Links to Grammar Resources on the Web
This page contains links to some grammar and vocabulary mistakes pages on the web. Please note that these resources are all outside actionenglish.com and the content is obviously the responsibility of the site on which they are hosted. I would appreciate any comments on these sites.
All of the sites open in a new page. A few difficult words are also liked to definitions in the excellent Cambridge Dictionaries Online, (these also open in a new page).
Test Yourself: Quizzes in Different Areas
A menu of links to a vast amount of quizzes classified in different areas and by level. The quizzes have been examined to make sure that they do not contain too many mistakes. A good place to test yourself, but not much input. You can use these quizzes to identify problem areas to follow up on, perhaps using the links below. One problem with most of the tests linked to is that they rely on the "old" grammar book format of only using single sentences to contextualise the grammar or vocabulary problem. Personally I feel that bigger texts are usually better.
Metalanguage: General Sites
An excellent site sponsored by the New Zealand government. Although not entirely complete, it seems to be as good as many grammar books you could buy.
A good quiz from the generally very good people at about.com. No explanations here.
Rather a difficult quiz using some very technical terms. Don't worry if you don't get all these correct (I didn't).
Another site with a lot of metalanguage defined, for me this is not always as clear as the NZ site above.
This page of the site has examples of a lot of terms but does not include definitions (although there are links to some other areas of the site which give more detail in some areas). It does introduce more subdivisions within categories than are often required (e.g. I think the difference between what the site refers to as "attributive" and "predicative" adjectives is not normally made or useful). It also calls a number of items "adjectives" that are often referred to under other headings (e.g. I would use the term "determiner" to describe the "this" in "This book", whereas this site calls it a "demonstrative adjective".) There are also some other variants on what I would say were the most common terms used in British based English Language Teaching (ELT). However it is a useful checklist of terms that you can use to check your understanding of grammatical concepts.
Parts of Speech (or "Word Classes")
Parts of Speech: Information About Parts of Speech
A brief summary. The page contains hyperlinks to areas of the site which give more detail. Note that this site uses the term "compound verb" which personally I do not think is a useful distinction / term.
A few notes and links to other parts of the site with more detail (some of them are referenced below). The page does comment that the traditional eight categories are sometimes not actually very accurate. Note that this is site is essentially a linguistics site and so not only concerned with English. Some of the areas of the site may not be so useful for English learners, although some may find the background and comparisons with other languages interesting. I have put links to what I think are the most useful parts of the site below. The language used on this site might be quite difficult for some learners as it is quite theoretical.
Parts of Speech: Activities
A very easy game to make sure you understand simple examples of common parts of speech.
A short exercise on recognising common parts of speech.
These are more advanced exercises to test your knowledge of parts of speech and some other grammatical terms. Designed to accompany a book.
Good quiz in recognising nouns in context.
Nouns: Information About Nouns
A linguistic overview of different types of nouns in English. The page contains hyperlinks to other related topics. Note that this page prefers the term "mass noun" to the probably more commonly used "uncountable noun". The language used on this site might be quite difficult for some learners as it is quite theoretical.
A good summary of the different types of nouns in English, with example sentences. The page contains hyperlinks to other related topics. Note that the site does use the term "Possessive case" which I do not think is a useful distinction and is uncommon. IMHO this is an example of the sort of old fashioned term / distinction rightly criticised by some other writers (see for example http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/part%20of%20speech ). The site also uses the term "compound verb" which personally I do not think is a useful distinction / term. I also do not much like the adverb and adjective sections of the site!
Nouns: Countable and Uncountable
http://cctc.commnet.edu/grammar/noncount.htm# This page has a good profile of some classes of uncountable nouns, which might make them easier to remember. (The site prefers the terms "count" and "non-count".) It has a good section on how nouns can change category when used in different ways. This is a common problem area for learners (especially of languages such as Cantonese). There are linked quizzes (see below). There is a second linked page at http://cctc.commnet.edu/grammar/noun_exercise.htm
Good quiz in recognising nouns in context.
Nouns: Activities: Compound Nouns
This is a quiz on compound nouns and the way that they are modified. This area is often particularly difficult if you speak Cantonese or another language which combines noun-like elements with simple regular rules. Unfortunately I think that the "rules" section on this site is rather complicated. You need to remember that a) compound nouns (e.g. "a classroom table") are usually made plural by putting the plural marker (usually "s") on the second noun (i.e."some classroom tables"), and b) rules about hyphen use are quite often different in different dictionaries, native speakers therefore often use different forms. This (hyphen use) is the one area where I habitually use whatever my word processing software suggests. It's easier that way.
Nouns: Activities: Countable and Uncountable
Classifying plural countable and uncountable nouns
Recognising countable and uncountable nouns
Pronouns: Information About Pronouns
A comprehensive overview of pronouns. The page contains hyperlinks to other related topics. A lot of useful example sentences. Note that this site uses the term "compound verb" which personally I do not think is a useful distinction / term. I have made some other criticisms of this site above.
Articles and Determiners
Determiners: Information About Determiners
A brief summary of determiners. The page contains hyperlinks to other related topics. The language used on this site might be quite difficult for some learners as it is quite theoretical.
Articles: Article Usage
A good summary.
Articles and Determiners: Activities: Indefinite or Definite Articles
Quizzes on choosing the appropriate article in a passage. Recommended.
A quiz on choosing the appropriate article in individual sentneces. There are some problems with this one, I think that, as well as the answers given, Question 5 could be c), Question 12 could be d) and Question 16 could be c)
and Determiners: Activities: Quantifiers
Adjectives: Information About Adjectives
A linguistic overview of adjectives. The page contains hyperlinks to other related topics. The language used on this site might be quite difficult for some learners as it is quite theoretical.
Adjectives: Activities: Comparatives and Superlatives
http://a4esl.org/q/h/vm/compsup3.html A quiz on the rules for superlatives and comparatives. This is a good mix of activity and "metaknowledge".
Verbs: Information About Tenses
Good overview of the forms of, and terminology used with, verbs. The page does not attempt to describe the meaning and use of verbs.
A very good overview of the tense system. Particularly useful are the time lines included. The present perfect explanation is especially good. IMHO the explanation of the difference between "will" and "going to" is perhaps a little too simple. The site integrates practice exercises.
A lot of detail on usage here (perhaps too much), but well summarised. I do think that some of the relationships pointed out between particular verbs and the tenses could be misleading, as they seem to particularly apply to contrasts with continuous uses rather than, for example, the past simple). This seems especially true for the entries for the present simple.
Probably a bit simple (especially for the present perfect). I would also disagree with the entry for the present continuous, where (depending on the type of verb) I think that the important feature is that you know the action will end (perhaps that its end is planned). Nevertheless the site has a reasonable quick summary.
Verbs: Passive Voice
Guidance on how to make passive forms, some notes on usage followed by an exercise on recognising some passives in sentences (links at bottom of pages).
Three simple exercises on a variety of tenses. The (traditional) use of single sentences might make the contexts a bit difficult to understand at times.
Verbs: Activities: Metalanguage
A short exercise on metalanguage connected with verb forms.
Verbs: Activities: Agreement
A page of rules followed by an exercise (linked at the bottom of the page) on this common problem area. Perhaps more detail than you might sometimes need.
Verbs: Modal Verbs (or "Modal Auxiliaries")
Some pages of rules and guidelines followed by an exercise (links at the bottom of the page) on the common problem area of the difference between "must" and "have to". Note that the similar series on the same site on the difference between "can" and "could" is probably a bit too simple (i.e. it does not cover enough of the differences).
A good set of pages on how to use gerunds, followed by an exercise (links at bottom of pages). Perhaps particularly useful is the page on which verbs take gerunds after them (as opposed to infinitives).
Adverbs: Information About Adverbs
A linguistic overview of adverbs. The page contains hyperlinks to other related topics. At the bottom of the page the writer makes the sometimes ignored point that the category of words traditionally labeled "adverbs" is in fact not always well defined. The language used on this site might be quite difficult for some learners as it is quite theoretical.
Adverbs: Adverb Positions
A good summary of this tricky area.
Adverbs: Adverb Positions: Activities
A simple exercise on the position of adverbs of frequency. The (traditional) use of single sentences might make the contexts a bit difficult to understand at times.
Problem Areas: Activities: Reported Speech
A difficult exercise on transforming direct to reported speech. Includes changing questions, which can be particularly tricky.
Although this site is perhaps more vocabulary than grammar it could be very useful for learners trying to monitor their own errors. It contains an alphabetical list of commonly confused words. However, some items do seem to be too prescriptive and perhaps to ignore the natural evolution of the language.