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Language Acquisition 3: Grammar in Writing


Admission requirements

A pass for Language Acquisition 1: From Scratch to Print, or a similar academic-writing course. Preferably, you have also taken an introductory syntax course.


Language Acquisition 3: Grammar in Writing aims to introduce you to the manifold functions of grammar, with a focus on how grammar functions in writing. The course focuses on theory—introducing you to the core tenets of functionalist and usage-based approaches to the study of language—as well as practical skills, building on what you have already learnt in the first-year course Language Acquisition 1: From Scratch to Print.
This second-year course provides a more in-depth understanding of grammar in use. The course focuses on the denotations, connotations and functions of grammar, but we will also touch on matters of lexis, spelling and punctuation, introducing you to matters of register and style and information structure.
Each week, the online lectures cover topics from traditional and functional English grammar (e.g., tense and aspect, complementation, or word order). In the weekly on-campus Q&A sessions, you are encouraged to ask questions about the reading and the lectures, and there is discussion of mock test assignments. This knowledge will be further practised in seminar with exercises and short writing assignments that you have prepared at home. Furthermore, you will be encouraged to think of usage (of native and non-native speakers of English) as a research area, for instance for a bachelor's thesis.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, you will have acquired a sound knowledge and understanding of English grammar and English grammatical terminology. This is important if you are considering a career in editing, teaching or translation. Besides being able to apply that knowedge when you write texts in English, you will also have been introduced to the basics of functionalist theories of grammar, including functional grammar and cognitive grammar.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • One lecture (Q&A session) per week.

  • One tutorial per week.

Assessment method


  • Written examination with closed questions and short open questions

  • Weekly analysis and short writing assignments
    The final course mark is (i) the weighted average, combined with (ii) additional requirements. These additional requirements are the following:

  • The written examination should be a 6.0 pass.

  • The homework assignments were completed and submitted on Brightspace before the set deadlines. The homework assigments should be a 6.0 pass.


  • Two-hour written examination with closed questions (e.g., multiple choice) and short open questions (70%)

  • Weekly take-home assignments (coursework). In three randomly chosen weeks, the assignments will be marked (30%)


If the result of the written examination is below 6.0, the exam can be retaken. This resit (written examination with closed questions and short open questions) will constitute 100% of the final grade, thus replacing all previously earned marks. Please note that there is no resit for the weekly assignments.

Inspection and feedback

No later than with the publication of the exam results will information be given on when and how an exam inspection will be organized. Such an inspection will take place if a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results.

Reading list

  • Foster, T., Lemmen, M., Smakman, D., Dorst, A. G. & Dol, P. (2018). English grammar through Dutch eyes. Coutinho. [Contrastive Dutch/English grammar, recommended for Dutch students]

  • Huddleston, R., Pullum, G. K. & Reynolds, B. (2022). A student's introduction to English grammar. Cambridge University Press. [Recommended for international students]


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal


Not applicable