Pusan University of Foreign Studies

TESOL Program



English Grammar Quiz Questions

The bi-weekly quiz questions below are a rough guide to the course, and a fair indication of what students should study for the final exam. Test yourself !

Quiz 1 Question Selections for all Classes

1. When did English grammar books first become popular in England, and why?

2. What language did early prescriptive grammars of English use as a model for rules?

3. What is a prescriptive grammar?

4. Explain the purpose of a descriptive grammar.

5. What is the goal of a generative grammar?

6. What is a functional grammar (of the kind described in your text book)?

7. Expain what we mean by the term, "grammaticality judgement", as a linguist uses it.

8. Berk (the author of your text book) says that "..when you are studying syntax you are studying yourself..". What does she mean by this?

9. How might you personally differ as a language learner from many of the students you teach?

10. "Real grammars are subconscious". What does this mean?

11. Give one reason why the rules of spoken and written English are sometimes different.

12. Define "dialect".

13. Why are most dialect differences spoken differences, rather than written differences?

14. Why do we often have trouble explaining the rules of a language?

15. Explain in a common sense way what is wrong with this sentence:
         * He died until the doctor came.

16. Briefly explain the purpose and method of using a story to teach grammar.

17. What is the purpose of "hiding" grammar in story when we teach it?

18. Explain how the teacher may have a different classroom objective to the students.

19. What is non-standard English?

20. Put the following utterance into a more casual (relaxed) register :
       How do you do. I'm delighted to meet you.

21. Which is more important for a beginnning language learner : fluency or accuracy?

Quiz 2 Question Selections for all Classes

1. What is lateral thinking

2. Why can't you learn all the rules of English from a book?

3. If we compare the written rules of English to the laws of a country, how can this metaphor help us to     undersand the limits of these written grammar rules?

4. If we compare the labels used by doctors to name diseases with the labels used by linguists to describe      language, how can this metaphor help us to understand the limits and dangers of such labels?

5. Give a short definition of 'grammar'.

6. Give a short definition of 'syntax'.

7. Give a short definition of 'morphology'.

8. Give a short definition of 'phonology'.

9. What branch of linguistics tries to relate the patterns of language to the other patterns of mind (our      'reality').

10. Explain one of Grice's Maxims.

11. Give an example of presupposition (logical p. or discourse p.) and explain what is presupposed.

12. Draw a form/function diagram for this sentence : "Mary broke the window".

13. Make up a sentence and mark the Agent and the Patient.

14. Write a sentence and mark examples of two semantic roles.

15. What is one kind of sentence whose syntax many children have trouble interpreting?

16. Berk, the text book writer, says that English is one of only seven languages in the world which requires        a subject.. Explain my (Thor's) criticism of this assertion.

17. Labels like 'noun', 'verb', 'adjective' are used in _________ diagrams, while labels like 'subject' and       'predicate' are used in ____________ diagrams.

18 Write a noun phrase containing a Noun + two Modifer words.

19. What kind of verb is moved to the front of an English sentence to form a Yes/No question?

20. Write a sentence containing a tag question.

21. What are two features which a grammatical agent must have?  Agent [+  ______ ] [+ ______]

22. Benjamin accidentally cut his finger. What semantic role does the Suject, Benjamin, have?

23. How do semantic roles make a difference in meaning between these pairs : look/see, listen/hear ?

24. What is the semantic role of the chair in The chair broke ?

25. Does the Topic of a sentence usually contain new information or old information ?


Quiz 3 Question Selections for all Classes

1. Write a sentence containing a transitive verb and an experiencer direct object.

2.  Write a sentence containing a transitive verb and an patient direct object.

3.  Write a sentence containing a transitive verb and an created direct object.

4.  Write a sentence containing a transitive verb and an locative direct object.

5. Make a sentence containing DO or HAVE as a main verb (not as an auxiliary verb).

6. What do the following verbs have in common syntactically ? yell, sleep, sit, sneeze, disappear

7. What do the following verbs have in common syntactically ? kill, fix, enjoy, read

8. Make a sentence which contains both a direct and an indirect object (i.e. is ditransitive).

9. Where does new information usually come in an English sentence?

10. Write a sentence containing a copula verb.

11. They did go to the party. Rewrite this sentence so that its meaning is unmarked.

12. Why are pedagogical grammars sometimes not accurate?

13. Explain how the Cobuild/Birmingham University project helped change how dictionaries were made.

14. It is rather easy to make a computer model for systematic grammar which creates good sentences, but       very, very difficult to stop it from ___________________________________ .

15. Give a syntactic definition of sentence.

16. What are the three main types of English sentences?

17. How are the following three sentences all different syntactically from a normal declarative sentence?

      Be quiet! / May you be blessed with good fortune ! / Let's leave now.


Quiz 4 Question Selections for all Classes

Quiz 4 18 May 2004

1. Show how this sentence can have three different levels of meaning :
    The milk is not in the fridge!

2. a) What are two different kinds of pragmatic meaning which a question tag can have?
    b) How does the speaker show this difference in meaning?

3. How is it possible for communication to fail, even though the speaker uses perfect English grammar?

4. How is it possible for communication to succeed, even though the speaker uses faulty English grammar?

5. What is the usual attitude of listeners to mistakes in normal conversation?

6. Why is the importance of mistakes greatly exaggerated in classrooms?

7. What is the difference between slips and errors, as most text books define them?

8. What criticism did the lecturer (Thor) make of the usual distinction between slips and errors in L2?

9. Describe a technique that can force students to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

10. What is the purpose of an error diary?

11. What are some possible problems with an error diary?

12. Explain why sports players are challenged by mistakes while language learners are usually
       de-motivated by mistakes.

13. When students make multiple errors in the same sentence, what is the best way to help them fix
       the problems?

14. At what stage of language learning do students need to begin paying some attention to error

15. Why do students sometimes resist self-correction or peer correction?

16. Why is it sometimes a waste of time to continue correcting particular local errors like tense?

17. How can the relationship which the teacher has with the students affect the way they feel about        mistakes?

18. What is the difference between a diagnostic test and an evaluative or grading test?

19. What is interlanguage?

20. Explain the idea of 'language interference' in language learning.

21. Many language errors researchers used to think were caused by language interference are now
      thought to be _______________________ problems which will eventually fix themselves.


Topic 7 Quiz Questions (not checked in class, but learn for the exam)

1. What are four features that can help to make material teachable?

2. What kind of students may find direct grammar explanations quite learnable?

3. Expain what students a) can do, and b) can't do .. with a conscious mastery of grammar rules, but not a
    subconscious mastery of those rules.

4. Explain what kind of grammar rule mastery is needed for fluent speech.

5. What are three good ways to 'package' language in a classroom for L2 learning?

6. Explain the meaning of cohesion in language.

7. Explain the meaning of coherence in language.

8. Explain the importance of 'completion' in language learning materials.

9. Explain the importance of repetition in language learning materials.

10. Explain the importance of 'performance of a real task' in language learning activities.

11. Explain why rhythm helps students to learn language.

12. How can 'discovery' by the student help in language learning?

13. Why is student enjoyment important in the language learning process?

14. What are four factors that can add to the memorability of the language learning experience?

15. Explain some of the advantages of nursery rhymes for teaching language to young children.

16. Demonstrate what a concordance is by writing a four line concordance for a word.

17. Concordances are useful because they illustrate the _______________ of a word.


Material on this site has been prepared by Thor May for the PUFS TESOL Program 2004
Site addresses :
a) http://home.pufs.ac.kr/~thormay
b) http://thormay.net/lxesl/tesol/pufsindex.htm