terms are sometimes used in describing grammar. One ism o d i \ufb01 e r, which means any word that modi\ufb01es the meaning of another word (usually a noun). It is broader in scope than \u2018adjective\u2019 and includes, for example,table in table lamp as well as
other isdeterminer, which means any word such asa,the,this,those, andevery which you put before a noun to show how you are using the noun (as in a \ufb01re, the \ufb01re, this \ufb01re, those \ufb01res, andevery
A noun is a word that names something: a person (woman,boy,Fra n c e s), a thing (building,tree), or an idea (birth,happiness). A common noun names things generally, whereas a proper noun names a particular person, place, or thing. Collective nouns, such asaudience,family,generation,gov-
Proper nouns are normally spelled with a capital initial letter and refer to persons or things of which there is only one example (Asia, Ark Royal,
broadly to include geographical and ethnic desig- nations such asAmerican andAshanti, which behave like common nouns, for example in allow- ing the forms an American and the Ashanti. Some genuinely proper names can also behave like com- mon nouns in certain uses, for example a \ufb01ne
A verbal noun (also called a gerund) is a form of a verb ending with-ing that acts as a noun, for examplesmoking in the phrase no smoking and in the sentence Smoking annoys people. It should be distinguished fromsmoking used as an adjective (a smoking \ufb01re) and as the present participle of the verb (The man was smoking).
Because a verbal noun is a part of a verb as well as being a noun, it keeps some of the characteris- tics of verbs in its grammatical behaviour; for example the formsThey objected to me swearing (non-possessive) and They objected to my swear-
usage, although the second, in whichswearing is treated as a full noun, is often preferred in more formal writing.
element in a clause or sentence. A verb is classi\ufb01ed as transitive when the action affects a person or thing called the object (We lit a \ufb01re), and as intransitive when there is no object (She
Tense is the location in time of the state or action expressed by a verb. English verbs properly have only two tenses, the present (I am) and the past (I
other forms of the past are formed with auxiliary verbs (I have been / I was being), and the past per- fect is formed with the past tense ofhave (I had
The tense used mostly corresponds to actual time, apart from conventional uses such as the so- called \u2018historic present\u2019, used for dramatic effect in narratives (as in George gets up and walks over
However, choice of tense (called \u2018sequence of tenses\u2019) becomes more complex in reported speech. If a simple statement such as I\u2019m afraid I
means of a reporting verb such as said, thought, etc., the tense of the reported action changes in accordance with the time perspective of the speaker:He said he was afraid he hadn\u2019t \ufb01nished.
The tense of the reported verb can stay the same if the time relative to the speaker is the same as that relative to the person reported: She likes
beans can be converted either to She said she liked beansor to She said she likes beans, and I won\u2019t be here tomorrowcan be converted either to I said I wouldn\u2019t be here tomorrowor to I said I won\u2019t be here tomorrow.
WithI andwe,shall should be used to form the simple future tense (expressing a prediction of a future action), whilewill is used to express an intention to do something:
The situation is similar withshould andwould. Strictly speaking,should is used withI andwe, whilewould is used with you, he, she, it, andthey:
In practice, however, it is normal to usewould instead ofshould in reported speech and condi- tional clauses, such as I said I would be late.
The subjunctive is a special form (or mood) of a verb expressing a wish or possibility instead of fact. It has a limited role in English:
In these sentences, the verbswait (in the \ufb01rst) andbe (in the second) are in the subjunctive; the ordinary forms (called the indicative) would be
Participles are often used to introduce subordi- nate clauses that are attached to other words in a sentence, e.g.
A stylistic error occurs with so-called \u2018unattached\u2019, \u2018misrelated\u2019, or \u2018dangling\u2019 participles, when the participle does not refer to the noun to which it is attached, normally the subject of the sentence:
etc., have virtually become prepositions or con- junctions in their own right, and their use in a grammatically free role is now standard:
An adjective is a word used to describe a noun, such as sweet, red, ortechnical. An adverb is typi- cally a word used to modify a verb, adjective, or other adverb, such as gently, lazily, orvery.
Most adjectives can be used in two positions: either before the noun they describe, where they are called \u2018attributive\u2019, as in a black cat anda
Some adjectives are nearly always used in the predicative position and cannot stand before a noun (e.g.afraid), while others are only found in the attributive position (e.g.main).
Adverbs normally come between the subject and its verb, or between an auxiliary verb and a main verb:
But for emphasis, or when the adverb belongs closely to what follows the main verb, it comes after the verb and before a following adverbial phrase:
and form a comment associated more closely with the speaker or writer than with what is said. In this role they are called \u2018sentence adverbs\u2019. Sentence adverbs often stand at the beginning of the sentence:
Although objection to such use is arti\ufb01cial, be aware that some people may take exception to these words, especially in written or formal con- texts.
them, etc., and other forms such as the possessive hersand theirsand the re\ufb02exive myselfand them- selves. They are used to refer to (and take the
place of) a noun or noun phrase that has already been mentioned or is known, especially in order to avoid repetition, as in the sentence When she saw
Re\ufb02exive pronouns are the type formed with -self, e.g.myself, herself, andourselves, used in sen- tences in which the subject of the verb and the object are the same person or thing, as inWe
It is sometimes stated that a preposition should always precede the word it governs and should not end a sentence. However, there are cases when it is either impossible or not natural to organize the sentence in a way that avoids a \ufb01nal preposition:
In\ufb02ection is the process by which words (princi- pally nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) change their form, especially their ending, in accordance with their grammatical role in a sen- tence.
Verbs normally add-s or-es to form third-person present-tense forms (changes,wants),-ed to form past tenses and past participles (changed,wanted), and -ing to form present participles (changing,
Verbs drop a \ufb01nal silent -e when the suf\ufb01x begins with a vowel (as in shave, shaving). But a \ufb01nal -e is usually retained to preserve the soft sound of theg intwingeing andwhingeing. It is also retained where it is needed to avoid confu- sion with similar words, for example indyeing (fromdye) as distinct fromdying (fromdie).
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?