English Language Grammar Basics

Everything from nouns to verbs

different types of sentence

word structure



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Word classes: nouns and adjectives
Nouns are often called naming words. They are the names we give to people, places,
objects, feelings and ideas
Types of noun: Proper
Proper nouns ­ usually begin with a capital letter. The refer to specific people and place
Common nouns ­ are less specific and refer to types of places, people, and feelings.
Most nouns are common nouns
E.g. city, man, planet, excitement
Concrete nouns ­ Refer to things that exist physically, things that we can see and feel
E.g. computer, hand, house, tiger
Abstract nouns ­ refer to things that do not exist physically, feelings, ideas, and qualities
E.g. friendship, sadness, democracy
Collective nouns ­ refer to groups of people, animal or objects
E.g. team, family, flock
Nouns can be singular or plural. Most plural nouns end in ­s but some do not.
A noun has a possessive ending if an apostrophe, or an apostrophe followed by an `s,'is added to
show that something belongs to the noun.
Are describing words, used to describe nouns
Usually they are placed before the noun but sometimes they are after it
Comparatives ­ bigger
Superlatives ­ biggest
Often known as `doing words' and it is certainly true that many verbs refer to physical actions

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Infinitive ­ base form ­ the from which all other forms of the verb are derived
Main and auxiliary verbs
The main verb in a clause or sentence is a single verb that expresses the main meaning
The auxiliary verb is one placed in front of main verbs
There are two types of auxiliary verb: Primary auxiliary and modal auxiliaries
Primary Auxiliary ­ TO BE, TO HAVE, TO DO
Modal Auxiliary ­ Only ever used in conjunction with a main verb: can, will,…read more

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Singular plural
First person I ME WE US
Second person YOU YOU
Third person HE, SHE, IT, HIM, HER THEY, THEM
Possessive Pronouns
These shows possession.…read more

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Who, whom and whose ­ referring to people
Which and that ­ referring to things
Interrogative Pronouns
These are used when asking a question
The interrogative Pronouns are: who, whose, which and what
Conjunctions are known as joining words. They join together two parts of a sentence
Coordinating conjunctions
Include the words: and, but and or.…read more

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Usually has a noun or pronoun as its headword
A noun phrase is not always a group of words. It can be a single noun or pronoun, without any
Verb Phrases
A verb phrase usually contains a main verb (the headword) and any accompanying auxiliary verbs
(Is, was, have)
A clause contains both and verb phrase and other types of phrase.
Clauses are made up of all five elements
Subject: Is the main person or thing that the clause is about.…read more

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In a complex sentence, one or more of the clauses is of lesser importance than the main
The lesser clauses are called subordinate clauses
Sometimes a subordinate clause may act as a subject, object or verb.
One way or identifying a subordinate clause is to look for subordinating conjunctions that
often introduce subordinate clauses.…read more

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Examples are: apple, train, and house
Bound morphemes are morphemes that cannot stand alone
They have to be attached to other morphemes
Examples are: un- - ­s ­th -ful -ness -er
Inflectional affixes
These are used to indicate certain grammatical features, and in English they are always suffixes
Purposes include:
Indicating a word is plural
Indicating a word is possessive
Indicating that a verb is in the past tense ­ he walked
Indicating an adjective is a comparative or a superlative
Derivational Affixes…read more

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Hyponyms are more specific from the hypernym ­ BLUE, BLACK, ORANGE, RED, YELLOW
Synonyms are words that are similar in meaning
Are words whose meanings are in some way opposite to each other
Hot/cold wet/dry tall/short
An idiom is an expression whose meaning cannot be understood from the meanings of the individual
words that make up the expression.
The words only make sense when groups together
E.g.…read more

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If vowel sounds clash this is called Dissonance
Are a combination of two vowel sounds:
Rice, bait, boy, note, town, clear, chair
Halliday and Hasan (1976) identify the following types of cohesion
Grammatical Cohesion ­ including reference, identification, ellipsis and conjunction
Lexical Cohesion ­ repetition and collocation
Grammatical Cohesion
Reference often involved the use of third person pronouns (he, she, it)
It refers back to the subject.
`My great grandfather was an Irishman. He was born in Dublin.…read more

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When a noun is first used, it is often preceded by the indefinite article (a) bug later references will
use (the)
Occurs when elements are omitted from a sentence
This refers to the use of conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs as cohesive devices
Word such as and, but, because, however, therefore, then, although link together parts of a text and
indicate the relationship between them
Lexical Cohesion
This involves the straightforward repetition of a single word.…read more


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