passing by observations - путевые заметки

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A way to learn live English with Google

The Murphy's Grammar in Use often says about language constructions: "we use ..." and "we do not normally use ...". It sounds attractive to exploit a qualified native speaker to study real usage of words and grammar forms. Unfortunately, this speaker is very rarely available. Nevertheless, it is possible to realise the "frequency" approach due to modern technologies. I am going to present my own experience of using Google search engine to improve the English literacy.

As any grammar construction sometimes couses doubt of being artificial, you can easily search the phrase, bounded by quotes, in Google. Moreover, it is possible to localise your exploration to the UK only web-sites using the British Google service ( If you have a number of similar variants for a phrase or a sentence and it is too long to be resolved with a dictionary, let a search engine assist you in choice: the relative number of pages found in Google help you no less than the best English teacher.

Of course, it would be careless to believe unconditionally to the usage of English based only on a search. There is plenty of informal or incorrect phrases in the Internet abyss. However, you may additionally to just looking for UK-pages (mostly made by native speakers) take a note of the source of phrasing and keep in mind the variants from the sites of academic institutions ( and British government (

The proposed procedure is very flexible and universal. It helps to choose right prepositions, idioms and other standard patterns. If your search gives thousands of pages from respective sources you may be almost sure that this grammar construction is correct. When your search fails to return any result for a relatively short phrase, you should certainly revise it. Do not invent your own English "in vitro", use search engines like Google to study English "in vivo".

1 comment:

virens said...

А я подался подымать свой английский на английские же форумы о компьютерах: там грамматика заковыристая особо не нужна и можно не только читать, но и писать. И что же? Эти native speakers пишут на каком-то дурном сленге: "I has..", gonna, wanna, kinda... Мрак %-/