English Grammar Boot Camp

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24 videos in this collection

Why Do We Care about Grammar?
First, examine how we judge what is acceptable or unacceptable in English, and how we distinguish acceptable" from "stylistically preferable." Consider how grammar often takes on larger meanings related to…
Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn’ts
Here, investigate prescriptive grammar: the set of rules that tell us what we should and shouldn't do in formal English. Trace the history of specific grammatical rules and of academic…
Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works
Now dive into descriptive grammar: the rules that describe actual usage. In examples ranging from contractions to word order and negation, observe the wealth of grammatical knowledge that you know…
Re Phrasing
This lecture looks at how we define and categorize words into parts of speech, and considers the fascinating ways in which words expand or move into new categories. Study how…
Fewer Octopuses or Less Octopi?
Investigate countable and uncountable nouns, and learn the details of how we use them with modifiers such as fewer" and "less." Then delve into irregular plurals in English, observing the…
Between You and Your Pronouns
Enter the world of pronouns, beginning with personal pronouns and the complications that arise around conjoined constructions (e.g., you and me). Then take on interrogative pronouns-including when to use "who"…
Which Hunting
Confront the often-confusing question of when to use that" as opposed to "which." Study the most commonly applied rules governing these relative pronouns, and hear opinions on the subject from…
A(n) Historical Issue
Determiners are small words (such as an," "this," "each," or "many") that introduce nouns and create noun phrases. Learn their key functions in English, and see how determiners are different…
Funnest Lecture Ever
Adjectives, in multiple incarnations, form the focus of this lecture. Study the ways we turn adjectives into comparatives and superlatives, and review the much-criticized issue of double comparatives. Look also…
Going, Going, Went
In the realm of verbs, begin by clarifying past tense vs. past participle, and note how new irregularities creep into the verb spectrum. Explore one of the most eternal of…
Object Lessons
Examine how we categorize verbs based on how they function within the sentence. Along the way, grapple with thorny usage issues, such as whether you feel bad" or "badly," and…
Shall We?
Continue with the category of auxiliary (helping) verbs, beginning with the familiar usage issue of can" vs. "may." Then study the workings of modal auxiliary verbs (such as "might," "must,"…
Passive Voice Was Corrected
Explore the use of the often-criticized passive voice, beginning with a clear definition of what distinguishes the passive voice from the active. Consider the benefits of the passive voice for…
Only Adverbs
Discover the rich world of adverbs, as they modify not only verbs, but also adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. Investigate intensifiers (such as very," "surely," and "possibly"), which can…
No Ifs, Ands, or Buts
Begin this immersion in conjunctions with the controversy surrounding sentences that begin with conjunctions (such as And furthermore..."). Review the functions of coordinating conjunctions ("and," "but," "yet"), subordinating conjunctions ("if,"…
However to Use However
Conjunctive adverbs (such as thus," "consequently," or "moreover") conjoin two clauses. Identify the range of conjunctive adverbs and their significant benefits in formal writing. Then explore notable usage issues such…
Squirrels and Prepositions
Among the fine points of prepositions, unpack the issue of different from" vs. "different than." Grasp how prepositions show relationships between words, often giving information about time or location. With…
Stranded Prepositions
Is it incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition? Trace the origins of this idea, and see how the practice came to be viewed as bad" usage. Consider the…
The Dangers of Danglers
Look closely at dangling modifiers, which are words or phrases that appear to modify something other than what was intended (e.g., Glancing through the document, the typos jumped off the…
Navigating the Choppy Paragraph
Learn how to make your prose writing flow and avoid choppiness through key syntactic choices. Study the known-new contract, a principle for presenting information by placing known information before new…
What Part of Speech is Um?
Within the grammar of conversation, study the distinction between involved discourse, which relates to negotiating relationships, and informational discourse, which involves delivering information. Then grasp the important roles of discourse…
Duck, Duck, Comma, and Duck
Punctuation acts as a fundamental component of written usage. It shapes and clarifies meaning, and it organizes language on the page. Review the modern rules regarding the punctuation marks that…
Its/It’s Confusing
Apostrophes present multiple usage issues. Examine how we use them with contractions and possessives, noting the problems involved with nouns ending in s. Explore how apostrophe usage can create and…
Trending Language
Examine some new grammatical expressions that are on the rise, and explore the controversy they ignite within the linguistic community. Remember that English usage is a living process, and language…

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Continue to enlarge your vocabulary with words relating to places, such as public venues and businesses. Then learn how to say formal commands, also known as imperatives, as well as negative commands, and practice using them in different contexts. Study ways to compare two things that are not the same.…
Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn’ts
Part of the Series: English Grammar Boot Camp
Here, investigate prescriptive grammar: the set of rules that tell us what we should and shouldn't do in formal English. Trace the history of specific grammatical rules and of academic usage guides, and note how such guides justify right" vs. "wrong." Learn about historically famous grammarians, whose opinions about usage…
Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works
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Now dive into descriptive grammar: the rules that describe actual usage. In examples ranging from contractions to word order and negation, observe the wealth of grammatical knowledge that you know intuitively. Consider how comparing the descriptive with the prescriptive can help you make more informed choices about usage.
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Why Do We Care about Grammar?
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The Rise of American Language Standards
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English in America - A Linguistic History
Welcome to the enthralling world of linguistics. If you've ever been curious how words like "awesomesauce" ever came to be, let alone made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, or if you've ever wondered why you say "firefly" and someone else calls the same insect a "lightning bug," English in…
GoGrammar: Teachers' Guide
A video from ECU's archive of documentaries and teaching films. GoGrammar comprises a carefully sequenced set of activities which use the unique GoGrammar teaching-learning patterns for students whose first language in not English. These patterns reflect the multisensory approach to the teaching of grammar embodied in the teacher's manual. While…
Improving Adolescent Writers
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