the interactive Grammar of English
Available for: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android.
Welcome to the support page for iGE.
iGE is a complete grammar of the English Language, specifically designed for mobile devices.
- An extensive glossary helps you make sense of grammatical terms.
- A guided course takes you through different concepts in turn.
- Interactive exercises and puzzles aim to reinforce learning and make it fun.
If you have any problems installing or running either iGE or iGE Lite Apps please let us know.
Email us by clicking on the Contact Us! button.
Alternatively, you can send us >> Feedback by completing a very quick Survey Monkey questionnaire.
- iGE does not start up / crashes / stops. What should I do?
- Please Contact Us! so we can try to find out what has gone wrong. Tell us what you were doing when it appeared to go wrong. We may contact you for more information.
- iGE for iOS has been tested by us on the following devices: iPod Touch 3, iPhone 3, 4 and iPad 1, 2 and 3, and has been reviewed by Apple. iGE for Android has been tested by us on Sony Xperia Mini, Motorola Xoom 2, Samsung Galaxy S/II/III and HTC Desire. The Android version runs on Android 2.1 upwards (the vast majority of Android devices).
- Does iGE access the internet?
- Does iGE make any other technical demands on the device?
- No. With the obvious exceptions of sound, vision, orientation and vibration, iGE does not access the device hardware.
- What is the difference between iGE and iGE Lite?
- iGE Lite is a 'taster' App. We suggest you download it to decide if you wish to invest in the complete iGE. We have included the complete glossary in iGE Lite, which is a valuable App in its own right. The course material in iGE Lite covers word classes, nouns and determiners only.
- The full version of iGE contains the chapters listed on the Contents page. It is a complete grammar, covering topics from word classes to complementation patterns, functional analysis and semantic roles. As you progress you will gain an understanding of how word classes − the 'building blocks' of language − are structured in phrases, clauses and sentences.
- What is new in iGE 1.1?
- We have created a new exercise on pronouns and sharpened up some explanation.
- Automatic bookmarking means that iGE lets you continue from where you were last in the course. Just open the Quick Start! menu on the first screen.
- Other 'under the hood' software improvements include a faster display engine and better back-tracking.
- Who is iGE designed for?
- iGE is written for people whose first language is English, or who have a reasonable proficiency in English, and want to understand how the grammar of English works.
- The UK national curriculum demands that students learn English grammar but there are few relevant, good quality and accessible resources around.
- The course is is suitable for
- anyone wishing to learn English or improve their English
- students studying English language at secondary or high school
- those studying English as a second or foreign language
- teachers of the English language
- undergraduate students of linguistics
- students of English literature
- journalists, civil servants and anyone interested in clear, plain English.
- Why should anyone want to learn grammar?
- A knowledge of grammar is beneficial for both writing and understanding English (language composition and comprehension):
- If you understand how Subjects and clauses work, the rules of English punctuation no longer seem a mystery.
- Similarly, if you learn to spot when writers change Subjects mid-sentence (as in He told them [she was sorry]), it can improve your reading comprehension and help you tackle 'difficult' writers.
- iGE explains how active sentences can be given the passive voice and how the so-called agentless passive can be used to disguise who did what, when.
- A knowledge of grammar can also help students decide on the appropriateness of language use - when to use formal language and when informal language may be more appropriate.
- And, in a world where people 'cut and paste' documents together, a knowledge of grammar is invaluable in making the join appear seamless!
- Is iGE a set of rules of 'Good' or 'Correct' English - a 'prescriptive' grammar?
- No. iGE explains the grammar of the English language as it is, 'warts and all'. We want to empower students with the understanding of how English is structurally composed, not lecture them on good and bad English style.
- Grammar and Style are different concepts. On the one hand, the infamous 'split infinitive' rule reflected an attempt to make English conform to the rules of Latin. On the other, one can construct a perfectly grammatical sentence which is semantically ambiguous, such as the following:
- They said their friends were working overnight when they heard a mysterious noise.
- (Ask yourself who heard the noise? Does punctuation improve clarity, or would this be better rephrased?)
- iGE explains the conceptual framework that every teacher and student needs in order to understand the grammar of English sentences. This knowledge can empower students by providing a toolkit of options and constraints that they can apply to their own writing and speaking.
- Microsoft Word can provide a student with rules. Knowing when to break them requires knowledge.
- Some of the examples in iGE contain filled pauses (uhm and ah, etc.). There are 'run on' sentences and incorrect punctuation in the tests. Why is this?
- iGE is an authoritative course in Modern English Grammar, not a 'Good English' style guide (see above). As educationalists we do not believe that giving students a list of 'thou shalt not' rules without an understanding of grammatical concepts is beneficial. We believe that if a teacher wishes to teach Good English they must have a thorough grounding in grammatical concepts to be effective. However if this is true, then if follows teachers should not 'dumb down' for their students.
- We use examples from real, authentic, English. Many of our examples are taken from our corpus of spoken English, where a number of traditional pedagogical rules may be broken. Some of our written examples come from handwritten texts and essays where punctuation errors are made. By including these examples we attempt to demonstrate that grammatical analysis is applicable to all language, not merely 'Correct' language (just as, e.g. biology applies to all living organisms, not just, say, house plants and well-behaved pets!).
- There is mounting evidence that limiting grammar teaching to 'Good English' can alienate students who are self-conscious about their language use, as the rules then appear arbitrary and contrived and difficult to apply to students' own prose. Grammar becomes a straight-jacket, not a liberatory framework for self-expression.
- We primarily employ corpus examples in exercises, and only occasionally for exemplifying points. Of course this can make exercises more difficult, but our intention is to test students' deeper understanding - and their ability to apply what they have learned. If students are able to recognise grammatical concepts in real language use, they should be able to apply their knowledge to their own writing and that of others.
- Is iGE a description of British English only?
- English is unquestionably an international language (see, e.g. the ICE Project). We use examples from the contemporary British English corpus, ICE-GB. However, precisely because iGE is not a style guide we do not engage in value judgements, nor do we claim that British English is superior to other varieties! Rather, we explain concepts which students need to appreciate international differences in language use. For example, in Modern US English, preposition dropping is common, as in They protested the war or They left Friday. In British English such expressions would be classed as a mistake (and be edited to read They protested against the war and They left on Friday) - or possibly be referred to as an 'Americanism'. Thanks to language contact, however, such formulations are increasingly common in British English.
- Were a student merely taught 'Correct British English' as a set of rules, they would likely struggle to appreciate the US example without the concept of a preposition. However, once armed with this concept, they can be asked to infer which preposition is implied from the context (i.e. that it is unlikely that the US speaker meant that 'they' were protesting in favour of the war) and therefore suggest how the sentence can be rewritten for a UK audience.
- What about language change? Will iGE become dated, or is it dated already?
- Language is continually evolving, as people innovate, borrow and code-switch. Languages come into contact and new modes and media, such as email, blogs, texting, IM and chatrooms, arise and become commonplace. Our examples are taken from a corpus of early-90s British English, and to some students, events that happened 20 years ago may be ancient history! However, the grammatical concepts that underpin English change at a far slower rate than styles of punctuation and spelling, or the development of new words and usages. (So-called 'closed word classes', such as prepositions or pronouns, rarely gain members, and constructions are extremely stable. See iGE for more detail.) This issue is a more serious problem for style guides than a guide to grammatical concepts.
- UCL is a university. So is iGE an academic grammar?
- It is equivalent in 'level' to a good first year undergraduate course in English grammar, but it is not written in an academic 'style' (English teachers have praised the App for not talking down to students). Students of linguistics or English language would benefit from iGE.
- Is there a more advanced version of iGE?
- Not yet, although we may wish to consider one in the future. We have simplified a few topics which we may consider expanding and we do not claim that iGE is the 'last word' in grammar. We include a Further Reading list for a more conventional route to learning.
Please note that we cannot respond to grammatical queries.
This page last modified 16 September, 2013 by Survey Web Administrator.