Quick Reference Study Notes for English Grammar (Advanced)

English Grammar

Basics of English Grammar

The grammar is the well-defined system and structure of a language. The rules of grammar help us to decide the order in which we put words and which form of a word to use. Basically, grammar is the most important tool for using any language. It allows us to build a meaningful sentence and convey our message. But remember, it is the practice of using that truly makes the difference. So its the grammar which makes it worth, whatever you write, read, learn and try to implement in your daily conversations. Let’s Begin!

Basic Elements of Speech
Once you have a general idea of the basic grammar rules for sentence structure, it is also helpful to learn about the parts of the speech:

  • Noun refers to as the name of a person, animal, place, thing, quality, idea, activity, or feeling. A noun can be singular, plural, or possessive.

  • Pronoun:  it refers to a word that takes the place of a noun, like "I", "you", or "they."

  • Verb: it shows action and can be the main verb or a helping verb, like "were" or "has." Verbs also indicate tense and sometimes change their form to show past, present, or future tense. Linking verbs link the subject to the rest of the sentence and examples are: "appear" and "seem."

  • Adjective: It modifies a noun or a pronoun. It adds meaning by telling which one, what kind, or describing it in other ways.

  • Adverb: It will modify a verb and tell more about it, like how much, when, where, why, or how.

  • Proposition: It shows a relationship between nouns or pronouns. It is often used with a noun to show location, like "beside," "in," or "on". It can also show time, direction, motion, manner, reason, or possession.

  • Conjunctions : It connect two words, phrases, or clauses. Common conjunctions are "and", "but", and "or."

Mention needs to be made about other types of words that are considered by some to be parts of speech.

  • One of them is the interjection. It shows emotion and examples are "hurray", "uh-oh", and "alas."

  • Articles: These are very useful little words. Indefinite articles are "a" and "an" and "the" is a definite article.

Some Basic Rules
1. In the English language, a sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a period/full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark.  This Comes Under Punctuation

  • The fat cat sat on the mat.

  • Where do you live?

  • My dog is very clever!

2. The order of a basic positive sentence is Subject-Verb-Object. (Negative and question sentences may have a different order.)

  • John loves Mary.

  • They were driving their car to Bangkok.

3. Every sentence must have a subject and a verb. An object is optional. Note that an imperative sentence may have a verb only, but the subject is understood.

  • John teaches.

  • John teaches English.

  • Stop! (ie You stop!)

4. The subject and verb must agree in number, that is a singular subject needs a singular verb and a plural subject needs a plural verb.

  • John works in London.

  • That monk eats once a day.

  • John and Mary work in London.

  • Most people eat three meals a day.

5. When two singular subjects are connected by or, use a singular verb. The same is true for either/or and neither/nor.

  • John or Mary is coming tonight.

  • Either coffee or tea is fine.

  • Neither John nor Mary was late.

6. Adjectives usually come before a noun (except when a verb separates the adjective from the noun).

  • I have a big dog.

  • She married a handsome Italian man.

  • (Her husband is rich.)

7. When using two or more adjectives together, the usual order is opinion-adjective + fact-adjective + noun. (There are some additional rules for the order of fact adjectives.)

  • I saw a nice French table.

  • That was an interesting Shakespearian play.

8. Treat collective nouns (eg committee, company, the board of directors) as singular OR plural. In BrE a collective noun is usually treated as plural, needing a plural verb and pronoun. In AmE a collective noun is often treated as singular, needing a singular verb and pronoun.

  • The committee are having sandwiches for lunch. Then they will go to London. (typically BrE)

  • The BBC have changed their logo. (typically BrE)

  • My family likes going to the zoo. (typically AmE)

  • CNN has changed its logo. (typically AmE)

9. The words its and it's are two different words with different meanings.

  • The dog has hurt its leg.

  • He says it's two o'clock.

10. The words your and you're are two different words with different meanings.

  • Here is your coffee.

  • You're looking good.

11. The words there, their and they're are three different words with different meanings.

  • There was nobody at the party.

  • I saw their new car.

  • Do you think they're happy?

12. The contraction he's can mean he is OR he has. Similarly, she's can mean she is OR she has, and it's can mean it is OR it has, and John'scan mean John is OR John has.

  • He is working

  • He has finished.

  • She is here.

  • She has left.

  • John is married.

  • John has divorced his wife.

13. The contraction he'd can mean he had OR he would. Similarly, they'd can mean they had OR they would.

  • He had eaten when I arrived.

  • He would eat more if possible.

  • They had already finished.

  • They would come if they could.

14. Spell a proper noun with an initial capital letter. A proper noun is a "name" of something, for example, Josef, Mary, Russia, China, British Broadcasting Corporation, English.

  • We have written to Mary.

  • Is China in Asia?

  • Do you speak English?

15. Spell proper adjectives with an initial capital letter. Proper adjectives are made from proper nouns, for example, Germany → German, Orwell → Orwellian, Machiavelli → Machiavellian.

  • London is an English town.

  • Who is the Canadian prime minister?

  • Which is your favourite Shakespearian play?

16. Use the indefinite article a/an for countable nouns in general. Use the definite article the for specific countable nouns and all uncountable nouns.

  • I saw a bird and a balloon in the sky. The bird was blue and the balloon was yellow.

  • He always saves some of the money that he earns.

17. Use the indefinite article a with words beginning with a consonant sound. Use the indefinite article a with words beginning with a vowel sound. see When to Say a or an

  • a cat, a game of golf, a human endeavor, a Frenchman, a university (you-ni-ver-si-ty)

  • an apple, an easy job, an interesting story, an old man, an umbrella, an honorable man (on-o-ra-ble)

18. Use many or few with countable nouns. Use much/a lot or little for uncountable nouns. see Quantifiers

  • How many dollars do you have?

  • How much money do you have?

  • There are a few cars outside.

  • There is little traffic on the roads.

19. To show possession (who is the owner of something) use an apostrophe + s for singular owners and s + apostrophe for plural owners.

  • The boy's dog. (one boy)

  • The boys' dog. (two or more boys)

20. In general, use the active voice (Cats eat fish) in preference to the passive voice (Fish are eaten by cats).

  • We use active in preference to passive.

  • Active is used in preference to passive.


*NOTE : "This study material is collected from multiple sources to make a quick refresh course available to students."

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