Essential Grammar

Your command of language speaks volumes about you. Whether you are preparing a proposal for a major new contract, writing a letter to a client, or even making a sales call, a good grasp of grammar is vital for presenting yourself and your organisation professionally.

We don’t often stop to think about the rules that hold our language together. Normally, we don’t need to. But, even native speakers of English don’t always get it right.

Essential Grammar is an online course that takes you from the most basic through to the more complex elements of English grammar.

Intended for speakers of UK English, it is a convenient, fun and flexible way to build the foundation you need to communicate accurately and creatively. 

There are a host of practical exercises to help you get to grips with what you have learned, and a number of quick quizzes to test your knowledge.

Course outline

  • Introduction
    • What is grammar about?
    • What's the relationship between grammar and punctuation?
  • What's in a name?
    • The seven main word classes
    • Strings of words - phrases and word order
    • Other core grammatical terms
  • Verbs
    • The six different aspects of verbs
    • Tenses and agreement
    • Verb forms
    • Be, have and do
    • Verb voices
    • Mood
  • Constructing sentences
    • Key elements in sentences
    • Verb and predicative
    • Combining the elements
    • Key relationships
    • Clauses and sentences
    • Subordinate clauses as key elements
    • That or which?
    • Phrases of apposition
  • The issue section
    • Personal pronoun problems
    • Issues with structure
    • The gerund
    • Matters of judgement
    • Mostly to do with change
  • The basic principles of punctuation
    • Capital letters
    • The apostrophe
    • Hyphens
    • Commas, semicolons, colons and dashes
    • Punctuating quotations
  • Conclusion and booklist

This course contributes to PUB 14 and PUB 19 of the Book & Journal Publishing National Occupational Standards.

How to Enrol

To enrol, you need to click on the Add to Cart button on this page. You will be asked to register (if you have not already done so). You will at that point be able to pay immediately by credit/debit card.

Confirmation of your enrolment will then be emailed to you, and you will be able to gain access to the course by logging in to the website. Full details will be contained in the email.

Important note:

You must complete the course within 12 months of enrolment, or, if you wish to continue the course, you can study for a further 12 months following payment of an extension fee. The 12 month access starts at the point at which you enrol on the course.


What is Included?

  • Access to the online Essential Grammar course material for a full year
  • A wide range of self-check exercises to help you put your new knowledge into practice
  • An online tutor to help you with any questions you may have during the course
  • An automated system to keep track of your progress through the course
  • A flexible learning system that will allow you to work at your own pace and revisit any areas of the course that you wish

About the Author

Originally a secondary teacher of English (in an era vilified for its casual approach to grammar, spelling and punctuation – ironic, given the number of courses he now runs in these areas!), Andrew Steeds became a copy-editor at educational publisher Thomas Nelson in the 1980s, following a short spell in educational research. He worked on the English and modern languages lists, becoming a commissioning editor for English and drama before leaving to take up similar positions at Macmillan and Hodder & Stoughton.

The publishing world fell into one of its periods of turbulence in the early 1990s. With a freelance career looking marginally more secure, Andrew left Hodder to set himself up independently in 1991. He hasn't looked back.

Andrew’s main area of interest has become the clarification of unnecessarily complicated documents, in terms of how they are written and designed. In Simply Put and the Writing Clinic (which he set up as a virtual co-operative), he works on his own, with designers and with others to enable clients to communicate more clearly and more efficiently with their readers.

For The Publishing Training Centre, Andrew’s main focus is on editorial activity, but he has an equal interest in the process of writing and the presentation skills of grammar and punctuation, and he runs three courses in these areas, too. He divides his training time equally between in-company work and open courses.


Study Time

Enrolment is for twelve months and students can work at their own pace.

Special Offer

Essential Grammar costs £70, but if bought in conjunction with Basic Proofreading or Essential Copy-Editing then Essential Grammar is available to you at the special offer price of just £35.

Ask a question
Got a question? Drop us a line
1000 characters left
Get our newsletter
Click SIGN UP to receive PTC’s regular newsletter.

Copyright © 2014 The Publishing Training Centre, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR
The Publishing Training Centre is a registered charity. Registered name: The Publishing Training Centre Foundation, a company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales.
Registration number: 1253854. Registered office: 16 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BX. Tel: +44 (0)20 8874 2718