5 English Grammar Worksheets and How to Use Them Effectively
Worksheets get a bad rap.
Some educators claim they’re old-fashioned and outdated ways to teach.
But worksheets don’t do the teaching. That’s up to you. They’re just here to help.
Worksheets provide extra tips, help students practice and allow you to check what they know. That’s why they’re so valuable, both to students and teachers. Especially for tricky topics, such as grammar!
It all comes down to choosing the right ones and framing them effectively within your lesson plans.
Keep this in mind, and you can get a lot out of English grammar worksheets.
Mistakes Teachers Make with Worksheets
The quality of a worksheet can make or break a lesson. In order for yours to be effective, you’ll have to avoid the most common pitfalls.
The first is cramming too much text onto one sheet. Whether you’re trying to help your students by giving them as much information as possible or just trying to save paper, you’re making things more difficult in the process.
The same goes for adding crazy borders, word art and unnecessary pictures that crowd the page. All of this can be a little overwhelming for an ESL student.
It can be tempting to give out answer keys along with your worksheets, either during or at the end of the class. This can save time, but it’s better to go over worksheet answers as a class to help students fully understand the material.
Finally, many teachers will forget to follow up and model with real-world examples of grammar. While doing worksheets is great, having video and audio content showing native forms of grammar is one of the top ways to ensure that the students stay motivated and engaged.
To get started with this process, be sure to check out the FluentU teachers program.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
You’ll have access to tons of great video resources plus be able to keep track of student development across the semester! Native models of grammar with entertaining resources are some of the top ways to ensure that the rules stick firmly in the minds of the students.
5 English Grammar Worksheets and How to Use Them Effectively
You don’t have to spend hours creating your own worksheets for every lesson. You don’t have to sift through countless websites to find the right ready-made ones for you, either.
Here are some of the best ESL grammar worksheets online, along with a few lesson planning ideas to go with them.
Autoenglish – Adverbs
Adjectives are tricky. Not only do students have to memorize their meanings and how to convert them into adverbs, but they also have to learn which ones are gradable, which ones are ungradable and which ones can be both.
Autoenglish has a great gap-fill worksheet on adverbs of degree that can help them practice.
At the top, there’s a short section explaining how to create phrases with words such as quite, really, totally and completely.
Then, students have to fill gaps with adverbs in 17 different sentences. At the end, they’ll separate all the adjectives they used into boxes, labeled “gradable” and “ungradable.”
Once your students are done with the worksheet, you can play a game of adverb charades with them as a wrap-up activity. To set it up, have two different containers, each filled with pieces of paper. In the first one, write a verb on each piece of paper. In the second, write adverbs.
Ask a student to come to the front of the class, pick a word from each container and act them out at the same time. (For example, extremely and sleepy.) The rest of the class will have to guess. When they guess the words, let the next student try. This injects some energy into the class to end it on a high note and help them memorize what they’ve learned.
Lanternfish ESL – Family Tree
If you’re teaching beginners or young learners, you’re bound to have a few lessons on the subject of family. When you do, use Lanternfish ESL’s family tree gap-fill worksheet. It’s the perfect visual aid for teaching vocabulary for different family members, but you can also use it to teach some important grammar points, such as pronouns and possessives.
Once you’ve used the worksheet to elicit all the words for different family members, have students use this model to draw their own family trees. Then, they can ask each other some basic questions in pairs, such as:
- “What’s your mother’s name?”
- “How old is she?”
- “What’s her job?”
Have them repeat these steps for each family member. If this is too easy for them, you can then move onto more complex questions, such as third-person questions or do/does questions.
BusyTeacher – Gerunds and Infinitives
The subject of gerunds and infinitives is a particularly difficult grammar point, as there’s no one-size-fits-all rule. Instead, students have to learn from memory. This is frustrating for those who love to have a formula to follow and an explanation for everything. So give them something to work with!
BusyTeacher’s gerund and infinitive worksheet gives students an opportunity to practice. First, it allows them to build their own answer key by filling a table with lists of given verbs. Then, they can use the lists to complete some example sentences.
After they’ve finished this activity, play a memory game. Write the verbs they’ve just used (as well as some extra ones) on flashcards or slips of paper. Have students take the slips from a pile in the middle of the table, one at a time. Each time, they have to say a sentence using the correct infinitive. Just make sure they turn over their worksheet so that they can’t cheat by looking at it!
ESLPDF.com – Phrasal Verbs
Phrasal verbs are another grammar point that students struggle to memorize.
There are so many of them in the English language, many of which sound very similar. Simply adding a preposition to a verb can completely change its meaning, with seemingly no logic at all.
Thankfully, ESLPDF.com has a multiple-choice worksheet for phrasal verbs. This shows students how they can use these terms in real conversations. Along with its three choices, each question has a hint for the meaning of the phrasal verb to make it easier.
If you have time, you can ask your students to use some common phrasal verbs to make questions as an extension activity. Here are some examples you could give them:
- “How often do you eat out?”
- “Do you get along with your siblings?”
- “When was the last time you fell over?”
You could also turn it into a writing activity by asking them to use the phrasal verbs they’ve learned to write a short story.
ESLPDF.com has more than 20 worksheets covering phrasal verbs, so you’ll never be short on teaching materials for your phrasal verb lessons!
iSLCollective – If Clauses
iSLCollective is one of the best resources for ESL teachers, with worksheets for every skill level and age group. Their worksheet on if clauses is ideal for advanced students. With this activity, they have a chance to practice with drills.
First, it asks students to match halves of sentences together. In the second activity, they have to complete the second half of new sentences by themselves. Finally, they have to reword sentences with if clauses with words like I’d, so, in case and provided.
To finish the lesson, give your students free rein to make their own sentences with “if.” They could even ask their partners questions, such as:
- “If you saw an alien, what would you do?”
- “If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy?”
- “If you could be an animal, which one would you choose?”
A worksheet can be a wonderful teaching tool, but it shouldn’t be your entire lesson.
Don’t be one of those teachers who hands them out to the class, only to sit down at your desk and let your students work on them in silence. This feels like a test, and your ESL lessons need to be much more stimulating than that if you want your students to improve.
While your students are completing their worksheets, be present. Walk around the class and give them an opportunity to ask you for help.
Also, combine worksheets with speaking exercises and games to make things more active and well-rounded. That way, you can turn even the most mundane grammar point into a fun lesson!