English Grammar - a quick overview

A quick overview
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (2,140 ratings)
50,526 students
35min of on-demand video

The basic elements of English grammar
The importance of correct grammar in communicating


  • Internet access
  • Basic communication skills in English


Welcome to this quick overview of English grammar. The ability to write in commonly accepted forms is of increasing importance in our world today, in which more and more we communicate in writing in virtual media, such as this. We are more and more connected by the written word, and the truth is, people judge us by our mastery of writing coherently and correctly.

Just like if you're talking to someone over the phone, static can cause you not to be understood -- well, poor grammar is a kind of verbal static that affects or distorts the meaning of your communication.

While no means an "end-all and be-all," this "taster" course will introduce you to some of the key concepts of correct English grammar and give you  a foundation upon which to build your further development towards complete mastery of the language.

Who this course is for:

  • Learners or native speakers who want to develop a more comprehensive knowledge of English grammar


Ed.D., M.A., B.A.
Prof. Michael McIntyre
  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 2,971 Reviews
  • 56,740 Students
  • 4 Courses

My name is Michael McIntyre (Dr. W.J. Michael McIntyre, if you want to be precise). I'll be your instructor in this course, and as we'll be spending a lot of time together over the several weeks, I thought it'd be nice if we got to know each other. 

I have been long involved in language education, writing & writing education. I hold a doctorate at the University of Southern California, a master's degree from California State University at San Francisco, and a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. And as a living role model for life-long learning, I have taken post-doctoral classes in linguistics, theology, teaching English as a second language, Gaelic language and culture.  

I have taught writing, research, literature, mythology and such topics at the college level since about 1999. In my  teaching, I do attempt to make my classes interactive, stimulating, and even a little bit "fun."

Who I am ... Or, as Popeye says, “Who I yam.":

I have written a number of books (some under "pen names"). The most relevant for my teaching here are 

>"The Elements of English Grammar" by Dr. W.J. Michael McIntyre (available on Amazon and other book sellers)

> "The Elements of Writing the Essay" (not yet published, but soon)

In my career as a college educator, I have taught subjects in the area of what is called "English," which includes

· Composition, advanced composition,

   Creative writing, 

    Professional writing;

· Literature, humanities, mythology;

· Research, research writing and methodologies;

· Critical thinking, student study and “success" skills.

· Philosophy

· Doctoral student mentoring & Dissertation research and writing


Doctorate: University of Southern California: Dissertation research focused on heritage-language/minority language education programs, their rationale and implementation.

Master's. San Francisco State University – English Literature, Creative Writing.

Bachelor's - University of California, Berkeley -- English literature.

Post-doctoral studies in linguistics, theology, teaching English as a second language, and Gaelic language and culture

That's all very well and good, but who am I (really)? 

Teaching isn't the only thing I do with my life. Many years ago, I had a dream of writing the Great American Screenplay and in fact wrote several in that attempt (the titles of none of which would you recognize) and some other things, including a novel.

For several years, I ran my own business -- a property management and maintenance company in Southern California. The funny thing about that is, as much trouble as I had running the business, I discovered I was real good at teaching other people how to do their jobs.

When I realized that, I started transitioning (I think that's what they call it these days) into my teaching career, which resulted in my earning my doctorate, during the course of which I studied efforts to revive and maintain endangered languages through education, with an emphasis on Scottish Gaelic. (NB: There are about 6,000 languages in the world today; within this century, it is expected that half of those will have died, which would constitute, in the minds of linguists, cultural anthropologists, among many others, a great loss in human cultural treasure). In 2009 I experienced the honor and pleasure of seeing my dissertation (in slightly altered form) being published by an academic publisher.

And like most people, I have a life outside of work. I enjoy spending time with my family – I'm married with three children, no pets -- reading on all different subjects, going to movies, and -- as strange as this might sound – until a couple years ago until my knees gave out on me and my work schedule forbade, I was "into" wrestling (the real thing -- as in high school, college, or Olympic-style – not the fake stuff you see on TV – though nowadays, it is all I can do to wrestle myself to the exercise machine in the backyard.)

My idea of fun: I'm a bit of a nut about all things Scottish. In fact, a favorite memory of mine is visiting the "Highland Games" at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. The Highland Games is where people engage in all sorts of things Scottish -- highland dancing, to bagpiping, tossing the caber.

For the past couple summers, I've dragged my wife and however many of my kids I could corral to Scotland.

A couple summers ago I spent a week at the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye trying to follow academic presentations in Gaelic and English on the preservation efforts being put forth on behalf of the Gaelic language; after that, we trooped around to various castles and historic battlefields and stood in the ancient magic circle of the Standing Stones of Callanish. (You can do searches on the Internet for all of these.)

I also managed to get out to the city of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis where I heard (big thrill!) Gaelic (which I had known only in private and academic contexts) being spoken in the streets! If you've never heard Gaelic (and odds are that you haven't), you can search for examples on such sites as Youtube. If you're interested, a few possible search terms --

from "Brave" -- Noble Maiden Fair (A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal):

Julie Fowles -- "Thug a bhonaid mhoir" (Celebrate the great bonnet!)

Julie Fowles - "Tha mo ghaol air aird a' chuan" (My love is on the high seas):

Well, in the famous words of Popeye the Sailor.

“I yam what I yam. And that's all that I yam."

And the boring stuff: If you're still reading, below you will find my C.V.

2001 –present - Faculty: University of Phoenix, Southern California Campus

At the University of Phoenix, I had the opportunity to learn the philosophy and techniques around adult/learner-centered education. Most of my students at UOP were working adults from non-traditional educational backgrounds. The techniques employed in classrooms incorporated Socratic methods of instructor/student interaction, student learning team projects and discussions groups, and individual and team presentations; assigned work included individual and learning team projects.

At UOP, I have taught classes in these environments in onground, online and “Flexnet" (combination of online/onground learning) modalities in the following courses:

· Undergrad courses:

o College Composition,

o Advanced composition

o Literature,

o General Studies

o Research Methods

o College Study Skills

· Graduate level courses:

o Philosophy of Knowledge

o Education

o Dissertation preparation

2007 – 2017 - Faculty: Art Institute, San Bernardino

As a faculty member at the San Bernardino campus of the Art Institute, I have taught several courses in various levels of English composition and literature, including

· Transitional English

· College English

· Visual Language and Culture

· Literature

· Myth and Symbols

· Speech

At the Art Institute, I have guided faculty development workshops, have participated actively in persistence and curriculum development committees. Involvement in the study-skills committee involved creating, along with other committee members, an exit exam for transitional and English composition classes.

April 2001 –2012 - Adjunct Professor: Mt. Sierra College, Monrovia, CA –

At Mt. Sierra College, a small technical and media arts college, I encountered a student population which was comprised of many minority and “at-risk" students. The students varied between those who had just left high-school and those who were returning to college to acquire job-related skills (either in present or desired occupations). To serve the needs of these students, I worked with then-Dean Lisa Madrigal to design the remedial English composition class, which sought to inculcate the basics of English grammar to students who had not passed the school's entry writing requirements. I have also taught this class several times. I also designed and taught the school's Introduction to Mythology class, a core requirement of the Media Arts department; the objective of the class was to teach students who aspired to careers in the media how to draw on ancient myths in the creation of contemporary stories.

At Mt. Sierra, I taught in these environments:

· Onground

· Online

In the following courses:

o Remedial English Composition,

o College Composition,

o Advanced Composition,

o Introduction to Literature,

o Introduction to Mythology, and

o College Study Skills

I also designed and wrote the online versions of these classes:

o Remedial English Composition,

o Advanced Composition,

o Introduction to Literature,

o Introduction to Mythology, and

o Critical Thinking

1999 – 2006 - Adjunct Professor -- Devry Institute of Technology, West Hills, CA

At DeVry I received my first experience of intensive college-level instruction, teaching a diverse student body. Classes taught:

· Developmental English Grammar & Composition,

· English Grammar & Composition,

· Advanced Composition,

· College Study Skills

· Critical Thinking,

· Computer Applications (Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint), and

· Grammar and Writing Review for Incoming Students

I've taught for several other institutions, too many to list here. 

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