English grammar is similar to math. It has strict rules defined by the correlations of different parts of the sentence. Unlike many other languages, there is usually one correct variant of saying a sentence. But these rules are complicated and intricate only until you find a simple explanation.
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Now there is no need to learn English by a single textbook. A combination of learning approaches is always better. For instance, apart from only memorizing grammar rules, you can use a sentence rewriter tool to see how your content changes and learn from your mistakes. This Custom Writing article will guide you through the multitude of English grammar resources. Here you will find links to classical grammar textbooks, as well as modern interactive online tests and explanations.
🏆 Grammar Resources: the Classics
Below you can find the four famous grammar textbooks that became the classics for teachers and college students. They proved their efficiency by several generations of successful English students. These books are suitable for any level. There are lessons for beginners with simple vocabulary and more advanced activities.
- English Grammar in Use was first published in 1985, and since then, it has gone through five editions. The publisher is Cambridge University Press featuring the British English language. Raymond Murphy wrote the first edition teaching at the Swan School of English, Oxford. As of today, it is the best grammar textbook of classical English.
- The Elements of Style asserts that one must know the rules to break them creatively. It was written by William Strunk, Jr in the distant 1918, the Professor of English at Cornell University. The book was privately printed by W.P. Humphrey, Geneva, N.Y. It describes the stylistic rules of American English, its composition principles, and most commonly misused phrases.
- Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage in its last edition reflects the English language we speak today. It gives clear and authoritative recommendations on the usage, writing, and pronunciation of modern British English. The first edition dates back to 1926, but since then, it has been renewed many times. The latest versions are published by Oxford University Press.
- Garner’s Modern English Usage is a “prescriptive dictionary” of contemporary British, American, and other World Englishes. Its first edition of 1998 covered only American English, so the newest ones are more extensive with one-third more content. The publisher is Oxford University Press. It is a guide on word choice, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and phrasing.
2. 🔤 Most Respected Dictionaries
Each entry of the list below contains the best online dictionary that have shown its efficiency. Each of the items on the list is accompanied by a short description of a certain dictionary’s pros and cons.
- Oxford Dictionaries. As a result of a collaboration between dictionary.com and Oxford University Press, a new and improved translation system has emerged. It is powered by Oxford dictionaries and consists of a UK, a US, a Spanish dictionary, and several advanced features.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionaries. Merriam-Webster is an American company established in 1828. Since then, it has produced the most popular and trusted dictionaries in America. Don’t miss the opportunity to use the free online version of Merriam-Webster!
- Macmillan Dictionary. This free online system is provided by the award-winning Macmillan English Dictionary published in 2002 for the first time. The online version was established in 2009. It features not only an excellent vocabulary and thesaurus but also a special metaphor search system.
- Cambridge Dictionary. This collection wouldn’t be complete without an online version of the classic dictionary by Cambridge University Press. It was launched in 1999 and continues to offer a range of completely free services that can be used on the company’s website as well as in the apps.
3. 🎓 Grammar Resources by the Top Universities
In addition to the books mentioned in the first section, there is a lot of useful literature published by the top universities. Their educational base is vast and reliable. Besides, the universities use the same reference materials and tests for their students. Mind that some resources are designed for American English (The Writer’s Handbook), and others present British English (University of Oxford Style Guide).
- HyperGrammar. This one is an online grammar course at the University of Ottawa’s Writing Centre. Here, you can find a grammar rules guide and a list of online resources (including reference works, textbooks, and workbooks) to help you with your writing.
- Purdue Online Writing Lab. These guidelines will help you use correct grammar in your writing. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation handouts are available, along with additional information on each topic.
- Literacy Education Online. LEO from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, provides handouts on a variety of writing topics. Click on any phrase that describes your current difficulties in writing and grammar.
- The Grammar Handbook. The resource at the Writers’ Workshop, University of Illinois, explains and illustrates basic grammar rules and common problems with usage.
- The Writer’s Handbook. The guideline by the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is here to help you with grammar and punctuation. Dig for other helpful rules by browsing the site’s other pages.
- University of Oxford Style Guide. This one is an extensive handbook with the guidelines for document writing and formatting for Oxford University students and staff.
4. 🌐 Online Grammar Resources
No matter how elite and highly-rated the resources by universities were, it does not mean you shouldn’t try online materials by other authors. The following links will bring you to interactive grammar exercises and rules prepared by educational and cultural organizations, such as the British Council, BBC, and ThoughtCo.
- English Grammar at the British Council. The website provides explanations of 48 common English grammar topics.
- BBC Learning English. The website features audio, video, and interactive materials to help foreign speakers learn English.
- English Grammar Rules by Grammarly.com. Here you’ll find a guide that quickly explains English grammar, style, and word choice.
- English Grammar Rules & Usage by YourDictionary. Here you can study English grammar rules with fun free tools, including guides, games, worksheets, quizzes, word lists, and grammar tips.
- English Grammar by ThoughtCo. Here you’ll find articles and exercises to help you become a more effective writer by improving both grammar and style.
- The Quick and Easy Guide to Learning English Grammar Tenses. This is a brief manual from FluentU that will help you understand English tenses.
- English Grammar Guide by Education First. With this guide, you’ll master the entire scope of English grammar quickly and easily.
- English Style Guide. The guide by the European Commission Directorate-General for Translation is an awesome handbook for authors and writers.
- GrammarMonster.com. The website offers free English grammar lessons and tests. You can also find a glossary of grammatical terms and information about common grammar mistakes.
5. 🤖 Resources on Technical Writing
Technical writing is a genre that provides directions, explanations, or instructions on a particular subject. Its style is different from creative or academic writing. That is why you need to be familiar with its rules before you start writing an operation guide or a training manual.
- Technical Writing by Google Developers claims that every engineer can become a writer. This resource will give you an understanding of how to plan and prepare a piece of technical writing. Here you can find editorial style guides, pre-class, and in-class lessons. Sometimes Google provides free in-class sessions for the general public.
- Sentence Structure of Technical Writing. The guide explains in a very clear and vivid way how to plan, write, and revise your technical work.
- Technical Writing Guide. This guide by Michigan State University is a very detailed one. It gives a wide array of additional information for perfect technical writing.
- Tips and Guidance for Students Writing Papers and Reports. Here you’ll find a practical piece of advice based on the author’s evaluation of his students’ technical writing.
6. 📱 English Grammar Apps
These tools become the most useful thing in class or at work where you have no time and opportunity to consult the dictionary or textbook. But your smartphone with a grammar app is always in your pocket. The interactive interface allows finding the required entry in seconds, which is a considerable benefit compared to paper books.
- Garner’s Modern English Usage. The app is now available on iPhone and iPad. This excellent reference tool offers 8,000+ entries and essays to help you with your writing and editing.
- English Grammar in Use. This is the only grammar app that intermediate English learners may ever need. They offer activities that will help you practice English grammar anytime, anywhere!
- English Grammar Test. This is the best way to improve your grammar knowledge. It’s perfect for intermediate and upper-intermediate levels.
- LearnEnglish Grammar. This educational mobile app by the British Council will help you improve your grammar and boost your communication skills. It is designed for learners of all levels. There are both British and American English editions available.
7. 📝 English Grammar Tests and Quizzes
If you have reached a certain English grammar level and would like to proceed, a professional test will help you define where you are at. If you would like to solidify your knowledge of a particular grammar section or rule, train on quizzes.
- Oxford Practice Grammar Student’s Site offers to download tests and answer keys free of charge. First, you need to select your knowledge level (i.e., basic, intermediate, or advanced). Then you can choose practice exercises, read and write assignments, or tests. The first two options are available online.
- English Grammar Exercises – Englisch-Hilfen provides exercises on articles, nouns, gerunds, and all tenses. It is a German website and has a version for people whose native language is German. It also has a small recommendation page for parents who help their children to study English. Besides, here you can find some information on the exams of English as a foreign language.
- Perfect English Grammar has an excellent option to download PDF documents with brief grammar rules for free after the newsletter subscription. The exercises are grouped by each tense and verb form, which is very helpful to learn the slightest differences between them.
- The British Council’s Grammar Exercises features paid online courses but also has lots of free content. The website is very user-friendly and exciting to explore. An unconditional benefit is the possibility to comment and ask questions under each section. The Grammar tab is divided into levels of knowledge.
8. 😅 Fun Grammar Resources
Learning a language does not have to be unpleasant and dull. Today there are hundreds of websites offering funny and exciting explanations of grammar rules. The tests are given not as separate sentences torn from the context but as interesting stories.
All these books, websites, and apps accelerate the development of your language skills but value nothing without continuous speaking practice. Still, if you have English lessons several times a week, this is not an issue. The more time you invest in a new language, the sooner you will speak and write correctly and fluently.
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- The New Yorker’s Comma Queen. Here you’ll find a constantly updated collection of short videos by Mary Norris about English rules that are commonly mistaken. You might find this resource helpful and entertaining.
- Bad Grammar Tattoos. Enjoy the guilty pleasure of unforgivable grammar mistakes permanently inked on people’s bodies with this resource!
- Grammar Girl. Learning grammar with this resource is fun! Complex grammar questions become simple when you use memory tricks to help you remember and apply all those tricky grammar rules.
Learning English is a challenging task. We do hope that our collection of English grammar resources will be of help. Want to share any other resources that you like? Don’t hesitate to do it in the comments!
Thanks for the list!
Glad to help, Alex!
This is a fantastic resource list that many of my clients and writing students will find very useful.
Hey, Peter! Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated 🙂
Thank you for sharing this. I can’t wait to add this on our website!
Really glad you liked it and of course, feel free to share it on your website!
I confess I am a writer who struggles with grammar! This is a great compilation of resources for anyone who writes from business people to students. It has fun activities, as well as serious research. Julia Reed has put together a great article!
What a pleasure to read such wonderful feedback! Thanks and keep an eye on our blog 🙂