A Quick Guide to EAP Grammar

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A Quick Guide to EAP Grammar

October 19th, 2020

Welcome back to our biweekly update. Seeing as over half of our visitors are focussed on our grammar practice materials, we’re discussing the topic of grammar this week and how best to approach it. Whether you’re looking for help with affixes, words, verb functions, phrases, sentences or punctuation, here at Academic Marker we have hundreds of lessons and worksheets on these subjects to help improve your English proficiency.


What is grammar, and is it hard?

Yes grammar is complex and yes it takes time to learn, but this aspect of English doesn’t have to be scary! What many students (and tutors) don’t realise at first is that grammar is theoretical. This means that different grammarians may used different words or classifications to describe the same thing. Grammar is simply an attempt to categorise language based on form and function so that rules and patterns can be learned more easily by students and tutors alike. And because grammar is theoretical, this categorisation isn’t always perfect. Sometimes aspects of language are simply grouped together as best at they can be.


Why is grammar so popular?

It’s true that the most popular pages on Academic Marker are probably our grammar paractice pages, with students visiting most often to find out about modal verbs, prefixes and suffixes, and verb functions such as tense, aspect and transitivity. The reason these pages are so popular is because grammar takes a lot of practice and is often undertaught at university (under the presumption that students have already had plenty of grammar instruction). What’s more, a good percentage of a student’s grade in any given academic assignment is almost always based on grammar and vocabulary, so if English isn’t your native language then you’ll be looking to improve in every way you can.   


How is grammar organised on Academic Marker?

By clicking on the grammar practice page, you’ll see that we’ve categorised grammar into six types:

To make things as easy as possible, these six categories have been organised in a size-ascending way. That means that we begin with the smallest element of grammar, the parts of words we call affixes, before increasing to the level of the word. Some categories such as words might be quite large and are therefore split into sub-categories such as meanings, structures and types:

Other categories such as verb functions (verbs are a word type that we explore in some depth and isolation because of its complexity) simply direct you straight to the many short courses we have on offer:

After focussing on verbs, we next increase in size beyond the word to focus on phrases (collections of words) before increasing again to clauses and sentences (collections of phrases). Finally, we explore aspects of punctuation which occur between sentences, such as commas and semicolons as these are aspects of grammar that students often make considerable mistakes in.

How do I know which grammar to study?

Knowing where to begin with all this grammar can be tough. The best advice we can give you is:


  • ask your tutor when they mark your next assignment to highlight three grammar points that you need to improve on
  • look at the short courses we have on offer and decide which grammar points you know the best and which you need more practice with
  • start at the beginning of our hierarchy (affixes) and work up systematically with every course from there (ending with punctuation)
  • scan all of our grammar courses and begin at the grammar point that interests you the most or that you think will be most helpful for your next assignment


Why are grammar activities so important?

In addition to providing lots of grammar instruction, each of our short-course lessons offers students a comprehensive worksheet. These worksheets contain lots of activities, the completion of which is critical to the improvement of grammar – as it’s not possible to improve at a skill without plenty of practice and success.

Does academic English have different grammar?

Although it might not seem like it, the grammar of general English and academic English is exactly the same (it’s the vocabulary selection that’s different). What is distinct however between the two contexts is that the grammar points which become important at the university level require a higher skill than is necessary in general English. All-in-all then, we can consider the grammar courses included on Academic Marker to be courses which are designed for very advanced English learners.

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