Learn English Grammar

Grammar can be looked upon as the skeleton of the body of language: it keeps everything together and provides support for the framework of the body. Being familiar with the grammar of the foreign language and applying those structural rules correctly, is essential when acquiring a foreign language. Being understood as a foreign language user depends (partly) on sentences not being misunderstood because of grammatical errors. The grammar section  English Grammar  is filled with links to useful interactive exercises, which will hopefully help overcome any grammatical difficulty. Much attention is given to verb forms, an important but notoriously difficult subject for the English language learner.

Exercises and explanation: 1 English verb form

The pages Exercises and explanation: 1 English verb form focus on the form of the various English tenses. They explain what they look like in affirmative, interrogative and negative sentences. And give plenty of exercises to practise the form of verbs.

Simple Present (go/goes) Simple Past (He went)
Present Perfect (He has gone) Past Perfect (He had gone)
Present Continuous (He is going) Past Continuous (He was going)
Present Perfect Continuous (He has been going) Past Perfect Continuous (He had been going)
Imperative (Go – Don’t go) List irregular verbs

Exercises with 2 or more English verb forms

The English verb form fixes the action in time  (present, past or future) but also determines how it should be regarded, e.g. whether the action is completed and/or in progress or not. The section Exercises with 2 or more English verb forms can help make clear to you when a verb form should be used by means of contrastive exercises.

Contrastive exercises

In these exercises a choice has to be made between two verb forms. This will help identify which context the verb form should be used in.

Simple Present – Present Continuous/Progressive
(He goes – He is going)
Simple Past – Past Continuous/Progressive
(He went – He was going)
Simple Past – Present Perfect
(He went – He has gone)
Simple Past – Past Perfect
(He went – He had gone)
Present Perfect – Present Perfect Continuous
(He has gone – He has been going)
Past Perfect – Past Perfect Continuous
(He had gone – He had been going)
Present Continuous en de Present Perfect Continuous
(I am going – I have been going)

Mix of tenses

Ideally, the foreign language learner achieves a perfect command of all English verbs forms in writing, speaking, etc.  If you want to find out how you are doing overall, try mix of tenses.

Irregular verbs

To practise your irregular verbs (go-went-gone) go to the page with irregular verb exercises.
If you want to refresh your memory, visit this extensive list of irregular verbs.

Exercises with modal verbs

English distinguishes auxiliaries and modal verbs. Auxiliaries (to be, to have, to do) combine with present participle or past participles or infinitive  to form the verb forms of ordinary verbs. Modal verbs combine with infinitives to express ability, probability, necessity, permission, obligation, deduction etc.

was-were can, could, to be able to
has-have-had will, won’t, shall, shan’t
to have to will,would, shall, should
short yes/no answer modal mix: (can, could, may, might, must, had to, ought, shall, should, will, would)
tag-questions modalities: ability, permission, probability, deduction, necessity, request and obligation

Exercises and explanation: the future

There is more than one way of expressing the future in English. The pages below deal with some of these future forms.  On each page you can read about the form and use of the future form. In the contrastive exercises a choice has to be made between two future verb forms. This will help identify which context the future verb form should be used in.

1 Future Simple (I will go)
2 Present Continuous (I am working tomorrow)
3 Be going to (I’m going to buy a smartphone)
4 Future Continuous (I will be going)
5 Future Perfect (I will have gone)
6 Future Perfect Continuous (I will have been going)
7 Future mix, exercises with 4 or more future verb forms 

Exercises and explanation: the passive

The passive voice is often used in formal English and/or academic language. It is used when it is not really important who performs the action. On the pages below you can practise distinguishing between active and passive voice, the form of the various tenses and special passive constructions.

Recognizing the active or passive voice
Simple Present Passive (The house is built.)
Simple Past Passive (The house was built.)
Continuous Passive (The house is/was being built.)
Perfect Passive (The house has/had been built.)
Future and Modal Passive (The house will be built. / The house may have been built.)
Passive voice (mix of tenses)
Double object passive (lijdend voorwerp en meewerkend voorwerp) (He gave her a present. She was given a present. A present was given to her)
Personal Passive (She is known to have built a house.)

Exercises with various grammatical subjects

More than twenty grammatical subjects are dealt with in the section exercises with various grammatical subjects. For example, the alphabet, a/an/the, adverb and adjective, cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers and the date, conjunctions or signal words, degrees of comparison, few, a few, little and a little, for and since, gerund/to-infinitive, interrogative pronoun, etc. To name just a few.

Listening and Viewing Comprehension in English

You can train your listening and viewing comprehension skills with the help of these interactive lessons based on Ted talks.  The first few questions are (usually) vocabulary questions testing your knowledge of and/or preparing you for the words used in the Ted talk. The remainder of the questions test your listening and viewing comprehension.

Test your knowledge: quizzes

Grammar and vocabulary knowledge alone will be not enough to fully understand the text you are reading or the podcast you are listening to. Some notions  (e.g. The Virgin Queen, a caucus, comic relief) make no sense without their context, i.e. if you do not know what they refer to. In other words, language learning also means acquiring knowledge about the culture, history, geography, literature of the country whose language you are learning.

Test your knowledge of some of these aspects in the quizzes below.

Watch English literature on YouTube

You can find a small selection of literature videos about Old English and Middle English, William Shakespeare and the War Poets.