Spoken Grammar: a Guide for English Language Teachers
4.1 (52 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
204 students enrolled

Spoken Grammar: a Guide for English Language Teachers

Techniques and materials for teaching new items of conversational grammar
4.1 (52 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
204 students enrolled
Created by Ken Paterson
Last updated 11/2018
Current price: $13.99 Original price: $19.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 16 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • At the end of the course, you will be able to describe spoken grammar, and explain the reasons for teaching it.
  • You will be able to teach 15 key items of spoken grammar that learners can use in natural conversations and online interaction.
  • You will be able to design your own course in spoken grammar, using the materials and advice provided.
  • You should be a teacher of English as a Foreign or Second Language to students at intermediate level or above.

Review in TESOLANZ Newsletter, July 2020: "Overall I found this a highly interesting course which opened my eyes to many lexico-grammatical points I hadn’t thought about before. In my opinion, taking this course would benefit all teachers of ESOL at Intermediate level and above, enriching their teaching of both grammar and speaking." (Dr Katherine Quigley, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington)

Review in IATEFL Voices, July/August 2019: "I was truly impressed by the author's knowledge of the subject matter and his clear explanations in the videos. ... I think the information in this course would be great for providing  teachers with the 'meat' to design a conversational speaking course that would be both practical and engaging for higher-level students."  (Hilary Livingston)

Review in ELT Planning blog, July 2019: "Other things I like about the course: Everything! I think this course is essential for anyone taking, or thinking of taking, a Dip TESOL. It is a great way to enhance your subject knowledge and offers some nice practical ideas to integrate the teaching of spoken grammar into your lessons." Rating: 5/5

Review in EL Gazette, January/February 2019: "This guide would be useful on the electronic devices of all language teachers I know, and at any stage of their career, who have a distinct interest in teaching English as it is really spoken."  (Wayne Trotman)


‘Spoken grammar’ is the term for new items of conversational grammar recently described for the first time by grammarians processing vast amounts of spoken English by computer. It includes features such as ‘tails’:

It’s a great place to visit, Barcelona.    

‘vague category phrases’:   

Shall we go for a walk or something?    

and ‘spoken discourse markers’:   

Listen, can I call you back? We’re about to have dinner.    

 If you want to learn more about ‘spoken grammar’ and teach your students a range of useful items in this recently-researched area, where few materials are currently available, then this is the course for you.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the classroom techniques and all the materials you need to teach the following 15 items of spoken grammar: heads and tails; declarative questions; ellipsis; hyperbole; interjections; cleft structures and binomial phrases; vague categories; vague placeholders and quantities; vague lexical bundles; spoken discourse markers; response tokens and  questions; special uses of ‘so’ and ‘do’; synonymous language and dependent clauses.   

After a brief introduction, describing the rationale for the course and how it works in detail, three of the 15 items above are covered in each of the next five sections of the course, under these headings:    

Word order and ellipsis   


Vague language   

Marking spoken discourse   

Response language   

The 15 lectures that focus on these items act as lesson plans. What I do is to take you through each stage of the lesson, showing you the material you can use with your students on the accompanying slides (or ‘pages’ as I call them), including dialogues, exercises (with answers), explanations of key language and activities such as role plays and simulations. (With longer dialogues and exercises, I show you the beginning, and you can download the rest in the ‘lesson planning resources’ at the end of each lecture.)   

You don’t need to copy anything down as you watch, in fact, because all of the material you see on the ‘pages’ (as well as the endings to longer dialogues etc.) is available in the  downloadable, adaptable ‘lesson planning resources’ for you to use in a way that suits your own physical or online classroom: copying key language onto a whiteboard, for example, or printing it off for your students, or displaying it by computer.   

As you progress through the course, you can use the knowledge you gain in three immediate ways:

1) check your own understanding of the grammar items by trying the student exercises that you see on the slides (or their longer versions in the resources) before you look at the answers;

2) when you've watched an individual lecture, use the resources to create a lesson plan that will work for your students;

3) try teaching some of the items to your students before you complete the course - the experience you gain may be helpful when you come to watch the next new lecture.

Please note that:   

1) this course doesn’t deal with other aspects of grammar - verb tenses, for example - that are important for conversation, but already well covered in traditional teaching materials;   

2) learners using the material in the course should be at intermediate level or above.

Who this course is for:
  • This course is for teachers of English as a Foreign or Second Language who want to learn about spoken grammar, and teach a range of new items to their students.
Course content
Expand all 22 lectures 02:29:56
+ Introduction
2 lectures 10:39

Examples of spoken grammar; a brief history; and what the course aims to achieve.   

Preview 04:05

How to use the course materials in your classroom.   

Preview 06:34
+ Word order and ellipsis
4 lectures 28:30

An overview of the spoken grammar items that break or bend the word order rules of written language.   


How to teach language like, ‘That white building, is it the art gallery?’ and ‘I thought it was great, that film.’   

Heads and tails

Helping your students to use statements as questions (with no change in word order).   

Declarative questions

How to help your students learn where and when words can be left out.   

+ Emphasis
4 lectures 27:29

An overview of the grammatical and lexical items that can help students to strengthen and dramatise their speech.     


How to teach common ways of exaggerating, such as, ‘I’m dying for a coffee.’   


Teaching words like, ‘Oh, aha, ouch, yuk, oops’.   


How to help your students learn language like, ‘That’s what I thought.’ and ‘It’s lovely and warm in here.’   

Cleft structures and binomial phrases
+ Vague language
4 lectures 28:31

An overview of the language items that can help students to express uncertainty.   


How to teach sentences and questions like, ‘I’m feeling kind of tired.’ and ‘Shall we meet at elevenish?’     

Preview 08:47

How to help your students say sentences like ‘Have you got that thingy for cutting pizzas?’ and ‘I think that was a bit of a mistake.’   

Vague placeholders and quantities

Teaching your students how to begin sentences with word combinations such as, ‘I don’t think I…’, ‘I was thinking of…’ and ‘I don’t know how…’   

Vague lexical bundles
+ Marking spoken discourse
4 lectures 28:12

An overview of the words and phrases speakers use to step outside the conversation and comment on what’s happening.   


Helping your students to learn words  like, ‘anyway, actually, really’ (plus ‘then’ and ‘though’ at the end of statements and questions).     


How to teach words and phrases like, ‘I mean, you know, right, well, listen, hey.’     

Discourse markers

Showing your students how to report speech without changing words or tenses.   

Preview 09:29
+ Response language
4 lectures 26:35

An overview of the language used to make quick replies.   


Showing your students how to make replies using adjectives like, ‘great’, adverbs like ‘absolutely’, and questions like ‘Have you?’ and ‘Did you?’.   

Response tokens and response questions

Teaching your students to say things like, ‘I expect so’, ‘So I hear’ and ‘I wouldn’t do that.’    

'So' and 'do'

Helping your students to continue conversations by using new words to repeat what they’ve heard, or by adding a clause to the speaker's statement.  

Synonymous language and dependent clauses