I’m learning a foreign language but my English grammar is letting me down!

With the recent news from the government that as from next year all 11-year olds will be tested on basic grammar this can only be a good thing. It is particularly important when learning foreign languages to understand key grammar terms and how your own language is made up, because if not, this will create obstacles when studying a new language. Many people that I have taught languages to find that the problem isn’t learning the new language, but the real stumbling block is understanding key grammar terms. Even simple grammar terms such as nouns, adjectives and verbs can be confusing if you have not already studied them.
In this blog article I will explain the key grammar terms to understand which should help when learning a foreign language.


A noun refers to a person, place, event, object or quality; e.g. table, car, book, house, book, party, holiday, teacher, mother, boy, girl.


Adjectives are words that describe nouns. e.g. big, green, interesting, slow, expensive, noisy, tidy.


Verbs are words describing an action, condition or experience. e.g. eat, drink, sleep, speak, buy, travel, study, work, swim, run, play.


Prepositions are words that link nouns, pronouns and other parts of a sentence to other words within the sentence.

The book is on the table.
The cat is behind the tree.
The aeroplane is above the ocean.

Here are some common prepositions in English: along, by, through, since, for, of, towards, with, beyond, between, into, until, off, before, after, unlike, despite.


Adverbs can be added to a verb to alter its meaning. Adverbs tell you how an action was carried out. Many English adverbs end in –ly although many others do not. Look at these examples:

Paul ran quickly. (“quickly” changes the verb to run.)
She cooked slowly.
Peter arrived at work early.
The children played noisily.
She placed the ornament carefully on the shelf.

Some other adverbs which do not end in –ly include: well, very, most, fast, now, less, far, never, always, sometimes.


Pronouns replace nouns. There are different types of pronouns:

Subject pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they.
Demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, those.
Indefinite pronouns: somebody, all, anyone, nobody, each, both, few, either, none.
Interrogative pronouns: who, which, what, where, how.
Relative pronouns (used to add extra information in a sentence): that, which, who, whose, whom, where.
Possessive pronouns: my, your, his, her, our, their.
Reflexive pronouns: myself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves.

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