English grammar for KS3 teachers


Historical context

[2016 note: This website dates from 2002, as explained below, and was previously hosted by UCL, but UCL computers change so it disappeared from that website in 2015. I restored it in 2016 to a new life on dickhudson.com, but haven’t (yet) updated it to take account of all the changes that have impacted on the teaching of grammar in schools since then, notably the appendix on grammar in the 2014 National Curriculum and the related SPaG tests. It reflects not only the thinking behind the National Literacy Strategy but also the glossary of terminology published with the Strategy so it includes terms such as connective and compound/complex sentence that the 2014 glossary deliberately excluded.]

What the KS3 grammar site is – and isn’t.

This is a tutorial in grammar for teachers of English at KS3 – the UK terminology for ages 12-14, i.e. Years 7, 8 and 9. It explains all technical ideas and terms, and makes some suggestions for using them in teaching, and especially in the teaching of writing.

It doesn’t try to cover the whole of English grammar, but presents enough grammar to satisfy the DfES requirements for teaching English at KS3. The topics covered include those required at KS2, as well as a few others; similarly, the terminology is completely compatible with the official KS2 glossary for literacy as well as with the official glossary for MFL at KS3, but includes a few extra terms.

The grammar covered here can therefore be seen as a direct extension of the grammar covered by pupils in KS2, and much of it will already be familiar to pupils coming into KS3.

How to use it.

The tutorial has three parts:

  • the index, which allows you to move between sections.
  • the grammar proper, divided by topic into sections. Each of the main sections also includes:
    • brief discussions of the teaching context, explaining why teachers need to know about the grammar discussed in the section concerned and how this grammar is relevant to KS3 pupils;
    • some self-assessment material, with model answers; move between the questions and answers using your browser’s ‘back’ button.
  • a glossary which includes (unaltered) the relevant parts of the KS2 literacy glossary and the KS3 MFL glossary as well as all the additional technical terms used in this tutorial. This opens in a separate window so that you can easily move between it and the main grammar by selecting on the task bar.

Who wrote it

The text is based on material written in 2001-2 under contract for the Teacher Training Agency, whose original intention was to issue these units, together with a number of other units dealing with other aspects of English teaching, as a CD ROM. The TTA abandoned this plan, and in the absence of any other proposal, this web site seemed the best way to make the material available to teachers.

The first drafts of all the grammar sections were written by Richard Hudson, but those on punctuation were by Larry Trask. All the units were then improved by a number of other people: Keith Brown, Mary Brown, Annie Grant, Mike Harrison, David Soulsby, Michael Swan and Catherine Walter. This version was edited by Richard Hudson, who also wrote the extra entries for the glossary (with help from Michael Swan and Catherine Walter).

Suggestions for improvement, from non-working links to major organisational matters, will be much appreciated. Please use email.

Who sent suggestions for improvement

Thanks to the following for suggestions (listed in order of receipt):

Allan C. Wechsler, Richard Watson Todd, Rogelio Reyes, Sarah Cutfield, Jennifer Harding

All these suggestions have now been acted on.

Acronyms for educational entities

Click here for an overview of recent developments in language education in the UK.

KS3 = Key Stage 3, i.e. the third stage of education in the UK covering years 7, 8 and 9 (age 12-14).

NC = National Curriculum, the National Curriculum for English (in England).

NLS = National Literacy Strategy, a government initiative applied in 1999 to all primary schools in England, and extended in 2001 to KS3 in secondary schools as the English strand of the KS3 National Strategy.

MFL = Modern and Foreign Languages, as defined by the 2003 Framework.


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