Grammar Help on the Net

Where can a teacher turn to if they help in understanding or explaining something like English grammar?

In the old days, I’d say open a book (like Azar’s Fundamentals of English Grammar). And while this still isn’t bad advice, there are now quicker answers on the Net. Here are a couple of my favourite sites if you are looking for help with grammar.

Englishpage.com – this site was a life saver for me. I loved the one page summary of all 12 English grammar verb tenses. It’s a great way to quickly understand and explain grammar. Like when a student asks you, “what’s the difference between past perfect continuous and past perfect tense?” In the past, I’d probably freeze in fear or look for the nearest exit. But now, I’d 1) ask the student to give me an example (to buy myself some time), pull out my print out of Englishpage.com‘s Verb Tense Overview with Examples summary to jog my memory and then explain away with an example sentence.

Verb Tense Overview with Examples

Simple Present Simple Past Simple Future
I study English every day. Two years ago, I studied English in England. If you are having problems, I will help you study English.I am going to study English next year.
Present Continuous Past Continuous Future Continuous
I am studying English now. I was studying English when you called yesterday. I will be studying English when you arrive tonight.I am going to be studying English when you arrive tonight.
Present Perfect Past Perfect Future Perfect
I have studied English in several different countries. I had studied a little English before I moved to the U.S. I will have studied every tense by the time I finish this course.I am going to have studied every tense by the time I finish this course.
Present Perfect Continuous Past Perfect Continuous Future Perfect Continuous
I have been studying English for five years. I had been studying English for five years before I moved to the U.S. I will have been studying English for over two hours by the time you arrive.I am going to have been studying English for over two hours by the time you arrive.

On Englishpage.com there very detailed tutorials explaining in simple terms the differences between the grammar tenses.  If you click on one of the links in their table above you’ll get a detailed breakdown of that grammar point.  Below is an example of what you’ll see.

Past Perfect Continuous

FORM

[had been + present participle]

Examples:

  • You had been waiting there for more than two hours when she finally arrived.
  • Had you been waiting there for more than two hours when she finally arrived?
  • You had not been waiting there for more than two hours when she finally arrived.

Complete List of Past Perfect Continuous Forms

USE 1 Duration Before Something in the Past

We use the Past Perfect Continuous to show that something started in the past and continued up until another time in the past. “For five minutes” and “for two weeks” are both durations which can be used with the Past Perfect Continuous. Notice that this is related to the Present Perfect Continuous; however, the duration does not continue until now, it stops before something else in the past.

Examples:

  • They had been talking for over an hour before Tony arrived.
  • She had been working at that company for three years when it went out of business.
  • How long had you been waiting to get on the bus?
  • Mike wanted to sit down because he had been standing all day at work.
  • James had been teaching at the university for more than a year before he left for Asia.
  • A: How long had you been studying Turkish before you moved to Ankara?
    B: I had not been studying Turkish very long.

http://www.englishpage.com/images/verbs/presentperfectcontinuous.gif

I believe Englishpage.com gives you all you need to know and to explain grammar easily.

This site is a great one

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