Accessibility statement

Understanding English grammar


Please note: We regret that timetabling constraints mean that this module can only be offered to first-year students. This module is not suitable for visiting students who have learned English as a second language.


In this module you will learn the basic vocabulary and concepts needed to talk about English grammar. We will start with the smallest meaningful units, morphemes, and investigate how these combine to make words. From here we will explore how words can be formed into larger units called phrases, and then how phrases combine into clauses.

At the end of the module, you should be able to:

  • use the meta-language of grammar to talk about English
  • demonstrate an understanding of the way in which words and sentences are constructed
  • break sentences down into their constituent parts
  • analyse naturally occurring English texts (speech and writing)



There are no prerequisites for this module.



Contact hours

Two contact hours per week (one lecture and one backup group). You will in addition be expected to do four to five hours of work each week on preparation.

Teaching programme

Autumn 2 Introduction
3 Word classes I
4 Derivational morphology
5 Word classes II
7 Inflectional morphology
8 Phrase structures I: NPs
9 Phrase structures II: AP, AdvP, PP
10 Exercise set 1
Spring 1 Formative exam
2 Lexical and auxiliary verbs
3 Phrase structures III: VP, Constituency tests
4 Functional analysis I
5 Functional analysis II
7 Coordination
8 Clauses I
9 Clauses II
10 Exercise set 2
Summer 1 Review
2 Review
3 Review
4 Review

Teaching materials

You must buy the following textbook:

  • Eppler, E.D and Ozón, G. (2013). English Words and Sentences: An introduction. Cambridge Introductions to the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Formative assessment

You are expected to attend all contact hours, to complete all assessments, to prepare for and participate in class discussions, and to contribute to group work.

Summative assessment

  • Tests 
    • Weight: 10%
  • Coursework 
    • Weight: 30%
  • A 90-minute closed exam
    • Weight: 60%

About this module