English Grammar - A Complete Guide, from Basic to Advanced
Welcome to our English grammar page! Here you can find links to our most popular grammar pages, and links to essential grammar (and grammar exercises) by level.
Basic English Grammar
Start here if you're a beginner, or if you need to refresh your knowledge of English. These pages give you the basic grammar rules, with explanations and exercises.
Learn how to use the verb “to be” and make sure you can use it in positive, negative and question forms. Go to Verb "to be": grammar and exercises. Then move on to Pronouns and possessives so you can start building sentences. The Present simple tense shows you how to talk about facts and your everyday life. Learn how to form positive, negative and question forms.
Now move on to nouns. The first page to look at is English nouns. On this page you'll learn about singular, plural, countable and uncountable nouns – plus some important spelling rules. Learn how to use a, an, the (or no article) on the page Indefinite and definite articles. The page There is, there are; some and any shows you how to talk about things you can see and things which can exist. On this page you also learn how to use “some” and “any”. Finally, go to Demonstratives and Determiners to learn about using “this”, “that”, “much”, “many”, “few”, etc.
Now you're ready to improve your speaking and communiction! Go to Can for permission and requests so you know how to ask people for things. Learn to compare things with Basic comparatives. Move on to The Past Simple tense where you learn how to form the positive, negative and question forms, the spelling and pronunciation – as well as common irregular past forms. This page helps you to talk about events in the past! You can also look at Basic time reference words to learn how to use words like in, ago, and on. Finally, go to How to use "will" to learn how to talk about the future.
Elementary English Grammar
This section completes the essential English grammar you need to speak in most, everyday situations. It takes you up to a high elementary level, equivalent to A2 level.
Start with Giving instructions to learn how to use the imperative form in English. Then go to Have, have got, 's to make sure you can talk about possession, using the verbs have and have got, and the 's form. You'll learn how to make sentences in the positive, negative and question forms, and how to talk about possession in the past. Take a look at Question words where you learn the most important question words in English – and how to use them. (Make sure you pay attention to the word order of questions, which is where many people make mistakes.) Then build on your knowledge of comparatives and go to Superlatives.
At this stage, you'll also increase your knowledge of modal auxiliaries and new tenses. Start with the page Ability (can / could, etc) where you learn how to talk about ability using can and could (in the present and the past) and the correct pronunciation. Then move on to Modals of obligation where you learn how to use must, have to, need to, ought to and should. You don't need to learn all of these, but must and have to are essential. Remember to check how to use the negatives of these modals.
Go to Present Continuous to learn when to use the Present Continuous tense, and how to form the positive, negative and question forms. After, go on to Future intentions to learn different ways to talk about the future. There's more information about how to talk about future predictions on the page Will, might, going to. Then go to The Present Perfect to learn when and how to use it - and how it's different from the Past Simple. This is an area that many people find difficult. Finally, check out the Irregular past participles page. You need to know these to form the Present Perfect tense.
Pre-intermediate English Grammar
At this level, you need to really consolidate your knowledge of English grammar, by revising what you already know. There are also some new areas of grammar to learn. There is a lot to do at this level, but when you have studied these areas of grammar, there isn't much else to study! When you finish this level, you'll be at a B1 (or PET) level.
Review how to make comparisons and learn some new qualifying expressions like “much”, “a little”, “far” to make what you say sound more precise. Go to the page How to make comparisons in English.
Review your knowledge of the English articles a, an and the on the page English Articles. Then go to Some and Any to learn how to use some, any and their compound forms (somewhere, anywhere, etc.) Also check out few, little, lots of (and their comparative forms) on the page Quantifiers: few, little, lots of. Review the imperative form on the page Using the Imperative Form in English and find out other ways to give warnings and advice – and how to make polite requests in writing and speaking situations.
Now check that you have a good understanding of the major tenses in English. First, go to Present tenses in English to make sure you know the difference between the Present Simple and the Present Continuous. Next, go to Past tenses in English for the differences between the Past Simple and the Past Continuous. The page Present perfect tenses made easy gives you information on the Present Perfect Simple and the Present Perfect Continuous. Finally, if you only ever use “will” or “going to” to talk about the future, you should check out Using future forms. This page shows you ways to talk about the future (although the two final ways are more suitable for an intermediate level of grammar.)
What's the difference between “look like”, “be like”, “like” and “as”? Make sure you can use all these accurately on this page: Like and As. Go to Modal auxiliary verbs in English to learn about the grammar and use of this essential area of English. Then, you can start to learn conditional forms (also known as “if sentences”). At pre-intermediate level you should aim to study and use the Zero, First and Second conditional. (You'll need to learn the third conditional at intermediate level, as well.) Go to Conditional sentences for this.
Most students have problems with English prepositions, and we have an entire section for you! Start with the page Prepositions list which gives you a complete list of English prepositions with their main uses and examples. Then learn which prepositions to use with common adjectives on the page Prepositions and adjectives. Go to Prepositions of time to learn prepositions of time (for, ago, etc) as well as prepositions to talk about location (place) and transport. Learn which prepositions to use with verbs on the page Learn English Prepositions and Verbs. Finally, learn how to talk about where things are in relation to each other, and how to give directions with common prepositions on the page Prepositions of location and direction.
Another difficult area of English grammar is how to make questions. The page English Questions shows you the grammar rules for yes/no, “wh” questions – and also indirect questions.
There are two, final areas of grammar which are often introduced at the end of the pre-intermediate level. Go to the Reported Speech in English page to learn how tenses change; plus how to report questions and modals. The other more complicated area of grammar to start studying at this level is passives. The page How to use the passive voice in English shows you when – and how – to form a passive sentence.
Intermediate English Grammar
This level takes you up to a B2 level (or FCE).
Learn how to use adjectives and adverbs correctly - especially adverbs with double meanings. Review the word order of adjectives, too. Go to English Adjectives and Adverbs for this. If you're interested in the vocabulary, grammar, spelling and punctuation differences between British and American English, go to the page British or American English?
At this level you need to know when to use gerunds and when to use infinitives. Check out the two pages How to use gerunds and English grammar rules for using the infinitive. This page also shows you the different types of infinitives and which verbs are followed by them.
Learn the verb patterns (including passive form) of make and let – and other verbs which follow the infinitive without “to” on the page Make and let. What's the difference between “used to” and “be used to doing”? Check out the page How to use "used to" in English, also to learn when to use “used to” and when to use “would”.
At this level, you also need to learn the difference between defining and non-defining relative clauses, and how to use relative pronouns correctly. Go to the page Relative Clauses for this. Then try the page English Question Tags. This is a common part of British English speech, but quite hard to get right!
The only tense left to learn is the Past Perfect. Go to Using "had done" in English for an explanation on where – and how – to use it. By the way, if you're still having difficulty choosing between your tenses, check out the page How to choose your English tenses
which gives you some simple rules on “aspect” to help you decide which tense to use.
An area of grammar that is often tested at the FCE (B2) level is how to use “wish”. The page Using Wish explains how to use wish for present and past situations, and which modal verbs to use.
Finally, two pages that can help you with writing narrative and longer texts is Time expressions in English (with some expressions you might not know) and Linking words (one of our most popular pages!) for ways to connect your sentences and ideas.
Intermediate to Advanced
You'll be pleased to hear that there isn't much more grammar to learn! What you need to do is keep reviewing problem areas – and reflect on the mistakes you make.
One area of grammar to look at is how we use Subjunctive forms in English. Check out the page Using the subjunctive form in English for explanations.
Finally, most of the pages above have quizzes to test your knowledge. Also try these two pages:
5 most popular pages in the grammar section
Bonus Grammar Resources
For more exercises, try this site.
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