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Best English Grammar

Best English Grammar

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Published by Lauritz
Mejor guía para aprender gramática inglesa
Mejor guía para aprender gramática inglesa

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Published by: Lauritz on May 27, 2011
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Words or parts of speech are fundamental units in every sentence; therefore it is
absolutely necessary to distinguish them to use the language properly. They can
be exemplified for English as follows:


John, room, happiness, play


I, he, they, anybody, one, which


The, a/an, that, this, two, many, few


Happy, steady, new, large, round,


Search, grow, play, be, have, do, round


Steadily, friendly, completely, often,


In, on, at, without, in site of


And, that, when, although


Oh, ah, ugh, phew

Notice that some of the parts of speech are presented in colored cells. The reason
for this is because we want you to remember that most of the times, these words
appear together with other words in the sentence forming phrases. Later, in this
guide, we will study Noun Phrases (NPs) and Verb Phrases (VPs) as the main
constituents of the sentences as well as Adjectival Phrases (APs), Prepositional
Phrases (PPs) and Adverbial Phrases (AdvPs) as subconstituents.

Those colored parts of speech are also known as major or open class of words
because they can be created anew. We as speakers of a language may invent new
nouns, new verbs, new adjectives, etc. However, we cannot create new
prepositions or new determiners. For this reason, the parts of the speech that
are presented in non-colored cells are called closed class of words.

Even though pronouns belong to this last class of words, here they are presented
with the same color of nouns (although clearer) since they are considered a
subclass of nouns in the sense that in many occasions they substitute nouns.

Words or parts of speech that belong to the closed class are as important as open
class words and they play a central grammatical role in the sentence.


Prepositions are almost always used with nouns to form PPs and they add
important meaning. Conjunctions introduce clauses1

which are sentences within

sentences, and Interjections play an important role in the discourse.

It is also very important to notice than some of the examples appear as more than
one part of speech: play as a noun and verb, that as a determiner and conjunction
and round as adjective and verb. The fact that a word may play more than one
lexical function should not cause confusion. Instead, it highlights an important
principle in grammar, known as gradience. This refers to the fact that the
boundaries between the word classes are not absolutely fixed. Many word classes
share characteristics with others, and there is considerable overlap between some
of the classes.

Therefore, in order to conduct an informed study of grammar, we need a much
more reliable and more systematic method than this for distinguishing between
word classes.

We use a combination of three criteria for determining the word class of a word:

1. The meaning of the word (Semantic criterion)
2. The form or “shape” of the word (Morphological criterion)
3. The position or “environment” of the word in a sentence (Syntactic

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