Basic English Curriculum for Teaching ESL - Grammar

The following grammar points will provide students with a solid base to build their English speaking and comprehension skills. Specific points are included in notes for the various grammar points.

Note: Contrast between habits and temporary actions

Past Continuous

Note: Focus on use with the past simple to describe 'interrupted actions' in the past

Present Perfect

Note: focus on use of present perfect for unfinished time - i.e. the duration form. Focus should also include adverbs commonly used with the present perfect: since, for, just, already, yet

Future with 'Will'

Note: Contrast this form with future intentions form - i.e. future with 'going to'

Future with 'Going to'

Note: Contrast this form with future predictions form - i.e. future with 'will'

Present Continuous (Present Progressive)

Note: Use for future intentions and plans, discuss similarities to future with 'going to'

First Conditional (Real Conditional)

Note: Used for probable or realistic situations

Modal Verbs of Deduction Note: Use of 'must be', 'might be' and 'can't be' use in the present

Some - Any

Note: Call to attention the irregular use of some in requests and offers


Note: too, enough, a lot of, a few, much, many (in question and negative forms), etc.

Prepositions of Place

Note: in front of, opposite, behind, between, across, etc.

Prepositions of Movement

Note: straight on, on your right, past the house, into, out of, etc.

Common Phrasal Verbs

Note: get on with, look after, fed up with, put off, make up, etc.

Verb + Gerund

Note: like doing, enjoy doing, go swimming, etc.

Verb + Infinitive

Note: hope to do, want to do, manage to do, etc.

Basic Verb and Preposition Combinations

Note: listen to, arrive at, go through, etc.

Comparatives & Superlatives

Note: taller than, more beautiful than, as tall as, happier than, the tallest, the most difficult, etc.

The next page includes the speaking, listening and vocabulary objectives that are central to every curriculum.

Listening Skills

Listening skills should include the ability to understand and act on basic information in the following situations:


  • Personal Information: Name, Address, Telephone #., Nationality Etc.
  • Telling the Time
  • Numbers, Cardinal and Ordinal
  • Simple Directions and Prepositions of Place
  • Spelling
  • Simple Descriptions of People and Places


  • Descriptions of people: looks and character, the family
  • Food drink and restaurants
  • Likes and dislikes
  • The home, rooms, furniture
  • Town & country
  • Shops and shopping
  • The weather
  • Time, the seasons, months, weeks, days etc.
  • Films and television
  • Leisure and interests
  • Holidays - travel - hotels

Language Functions

Language functions concern "chunks of language" which provide essential phrases for everyday use.

  • Introductions and greetings: How do you do? / Pleased to meet you. / How are you? , etc.
  • Asking for information: How do you spell ____? / How do you pronounce? / Where is the nearest bank? / What does "X" mean?, etc.
  • Offering: Can I help you? / Would you like some ...? etc.
  • Requesting: May I have a coffee? / Could you help me? etc.
  • Inviting: Would you like to come with me?
  • Suggesting: Shall we go out this evening? / Let's have some lunch. / Why don't we play some tennis? etc.
  • Asking for descriptions: What is he like? / What does it look like? etc.
  • Buying and selling: Which size are you? / How much does it cost? etc.
  • Asking for directions: Excuse me, where is the train station? / Where is the nearest bank? etc.
  • The language of travel: Hotels, restaurants, trains and planes, etc.
  • Giving advice: You should see a doctor / I think he should work harder. etc.

Grammar objectives for basic English courses.