Saturday, June 29, 2013

Best Grammar Sites for Advanced ESL EFL Students and English Teachers

This is the third post of four on the topic of ' Best Grammar Sites'. This post is about grammar sites for advanced English language students and English language teachers.

I have reviewed 26 grammar sites (the top listings that came up in Google when I did a search for 'grammar sites'), and the following 5 made my top picks list of great grammar sites for advanced students.

By the way, last month I posted about intermediate grammar sites and the month before about best grammar sites for beginning ESL and EFL students. The post after this one will be an overview, with a master list of all grammar sites reviewed as well as a breakdown of my rankings for each.


  I gave each site a rating out of five for each of the following categories:
  • How easy the site was  to navigate
  • Whether it had a good ´look up list´of grammar topics
  • Has grammar lessons, not just dictionary-like explanations
  • Has clear explanations or just cryptic 'dictionary like' explanations, in easy to understand English
  • Includes many examples using language English students and non-native English speakers  could easily understand
  • Includes interactive exercises and quizzes 

1. The Internet Grammar

2. Edu Find 

3. The Grammarly Handbook

4. Study and Exam

5. Lynch´s Guide to Grammar and Style


1.The Internet Grammar
My ranking: 30/30 

I included this site in the post 'Best Grammar Sites for Intermediate ESL EFL Students' too.  I think it fits even better as a site for advanced students because it covers so many of the finer points of grammar, such as 'minor word classes' and types of clauses (restrictive and non-restrictive), which are rarely covered in grammar sites.

As I`ve mentioned previously, I really like the clean layout, all the white space, the easy navigation, and inclusion of interactive quiz questions at the end of the grammar point explanation. An excellent reference site for teachers because it offers explanations that would be very easy for teachers to use with their students as well.

2. Edu Find
My Ranking: 28/30

Very clean and clear layout. Not overwhelming. The menu structure - major grammar topics visible first, with sub-points appearing only when you click on one- is very easy to navigate.

I also like that there are many examples of each grammar point.

There are interactive quizzes, however they are for testing your knowledge rather than interactive exercises to help you learn in the first place.They are in a different section, not attached to the grammar explanation, so it may be a bit tricky for ESL students to find the appropriate test.

3. The Grammarly Handbook
My Ranking: 25/30

I really like this site, and just wish it had interactive quizzes and exercises.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I really like the clean layout, easy navigability and inclusion of many examples of each point. 

I included this site in the 'Best Grammar Sites for Intermediate ESL EFL Students' post as well. I think it`s appropriate for advanced students and English instructors because further down the homepage it gives in depth instruction on advanced English grammar topics,  as well as writing and style tutorials, on great topics such as transitions and transitional devices, and parallelism.

4. Study and Exam
My ranking: 25/30

I really like the straightforward simplicity and choice of topics - very relevant to English language learners - on this site, and just wish it had interactive quizzes to help reinforce each grammar explanation / lesson.

This site appears high in the evaluations in my reviews of grammar sites for beginning and intermediate students as well. I included it as a great site for advanced ESL and EFL students because further down the home page are advanced topics such as indirect speech with modals, and passive voice for tenses which often trip up students on the TOEIC and TOEFL tests.  

5. Lynch's Guide to Grammar and Style
My ranking:  24/30
JLynch Guide to Grammar and Style

This is the most comprehensive grammar site I have found in terms of topics included. It includes all major and a myriad of minor grammar points, as well as words and phrases that are often used erroneously.

Definitely a useful resource for teachers and English instructors, and for advanced students who are trying to perfect their English.

However, the level of language used in the descriptions is high, the introductions to many points are quite wordy, and the long topic index is so comprehensive. It would be daunting to most English language students (and even to many native English speakers).

I wish there were more example sentences included for each point, and interactive exercises to help people check their level of comprehension.

Of note is the link to the section of the website called ' Getting and A on and English Paper' (look in the first paragraph on the homepage), which breaks down the structure of an essay and how to write one. This would be useful for teachers teaching students in high school or university, and for advanced students preparing to study abroad.

Other Grammar Sites I Considered By Can`t Recommend As Great Grammar Lookup and Learning Sites:

Talking English
My ranking:24

This site is geared more towards pronunciation than grammar instruction.

The grammar guide is far down the menu on the left hand side (look for the word ' grammar'). It has a lot of words on each page, and a high language level is used, so that would be off-putting to a lot of ESL students even though the list of topics includes topics that would be useful for helping low beginners.

I like how there was a very short little quiz at the end of each lesson to help students know if they understood the grammar point or not.

However, overall,  it would be best for teachers looking for explanations of how to describe pronunciation in English rather than as a grammar 'look-up' site.

BBC Learning English
My ranking: 22/30

This site includes a lot of grammar points that learners often mistake, in very appealing multimedia presentations (video clips, audio clips, attractive graphics), but it didn`t meet my criteria as a quick look-up reference grammar site. It is set up as an interesting learning site rather than a quick look up site, and would work best to fill in the gaps of knowledge of an advanced student, in a visually and intellectually interesting way.

The Blue Grammar Book
My ranking: 21/30 

Looks promising but only a small portion of the content is free. The list of free grammar topics is not comprehensive enough for me to recommend.  This site is mostly a high pressured sales pitch for selling the book, The Blue Grammar Book. The language of the explanations is advanced English, and geared to the native speaker of English, not a language learner. There are interactive exercises but you have to read through a lot of promotional material to find them.

Grammar Girl
My ranking: 11/30

Although this site covers some advanced grammar topics and words that people often use incorrectly, it fell short in my evaluation in a number of ways, unfortunately. It lacked an index list of grammar topics, grammar lessons, interactive exercises and quizzes and wasn`t comprehensive in its coverage of grammar points and parts of speech. An interesting site, but not very useful for the purpose of being a thorough, quick look-up site.

Stay tuned for one more wrap up post, with recommendations of best sites overall, and a breakdown of the rankings.

Did I miss a great grammar site?
Let me know!
Comments welcome.


  1. Good information about English it is very useful for students

    Reading knowledge

  2. Thanks for sharing tips,I surely follow your blog and tips.

  3. Great sites! What do you think of

    1. Hi Daniel, I think it is best suited for teachers as a reference tool, since it is pretty dense in terms of words on a page and how they laid out the site. I find the site navigation a bit clunky - it is not obvious where to click and what you might need to click on to get to what you need unless you are already quite familiar with the grammar terms listed, and there are no practice exercises to test your understanding of the concepts presented. Thanks for mentioning this site!

  4. This looks like a great site for learning English.

  5. Interesting to see a review that takes the time to rank different grammar sites. So here's another site that you seem to have missed, but ought to be ranked


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