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Module QXL-1020:
Intro to English Grammar

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Christopher Shank

Overall aims and purpose

This module introduces students to the core knowledge requires to describe the grammatical structure of English, focusing on the word level (morphology). Students will be introduced to topics like how to categorize words, the internal structure of words and basic issues involving the grammatical of structure of English. Students will learn about the different types of word that exist in English (such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions) and learn how these can be identified and described. Different approaches to studying grammar will be discussed, e.g. standard and nonstandard grammar, child grammar, learner's grammar, etc.

The module wlll also introduce students to topics regarding people learning English morphology, by considering e.g. how grammar is taught to non-native learners, how learner proficiency is tested, what kinds of errors learners make while learning, etc. This module therefore combines a coverage of the theoretical groundwork needed to study and teach grammar with applied aspects of this field, especially in the context of language teaching and learning.

The module will explain key terminology and theory in the field to students, so that they are equipped to explain and analyse English grammar at the word level. The module is particularly relevant to students learning about linguistics or the English language and/or who are aspiring to become future teachers of English.

The language used for the purposes of exemplification in this module will primarily be English; however other languages may also be referred to in practice data sets and examples.

The module's aims are:

  • To provide an introductory level understanding of the main topics and terminology traditionally contained and/or discussed in morphology.
  • To have students identify and explain general morphological terms and concepts and to familiarise students with relevant introductory literature in the field.
  • To introduce students to key issues relating to learning of English morphology and related issues.
  • To introduce students to the kinds of challenges faced by different learners (e.g. non-native) of English grammar, with a particular focus on morphological issues.
  • To encourage students to think creatively and critically about terms, terminology, and theoretical frameworks and questions raised in the domain of morphology.
  • To give students an opportunity to acquire and practise using research, analytical and problem solving skills appropriate to these fields of study.
  • To improve the students' general ability to observe, recognise and describe facts about the basics of grammar and use of English with respect to morphological processes and categorization.

Course content

Students will learn about topics such as the following:

  • The Study of grammar - e.g. prescriptive vs descriptive approaches, the grammar of non-standard dialects, First Language Acquisition and Language Disorders contexts.
  • How to describe and label the morphemes of a word.
  • Aspects of English word morphology including e.g. affixation, inflection and derivation and compounding
  • Major word categories and parts of speech in English (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs)
  • Minor word categories and parts of speech in English (determiners, prepositions and conjunctions)
  • The English grammar of children
  • Grammatical errors made by learners of different languages
  • Assessing and testing English proficiency

Assessment Criteria



Student has achieved a thorough standard of understanding and/or knowledge in all learning outcomes; or student has demonstrated an exceptional level of achievement in one or more learning outcomes together with a good overall standard: student has achieved a thorough understanding of the subject, both in terms of content and theory; student is able to apply concepts clearly and accurately; substantial evidence of critical and original thought and analysis; clear, logical argument; high level of communicative competence; free from irrelevant material and errors of spelling and punctuation; evidence of extensive reading beyond basic texts and clear and accurate references to source material.



Student has achieved a better-than-average standard of understanding and/or knowledge in all learning outcomes, and has a clear and accurate understanding of concepts; ability to apply concepts to data critically and thoughtfully; evidence of wide reading and clear and accurate reference to source materials; free from misunderstanding and errors of content; free from irrelevant material.



Student has achieved the minimum acceptable standard of understanding and/or knowledge in all the learning outcomes. Student can demonstrate a minimum level of understanding of the basic concepts and be able to apply them to data with some degree of accuracy.

Learning outcomes

  1. Know the basic terminology and concepts used to describe word morphology in English.

  2. Understand some of the core issues involved faced by people learning English morphology.

  3. Be able to analyse basic morphological data in English.

  4. Have knowledge of some of the key literature and theoretical approaches relating to morphology and English grammar.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT Written Assignment including Essay

Final on-line assessment consisting of advanced English and non-English data sets and short answer questions.

The data set analysis of up to 5 data sets does not have a specific word count because the students are asked to provide either one-word answers or short sentences either translated from the example language into English or from English into the target language.

The short answer portion will consist of questions that ask students to critically reflect on the topics covered in lectures 8-11 (i.e. standard and nonstandard grammar, child grammar, learner's grammar, how grammar is taught to non-native learners, how learner proficiency is tested, what kinds of errors learners make while learning,)

5 potential topic areas, 400-word short answers per topic = 2000 words total

Students will have 5 days to complete this assessment

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT Analysis of English morphology

Questions testing the student's ability to analyse and explain the grammatical structure of English parts of speech.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT Analysis of Non English Morphology

The student will analyze non-English data sets with respect to parts of speech and related morphological topics covered by the module.

REPORT Review of English Test 1500 words

The student writes a report critically reviewing an English learning test.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Smaller class sizes which will be primarily student-led, aimed at revising lecture topics and deepening understanding of the module topics, with use of activities, analysis tasks, discussions, etc. as appropriate. Approximately one tutorial per two weeks during the semester.

Private study

Private reading, library use, internet searching, resource use, note-making, revision, drafting, working on assignments, etc.


Tutor-led class introducing key module issues, with opportunities for student interaction and activities as appropriate. Weekly during the semester.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Proficiency in the use of English in reading, writing, speaking and/or listening - students will demonstrate proficiency in their ability to use and understand English in a range of different contexts and via different media.
  • Understanding of the nature and organization of language - students will demonstrate familiarity with observations and findings relating to various aspects of linguistic phenomena and organization.
  • Understanding the nature of commonalities and differences across languages - students will demonstrate familiarity with phenomena and findings relating to universals and diversity exhibited by and across languages.
  • Knowledge of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) theory and practice - students will demonstrate familiarity with core terms, issues, principles, aspects and best practices related to the teaching of English as a foreign language.
  • Knowledge of the relationship between language and society, culture, and/or embodied experience - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of phenomena and findings relating to the complex interdependent relationship between language, society culture and/or embodied experience.
  • Understanding of the nature of bi/multilingualism - students will demonstrate familiarity with phenomena and findings relating to the nature of bilingual and multilingual individuals and communities.
  • Writing & scholarly conventions - students will be able to present data, argumentation, findings and references in written form in keeping with the conventions current in language science and English language and EFL studies.
  • Analysis & interpretation skills - students will be able to analyse, interpret data accurately, and draw appropriate conclusions based on the application of appropriate analytic and theoretical frameworks available in linguistics and English language and EFL studies.
  • Problem solving - students will be able to evidence problem-solving skills in formulating problems (factual, empirical, theoretical) in precise terms, identifying key issues, and developing the confidence to address challenging problems using a variety of different approaches
  • Evaluation & reflection - students will be able to critically evaluate a particular position, viewpoint or argument in relation to a specific area of investigation. They will be able to reflect on the efficacy of a particular approach, practice or performance, and moderate these as a consequence in order to achieve specific goals.
  • Fluency, confidence and proficiency in the use of English -students will demonstrate their ability and proficiency to use and understand and instruct others in English in a range of academic and classroom contexts.
  • Effective communication - students will develop the ability to communicate effectively, appropriately and confidently, in a range of contexts, to different audience types, and making use of a range of supporting materials
  • Learning to learn - students will learn to reflect, modify and improve their learning strategies
  • Working effectively with others - students will develop the ability to work well with others as part of a group or a team
  • Awareness of and appreciation for linguistic and cultural differences - students will develop an awareness of and an appreciation for the range and nature of linguistic and cultural diversity
  • Personal organisation - students will develop the ability to undertake self-directed study and learning with appropriate time-management
  • Information technology - students will develop the ability to use computing and IT skills in order to find, store, interpret and present information, to produce a range of electronic documents and use software confidently


Resource implications for students

Core readings will be made available to students via library resources. There are no expected additional resource implications for students.

Talis Reading list

Reading list

Not compiled yet (It will have some overlap with the reading list for QXL-1117 Intro to Syntax and Morphology.).

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: