Grammar & usage

Practical English Usage

Practical English Usage, the indispensable guide to problems in English, is now online! Get answers to the questions that teachers and learners ask about English grammar and vocabulary. For instance:

  • When do we use can, could, may or might?
  • Can they and them have a singular meaning?
  • When do you use bring and when do you use take?
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The story behind Practical English Usage by Michael Swan

It started life over 30 years ago. Now it's sold over 2 million copies worldwide and is one of the best-loved and bestselling books for teachers and learners of English.

Read the story Michael Swan

Win a year’s access to Practical English Usage!

Tell us your thoughts on grammar and vocabulary resources and get the chance to win a year’s access to the new Practical English Usage online. Survey closes on July 10th.

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Oxford materials for grammar and vocabulary

We have books, apps, e-books and more; for learning and practising, on your own or in class.

  • Oxford English Grammar Course by Michael Swan and Catherine Walter – grammar practice for elementary, intermediate and advanced students. The perfect complement to Practical English Usage.
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Our changing language

Are we using modal verbs less often?
Professor Bas Aarts, Director of the Survey of English Usage, discusses the ways in which our use of modal verbs is changing.

Read the article man at typewriter

Grammar terms

Confused by grammatical terms? Uncountable nouns, determiners, present perfect… Look them up in our list of essential words and expressions.

Go to language terminology magnifying glass