SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Grammar Improvement

There are two 4 or 5 week Grammar Improvement courses, A and B. Initially A will be offered and then B in the second half of term 1. They aim to give students the opportunity to review and improve the accuracy of their English within the context of particular academic writing functions. The lessons will involve identification,  analysis and practice of key aspects of grammar within an academic context. The course will also present students with strategies for checking and correcting their writing independently. The course will be delivered online in term 1 of 2020. There will be a mixture of asynchronous self-study (for 1-2 hours per week approximately) and one hour synchronous live sessions using Collaborate on BLE.

Areas of grammar covered includes:

Course A
  • Writing impersonally: using the passive, nominal phrases
  • Writing analytically: using complex and compound sentence structures.
  • Reporting published work: reporting verbs and tenses.
  • Using cautious language: modals, generalising, indicating possibility.
  • Structuring writing: backwards and forwards linking, discourse markers.

Course B

  • Reporting published work: paraphrasing and summarising, qualifying a statement, giving a definition
  • Developing arguments: comparatives and superlatives, parallel structures
  • Reporting published work: articles and prepositions, proportions and percentages
  • Using cautious language: formal grammar and formal vocabulary
  • Structuring writing: punctuation-semi-colons and colons, hyphens and dashes

Scope and syllabus

The main aim is to relate the structures of language to their functions so that these can be identified and coopted by the student to aid them in their English, especially in writing. While being especially designed to help those with weak grammar, those with higher level grammar in general English should also benefit from how structures can be used in particular ways in academic English.

Suggested reading

Elsworth, S. Walker, E. (2008), Grammar Practice: Upper Intermediate. Pearson, Longman. (general English)

Hewings, M. (2005), Advanced Grammar in Use. Cambridge: CUP. (advanced grammar, general English)

Harrison, M., Jakeman, V., Paterson, K. (2012), Improve Your Grammar. Palgrave Study Skills, London: Macmillan. (academic English)

Murphy, R. (2004), English Grammar in Use. Cambridge: CUP.  (intermediate grammar, general English)

Paterson, K. Wedge, R. (2013), Oxford Grammar for EAP. Oxford: OUP. (academic English)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules