table while learning about comparatives and superlatives. I’m not a chemist, I’m an English teacher. That much, I hope, is apparent to you by now. I did, however, study Chemistry at school and found it fascinating. I thought it would be fun to make this English Activation Pack if only to refresh my own memory of the names of the ele...