Most important grammar?

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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Most important grammar?

Unread post by mwaterl » Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:03 pm

Dear grammar enthousiasts,

I am doing a research on teaching grammar. I’m trying to find out if there is an ideal way of teaching grammar items to EFL/ESL learners. One of my research questions is:

“Which grammar items are considered ‘core elements’ of the English grammar?” In other words: which grammar items are the absolute base on which the rest of the grammar is built?

An example of a ‘core element’ would be the present simple of ‘to be’: am / is / are. You need to know these to be able to ‘build’ other grammar, such as the present continuous.

Examples of grammar items that I would not consider ‘core elements’ are the past perfect passive or the differences between certain conditional sentences. These are for advanced learners and not really essential for being able to understand / communicate in English.

I hope you now know what I mean by ‘core elements’.

My question to you: which grammar items do you consider to be ‘core elements’ of the English grammar, and why?

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Re: Most important grammar?

Unread post by johnsimpson » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:48 pm

I suggest you don't re-invent teaching methods of which have already been done. Concentrate more on teaching the other skills, such as reading and comprehending authentic English material, speaking, listening and writing. When you discover a serious mistake being caused in grammar, then fix it.

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Re: Most important grammar?

Unread post by cerealkillah » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:23 pm

When it comes to me, apart from "to be" you've mentioned, word order is very important. Once a student remembers that subject-verb-object is the right way to build sentences and questions are formed by putting the verb (or one of the verbs) before the subject you can introduce whatever tense or verbal structure you need.
It also depends on the students' native language. For instance, I always emphasise that the subject of a sentence is obligatory, since in Polish (I teac. English to Poles) it is often omitted. For Germans, for example, this wouldn't be an issue at all. It's all relative.

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Re: Most important grammar?

Unread post by OhTheSpark » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:25 pm

Language exists to communicate ideas, feelings, and action to ourselves and others. Any element of grammar is considered a core element because, without that element, the meaning is lost.

Writers frequently strip their sentences down to find out what is truly needed in that sentence. In doing so, you discover core elements of grammar.

I.e.: Writers strip sentences down to find what is needed in that sentence.
I.e. 2: writers strip sentences to find what is needed.

I think you get my drift.

Sentence diagrams are also incredibly helpful when breaking a sentence down to its core. Check out this site and you see instantly how simple parsing core elements from superfluous elements can be. ... pager1.htm

Hope this helps!


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