Exploring language change

This article has been written by Penny Hands, who is one of the contributors to the Collins COBUILD English Grammar When a new edition of a grammar is launched, teachers and students may well wonder what can be new about a grammar. We all know about new words, which grab the headlines at every new […]

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Futurity

  This article has been written by Damian Williams, who is an ELT author and teacher trainer.   Very early on in my teaching career, I remember addressing a class of Russian teenagers with the statement, ‘Will is the future tense in English.’ It was only later as I started developing as a teacher and […]

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Nonstandard usage or error: where should we draw the line?

        This article has been written by Penny Hands, who is one of the contributors to the Collins COBUILD English Grammar. If we’re going to talk about nonstandard English, it’s a good idea to start by asking what Standard English (SE) is. As David Crystal (1994) states in his article ‘What is […]

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Modality and conditionals

This article has been written by Damian Williams, who is an ELT author and teacher trainer. Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can? Sun Tzu  The quote above, attributed to an ancient Chinese military strategist, is often used in leadership training to encourage people to act on their […]

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Understanding academic grammar

  This article has been written by Julie Moore, who is an ELT materials developer and lexicographer.   For students new to dealing with academic texts in English, they can seem daunting; full of long words and long complex sentences. Are academics just trying to show off how clever they are and confuse their poor readers? […]

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Tense vs aspect

This article has been written by Damian Williams, who is an ELT author and teacher trainer. Consider the following statement: Present tenses refer to the present and past tenses refer to the past. How far do you agree with this statement? Can you think of any exceptions? What about the following:   I wish you […]

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Grammar and register

This article has been written by Julie Moore, who is an ELT materials developer and lexicographer. Our last post focused on the difference between a prescriptive and a descriptive approach to grammar. A descriptive grammar, such as the Collins COBUILD English Grammar, describes the language which people actually use, and draws from that a set […]

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Prescriptive vs descriptive approaches to grammar

This article has been written by Penny Hands, who is one of the contributors to the Collins COBUILD English Grammar. In our first blogpost about the new Collins COBUILD English Grammar, we saw how a functional grammar is all about language use: It’s about communicative grammar that learners can use in the typical situations that they […]

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Grammar or vocabulary? A blurry line

This article has been written by Julie Moore, who is an ELT materials developer and lexicographer. Most language learning coursebooks include grammar activities and vocabulary activities. As teachers, we talk about ‘teaching grammar’ and ‘teaching vocabulary’. Grammar and vocabulary are two of the key strands of language learning, yet are they really as separate as […]

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Collins COBUILD English Grammar: a functional grammar

  This article has been written by Penny Hands, who is one of the contributors to the Collins COBUILD English Grammar.   Most people who study and use a language are interested in how they can do things with the language – how they can express their feelings and wishes, get attention, influence people, and […]

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