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English Grammar Boot Camp

English Grammar Boot Camp
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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Why Do We Care about Grammar?
First, examine how we judge what is acceptable or unacceptable in English, and how we distinguish acceptable" from "stylistically preferable." Consider how grammar often takes on larger meanings related to…
Episode 2 Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn’ts
Here, investigate prescriptive grammar: the set of rules that tell us what we should and shouldn't do in formal English. Trace the history of specific grammatical rules and of academic…
Episode 3 Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works
Now dive into descriptive grammar: the rules that describe actual usage. In examples ranging from contractions to word order and negation, observe the wealth of grammatical knowledge that you know…
Episode 4 Re Phrasing
This lecture looks at how we define and categorize words into parts of speech, and considers the fascinating ways in which words expand or move into new categories. Study how…
Episode 5 Fewer Octopuses or Less Octopi?
Investigate countable and uncountable nouns, and learn the details of how we use them with modifiers such as fewer" and "less." Then delve into irregular plurals in English, observing the…
Episode 6 Between You and Your Pronouns
Enter the world of pronouns, beginning with personal pronouns and the complications that arise around conjoined constructions (e.g., you and me). Then take on interrogative pronouns-including when to use "who"…
Episode 7 Which Hunting
Confront the often-confusing question of when to use that" as opposed to "which." Study the most commonly applied rules governing these relative pronouns, and hear opinions on the subject from…
Episode 8 A(n) Historical Issue
Determiners are small words (such as an," "this," "each," or "many") that introduce nouns and create noun phrases. Learn their key functions in English, and see how determiners are different…
Episode 9 Funnest Lecture Ever
Adjectives, in multiple incarnations, form the focus of this lecture. Study the ways we turn adjectives into comparatives and superlatives, and review the much-criticized issue of double comparatives. Look also…
Episode 10 Going, Going, Went
In the realm of verbs, begin by clarifying past tense vs. past participle, and note how new irregularities creep into the verb spectrum. Explore one of the most eternal of…
Episode 11 Object Lessons
Examine how we categorize verbs based on how they function within the sentence. Along the way, grapple with thorny usage issues, such as whether you feel bad" or "badly," and…
Episode 12 Shall We?
Continue with the category of auxiliary (helping) verbs, beginning with the familiar usage issue of can" vs. "may." Then study the workings of modal auxiliary verbs (such as "might," "must,"…
Episode 13 Passive Voice Was Corrected
Explore the use of the often-criticized passive voice, beginning with a clear definition of what distinguishes the passive voice from the active. Consider the benefits of the passive voice for…
Episode 14 Only Adverbs
Discover the rich world of adverbs, as they modify not only verbs, but also adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. Investigate intensifiers (such as very," "surely," and "possibly"), which can…
Episode 15 No Ifs, Ands, or Buts
Begin this immersion in conjunctions with the controversy surrounding sentences that begin with conjunctions (such as And furthermore..."). Review the functions of coordinating conjunctions ("and," "but," "yet"), subordinating conjunctions ("if,"…
Episode 16 However to Use However
Conjunctive adverbs (such as thus," "consequently," or "moreover") conjoin two clauses. Identify the range of conjunctive adverbs and their significant benefits in formal writing. Then explore notable usage issues such…
Episode 17 Squirrels and Prepositions
Among the fine points of prepositions, unpack the issue of different from" vs. "different than." Grasp how prepositions show relationships between words, often giving information about time or location. With…
Episode 18 Stranded Prepositions
Is it incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition? Trace the origins of this idea, and see how the practice came to be viewed as bad" usage. Consider the…
Episode 19 The Dangers of Danglers
Look closely at dangling modifiers, which are words or phrases that appear to modify something other than what was intended (e.g., Glancing through the document, the typos jumped off the…
Episode 20 Navigating the Choppy Paragraph
Learn how to make your prose writing flow and avoid choppiness through key syntactic choices. Study the known-new contract, a principle for presenting information by placing known information before new…
Episode 21 What Part of Speech is Um?
Within the grammar of conversation, study the distinction between involved discourse, which relates to negotiating relationships, and informational discourse, which involves delivering information. Then grasp the important roles of discourse…
Episode 22 Duck, Duck, Comma, and Duck
Punctuation acts as a fundamental component of written usage. It shapes and clarifies meaning, and it organizes language on the page. Review the modern rules regarding the punctuation marks that…
Episode 23 Its/It’s Confusing
Apostrophes present multiple usage issues. Examine how we use them with contractions and possessives, noting the problems involved with nouns ending in s. Explore how apostrophe usage can create and…
Episode 24 Trending Language
Examine some new grammatical expressions that are on the rise, and explore the controversy they ignite within the linguistic community. Remember that English usage is a living process, and language…

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