How Well Do You Know English Grammar?
Many people assume that all educated native speakers of English know the language well enough to teach it. Unfortunately, this is not true. To be an EFL teacher, it is not enough to speak and write English well: you also need to know a lot about the language.
If you want to check how well you know English grammar, try the "test" below. It includes some of the questions which EFL students typically ask teachers - and to which they expect immediate and accurate answers!
Test Your Knowledge Of English
Answer each question within 1-2 minutes, without looking in a grammar book or a dictionary!
- What is wrong with the sentence I would like to briefly make a point?
- Why can you not say I am living here since 1990?
- How do you pronounce the letters -ed at the end of regular past tense verbs?
- What is the negative form of the sentence He must leave right away?
- Which syllable carries the main stress or emphasis in the words record and export?
- Which is grammatically correct: I wish I were younger or I wish I was younger?
- What is a phrasal verb?
- Think of five ways of changing She arrived at 6:00 into the future.
- The negative of She used to smoke is She didn't used to smoke. True or false?
- Which is grammatically more correct: I have just seen her or I just saw her?
- The verbs will, should, need, may and can are all modal auxiliary verbs. True or false?
- Is anything wrong with the sentence If they saw him, they would have spoken with him?
Scroll down to see the answers.
Answers To The Test
1. What is grammatically wrong with the sentence I would like to briefly make a point?
Nothing. There is no grammatical reason why infinitives should not be split in English. The "rule" about not splitting them is based solely on the fact that infinitives cannot be split in Latin. There is no reason why rules of Latin should be applied to English.
2. Why can you not say I am living here since 1990?
Because since here refers to a period of time extending from the past into the present, you would need to use the Present Perfect Simple or Progressive (I have lived / I have been living here since 1990).
3. How do you pronounce the letters -ed at the end of regular past tense verbs?
There are three possible pronunciations: /d/ as in climbed, /t/ as in walked, and /id/ as in waited.
4. What is the negative form of the sentence He must leave right away?
It depends what meaning you are trying to convey. In the sense of something not being permitted, the negative form is either He must not leave right away or (more commonly) He cannot leave right away. In the sense of something not being compulsory, the negative form is He does not have to leave right away.
5. Which syllable carries the main stress or emphasis in the words record and export?
It depends whether you are using the words as nouns or verbs. The nouns a record and an export have stress on the first syllable. The verbs to record and to export have stress on the second syllable.
6. Which is grammatically correct: I wish I were younger or I wish I was younger?
Older, prescriptive grammar books insist on the use of the subjunctive form were. Most modern, descriptive grammar books accept both were and was as being grammatically acceptable, but they suggest that I wish I were is more appropriate in formal contexts.
7. What is a phrasal verb?
It is a phrase made up of a verb and one or more prepositions (or adverbs). In many cases, the meaning of the whole phrase cannot be deduced from the component words. For example, you may understand the words run and across, but still not understand the sentence He ran across a friend.
8. Think of five ways of changing She arrived at 6:00 into the future.
She will arrive at 6:00. / She arrives at 6:00. / She is arriving at 6:00. / She will be arriving at 6:00. / She is going to arrive at 6:00.
9. The negative of She used to smoke is She didn't used to smoke. True or false?
False. The negative is She didn't use to smoke.
10. Which is grammatically more correct: I have just seen her or I just saw her?
Both are equally correct in American English. I just saw her is not correct in British English.
11. The verbs will, should, need, may and can are all modal auxiliary verbs. True or false?
False. Will, should, may and can are modal auxiliaries but need is not. (The infinitive form of modal auxiliaries cannot be preceded by to: You cannot say to may or to should but you can say to need.)
12. Is anything wrong with the sentence If they saw him, they would have spoken with him?
Yes. The speaker has confused two different conditional forms. Depending on his/her intended meaning, the sentence should be either If they had seen him, they would have spoken with him or If they saw him, they would speak with him.
How Did You Do On The Test?
If you answered 11-12 of the questions correctly, you have a good knowledge of English grammar.
If you answered 9-10 of the questions correctly, you did well but you need to brush up your knowledge of English grammar.
If you answered 8 or fewer questions correctly, you definitely need to improve your knowledge of English grammar before thinking of teaching EFL/ESL.
A Grammar Development Course for Teachers
Jeff Mohamed's book, "A Grammar Development Course For American Teachers Of EFL/ESL," is now available. Packed with clear explanations and practical exercises, the book is specially designed to help American teachers to improve their knowledge of grammar structures and grammatical terminology.
It also contains detailed advice on how to produce motivating and learner-centered grammar lessons for students at a wide variety of levels.
The book will be equally useful to people who intend to teach or tutor EFL/ESLwithout training and to those who are planning to take a TEFL/TESL certificate training course.
To find out more about the book, click here.
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