Language for locals

PreQuiz for Stage 1
Find out which of the grammar lessons below you need to know more about
Apostrophes 1
Indicating when something belongs to, or is associated with, someone
Colons 1
Using colons for lists or quotations and for signalling evidence.
Parallel constructions
Providing consistency in your sentences when you are listing ideas of similar value
Words that modify (influence the meaning of) another word, and what can happen if such words are in the wrong place
When capitals are used for signalling names, organisations, events, and brands
Separating describing words and making simple lists
Subjects and objects of sentences - Me or I?
Can you ever say [someone] and me? Find out when.
Pronoun-antecedent agreement
There are rules around when you can use their, and when you must specify his or her
PreQuiz for Stage 2
Find out which of the grammar lessons below you need to know more about
Apostrophes 2
Really get on top of the difference between its and it's
Used for separating two independent clauses or separating items in a list-like sentence.
Parallel constructions 2
The advantages of having consistency in your sentences.
Modifiers 2
Avoiding ambiguity or double-meaning in your sentences
Capitals 2
When capitals are needed for people's titles
Capitals extra
Capitals with book titles
Commas and complex lists
When you are making a complex list, and how the placement of commas can change the meaning
Subjects and objects of sentences 2
Me, myself, and I: More about the difference between I and me
PreQuiz for Stage 3
Find out which of the grammar lessons below you need to know more about
Apostrophes 3
Advanced lesson on using apostrophes with multiple nouns, dates, and plural nouns.
Modifiers 3
Dangling modifiers (a common problem) and long disruptive modifiers turning up in the middle of an idea.
Capitals 3
Acronyms, the difference between acronyms and an abbreviations.
Commas 3
Using commas before joining words, and to identify non-essential information.
Relative clauses
Extra information in your sentence about someone or something using who,which, or that.
PreQuiz for Stage 4
Find out which grammar at this level you need to learn.
Split infinitives
The "to infinitive" is a verb made up of "to" + the base form of the verb, like "to sleep". This lesson discusses the debate about whether a modifier is allowed to split the infinitive, as in "to quietly sleep".
This lesson is about the correct use of capital letters when making abbreviations.
Comma splice
Comma splices (also known as run-on sentences) are a frequent error in student writing, but they're easy to fix. Find out how in this lesson.
Who or whom
Who and whom are relative pronouns. One represents the subject of the sentence and the other the object. Never get them muddled again.
Sentence fragments
Sentence frags are also called incomplete sentences, usually meaning that the sentence has no dominant verb.
PreQuiz for confusing words
Find out which grammar at this level you need to learn.
they're, their, or there?
They all sound the same, but they have different roles in your sentences.
brought and bought
One is the past of 'bring' and the other is the past of 'buy'
than or then
One is for comparing things and the other is for signalling sequences.
affect and effect
One is a verb and the other is a noun (meaning that they behave differently in the sentence).
accept and except
One means "to agree to something" and the other means "not including something"
whose or who's
One is asking about ownership while the other is asking about identity
loose and lose
The first is about when something is about to fall off, and the other is when that thing can never be found again
past or passed
One means to travel beyond something, and the other is about being successful in your exams.

Other tools

Here are some tools that we think can work very well to help students become better at grammar.

Quite good at helping with punctuation, spelling, and a range of common grammar errors. You'll need to make an account - the free version is quite good.
Grammar girl
Good explanations on any grammar conundrum. (Only thing is, you need to know what grammar you want her to explain... so use in conjunction with the Student Learning grammar pages)