Grammatical terminology

This page is a brief introduction to the grammatical terminology used in the video lessons. It also contains information and recommendations for getting maximum benefit from the lessons on this part of the site.

Grammatical terminology

In recent decades linguists have had access to huge amounts of computerised native English-speaker language, known as corpora. This has resulted in a deeper understanding of English grammar in natural spoken and written contexts.

One consequence of this research is a further move away from the traditional use of Latin as the lens through which to analyse English grammar. This has led to the reclassification of certain parts of the language, along with new terminology.

One example of this is the argument put forward by The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL) that words introducing dependent clauses such as if, because, although should be reclassified as prepositions, rather than the traditional classification of these words as conjunctions.

Another argument, for example put forward by Aarts in Oxford Modern English Grammar, is that English should be considered as having only two tenses, past and present. So, for instance, will go as in I will go now is not a tense.

However, linguistics is one field and English language teaching (ELT) is another. And I would claim that a majority of non-native learners of English worldwide are still exposed to traditional grammatical classifications and terminology in their lessons and via their textbooks and online resources.

Furthermore, the linguists themselves do not always agree. For example, the CGEL and the equally authoritative A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (CaGel) disagree on the term for the set of words that can precede nouns: determinatives or determiners.

For these reasons, and since my target audience is English learners, not students of linguistics, I use, in most cases, traditional classifications and terminology in the video lessons and elsewhere on this site.

Recommendation for best practice

In all the lessons there are many video slides that have several example sentences. It is recommended to pause the video in such cases so that you can read the sentences for a better understanding of the grammatical explanation.

You can also generate a transcript of the lesson via the link in the lesson index page. This may be helpful to read and annotate after the lesson.

Text-To-Speech functionality

Slideshows 1 & 2 use Text-To-Speech functionality to read out the video captions and the quiz feedback comments. The default computer voice is determined by the user's browser, operating system and location. The voice and rate of speaking can be changed in Slideshow 2.

How the lessons were made

The lessons were made in Powerpoint and converted to videos in Camtasia. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to me via the Contact page below.