You know that bad feeling you get when you avoid doing something?
Like taking out the trash, ironing your clothes, writing an assignment or cleaning the house?
It’s an uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it?
You might be sitting on the couch watching TV but unable to enjoy your favorite show because you have a thing to do.
That’s sort of how avoiding thinking about English grammar can feel.
You might be having a great time learning English naturally through resources like books and movies. And you can learn a lot of language naturally like that, without ever having to think about grammar.
But maybe your speaking and writing don’t feel completely natural yet because you have some questions and doubts about how to use certain words, and in what order to use them.
So you feel uncomfortable and maybe even a little guilty. And, you feel less enthusiastic about learning English.
Of course, learning English grammar isn’t something you can do once and be done with it.
You have to keep learning and practicing over time.
But if you know that you’re doing your best to study it, you can relax and enjoy the rest of your learning in the meantime.
You can feel comfortable knowing that you’re doing everything you can to improve your understanding of how the language works.
And with the help of the internet, doing your best doesn’t have to be so hard.
How to Learn English Grammar Online
The truth is, it can sometimes actually be more work to avoid something than to just do it. That’s especially true when it comes to grammar because there are so many great grammar resources that make practicing grammar easy. Let’s look at a few ways you can make learning English grammar online as effective as possible.
Use interactive exercises regularly.
Even if you think you understand a part of English grammar, it’s still important to practice it. This will help you remember it and also start naturally using it in your own speech and writing. One of the easiest and most effective ways to practice is through interactive exercises that you can find online.
Interactive exercises are exercises that invite you to get involved in the learning process. You might need to fill in blanks or just select an answer from a list. Either way, these exercises allow you to learn through doing something, which helps you remember what you’ve learned. These exercises might be parts of complete lessons or available on sites by themselves. Below, we’ll look at a lot of examples of interactive English grammar exercises and where you can find them.
Practice the grammar you learn from online lessons in your own writing.
Yes, practicing online is great, but what really matters is practicing for real! Once you’ve finished studying a part of grammar that you think you feel comfortable with, try using it in sentences that you make up yourself.
Of course, you can also try using the grammar you’ve learned when you talk to people. But if you write down your sentences, you can have a native speaker check them for you on a site like Lang-8. You may want to consider keeping a regular journal—on Lang-8, on a personal blog or in a notebook—that you use to try out new kinds of English grammar.
Keep a list of questions you have about English grammar.
Sometimes you might have a question about a part of English grammar while you’re reading or studying. You may not want to interrupt what you’re doing to find the answer, but you can still write down your question to come back to later.
For example, you might be wondering what the difference is between it’s and its. This probably isn’t something you need to know right away—actually, a lot of native English speakers don’t quite understand what the difference is either. But if you write down the question, you’ll remember that it’s something you thought about. When you have time, you can ask native speakers about any grammar you don’t understand on a site like HiNative.
Stop Procrastinating! 12 Online English Grammar Lessons You Can Do Today
All-around Resources for Learning and Practicing English Grammar
These are resources that help you learn information and practice it. They all teach a lot of different grammar subjects, so you can keep coming back to them over and over again.
The LearnEnglish section on the British Council website lets you explore grammar subjects at your level or look up a specific grammar topic. Under “Choose a section,” you can click on “Beginner to pre-intermediate” or “Intermediate to upper intermediate” to see grammar for those levels.
Or, you can click on “Grammar reference” to find something specific. You’ll generally be given a clear, short explanation and then an opportunity to practice with multiple-choice questions.
LearnEnglish is especially good for studying verbs because it gives you options for a lot of different verb subjects. For example, you can study active and passive voice, tenses and irregular verbs.
FluentU gives you a way to learn from authentic resources—like TV and movies—while learning grammar at the same time.
FluentU puts interactive captions in each video, so if you don’t understand a word, all you have to do is tap on it or hover over it to see what it means. There are also grammar notes that come along with the words. For example, if a verb is conjugated in a certain tense, FluentU will tell you what that tense is. This will help you learn naturally from real content while also being able to see how grammar is being used in every sentence.
Besides learning from the interactive captions, you can also take personalized quizzes to test your knowledge. Rather than testing your knowledge on a single grammar subject, though, FluentU tests your understanding of key words from a whole video. That way, you can learn how all the different parts of grammar in a video work together. This makes FluentU great for learning all kinds of English grammar.
The grammar page on this site is a handy one to have bookmarked. It’s great for looking up a topic you have a specific question about. All you have to do is scroll down the list and look for the exact topic you need. It’s helpful that all of the grammar topics are on one page because you don’t have to know what category the grammar topic you want belongs in. For example, if you wanted to look up plurals, that’s in the “Nouns” category. But you don’t need to figure that out yourself. All you have to do is look for the word “Plurals.”
When you’re ready to practice a topic, you can move over to the exercises section. Some exercises here let you actually type in answers instead of just choosing them. This is great for your learning because it gives you practice using the language more actively.
While LearnEnglish is really good for learning about verbs in general, My English Pages is especially good for learning and practicing specific tenses. It doesn’t just cover the general categories of verb tenses; it actually covers each tense separately. For example, you can practice the future progressive on this page.
If you want to make sure you’re learning the right grammar at the right time, English4U can help. On the grammar page, just scroll down to see grammar topics for all levels, which include Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. You can then click on any topic to explore it.
To find grammar exercises, you can go straight to the exercises section. However, another thing that’s great about English4U is that each grammar page has links to appropriate exercises right at the bottom. So, if you want a full lesson on a grammar topic that includes both an explanation and exercises, all you have to do is find that topic on the grammar page.
For example, if you click on Modal Verbs in the Intermediate section, you’ll see a short explanation of modal verbs, followed by conjugation examples, followed by exercises.
Speaking of the Intermediate section, English4U is especially good for learning English grammar topics at the intermediate level. The site includes more topics for the intermediate level than for any other level, which leaves room to cover more confusing subjects that might not get as much attention from other resources. Besides modal verbs, you can check out reflexive pronouns and conditional clauses.
If you want to have an actual person explain English grammar to you, Innovative Language Learning’s EnglishClass101 makes that possible. Their English grammar lessons are built around podcasts and explanation videos. You can find videos for free on their YouTube channel, or you can subscribe to their website for additional lessons and resources.
Besides straightforward grammar lessons, EnglishClass101 gives you example dialogues and helps you learn grammar in context. By subscribing, you can also get access to learning tools and flashcards to help you practice what you learn.
EnglishClass101 is particularly good for learning how to apply certain types of grammar to real-life situations. For example, this video on how to describe people in English shows you how to use relative clauses in order to talk about others.
Excellent Explanations: Resources for Learning and Understanding English Grammar
So, now we’ve covered some resources that you can use for both learning and practicing English grammar. But sometimes you just need a quick explanation. Or sometimes it can help to see something explained differently than you’ve seen it explained before. Either way, the resources below can be helpful for answering your grammar questions or introducing you to different parts of English grammar.
If you’re not really sure where to start with English grammar, this video from Shaw English Online takes you through the basics. Esther starts with the English alphabet and uses that to move into talking about how words are formed and used with other words. Since this lesson covers a lot of material, you may want to split it up into parts. The lesson is actually made up of several shorter videos, so it should be easy to stop at the end of one and start later with another.
While this resource is intended for low-level beginners, it can also be great for higher-level beginners or even intermediate learners who need to review. Esther uses images and gestures to show meaning, which makes the videos easier to follow. Try out this video on forming questions from “what” and “be” verbs.
Do you just need a quick explanation or reminder of a general English grammar topic? If so, this site is perfect for you! From the page linked above, you can access several very brief, simple lessons on some of the more popular English grammar topics. It only takes a minute to skim each lesson and get the general idea. This site is probably best for looking up topics that you’ve already studied but need some help remembering.
While the lessons are mostly just short and easy explanations, they also have short quizzes at the end to test your understanding.
Prepositions are a tricky topic in any language, and sometimes you need to just look them up over and over again to learn them. So, if you ever struggle with the exact meaning of little words like “on,” “at” or “in,” check out the prepositions lesson on TalkEnglish.com.
If you sometimes just want to have one topic explained to you by a person, bookmark this link. Oxford Online English is a tutoring service, but they also have a bunch of grammar explanation videos that you can watch for free on their website. Each video comes with a written explanation and plenty of examples. There are short quizzes included at the end of lessons, though the lessons are very explanation-heavy.
Because these lessons are more extensive, they’re really good for learning more complicated topics like English sentence structure.
Note: This site teaches British English, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t be useful for learners of North American English. You just might notice some slight differences in spelling and the way the language is used.
This site is particularly helpful if you don’t know the exact name of the topic you’re looking for. On the linked page, you can scroll down and find a list of topics in alphabetical order, but each topic is placed next to a “quick example.” For instance, the quick example for “Adverbs” is “Drive slowly.” This means that even if you don’t know or remember that “slowly” is an adverb and you’re just looking for those words ending in –ly that come after verbs, you can find what you need.
Some explanations are more extensive while others just give you examples, but the examples are generally very clear.
Your Online English Gym: Quick Stops for English Grammar Practice
But what if you don’t need explanations and are only looking for practice? Here are some sites you can use to sharpen your English grammar skills with regular exercises and tests.
This site has a ton of exercises for a variety of English grammar topics. Some exercises let you type in your answers (these are marked with the word “text”). Others are multiple-choice. You can even find some fun exercises in the form of games or puzzles, like crosswords.
This site has a lot of irregular verb exercises, which can be really useful for learners. To access them, go to the “Irregular and regular verbs” topic. From there, you can click on different quizzes, like this one that has you put irregular verbs into different forms.
This site has a bunch of different kinds of grammar lessons. It has some lessons that are mostly just good explanations of the topics, but it also offers some practical and fun exercises based on real-world material.
For example, you can practice the imperative using examples you might find on safety signs.
If you’re learning English for business, it can help to learn grammar in a business context. Doing so will help you apply what you’re learning faster, and it will also motivate you as you learn. The link above takes you to an alphabetical list of grammar topics. The exercises under the topics use a lot of language that you might see or hear in a business setting.
However, the examples are still general enough that any learner can benefit from using this site. The business focus makes it especially good for learning uses of the future tense, since plans, intentions and predictions are very important from a business perspective.
It’s important to learn English grammar, but everyone learns a little differently. Use the sites above in whatever way is most comfortable for you.
No matter how you choose to learn grammar, the important thing is that you keep doing it.
And once you have your grammar studies taken care of, you can relax and think about other things!
Elisabeth Cook is a freelance writer. You can find her on Twitter (@CooksChicken) when she’s avoiding writing.
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It recommends examples and videos to you based on the words you’ve already learned. You'll have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.