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English Grammar Boot Camp

Improve your grammar competence and confidence by learning the essential elements of English grammar and usage, led by an award-winning linguist.
English Grammar Boot Camp is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 170.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rambo Grammando Grammar, the backbone of linguistic structure, Guides communication, a powerful conductor. Mindfully attend to pronouns proper, Craft sentences with finesse, in a linguistic hopper. Study well, practice as a diligent grasshopper, Master the rules, let your language prosper. Neglect not grammar, lest you face the lingo slammer, Precision in expression, equals a linguistic hammer. So, care we about grammar, the guardian of sense, In its embrace, language finds its recompense. Attend to the nuances, with diligence and fervor, For in the world of words, grammar is the preserver. With poetic prowess, you weave a tapestry, Zero-ending mastery, your literary legacy. Misspelt forms forsaken, like sheeps and mooses aplenty, In the realm of language, become a virtuoso sentry. Study hard, be your prose never empty, A reservoir of words, flowing gentle and plenty. Unfurl the richness, like a tapestry, In the boundless expanse of your linguistic treasury. Prescriptive rules, echoes from the 16th century and beyond, In their grip, language bound, tradition spawned. Yet, errors persist, as witnesses we respond, Mistakes, errata, and boo-boos, in a linguistic pond. With force we try, these slips to subdue, Yet some persist, like shadows they accrue. A dance with language, old and new, In the tapestry of words, imperfections strew. Many a rule we follow, none too fond, Yet language evolves, a continuum beyond. Embrace the shifts, the linguistic bond, For in the flux, our expressions respond. Take heart, dear students, seekers of the quill, Be not disheartened, let your ambitions instill. In the realm of language, your dreams fulfill, Guided by wisdom and Professor Curzan's skill.
Date published: 2023-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is more than a set of grammar rules. It gives choices on how formal, or "academic" one wants to make what one writes. It describes accepted language that some of us find too colloquial for our tastes. Rather than only following rules, one can eschew colloquial style if one wants to do so. I am autistic and I did not begin to speak till I was five-years-old. Today, I choose to speak the way I write rather than to speak the way most people speak. This course helps me to do that. It gives details on spoken language which is far less strictly structured than written language. While the syntactical brimborions of spoken language such as "you know," "I mean," "I'm like," "gonna," "wanna," "and duh," and "literally" - which was not mentioned in this course - are accepted, they violate how I want to define myself. Psychologists who study autism claim that speaking the same way one writes is a pathological symptom of some forms of autism solely because it fails to conform to the fascism of totalitarian democracy. Because I perceive nothing wrong with it, I rebel. Are the syntactical brimborions listed in the course reason to get speech therapy? What is not mentioned in the course, because it is not relevant to most people, especially people who are not autistic, is the scientific and mathematical definitions of terms in written and spoken language. For example, if the word, basis, is used, it has a mathematical definition of a set of independent vectors which define a vector space because every vector in that space is a set of scaler numbers multiplied by the individual basis vectors. Whenever the word, basis, is used without specifying the vectors of the basis, I get completely lost. The filler word, basically, means a solution of water with a pH higher than 7. Without referring to such a solution, I cannot understand the word. I understand that the word, complex, usually refers to complicated, but complex refers to the sum of a real number and in imaginary number. Square roots of negative numbers are not necessarily complicated. Still, I need to point this out to make certain that I understand someone who uses the word, complex. I have been warned that if I had to testify in a court of law, I could be in danger for asking such words to be explained if they are in a question asked of me.
Date published: 2023-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly enjoyed I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation of a subject that is thought of as dry and cumbersome. Grammar has changed a bit since I learned the basics in grade school and this was a primer on many of those changes both contextually and as they relate to today's changing grammar rules. I was refreshed on many topics and learned many new things. The professor was engaging, authentic, and competent in all aspects of the presentation as well as humorous in the right doses. I especially liked the examples she used which demonstrate real world changes and challenges. This course would be appropriate for the curious mind across multiple ages and stages.
Date published: 2023-09-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed… I was hoping to get real guidance and improve my language skills. This is definitely not it. Lots of useless talk about developing grammar thru ages, opinions of different people on it, etc.
Date published: 2023-06-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Essay on Grammar I am on 3rd chapter - so far no grammar has been taught. So far it seems like an opinion on Grammar from perspective of the Teacher. It may be all good but certainly does not feel like a bootcamp.
Date published: 2023-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An extremely engaging presentation This class is so much fun. The professor really addresses and dissects issues with grammar and linguistics that were never presented to me in high school or college. I was particularly fascinated by the ways that grammar has evolved over time. This class far exceeded my expectations.
Date published: 2023-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from “African American English” Incorrectly interpreting Beyonce’s Formation lyrics as an example of her oft used and cringy term “African American English” was my only bone of contention. Lyrics are “I like my baby HEIR with baby hair and Afros”. Beyoncé isn’t using “AAE” (worse than ‘Ebonics’) instead of saying ‘I like my (baby’s) hair’. Other than the terminology and the reference I never thought I’d enjoy listening to 10 hours on the history of grammar.
Date published: 2022-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WONDERFUL COURSE ABOUT GRAMMAR - Wrongly Titled This was a wonderful course about the English language - grammar and usage. The Professor seems very passionate about the subject matter. The lessons are well designed and executed with precision. Dear Decision Makers at Wondrium - PLEASE CHANGE THE TITLE OF THIS COURSE. IT IS NOT A GRAMMAR BOOT CAMP. Many of the negative reviews for this course seem to be from people expecting this to teach them grammar rules based on the title. This course does not do that. Therefore, I think Wondrium should reconsider the title. It may be giving false expectations to potential customers (students). First, this is mostly an introductory American English usage course at a university level. The professor is not dealing with parts of speech in the way that it would be taught in an American secondary/high school class. The college professor seems to assume that the student has already had that training. Although the professor does "discuss" parts of speech and grammar, she does not confine herself to "teach" those things. As this is a college course, the professor seems to want the student to delve deeper, and think about the history and the context behind the rules rather than only applying those rules. As an introductory college course, I think this is fantastic. It helped me explore the rules, and the challenges to those rules throughout history.
Date published: 2022-06-01
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Overview

English Grammar Boot Camp takes you on an enjoyable exploration of the essential aspects of English grammar. These spirited and accessible lectures offer a comprehensive core training in all of the key elements of grammar and usage, in their most immediate, practical application. Discover a breadth of perspective and context you won't find elsewhere, improving your grammar competence and confidence in all contexts.

About

Anne Curzan

I love this chance to share my passion for exploring the history of language and the dynamics of everyday talk. It allows us to see and hear the language around us in entirely new ways.

INSTITUTION

University of Michigan
Dr. Anne Curzan is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English at the University of Michigan. She earned a B.A. in Linguistics from Yale University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. Professor Curzan has won several awards for teaching, including the University of Michigan's Henry Russel Award, the Faculty Recognition Award, and the John Dewey Award. Her research interests include the history of English, language and gender, corpus linguistics, historical sociolinguistics, pedagogy, and lexicography. In addition to writing numerous articles, reviews, and edited volumes, Professor Curzan is the author of Gender Shifts in the History of English and the coauthor of How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction and First Day to Final Grade: A Graduate Student's Guide to Teaching. Beyond her teaching and research interests, she is a member of the American Dialect Society and sits on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary. She can also be found talking about language in her column, Talking About Words, in Michigan Today and on the segment, That's What They Say, on Michigan Radio.

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Trailer

Why Do We Care about Grammar?

01: Why Do We Care about Grammar?

First, examine how we judge what is acceptable or unacceptable in English, and how we distinguish "acceptable" from "stylistically preferable." Consider how grammar often takes on larger meanings related to education and culture. Grasp how understanding the differences and diversity within our language allows us to become more nuanced speakers and writers....

33 min
Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn'ts

02: Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn'ts

Here, investigate prescriptive grammar: the set of rules that tell us what we should and shouldn't do in formal English. Trace the history of specific grammatical rules and of academic usage guides, and note how such guides justify "right" vs. "wrong." Learn about historically famous grammarians, whose opinions about usage still influence us today.

31 min
Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works

03: Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works

Now dive into descriptive grammar: the rules that describe actual usage. In examples ranging from contractions to word order and negation, observe the wealth of grammatical knowledge that you know intuitively. Consider how comparing the descriptive with the prescriptive can help you make more informed choices about usage.

32 min
Re Phrasing

04: Re Phrasing

This lecture looks at how we define and categorize words into parts of speech, and considers the fascinating ways in which words expand or move into new categories. Study how we characterize nouns, verbs, adverbs, and their syntax, and delineate the difference between a phrase, a clause, and a sentence.

29 min
Fewer Octopuses or Less Octopi?

05: Fewer Octopuses or Less Octopi?

Investigate countable and uncountable nouns, and learn the details of how we use them with modifiers such as "fewer" and "less." Then delve into irregular plurals in English, observing the variety of ways they are formed. Finally, learn about collective nouns and the question of subject-verb agreement, as in, "there's/there are a few reasons."

31 min
Between You and Your Pronouns

06: Between You and Your Pronouns

Enter the world of pronouns, beginning with personal pronouns and the complications that arise around conjoined constructions (e.g., "you and me"). Then take on interrogative pronouns-including when to use "who" vs. "whom"-and indefinite pronouns (such as "none"), asking questions such as whether "none" can be both singular and plural.

33 min
Which Hunting

07: Which Hunting

Confront the often-confusing question of when to use "that" as opposed to "which." Study the most commonly applied rules governing these relative pronouns, and hear opinions on the subject from notable grammarians. Also learn about clauses in which relative pronouns disappear, and consider the use of relative pronouns with animate beings vs. inanimate objects....

29 min
A(n) Historical Issue

08: A(n) Historical Issue

Determiners are small words (such as "an," "this," "each," or "many") that introduce nouns and create noun phrases. Learn their key functions in English, and see how determiners are different from adjectives and pronouns. Then investigate the history of capitalization in English, current capitalization practice, and the curious history of the capitalized pronoun "I."

30 min
Funnest Lecture Ever

09: Funnest Lecture Ever

Adjectives, in multiple incarnations, form the focus of this lecture. Study the ways we turn adjectives into comparatives and superlatives, and review the much-criticized issue of double comparatives. Look also at adjectives that change meanings depending on where they appear in a sentence, as well as noun phrases in which the adjective, uncharacteristically, appears after the noun....

30 min
Going, Going, Went

10: Going, Going, Went

In the realm of verbs, begin by clarifying past tense vs. past participle, and note how new irregularities creep into the verb spectrum. Explore one of the most eternal of usage errors: that of "lie" vs. "lay." Study verb tenses and aspects (progressive or perfect), and investigate irregular past participles....

32 min
Object Lessons

11: Object Lessons

Examine how we categorize verbs based on how they function within the sentence. Along the way, grapple with thorny usage issues, such as whether you feel "bad" or "badly," and the "it is me/I" conundrum. Explore how verbs work with or without objects (the transitive/intransitive distinction), and learn about complex transitive verbs....

29 min
Shall We?

12: Shall We?

Continue with the category of auxiliary (helping) verbs, beginning with the familiar usage issue of "can" vs. "may." Then study the workings of modal auxiliary verbs (such as "might," "must," and "shall"), the primary helping verbs of "be," "have," and "do," and the ongoing controversy over the most notorious of auxiliary verbs: "ain't."...

35 min
Passive Voice Was Corrected

13: Passive Voice Was Corrected

Explore the use of the often-criticized passive voice, beginning with a clear definition of what distinguishes the passive voice from the active. Consider the benefits of the passive voice for situations in which responsibility for an action is unclear, for maintaining continuity in writing, and for scientific writing in which the narrative requires objectivity....

32 min
Only Adverbs

14: Only Adverbs

Discover the rich world of adverbs, as they modify not only verbs, but also adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. Investigate intensifiers (such as "very," "surely," and "possibly"), which can either strengthen or hedge statements, and study the subtleties of "flat" adverbs-adverbs that have the same form as their adjective counterparts....

33 min
No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

15: No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

Begin this immersion in conjunctions with the controversy surrounding sentences that begin with conjunctions (such as "And furthermore..."). Review the functions of coordinating conjunctions ("and," "but," "yet"), subordinating conjunctions ("if," "because," "unless"), and contested uses of the conjunction "plus." Chart the rise of an unusual new coordinator in colloquial use: the word "slash."...

33 min
However to Use However

16: However to Use However

Conjunctive adverbs (such as "thus," "consequently," or "moreover") conjoin two clauses. Identify the range of conjunctive adverbs and their significant benefits in formal writing. Then explore notable usage issues such as those concerning "however," "more important" vs. "more importantly," and forms such as "firstly" and "thusly," which reflect changes in language style and taste....

27 min
Squirrels and Prepositions

17: Squirrels and Prepositions

Among the fine points of prepositions, unpack the issue of "different from" vs. "different than." Grasp how prepositions show relationships between words, often giving information about time or location. With this understanding, grapple with controversies such as "between" vs. "among" and "toward" vs. "towards," and investigate a startling contemporary change with the word "because."...

31 min
Stranded Prepositions

18: Stranded Prepositions

Is it incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition? Trace the origins of this idea, and see how the practice came to be viewed as "bad" usage. Consider the views of 20th-century commentators, and note specific cases where "stranding" the preposition can add elegance and stylistic punch to writing....

27 min
The Dangers of Danglers

19: The Dangers of Danglers

Look closely at dangling modifiers, which are words or phrases that appear to modify something other than what was intended (e.g., "Glancing through the document, the typos jumped off the page."). Investigate a variety of danglers, including some that have become accepted in formal writing, and consider their implications for both spoken and written expression....

31 min
Navigating the Choppy Paragraph

20: Navigating the Choppy Paragraph

Learn how to make your prose writing flow and avoid choppiness through key syntactic choices. Study the known-new contract, a principle for presenting information by placing known information before new information, sentence to sentence. Examine three different ways to use this principle, and look at how to present information clearly in scientific writing....

32 min
What Part of Speech is Um?

21: What Part of Speech is Um?

Within the grammar of conversation, study the distinction between involved discourse, which relates to negotiating relationships, and informational discourse, which involves delivering information. Then grasp the important roles of discourse markers, small words such as "so," "well," and "oh," that help organize discourse and manage our expectations in conversation....

34 min
Duck, Duck, Comma, and Duck

22: Duck, Duck, Comma, and Duck

Punctuation acts as a fundamental component of written usage. It shapes and clarifies meaning, and it organizes language on the page. Review the modern rules regarding the punctuation marks that structure sentences: commas, semicolons, colons, and dashes. Highlight core uses of commas, and consider how punctuation follows different rules in texting....

33 min
Its/It's Confusing

23: Its/It's Confusing

Apostrophes present multiple usage issues. Examine how we use them with contractions and possessives, noting the problems involved with nouns ending in "s". Explore how apostrophe usage can create and alleviate ambiguity. Consider exceptions to "standard" use of the apostrophe, and think about what the future of the apostrophe may be....

31 min
Trending Language

24: Trending Language

Examine some new grammatical expressions that are on the rise, and explore the controversy they ignite within the linguistic community. Remember that English usage is a living process, and language must respond to its audience and context, adapting as necessary to fit new conditions. Conclude by considering changes to watch for in our language....

34 min