Grammar for Visual Learners


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Grammar Without Rules

Teaching English Grammar Through Core Meanings, Images, and Human Experience

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Free online resources

in-on-at: prepositions of place, prepositions of time. prepositions diagrams and icons
Can we count it? info on countable and uncountable nouns, and an example to illustrate the difference: "I like chicken(s)."
an example sentence and the four parts that are added to make the 12 or 16 English tense patterns

Grammar Explanations

Real Grammar is not all about rules:
it’s about choosing words and phrases to communicate.

Clear and simple explanations:

What it is?
What does it mean?
How do we use it?

Practice Exercises

Practice forming English sentences:
learn by doing.

These practice exercises help you:

Become familiar – Use English in common situations.
Compare meanings – Discover what works and what doesn’t.
Understand why – Gain confidence and make your own choices.

Choose which words and phrase you use based on meaning.

When you think of grammar this way, there are no exceptions. You can see how it makes sense.

Use what you learn and express yourself with confidence.

Carl Eldridge - Author - Real Grammar: Understand English. Clear and simple.

Carl Eldridge

Real Grammar founder, English teacher in Japan, with a keen interest in education and linguistic theory.


Why I wrote Real Grammar

There was a big difference between the grammar in textbooks and the grammar in my head.

When I became a teacher, I found many explanations of English grammar that weren’t very accurate. The ‘rules’ presented in books had too many exceptions.

As a native English speaker, I have never thought that there are all these rules and exceptions: I make sentences the way I do because it makes sense.

When you study a language, you want to learn how to put words together in a way that makes sense to people for clear communication. This is what Real Grammar is about.

Key Sections In Real Grammar

The Seven Sections

  • Basic building blocks

    This section looks at simple parts of a sentence and the order we typically put them together, and words that are often used when making basic English sentences.

  • Verb forms

    English verbs can be in the present, past, -ing or -en form. This section looks at these forms, what they mean and why we use them.

  • Options and possibilities

    Sometimes we need to consider options and possibilities. When doing this, we often use the words will/would, shall/should, can/could, may/might and must.

  • Think and say

    When we talk about what people said we need to consider two times, the time they said it and the time they said it about. This section looks at how speakers communicate this clearly.

  • Future and past

    There are many ways we can talk about the future and the past – using different verb forms and using words such as will, going to, would and used to. Here we compare these sentences to understand why speakers use them.

  • Adding information

    In this section, we look at how English sentences are flexible and how we can add more information if we like. We provide more detail about something; or give a time, place, part, method or reason.

  • adding more

    When we want to add a lot of information to our sentences, we can add another verb and more to give clearer details about people, things, times or places.


“…this is flat-out the best grammar book I’ve ever read.
“It takes a highly visual approach which makes the concepts far easier to comprehend and far easier to recall.
The visual system for illustrating verb tense and aspect is a model of clarity and should be a game-changer for any students struggling with verb usage.”
If you could call any grammar book an exciting read it’s this one.
– Geoff Caplan
“This is a necessary book.”

“Any approach that focuses on meaning rather than rules is a welcome and necessary addition. As it says in the introduction – and this is something I think the book does particularly well – ‘Real Grammar describes the core meaning of each part simply, and this simple knowledge can then be used in a variety of situations.’ This is key to teaching grammar intelligently, I believe.”
Mark Haccius

“[Real Grammar] explains grammar points in a straightforward way…there is plenty for learners and teachers to use and enjoy.”

TESOLANZ Journal (Volume 26)

Grammar for communication

When developing Real Grammar, a lot of students told us the same thing: That the grammar they had learned in school was different to the English used in real life.

The English they learned in school was based on rules and remembering what is “correct”. But students want to learn the language so they can use it, remembering the rule is fine for an exam, but how does that help you use what you learn?

Real Grammar takes a fresh approach and focuses on communication: being able to use English in real-life situations and what it all means.

Becky - Real Grammar student

“I learned grammar in China before and the teacher just said that this grammar is correct, and this grammar is incorrect, but I don’t know how to use the grammar to write an article, write an essay or write an assignment.” – Becky, China

Ko - Real Grammar student

“I have learned English from traditional grammar books and it took me many years to acquire and understand the rules, but in terms of communication, [understanding] the rules of grammar is important, but it doesn’t have very much to [do with being] able to speak well.” – Ko, Japan

Zoe - Real Grammar student

“I usually have to spend a lot of time and energy to memorize the rules, and you don’t know what’s the point.” – Zoe, Taiwan


Want to learn more?

Check out our online grammar information.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

  • Understand meaning

  • make your own choices

  • Use English with confidence

Traditional grammar books tell you what people say.
Real Grammar explains why we say it.

Traditional grammar rules explain some or most of the uses, these rules only hold true some of the time.

Real Grammar explains the core meaning that is always true, so you can understand why people use it in any situation.