English grammar in context
English grammar in context

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

English grammar in context

1 Why study grammar?

1.1 The power of grammar

I wonder if you understand what Mrs Clark meant, or whether any teacher has ever made a similar remark about your work? In this course we look at some of the factors that contribute to differences between speech and writing and at ways of describing them. However, we shall try to avoid just helping you to get descriptive labels right, though that is important. We want you to discover that grammar is not a boring system for labelling parts of a sentence, but rather that it can give you an insight into how we present ourselves and our view of the world to other people. Our choices within the grammatical system together with our choices of vocabulary are our most powerful ways of putting together the meanings that we want to communicate. An advanced, sophisticated method of communication is what makes human beings so special, so a study of grammar is a way of exploring how these meanings get made.

The key terms we are looking at in this course are listed below. We have highlighted them in bold throughout the text as they are introduced.

Key terminology
context monologue
descriptive, prescriptive and pedagogic grammars question tag
dialogue sociocultural context
dysfluency structural grammar
ellipsis tail [tag]
functional grammar text
head [preface] traditional grammar
hesitator transcript
lexicogrammar utterance
lexis word class [part of speech, grammatical class]
mode
Near equivalents are given in [ ].
E303_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus