English Grammar Boot Camp

Watch English Grammar Boot Camp

  • 2016
  • 1 Season

Take an enjoyable exploration of the essential aspects of English grammar. These spirited and accessible lectures offer a comprehensive core training in all of the key elements of grammar and usage, in their most immediate, practical application. Discover a breadth of perspective and context you won't find elsewhere, improving your grammar competence and confidence in all contexts.

English Grammar Boot Camp
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Trending Language
24. Trending Language
August 19, 2016
Examine some new grammatical expressions that are on the rise, and explore the controversy they ignite within the linguistic community. Remember that English usage is a living process, and language must respond to its audience and context, adapting as necessary to fit new conditions. Conclude by considering changes to watch for in our language.
Its/It€™s Confusing
23. Its/It€™s Confusing
August 19, 2016
Apostrophes present multiple usage issues. Examine how we use them with contractions and possessives, noting the problems involved with nouns ending in s. Explore how apostrophe usage can create and alleviate ambiguity. Consider exceptions to "standard" use of the apostrophe, and think about what the future of the apostrophe may be.
Duck, Duck, Comma, and Duck
22. Duck, Duck, Comma, and Duck
August 19, 2016
Punctuation acts as a fundamental component of written usage. It shapes and clarifies meaning, and it organizes language on the page. Review the modern rules regarding the punctuation marks that structure sentences: commas, semicolons, colons, and dashes. Highlight core uses of commas, and consider how punctuation follows different rules in texting.
What Part of Speech is Um?
21. What Part of Speech is Um?
August 19, 2016
Within the grammar of conversation, study the distinction between involved discourse, which relates to negotiating relationships, and informational discourse, which involves delivering information. Then grasp the important roles of discourse markers, small words such as so," "well," and "oh," that help organize discourse and manage our expectations in conversation.
Navigating the Choppy Paragraph
20. Navigating the Choppy Paragraph
August 19, 2016
Learn how to make your prose writing flow and avoid choppiness through key syntactic choices. Study the known-new contract, a principle for presenting information by placing known information before new information, sentence to sentence. Examine three different ways to use this principle, and look at how to present information clearly in scientific writing.
The Dangers of Danglers
19. The Dangers of Danglers
August 19, 2016
Look closely at dangling modifiers, which are words or phrases that appear to modify something other than what was intended (e.g., Glancing through the document, the typos jumped off the page). Investigate a variety of danglers, including some that have become accepted in formal writing, and consider their implications for both spoken and written expression.
Stranded Prepositions
18. Stranded Prepositions
August 19, 2016
Is it incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition? Trace the origins of this idea, and see how the practice came to be viewed as bad usage. Consider the views of 20th-century commentators, and note specific cases where "stranding" the preposition can add elegance and stylistic punch to writing.
Squirrels and Prepositions
17. Squirrels and Prepositions
August 19, 2016
Among the fine points of prepositions, unpack the issue of different from" vs. "different than." Grasp how prepositions show relationships between words, often giving information about time or location. With this understanding, grapple with controversies such as "between" vs. "among" and "toward" vs. "towards," and investigate a startling contemporary change with the word "because."
However to Use However
16. However to Use However
August 19, 2016
Conjunctive adverbs (such as thus," "consequently," or "moreover") conjoin two clauses. Identify the range of conjunctive adverbs and their significant benefits in formal writing. Then explore notable usage issues such as those concerning "however," "more important" vs. "more importantly," and forms such as "firstly" and "thusly," which reflect changes in language style and taste.
No Ifs, Ands, or Buts
15. No Ifs, Ands, or Buts
August 19, 2016
Begin this immersion in conjunctions with the controversy surrounding sentences that begin with conjunctions (such as And furthermore..."). Review the functions of coordinating conjunctions ("and," "but," "yet"), subordinating conjunctions ("if," "because," "unless"), and contested uses of the conjunction "plus." Chart the rise of an unusual new coordinator in colloquial use: the word "slash."
Only Adverbs
14. Only Adverbs
August 19, 2016
Discover the rich world of adverbs, as they modify not only verbs, but also adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. Investigate intensifiers (such as very," "surely," and "possibly"), which can either strengthen or hedge statements, and study the subtleties of "flat" adverbs-adverbs that have the same form as their adjective counterparts.
Passive Voice Was Corrected
13. Passive Voice Was Corrected
August 19, 2016
Explore the use of the often-criticized passive voice, beginning with a clear definition of what distinguishes the passive voice from the active. Consider the benefits of the passive voice for situations in which responsibility for an action is unclear, for maintaining continuity in writing, and for scientific writing in which the narrative requires objectivity.
Shall We?
12. Shall We?
August 19, 2016
Continue with the category of auxiliary (helping) verbs, beginning with the familiar usage issue of can" vs. "may." Then study the workings of modal auxiliary verbs (such as "might," "must," and "shall"), the primary helping verbs of "be," "have," and "do," and the ongoing controversy over the most notorious of auxiliary verbs: "ain't."
Object Lessons
11. Object Lessons
August 19, 2016
Examine how we categorize verbs based on how they function within the sentence. Along the way, grapple with thorny usage issues, such as whether you feel bad" or "badly," and the "it is me/I" conundrum. Explore how verbs work with or without objects (the transitive/intransitive distinction), and learn about complex transitive verbs.
Going, Going, Went
10. Going, Going, Went
August 19, 2016
In the realm of verbs, begin by clarifying past tense vs. past participle, and note how new irregularities creep into the verb spectrum. Explore one of the most eternal of usage errors: that of lie" vs. "lay." Study verb tenses and aspects (progressive or perfect), and investigate irregular past participles.
Funnest Lecture Ever
9. Funnest Lecture Ever
August 19, 2016
Adjectives, in multiple incarnations, form the focus of this lecture. Study the ways we turn adjectives into comparatives and superlatives, and review the much-criticized issue of double comparatives. Look also at adjectives that change meanings depending on where they appear in a sentence, as well as noun phrases in which the adjective, uncharacteristically, appears after the noun.
A(n) Historical Issue
8. A(n) Historical Issue
August 19, 2016
Determiners are small words (such as an," "this," "each," or "many") that introduce nouns and create noun phrases. Learn their key functions in English, and see how determiners are different from adjectives and pronouns. Then investigate the history of capitalization in English, current capitalization practice, and the curious history of the capitalized pronoun "I."
Which Hunting
7. Which Hunting
August 19, 2016
Confront the often-confusing question of when to use that" as opposed to "which." Study the most commonly applied rules governing these relative pronouns, and hear opinions on the subject from notable grammarians. Also learn about clauses in which relative pronouns disappear, and consider the use of relative pronouns with animate beings vs. inanimate objects.
Between You and Your Pronouns
6. Between You and Your Pronouns
August 19, 2016
Enter the world of pronouns, beginning with personal pronouns and the complications that arise around conjoined constructions (e.g., you and me). Then take on interrogative pronouns-including when to use "who" vs. "whom"-and indefinite pronouns (such as "none"), asking questions such as whether "none" can be both singular and plural.
Fewer Octopuses or Less Octopi?
5. Fewer Octopuses or Less Octopi?
August 19, 2016
Investigate countable and uncountable nouns, and learn the details of how we use them with modifiers such as fewer" and "less." Then delve into irregular plurals in English, observing the variety of ways they are formed. Finally, learn about collective nouns and the question of subject-verb agreement, as in, "there's/there are a few reasons."
Re Phrasing
4. Re Phrasing
August 19, 2016
This lecture looks at how we define and categorize words into parts of speech, and considers the fascinating ways in which words expand or move into new categories. Study how we characterize nouns, verbs, adverbs, and their syntax, and delineate the difference between a phrase, a clause, and a sentence.
Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works
3. Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works
August 19, 2016
Now dive into descriptive grammar: the rules that describe actual usage. In examples ranging from contractions to word order and negation, observe the wealth of grammatical knowledge that you know intuitively. Consider how comparing the descriptive with the prescriptive can help you make more informed choices about usage.
Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn€™ts
2. Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn€™ts
August 19, 2016
Here, investigate prescriptive grammar: the set of rules that tell us what we should and shouldn't do in formal English. Trace the history of specific grammatical rules and of academic usage guides, and note how such guides justify right" vs. "wrong." Learn about historically famous grammarians, whose opinions about usage still influence us today.
Why Do We Care about Grammar?
1. Why Do We Care about Grammar?
August 19, 2016
First, examine how we judge what is acceptable or unacceptable in English, and how we distinguish acceptable" from "stylistically preferable." Consider how grammar often takes on larger meanings related to education and culture. Grasp how understanding the differences and diversity within our language allows us to become more nuanced speakers and writers.
Description

Take an enjoyable exploration of the essential aspects of English grammar. These spirited and accessible lectures offer a comprehensive core training in all of the key elements of grammar and usage, in their most immediate, practical application. Discover a breadth of perspective and context you won't find elsewhere, improving your grammar competence and confidence in all contexts.

English Grammar Boot Camp is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on August 19, 2016.

Where to Watch English Grammar Boot Camp

English Grammar Boot Camp is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch English Grammar Boot Camp on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy and Hoopla.

  • Premiere Date
    August 19, 2016