ink stamps in a printing press
level of study Students whose first language is not English
time taken to complete Approximately 10 hours

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This is a course for students whose first language is not English. It will help you improve your basic grammar before you write your assignments. This course covers essential areas of English grammar such as the use of active/passive voice and basic sentence structure to help improve accuracy in your writing.

This E-Learning course is also available as a taught course during term time. Find out more on the information page for the live version of the course.

Information: Modules that carry the AS- code are non-credit bearing modules. This means that successful completion of these modules by attending 80% of the course, will appear on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).


This is an online, self-study course. Each lesson introduces a concept and provides practice questions with answers. Extracts from academic texts are used to give example language. The course is made up of the following lessons:

LESSON 1: Word Order

Different languages will order words in different ways to English. The purpose of this lesson is to outline and to provide some practice of ordering words in sentences.

LESSON 2: Conjunctions

The purpose of this lesson is to help you familiarise yourself with conjunctions and their possible uses, enabling you to improve the flow of your own writing and speech.

LESSON 3: Transition Words

This lesson will focus on conjunctive adverbs and transition words and phrases, with examples of their function and exercises for identifying and using each of them. We will consider their structures, and their possible uses, enabling you to improve the grammar and flow of your own writing and speech.

LESSON 4: Conditionals

Conditional sentences are often used in academic writing for speculation and making recommendations. This lesson considers different ways conditional sentences and clauses can be formed and used.

LESSON 5: Relative Clauses

Relative clauses are a type of subordinate clause that add extra information about a noun or noun phrase. Using them can help our writing and speech seem more fluent. The purpose of this lesson is to help you familiarise yourself with relative clauses. We will consider their structures and their possible uses.

LESSON 6: Tenses in Academic Writing

You will need to use a range of tenses to communicate effectively when completing your assignments. However, in academic writing, some tenses are used more frequently than others. These will be the main focus of this lesson, although we will briefly consider where you might use other tenses too.

LESSON 7: Modals

This lesson considers Modal Verbs; a type of auxiliary verb which are used in combination with main verbs to indicate degrees of certainty, ability, or to show obligation and freedom to act.

LESSON 8: Passive Voice

We use the passive voice quite frequently in academic writing. This lesson will consider how the passive voice is formed, and why and where it is used in academic writing.

LESSON 9: Articles

The purpose of this lesson is to help you understand how and when to correctly use articles. Article errors are some of the most common errors made by language learners. This often stems from there being no equivalent in a student’s first language.