The Complete IGCSE Grammar Guide: Book Release!


I’m very excited to announce to all of you today that I have just released the complete IGCSE grammar guide and it’s available right now on my website!

Before you purchase…

What is this book about?

This is an IGCSE English grammar book.

It’s suitable for both First Language English students as well as English as a Second Language students who are taking the 0500 exam as well as the 0510 exam, and it’s also suitable for students of all ages who are interested in learning about the mechanics of English grammar across all ages.

Have a look at a sample below!

If you’re interested to purchase, click here; to complete your purchase, simply click or tap “Add to cart”, and you should be able to view your cart and check out normally using your credit card; please note that this is an eBook and no physical copy will be distributed to you!

Why this book?

I decided to write this book when I started to notice that my students were facing trouble in writing and constructing sentences, even though they are technically First Language students. This made me realize that there’s a little bit of a gap in what the IGCSE requires in terms of First Language English and English as a Second Language, what students are prepared to demonstrate, and what schools actually do teach along the way; although First Language English is a curriculum that was designed by Cambridge to create a curriculum for First Language English speakers, people take First Language English for a whole variety of reasons; maybe they take the subject because sometimes they just want to get into universities or it’s part of a requirement or maybe their school doesn’t allow them to take anything else…

But the net result is that many students who are taking First Language English and English as a Second Language do not have the requisite grammatical skills to write and communicate well in English.

This is terrible, because grammar is the foundation of almost all good writing; it is essentially the rules of the English language and what First Language is asking for is for the ability to demonstrate that you have certain types of artistry in mind as you create summaries, writer’s effect pieces, and everything in between…

But how can you create a work of artistry when you don’t even know the rules in the first place, let alone how to break them beautifully?

So that’s where this book comes in.

This book is…

  • Comprehensive.

    It’s essentially a full-scale study guide and reference book that is going to teach you about pretty much everything it is that you need to know about grammar, whether you’re a Year 8 student or Year 11 student. The book’s 230+ pages will teach you everything that you need to know about grammar and more, with a special emphasis on the elements that are required for IGCSE success, in the context of IGCSE English and much more!
  • Organized.

    It’s organized into multiple different sections that teach you about things like, for example, the parts of speech, multi-sentence pronoun-antecedent agreement, the different types of possible sentence structures, irregular verbs, irregular nouns, verb conjugations, and so on so forth.

    Each of these sections is ordered in such a way that it addresses common problems that students face in writing from the very outset and targets those problems from the perspective of a learner.
  • Practice-focused.

    The book contains many different exercises that you can conduct in order to improve your understanding and to test your understanding over the course of time and ultimately at the end of the day come out with the understanding of English grammar that you’ll need to conquer the IGCSE; you’ll get the chance to understand grammatical concepts on an intuitive level.

Ready to dramatically level up your writing and speaking? Purchase the book today!

I’m Writing An IGCSE English Grammar Book!


Every Sunday evening, my family and I have dinner together – it’s a classic Tan Family thing where we gather relatives from all over different parts of KL and we just have a good meal together and spend some quality time together enjoying fellowship with one another and having conversations about many different things.

One of these conversations was about language learning.

As some of you know, I’m in the process of compiling a grammar book at the moment for IGCSE students – it’s a process that began about two weeks ago when I realized that one of the hugest gaps in instruction for IGCSE students (both First Language and English as a Second Language) is grammar, which has led to a long process of writing that continues to this day and even more extensive reading as I research what needs to be included and as I refine the work.

As a matter of fact, I read four entire grammar books in the past ten days, inclusive of Swan’s Practical English Usage (~600 pages), Penston’s A Concise Grammar for English Teachers (~130 pages), Parrott’s Grammar for English Language Teachers (~400+ pages); the last one was a recommendation from my relatives, many of whom hailed from an earlier generation and learned English from this book:

It was interesting to leaf through the pages of this old gem; browsing through it, I couldn’t help but think that it was a wonderful resource… Though one that was quite clearly incomplete.

Still, though, it offered me some valuable guidance and thoughts on how to structure my own book and, more importantly, highlighted for me the generational gap in English language proficiency faced by many students in Malaysia and the world at large, whether schooled in international schools or otherwise.

There is little formal training for students to get better at grammar within a schooling context, and almost every resource that I’ve seen focuses altogether too much on topic-based learning (which is understandable to a degree) to the extent that a sustained focus on understanding the rules of the game seems to have been entirely forgone.

The consequence? An entire generation of students who seem to be navigating the waters of good rhetoric with a hole in their metaphorical ships, allowing meaning and comprehension to slip through because the rules that govern language are not familiar in their heads and the powers that be assume familiarity with them or are unable to assess the extent to which student work is grammatical or isn’t for they themselves are unfamiliar with the rules of the game themselves and presume to teach a higher order skill that they themselves have only imperfectly procured.

It’s for this reason that I’m writing The Complete Grammar Guide for IGCSE English Students, a book that I hope you’ll find enjoyable and tailored to the unique context of the IGCSE, whether for First Language English or English as a Second Language.

I’ll be continuing to draft and write the book in the week ahead in preparation for formatting, but just as a bit of a sneak peek for you, have a look at some of the covers I’ve compiled and that I will be using in the days ahead 🙂 (Which ones do you like? Let me know in the comments!)

I wonder what difference this book will make in people’s lives, but I do know for sure that it’s important to me to create this because I think that it will help to impact many people in this world 🙂

If you’d like to contribute towards my understanding of what is needed, do feel free to drop a comment in the blog post or to communicate with me, and I’ll look forward to working with you soon. Enjoy the week, everyone, and rest assured that I’ll be working hard to bring you more content in a bit – I’ll look forward to catching you again soon!


Seek First Clarity, Not Impressiveness – An English Teacher’s Opinion.


Recently, I’ve had a lot of students mention in class that they want to learn how to write well by learning more advanced vocabulary.

I find a lot of students who just try their very best to write with flowery words because they’ve been convinced somehow or another that being able to write in an effective and incredible way is about using the most complicated words you know, and as long as they somehow look like they were lifted from a thesaurus or some sort of arcane lexical resource that you could spend hours looking through in order to find the meanings of words that you would never use in your entire adult life, then somehow or another you’d be on the right track to writing excellence.

Excellence capable of captivating entire generations from the touch of your pen; excellence flowing from your keyboard, flowing out onto the streams of the internet; excellence that stems from your fingers, your mind, the touch of your soul, the whatever it is that you are using in order to craft your nobly created works of art for the next generation…?

What a noble thought…

But in my opinion, what a horribly misinformed one.

As a teacher and as a writer, I am terribly conversant with words – and one thing that I know for sure is this:

The impressiveness of a speech or any piece of writing in this world does not come from how many flowery words went into it.

It does not come from the length of time that the author looked at a thesaurus and then somehow or another put in word vomit after word vomit, counting the pieces as they push them into an essay one after another, hoping that somehow or another all the little chunks alien and somehow inappropriate as they were would somehow elevate the essay into something better….

It’s understandable that someone might think that at the outset, considering how many famous pieces of prose are littered with beautiful words like that… But that is the exact same thing that Dr. Frankenstein thought he could do when he assembled his eponymous monster, piecing together body parts in order to recreate life.

When you put together the words from a thesaurus or any sort of lexical resource, what’s going to happen is that if they are not well combined, you’re not going to get an essay; you are going to get a jumbled together mess that seems impressive on the surface only to you because you’re not equipped with the skills necessary to evaluate just how good the piece actually is, and you’ve put something out that intuitively convinces anyone with skill in reading comprehension that you do not understand the English language.

The difference between writing an essay and the Dr. Frankenstein case is though that although you cannot recreate life by assembling together body parts…

You can in fact create a wonderful piece of writing if you know the rules necessary in order to create a piece of clear expression.

You can in fact craft communications that somehow or another make use of an understanding of the rules that go into creating those works, if you pay respect to the way that humans accept information, the way that psychology informs the way we take in knowledge, the way that our emotions rise and fall like tides on the sand, ever so fleeting and yet so dear.

You don’t magically become impressive because you’ve created a jumbled together mess of technical words.

You don’t wow me just because you’ve looked inside a thesaurus and have managed to find a few words that nobody ever uses.

You don’t impress me because you tried to show off and you succeeded in confusing yourself and confusing others.

You become understood when you clarify and you simplify, when you take things down from the heavens of technicality to the earth of simplicity, when you create relatability from the sands of obscurity.

You become a writer of note when your words make not just the otherwise bored examiner but even the small children who are listening to your words become captivated as they listen with the message that you’ve chosen to echo through your work.

You become valued when you give people value through writing that they can understand and that delivers a meaningful message that is valuable to them, and that applies whether you’re writing an essay, a summary, a Writer’s Effect piece, directed writing, or anything else that involves communication between yourself and another living, breathing human being.

It doesn’t require complicated words in order to know how to do that. It just requires you to be able to think of the things that matter and then learn how to express them in a way that conveys your thoughts.

Of course, that can be the work of a lifetime. It can be also the work that you do when you’re faced with an essay problem of course, but hey, that’s what you do everyday, isn’t it?

What’s for sure is that it’s definitely something that you will have to practice over and over again in the numerous scenarios when you write and communicate and somehow express yourself to the audience. It’s what you do. Chances are, it’s why you’re here.

And while you’re doing that, you will encounter this problem again and again – of messages not received, words not reaching their mark – until you face the demons of obscurity and, in conquering them, come forth with the clarity of mind and purpose to convey neither false sophistication nor a pretense of thinking that is predicated upon putting together difficult-looking words.

Rather, when you’ve arrived there, you will find that the most powerful messages are the ones that are most clear to mind.

You will see that what most directly influences the audience is a picture that they can immediately imagine, see, feel as if they were there, in the moment, in the midst of the action, as they share your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, convictions.

Think about that as you write your next essay, and consider how you can simplify and push your work directly into your audience’s heart. Through clarity comes power. Thank you for reading, and I will see you in the next piece!