- Do you have trouble learning other languages because their textbooks assume a background in English grammar you don't have?
- Do you freeze up at the mention of a relative clause?
- Do you wonder why people get upset at "split infinitives"?
- Do you get writing back covered in red marks on sentences that look perfectly fine to you?
- Were you born into one of those generations in English-speaking countries who were simply never taught grammar in school?
If so, this is the course for you. Over four weeks, we will give a thorough, linguistically sophisticated tour of English grammar in a fun and low-stress environment. You'll learn the nuts and bolts of how English works and what makes it unique. We'll dive into controversial aspects of English grammar (less vs. fewer, the passive voice, singular they) and help you come to an informed opinion about them.
In the event that the class does not have sufficient enrolment by the start date, it will be refunded in full.
Week 1: Return to Conjunction Junction
This week you'll learn to untangle the knots that most of the discussions about grammar tie themselves into. You'll learn to distinguish grammaticality from formality, and look to at "Standard English" as simply one variety among many different Englishes, albeit one that society will reward you for using. We'll also outline the high-level structure of English grammar, and you'll learn about our old friends, the parts of speech.
Week 2: "Verb" and Other Four-Letter Words
This week we'll examine the mighty verb, the one part of speech that virtually no English clause can do without. You'll learn how to describe the changes in form verbs undergo to express various subtle changes in meaning. Among other things, you'll learn how the present tense doesn't always describe the present, the past tense doesn't always describe the past, and the future tense doesn't even exist.
Week 3: The Power of Noun
This week we'll turn our attention to the noun and its friends (including articles, adjectives, and pronouns). You'll learn the different subtleties these words can express. For example, why does He's the shit mean something different from He's a shit? How about He's shit? You'll also learn what is so magical about pronouns and you'll even hear the story of so-called singular they.
Week 4: Rebel Without a Clause
This week we zoom out to the level of the clause and the sentence: you'll learn how clauses combine to create longer, more complicated sentences. You will learn the various strategies English uses to manage new information in a sentence, including every automated grammar checker's worst enemy: the passive voice.
Who Should Sign Up
- Native speakers of English who want to gain confidence talking, writing, and thinking about grammar, or
- Advanced non-native speakers of English who would like to understand some of the subtleties of English grammar
Who wouldn't enjoy this course
- Linguists (you'll be bored)
- Beginner or intermediate-level speakers of English (we'll be going too fast)
- People who want to complain about other people's grammar (you'll be disappointed)