Knowledge Base

Glossary

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definitions of grammar terms used in Insights videos and on the Insights website
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Lexical Categories

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an overview of the different parts of speech, and soon: parts of a sentence and sentence types
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Proficiency Levels

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the standards for each Proficiency Level as set by the CEFR
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Standardized Tests

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COMING SOON

an overview of the TOEFL, IELTS, and YLE exams

English Explained

grammar uncovered

How We Use ‘Like’

The word ‘like’ is used frequently in casual speech, especially by younger Americans. Beyond the traditional definitions, there are 4 different ways the modern ‘like’ can be applied.

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language illuminated

How Many Tenses?

While English teachers and textbooks consider there to be several different tenses (anywhere from 12 to around 20), many grammarians claim there are only two tenses. Why the discrepancy, and which two are the 2?

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grammar uncovered

Why ‘Will’ is a Modal

When we think of ‘will’ on its own, we probably only think of its designation of the future. But then why is it considered a modal verb? Maybe there’s more to the word than we realize.

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grammar uncovered

Tricky Object Pronouns

Should we always say “you and I” instead of “you and me”? What’s the difference between ‘who’ and ‘whom’? It helps to pay attention to where these pronouns fit into a sentence and their relationship to the main verb.

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grammar uncovered

When Irregular Plurals Become Regular

What happens when nouns with irregular pluralizations are used in proper nouns? How do we pluralize them then? Do we say ‘Batmans’ or ‘Batmen’? Is my friend’s family the Fairchilds or the Fairchildren?

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grammar uncovered

The 3 Types of Modal Verbs

As a teacher, it helps to be aware of the three categories of modals because they allow for different uses of the same word, dictate how multiple modals can be combined in a verb string, and determine whether defective forms can/should be used.

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grammar uncovered

‘They’ as Singular

‘They’ is acceptable as the 3rd-person singular pronoun for nouns of an unknown or undefined gender. Here’s how we can use them and what happens to their verbs.

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language illuminated

For Love of the Semicolon

Semicolons are not commonly used, but they’re my favorite punctuation mark. Hear me out. They’re rather versatile in connecting two aspects of a single idea. They reflect natural speech, and they also add variety to the transitions and sentence structure in your writing.

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language illuminated

Quick Guide to IPA Vowels

The International Phonetic Alphabet is used to specify sounds, or to help translate between languages with different alphabets. There’s lots of information out there on how to use it, but if you’re looking for a quick reference, this is it. (Part 2 of 2)

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language illuminated

Quick Guide to IPA Consonants

The International Phonetic Alphabet is used to specify sounds, or to help translate between languages with different alphabets. There’s lots of information out there on how to use it, but if you’re looking for a quick reference, this is it. (Part 1 of 2)

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