English Language Elements

There are many different ways to categorize overall English language elements or components. While students may have some awareness of these elements, it is mostly teachers who worry about them. The Cambridge University Certificate of Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) is the "gold standard" for TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) teacher certification.  CELTA provides one of the most widely used frameworks, MFP+A. This stands for:

  • Meaning
  • Form
  • Pronunciation and
  • Appropriacy.

When EFL teachers plan lessons, then normally focus on one or two of the elements. For some types of students, it may provide value if they understand some of the "why" behind their lessons. For most students, they just want to know the "what" of the lesson.


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Meaning - the message that the speaker intends to convey, which may vary according to the context, particularly if a structure can be used to perform more than one function.

- British Council

For many people, meaning is the same as vocabulary.  However, as described by the British Council, vocabulary is only a part of meaning.  To convey your meaning correctly, you need to very carefully pick the right words for the situation and audience.

Read more articles on meaning.

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Form - the arrangement of the language, any rules which govern it, and any special difficulties which it presents.

 - British Council

For many people, form means grammar. As described by the British Council, grammar is a key part of form.

Read more articles on form.

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Pronunciation is about how you say words correctly in different contexts.  Some of those contexts are British English, American English and Australian English.

Read more articles on pronunciation.

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Appropriacy refers to whether a word is suitable for the context it is being used in. It is an important aspect of language but an extremely complex one, as decisions about how to say things depend on understanding exactly what is right for the context and the culture.

- British Council

Read more articles on appropriacy.