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interlink site Parts of Speech Table This is a summary of the 8 parts of speech*. You can find more detail if you click on each part of speech. part of speech function or "job" example words example sentences
action or state
(to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, must pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, John
EnglishClub.com is a web site. I like EnglishClub.com.
thing or person
This is my dog. He lives in my house. We live in London.
describes a noun
a/an, the, 69, some, good, big, My dog is big. I like big red, well, dogs. interesting quickly, silently, well, badly, very, really My dog eats quickly. When he is very hungry, he eats really quickly.
describes a verb, adjective or adverb
replaces a noun
I, you, he, she, some to, at, after, on, but
Tara is Indian. She is beautiful. We went to school on Monday. I like dogs and I like cats. I like cats and dogs. I like dogs but I don't like cats.
links a noun to another word
joins clauses or Conjunction sentences or words
and, but, when
short exclamation, sometimes oh!, ouch!, hi!, inserted into a well sentence
Ouch! That hurts! Hi! How are you? Well, I don't know.
* Some grammar sources categorize English into 9 or 10 parts of speech. At EnglishClub.com, we use the traditional categorization of 8 parts of speech. Examples of other categorizations are:
Verbs may be treated as two different parts of speech: o Lexical Verbs (work, like, run) o Auxiliary Verbs (be, have, must) Determiners may be treated as a separate part of speech, instead of being categorized under Adjectives
Parts of Speech Examples Here are some sentences made with different English parts of speech: verb Stop! noun verb John works. noun verb verb John is working.
pronoun verb She
verb adjective noun kind people.
noun verb Tara
noun verb Tara
adjective noun English.
speaks English well.
pronoun verb preposition adjective noun She ran to the
pron. verb adj. noun She likes big
conjunction pron. verb pron. I hate them.
Here is a sentence that contains every part of speech: interjection pron. conj. adj. Well, she and noun verb prep. noun walk to adverb
verb, noun, adverb, pronoun, preposition and conjuction!
part of speech noun
example My work is easy. I work in London. John came but Mary didn't come. Everyone came but Mary. Are you well? She speaks well. Well! That's expensive! We ate in the afternoon.
work verb conjunction but preposition adjective well adverb interjection noun afternoon noun acting as adjective We had afternoon tea.
Parts of Speech
Chapter 1 Introduction Learning about the parts of speech is the first step in grammar study just as learning the letters of the alphabet is the first step to being able to read and write. From learning the parts of speech we begin to understand the use or function of words and how words are joined together to make meaningful communication. To understand what a part of speech is, you must understand the idea of putting similar things together into groups or categories. Let's look at some examples of categories.
blue red yellow green black
banana apple orange grape lemon
milk water soda beer coffee
Spanish Arabic Japanese English Korean
Colors, fruits, drinks, and languages are categories. If I tell you that Grebo is a language, you would understand exactly what Grebo is. If we did not have the category language, it would be hard to explain what is meant by the word Grebo. It is very convenient to have categories to talk about similar things. Let's look at some more examples of categories. In the list below, which does not belong with the others? a) violin b) hammer c) drums d) piano e) guitar If you chose hammer, you are right. Violin, drums, piano, and guitar are used to make music, but a hammer is not used to make music. Hammer doesn't fit with the other words because it is a tool and all of the others are musical instruments. Let's try another example. Which of these does not belong with the others? a) hammer b) saw c) violin c) screwdriver d) wrench This time, the word violin does not belong because it is not a tool. It is very useful to have categories like musical instruments and tools to organize our ideas. The parts of speech are categories used to organize or classify words according to how they are used. We use parts of speech as a way to make it easier to talk about language. The philosopher Aristotle and later scientists studied animals and classified them according to what they have in common. For example, eagles, robins and sparrows are kinds of birds; sharks, salmon and tuna are kinds of fish; and dogs, horses and elephants are kinds of mammals. Aristotle and others also studied language and classified words according to what they have in common. We usually use 8 categories or parts of speech to classify all the
words we use in English. This classification is not perfect. Sometimes it is hard to tell which category a word belongs in. The same word may belong in different categories depending on how it is used. There may be better ways to classify English than by using the 8 parts of speech. But this classification has been used for a long time and many grammar books use it, so it is easier to keep on using it. It is possible to speak or learn a language without knowing the parts of speech, but for most of us, knowing about parts of speech makes things easier. Here is an example of how it can be helpful to know about the parts of speech. Look at the sentence: The man surreptitiously entered the room. You probably don't know the meaning of the word surreptitiously, but if you know about parts of speech, you will recognize that it is an adverb and that it tells you something about how the man entered the room. You may still not understand the exact meaning of the word, but you can understand the whole sentence better than if you did not know about parts of speech. When you look up a word in a dictionary, you will find not only the meaning of the word but also what part of speech it is. This information is very helpful in understanding the full meaning of the word and knowing how to use it. The 8 parts of speech that are used to describe English words are: Nouns Verbs Adjectives Adverbs Pronouns Prepositions Conjunctions Articles This set of lessons will teach you about each of the parts of speech and show how they are different from each other. They will help you recognize which part of speech each word in a sentence is and that will help you become a better reader. Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the pop quiz on this chapter. END OF CHAPTER 1 Chapter 2 - Nouns A noun is often defined as a word which names a person, place or thing. Here are some examples of nouns: boy, river, friend, Mexico, triangle, day, school, truth, university, idea, John F. Kennedy, movie, aunt, vacation, eye, dream, flag, teacher, class, grammar. John F. Kennedy is a noun because it is the name of a person; Mexico is a noun because it is the name of a place; and boy is a noun because it is the name of a thing.
Some grammar books divide nouns into 2 groups - proper nouns and common nouns. Proper nouns are nouns which begin with a capital letter because it is the name of a specific or particular person place or thing. Some examples of proper nouns are: Mexico, John F. Kennedy, Atlantic Ocean, February, Monday, New York City, Susan, Maple Street, Burger King. If you see a word beginning with a capital letter in in the middle of a sentence, it is probably a proper noun. Most nouns are common nouns and do not begin with a capital letter. Many nouns have a special plural form if there is more than one. For example, we say one book but two books. Plurals are usually formed by adding an -s (books) or -es (boxes) but some plurals are formed in different ways (child - children, person - people, mouse - mice, sheep - sheep). Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the pop quiz on this chapter
Chapter 3 - Verbs A verb must "agree" with its subject. Subject-verb agreement generally means that the third person singular verb form must be used with a third person subject in the simple present tense. The word be - the most irregular and also most common verb in English has different forms for each person and even for the simple past tense. The forms of the word be are given in the chart below: Person 1st (I) Singular 2nd (you) 3rd (he, she, it) 1st (we) Plural 2nd (you) Number Present am are is are are Past was were was were were Future will be will be will be will be will be
were will be
Usually a subject comes before a verb and an object may come after it. The subject is what does the action of the verb and the object is what receives the action. In the sentence Bob ate a humburger, Bob is the subject or the one who did the eating and the hamburger is the object or what got eaten. A verb which has an object is called a transitive verb and some examples are throw, buy, hit, love. A verb which has no object is called an intransitive verb and some examples are go, come, walk, listen. As you can see in the charts above, verbs are often made up of more than one word. The future forms, for example, use the word will and the perfect forms use the word have. These words are called helping or auxiliary verbs. The word be can serve as an auxiliary and will and shall are also auxiliary forms. The chart below shows two other verbs which can also be used as auxiliaries: Number 1st (I) Singular 2nd (you) Person Present have do have do Past had did had did
3rd (he, she, it) 1st (we) Plural 2nd (you) 3rd (they)
has does have do have do have do
had did had did had did had did
There is a type of auxiliary verb called a modal which changes the meaning of a verb in different ways. Words like can, should, would, may, might, and must are modals and are covered in other lessons. There are other lessons that cover the use of verbs. This lesson presents some of the important features of verbs and also shows some common forms. Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the pop quiz on this chapter. Verb Classification
| Helping Verbs | Main Verbs | Verb Classification Quiz
Parts of Speech Chapter 4 - Adjectives
An adjective is often defined as a word which describes or gives more information about a noun or pronoun. Adjectives describe nouns in terms of such qualities as size, color, number, and kind. In the sentence The lazy dog sat on the rug, the word lazy is an adjective which gives more information about the noun dog. We can add more adjectives to describe the dog as well as in the sentence The lazy, old, brown dog sat on the rug. We can also add adjectives to describe the rug as in the sentence The lazy, old, brown dog sat on the beautiful, expensive, new rug. The adjectives do not change the basic meaning or structure of the sentence, but they do give a lot more information about the dog and the rug. As you can see in the example above, when more than one adjective is used, a comma (,) is used between the adjectives. Usually an adjective comes before the noun that it describes, as in tall man. It can also come after a form of the word beas in The man is tall. More than one adjective can be used in this position in the sentence The man is tall, dark and handsome. In later lessons, you will learn how to make comparisons with adjectives. Most adjectivesdo not change form whether the noun it describes is singular or plural. For example we say big tree and big trees, old house and old houses, good time
and good times. There are, however, some adjectives that do have different singular andplural forms. The common words this and that have the plural forms these and those. These words are called demonstrative adjectives because demonstrate or point out what is being referred to. Another common type of adjective is the possessive adjective which shows possession or ownership. The words my dog or my dogs indicate that the dog or dogs belong to me. I would use the plural form our if the dog or dogs belonged to me and other people. The chart below shows the forms of possessive adjectives. Person* 1st Person 2nd Person 3rd Person Singular my your his/her/its Plural our your their
*Personis used here as a grammar word and has these meanings: 1st person or the self (I, me, we), 2nd person or the person spoken to (you) 3rd person or the person spoken about (he, she, him, her, they, them).
Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the pop quiz on this chapter. END OF CHAPTER 4 Parts of Speech Chapter 5 - Adverbs We have seen that an adjective is a word that gives more information about a noun or pronoun. An adverb is usually defined as a word that gives more information about a verb, an adjective or another adverb. Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives and adverbs in terms of such qualities as time, frequency and manner. In the sentence Sue runs fast, fast describes how or the manner in which Sue runs. In the sentence Sue runs very fast, very describes the adverb fast and gives information about how fast Sue runs. Most, but not all adverbs end in -ly as in But not all words that end in -ly are adverbs (ugly is an adjective, supply and reply can both be nouns or verbs). Many times an adjective can be made into an adverb by adding -ly as in nicely, quickly, completely, sincerely. Adverbs of time tell when something happens and adverbs of frequency tell how often something happens. Below are some common adverbs of time and frequency which you should learn:
Adverbs of Time Do it now. I will see you then. They will be here soon. I can't meet you today. Let's go tomorrow. They told me yesterday. Have you traveled recently?
Adverbs of Frequency I always do my homework We sometimes get confused. He usually gets good grades. I never went skiing. She rarely eats a big breakfast. He was once on TV. He saw the movie twice.
Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the pop quiz on this chapter. END OF CHAPTER 5 Parts of Speech Chapter 6 - Pronouns A pronoun is often defined as a word which can be used instead of a noun. For example, instead of saying John is a student, the pronoun he can be used in place of the noun John and the sentence becomes He is a student. We use pronouns very often, especially so that we do not have to keep on repeating a noun. This chapter is about the kind of pronoun called a personal pronoun because it often refers to a person. Like nouns,
personal pronouns sometimes have singular and plural forms (I-we, he-they). Unlike nouns, personal pronouns sometimes have different forms for masculine/male, feminine/female and neuter (he-she-it). Also unlike nouns, personal pronouns have different forms depending on if they act as subjects or objects (he-him, she-her). A subject is a word which does an action and usually comes before the verb, and an object is a word that receives an action and usually comes after the verb. For example, in the sentence Yesterday Susan called her mother, Susan is the subject and mother is the object. The pronoun she can be used instead of Susan and the pronoun her can be used instead of mother. The form of a personal pronoun also changes according to what person is referred to. Person is used here as a grammar word and means: 1st person or the self (I, me, we), 2nd person or the person spoken to (you), 3rd person or the person spoken about (he, she, him, her, they, them). There is also a possessive form of the pronoun. Just as we can make a noun possessive as in the sentence That is my father's book to mean That is the book of my father, we can make the pronoun possessive and say That book is his. There are possessive adjective forms
(such as my, your, his, her etc.) that are discussed with other adjectives in chapter 4. Possessive pronouns can stand by themselves without nouns, but possessive adjectives, like other adjectives, are used together with nouns. There is also an intensive form of the pronoun which intensifies or emphasizes the noun that it comes after as in the sentence I myself saw him. The reflexive form of the pronoun looks exactly like the intensive form but is used when the subject and object of a verb refers to the same person as in the sentence I saw myself in the mirror. All of this may sound confusing, but if you study the chart below, it will be clearer: Singular Perso Possessiv Intensive Subject Object n e Reflexive 1st I me mine myself 2nd you you yours yourself he/she/i him/her/i himself/herself/itse 3rd his/hers t t lf Plural Intensive Person Subject Object Possessive Reflexive
1st we us ours ourselves 2nd you you yours yourselves 3rd they them theirs themselves Notice that the form you is the same for subject and object, singular and plural and that there is no neuter singular possessive form. There are also interrogative pronouns (who, which, what) used for asking questions and relative pronouns (who, which, what, that) used in complex sentences which will be discussed in another place. Some grammar books also talk about demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these, those) and indefinite pronouns (some, all, both, each, etc.) which are very similar to adjectives and do not need to be discussed here. Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the pop quiz on this chapter. Parts of Speech Chapter 8 - Conjunctions A conjunction is a word that connects other words or groups of words. In the sentence Bob and Dan are friends the conjunction and connects two nouns and in the sentence He will drive or fly, the conjunction or connects two verbs. In the sentence It is early but we
can go, the conjunction but connects two groups of words. Coordinating conjunctions are conjunctions which connect two equal parts of a sentence. The most common ones are and, or, but, and so which are used in the following ways: and is used to join or add words together in the sentence They ate and drank. or is used to show choice or possibilities as in the sentence He will be here on Monday or Tuesday. but is used to show opposite or conflicting ideas as in the sentence She is small but strong. so is used to show result as in the sentence I was tired so I went to sleep. Subordinating conjunctions connect two parts of a sentence that are not equal and will be discussed more in another class. For now, you should know some of the more common subordinating conjunctions such as: after although as because before if since than unless until when while
Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that work together. In the sentence Both Jan and Meg are good swimmers, both . . .and are correlative
conjunctions. The most common correlative conjunctions are: both . . .and either . . . or neither . . . nor not only . . . but also
Chapter 9 - Articles An article is a kind of adjective which is always used with and gives some information about a noun. There are only two articles a and the, but they are used very often and are important for using English accurately. The word a (which becomes an when the next word begins with a vowel - a, e, i, o, u) is called the indefinite article because the noun it goes with is indefinite or general. The meaning of the article a is similar to the number one, but one is stronger and gives more emphasis. It is possible to say I have a book or I have one book, but the second sententence emphasizes that I do not have two or three or some other number of books. The word the is known as the definite article and indicates a specific thing. The difference between the sentences I sat on a chair and I sat on the chair is that the second sentence refers to a particular, specific chair, not just any chair. Many nouns, especially singular forms of countable nouns which you will learn about later, must have an article. In English, it is not possible to say I sat on chair without an article, but a demonstrative or possessive adjective can be used instead of an article as in the sentences I sat on that chair and I sat on his chair. Whenever you see an article, you will find a noun with it. The noun may be the next word as inthe man or there may be adjectives and perhaps adverbs between the article and the noun as in the very angry, young man. Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the pop quiz on this chapter
Parts of Speech Chapter 10 - Identification of Parts of Speech
Now that you have learned all the parts of speech, you can identify the words in a sentence. This chapter will give you some clues that will make identification easier. First of all, a word can be more than one part of speech and you have to look at how the word works in a particular sentence to know what part of speech it is. The chart below shows examples of words that have more than one part of speech. Word Sentence can I think I can do it. can Don't open that can of beans. only This is my only pen. only He was only joking. his That book is his. his That is his book. English Can you speak English? English I am reading an English novel. Part of Speech verb noun adjective adverb pronoun adjective noun adjective
The verb is the heart of a sentence, so it is a good idea to identify the verb first when looking at a sentence. Verbs can be recognized through: past tense ending (looked) 3rd person singular ending (says)
auxiliary verb (will see) modal verb (can hear) There are also verb endings or suffixes that can help you recognize verbs. Some common verb endings are listed in the chart below. Review this lesson as many times as you want, and when you are ready, take the comprehensive quiz.
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Things can happen now, in the future or in the past. The tenses show the time of an action or state of being as shown by a verb. The verb ending is changed (conjugated) to show what time it is referring to. Time can be split into three periods The Present (what you are doing), The Past (what you did) and The Future (what you are going to do, or hope / plan to do ). The tenses we use to show what time we are talking about are split into the Simple, Continuous and Perfect tenses. In English we use two tenses to talk about the present and six tenses to talk about the past. There are several ways to talk about the future some of which use the present tenses, these are: Present Past Simple Present Present Continuous Simple Past Past Continuous Present Perfect Simple Present Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Simple Past Perfect Continuous Using the Simple Present Using the Present Continuous Using the Present Perfect Simple Using the Present Perfect Continuous Using going to Using shall/will Simple Present Tense
The simple present tense is used to discuss permanant situations and the frequency of events. To have I have he has she has it has you have we have they have Statements + I work. He works. She works. It works. Short form I've he's she's it's you've we've they've Statements I don't work. He doesn't work. She doesn't work. I work He works She works It works you work we work they work Questions Do I work? Does he work? Does she work? Short answer + Yes, I do. Yes, he does. Yes, she does. Short answer No, I don't. No, he doesn't. No, she doesn't. Other Verbs (to work)
It doesn't work. Does it work? Yes, it does. No, it
doesn't. You work. We work. They work. You don't work. Do you work? Yes you do. No, you don't. No, they don't.
We don't work. Do we work? Yes we do. No, we don't. They don't work. Do they work? Yes they do. Present Continuous Tense
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When we talk about events that are actually happening now, we use the present continuous tense. Statements + I'm working. Statements I'm not working. She isn't working. It isn't working. You aren'tt working. We aren't working. They aren't working. Short answer + Short answer No, I'm not. No, she isn't. No, it isn't. No, you aren't. No, we aren't. No, they aren't.
Am I working? Yes, I am. Is she working? Is it working? Are you working? Are we working? Are they working?
He's working. He isn't working. Is he working? Yes, he is. No, he isn't. She's working. It's working. You're working. We're working. They're working. Yes, she is. Yes, it is. Yes you are. Yes we are. Yes they are.
Present Continuous Timeline
For example: Q) "What are you doing?" A) "I'm building a website." We also use the present continuous tense to talk about things that are happening around now but are temporary. For example: Q) "What are you doing these days?" A) "Unfortunately I'm working a lot." It is also used to describe trends or situations that are happening but may be temporary. For example: "Nowadays more and more people are shopping on the Internet." ...and habitual actions (usually negative). For example: "He's always cleaning his car." The present continuous tense can also be used to discuss future events: Note:The present continuous is usually used with doing verbs (verbs of action) not with verbs of state. The following verbs are not used in the continuous form:-
Conditions: belong, cost, need, own, seem Feelings: like, love, hate, want, wish Beliefs: believe, feel, know, mean, remember, think, understand
Simple Past Tense
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The simple past tense is used to talk about actions that happened at a specific time in the past. You state when it happened using a time adverb. You form the simple past of a verb by adding -ed onto the end of a regular verb but, irregular verb forms have to be learned. To be Statements + I was. He was. She was. It was. You were. We were. They were. To be Statements I wasn't. He wasn't. She wasn't. It wasn't. You weren't. We weren't. They weren't.
Questions ? Was I? Was he? Was she? Was it? Were you? Were we? Were they? Short answer + Short answer No, I
Regular Verb (to Regular Verb (to work) Statements work) Statements Questions + I worked. I didn't work.
Did I work? Yes, I
did. He worked. She worked. It worked. You worked. We worked. They worked. He didn't work. She didn't work. It didn't work. You didn't work. We didn't work. They didn't work. Did he work? Did she work? Did it work? Did you work? Did we work? Did they work? Yes, he did.
didn't. No, he didn't.
Yes, she No, she did. didn't. Yes, it did. Yes you did. Yes we did. No, it didn't. No, you didn't. No, we didn't.
Yes they No, they did. didn't.
Simple Past Timeline
For example: "Last year I took my exams." "I got married in 1992." It can be used to describe events that happened over a period of time in the past but not now. For example: "I lived in South Africa for two years."
The simple past tense is also used to talk about habitual or repeated actions that took place in the past. For example: "When I was a child we always went to the seaside on bank holidays."
Past Continuous Tense
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We use the past continuous tense to describe a past action over a period of time. Past Continuous Timeline
For example: Q) "What were they doing yesterday?" A) "They were working all day." It can be used to describe what someone was doing at a particular point in time. For example: Q) "What were you doing at 7.30 last night?" A) "I was watching television." The past continuous can also be used to show that an activity frequently took place over a period of time. Q) "What did you do on holiday?" A) "I went skiing a lot."
Often the past continuous is mixed with the past simple to show what was happening when something happened. The past continuous refers to the longer event and the simple past to the event that interrupted it. For example: "I was driving to work when I crashed my car." or As I was driving to work, I crashed my car."
Present Perfect Simple Tense
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Sponsored Links The present perfect simple tense is used to talk about a past time, which has very strong meaning for the present. Present Perfect Simple Timeline
For example: Q) Where's Jane? A) She has gone out. She should be back in an hour. We form the present perfect simple by using the auxilliary verb have/has and the -ed form of the regular verb (the past participle) irregular verb forms have to be learned: Statements Statements Questions Short Short
answer + Yes, I have. Yes, he has. Yes, she has. Yes you have. Yes we have. Yes they have.
answer No, I haven't. No, he hasn't. No, she hasn't. No, you haven't. No, we haven't. No, they haven't.
I've worked. He's worked. She's worked. It's worked. You've worked. We've worked. They've worked.
I haven't worked. Have I worked? He hasn't worked. She hasn't worked. You haven't worked. We haven't worked. They haven't worked. Has he worked? Has she worked? Have you worked? Have we worked? Have they worked?
It hasn't worked. Has it worked? Yes, it has. No, it hasn't.
The present perfect simple is used to discuss events that have just been completed at the moment of speaking. For example: Q) Have you done your homework?" A) "Yes, I've just finished it." It is often used to suggest that a past action still has an effect upon something happening in the present. For example: "The pound has fallen against the dollar." It is also used to discuss unfinished time. For example:
Q) Have you done your homework today? A) No, I haven't done it yet. Note - You are talking about today and today isn't finished, so you may do your homework later! Q) Have you ever been to England?" A) "Yes I have." Note - You are talking about something that has happened in your life and your life isn't finished! You can also use the present perfect to discuss something from the past but you don't want to say exactly when. For example: Q) "Are you learning any languages?" A) "Yes, I've begun to learn English." This tense is often used to discuss events that have been happening over a period of time, but aren't finished yet. For example: Q) "How long have you studied English for?" A) "I've studied English for 2 years now." However it is better (grammatically speaking) to use the Present Perfect Continuous to express yourself in this way. For example: Q) "How long have you been studying English for?" A) "I've been studying English for 2 years now." !Note It is always for a length of time and since a point in time.
Present Perfect Simple Tense
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The present perfect simple tense is used to talk about a past time, which has very strong meaning for the present. Present Perfect Simple Timeline
For example: Q) Where's Jane? A) She has gone out. She should be back in an hour. We form the present perfect simple by using the auxilliary verb have/has and the -ed form of the regular verb (the past participle) irregular verb forms have to be learned: Statements + I've worked. He's worked. She's worked. It's worked. You've worked. We've worked. Statements Short answer + Yes, I have. Yes, he has. Yes, she has. Yes you have. Yes we have. Short answer No, I haven't. No, he hasn't. No, she hasn't. No, you haven't. No, we haven't.
I haven't worked. Have I worked? He hasn't worked. She hasn't worked. You haven't worked. We haven't worked. Has he worked? Has she worked? Have you worked? Have we worked?
It hasn't worked. Has it worked? Yes, it has. No, it hasn't.
They haven't worked.
Have they worked?
Yes they have.
No, they haven't.
The present perfect simple is used to discuss events that have just been completed at the moment of speaking. For example: Q) Have you done your homework?" A) "Yes, I've just finished it." It is often used to suggest that a past action still has an effect upon something happening in the present. For example: "The pound has fallen against the dollar." It is also used to discuss unfinished time. For example: Q) Have you done your homework today? A) No, I haven't done it yet. Note - You are talking about today and today isn't finished, so you may do your homework later! Q) Have you ever been to England?" A) "Yes I have." Note - You are talking about something that has happened in your life and your life isn't finished! You can also use the present perfect to discuss something from the past but you don't want to say exactly when. For example:
Q) "Are you learning any languages?" A) "Yes, I've begun to learn English." This tense is often used to discuss events that have been happening over a period of time, but aren't finished yet. For example: Q) "How long have you studied English for?" A) "I've studied English for 2 years now." However it is better (grammatically speaking) to use the Present Perfect Continuous to express yourself in this way. For example: Q) "How long have you been studying English for?" A) "I've been studying English for 2 years now." !Note It is always for a length of time and since a point in t Present Perfect Continuous Tense
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The present perfect continuous tense is often used (with for or since) to describe how long something has been happening up to now. Present Perfect Continuous Timeline
For example:Q) How long have you been studying English?" A) I've been studying English for four years."
Note - You can just say "For four years." Q) How long have you been living in Germany? A) I've been living here since 1998. Note - You can just say "Since 1998". The present perfect continuous is also used to refer to an event that may or may not be finished when it's effect can be seen now. For example:Look! It's been snowing. Note - It's not necessarily snowing now but you can see the effect (the snow on the ground). You should also use the present perfect continuous when talking about how long you have been doing your current job or working on unfinished projects:For example:I have been working at BT for three years. We have been exporting to China since 1999. !Note It is always for a length of time and since a point in time Past Perfect Simple Tense
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The past perfect simple tense is used to go further back in time when we are already talking about the past. It can make it clear that something had already happened at the time we are talking about.
Past Perfect Simple Timeline
We form the past perfect simple by using the auxilliary verb had and the ed form of the regular verb (the past participle) irregular verb forms have to be learned: Statements + I'd worked ... He'd worked ... Statements I hadn't worked ... Short answer + Short answer -
Questions Had I worked ...?
Yes, I had. No, I hadn't. No, he hadn't. No, she hadn't. No, it hadn't. No, you hadn't. No, we hadn't. No, they hadn't.
He hadn't worked Had he worked Yes, he ... ...? had. Had she worked Yes, she ...? had. Had it worked ...? Yes, it had.
She'd worked She hadn't ... worked ... It had worked It hadn't worked ... ... You'd worked You hadn't ... worked ... We'd worked ... We hadn't worked ...
Had you worked Yes you ...? had. Had we worked Yes we ...? had. Had they worked ...? Yes they had.
They'd worked They hadn't ... worked ... For example:
"I had already done the shopping by the time she came home." "I was late for work, by the time I arrived the client had already left."
The past perfect simple can be used to show how often something happened in the past. For example: I'd visited the city many times before. It can also be used to express unfulfilled wishes or dreams. Sometimes called the Third Conditional. For example: "If I had won the lottery I would have bought a new car." Note: If I had done something I would have done something else.
Past Perfect Continuous Tense The past perfect continuous tense is used to talk about longer situations that continued up to the moment in the past we are talking about. Past Perfect Continuous Timeline
For example: "By the time I left England we had been living in Bristol for five years." "Her back was sore because she had been sitting at the computer all day." It is also used to say how long something went on for, up to a time in the past. For example:-
We apologised because we had kept them waiting for 3 hours. We apologised because we had kept them waiting since lunchtime. !Note It is always for a length of time and since a point in time Simple Future Tense We sometimes use the simple present form to discuss future events. Especially when talking about official events that happen at a set time such as timetables, meetings, itineraries, programmes etc. For example: Q) "What time does the train leave?" A) "It leaves at 17.30." Q) "What time does the meeting begin tomorrow?" A) "It begins at 8.00am." Q) "What time do you arrive at the airport tomorrow?" A) "I arrive at 6.30pm."
Future Continuous Tense Using the present continuous for the future The future continuous tense is the present continuous tense recycled. It is often used to ask about and discuss future arrangements or plans with just the addition of a future time, but you only use it when these arrangements are certain. For example: Q) What are you doing next week?" A) "I'm working." Q) What's he doing tomorrow?" A) "He's playing tennis." The present continuous tense is also used to talk about and make future appointments and arrangements using the words go or come....
For example: Q) When are you coming to see me?" A) "Next week." Q) What are you doing tomorrow?" A) "I'm going to the dentist." ...and using verbs of arrival and departure. "We're arriving in London at 2.30." "The train leaving from platform one is the 2.45 to Edinburgh." The Future Continuous (will be doing) The use of 'will be doing' in a sentence is often referred to as the future continuous. It is used to talk about activities that will be happening at a particular time or over a particular time in the future. For example: Next week we will be having a party. Can you come? You can also use it (or the present continuous form) to talk about future plans. For example: We will be leaving here at 7.30pm Present Perfect Future Tense Discussing the future using the present perfect simple form You can use the present perfect simple form to say that something will have happened by a certain time in the future. "This time next year I will have finished my exams."
Discussing the future using the present perfect continuous form (also known as the future perfect continuous using will have been doing). You can use the present perfect continuous form to say how long something will have been happening by a certain time in the future. "This time next year I will have been teaching English for 9 years."
Present Perfect Future Tense Discussing the future using the present perfect simple form You can use the present perfect simple form to say that something will have happened by a certain time in the future. "This time next year I will have finished my exams." Discussing the future using the present perfect continuous form (also known as the future perfect continuous using will have been doing). You can use the present perfect continuous form to say how long something will have been happening by a certain time in the future. "This time next year I will have been teaching English for 9 years."
Future Tense Discussing the future using going to We say something is going to happen when it has already been planned. For example:Q) Are you going to fly to Germansy? A) No, we're going to drive. We also use it to show something has already been decided.
For example:"We're going to buy a new car next year." We also use going to when we can see something is about to happen. For example:-
"Look at that cloud. I think it's going to rain."
"Watch out! He's going to crash into that tree!" You can also use going to to predict the future based upon the evidence now. For example:"It looks as though Manchester United are going to win the European cup. "I think my friend Louise is going to have a baby." !Note Thanks to Ken Anderson for pointing out the following:"I'm going to Germany." isn't really the future tense. You would have to say "I'm going to go to Germany." Discussing the future using shall/will When we give information about the future or predict future events that are not certain we usually use shall/will. For example:-
Q) Who do you think will win the election?" A) "I'm not sure but I think the current party will win." We can also use shall/will to make promises for the future. When leaving work I would say - "Goodnight, I'll (I will) see you tomorrow." Shall/Will is often used when we just decide to do something. For example:The phone is ringing - If I decide to answer the phone I would say - "I'll (I will) get it." It can also be used in formal situations to express planned events and is preferred in formal written English. For example:The party will start at 10.00pm. Future Tense Discussing the future using going to We say something is going to happen when it has already been planned. For example:Q) Are you going to fly to Germansy? A) No, we're going to drive. We also use it to show something has already been decided. For example:"We're going to buy a new car next year." We also use going to when we can see something is about to happen.
"Look at that cloud. I think it's going to rain."
"Watch out! He's going to crash into that tree!" You can also use going to to predict the future based upon the evidence now. For example:"It looks as though Manchester United are going to win the European cup. "I think my friend Louise is going to have a baby." !Note Thanks to Ken Anderson for pointing out the following:"I'm going to Germany." isn't really the future tense. You would have to say "I'm going to go to Germany." Discussing the future using shall/will When we give information about the future or predict future events that are not certain we usually use shall/will. For example:Q) Who do you think will win the election?" A) "I'm not sure but I think the current party will win." We can also use shall/will to make promises for the future.
When leaving work I would say - "Goodnight, I'll (I will) see you tomorrow." Shall/Will is often used when we just decide to do something. For example:The phone is ringing - If I decide to answer the phone I would say - "I'll (I will) get it." It can also be used in formal situations to express planned events and is preferred in formal written English. For example:The party will start at 10.00pm.
Irregular verbs Abandonar Acosar Adherirse Agarrar Alzarse Andar furtiv. Apestar Apostar Apoyarse Aprender Arrastrarse Arrodillarse Arrojar Leave Beset Cling Hold Arise Slink Stink Bet Lean Learn Creep Kneel Fling Left Beset Clung Held Arose Slunk Stank Bet Leant Learnt Crept Knelt Flung Left Beset Clung Held Arisen Slunk Stunk Bet Leant Learnt Crept Knelt Flung
Balancear Barrer Batir Beber Brillar Brincar Buscar Caer Caminar Cantar Cavar Cerrar Coger Colgar Colocar Comer Comprar Conducir Coneguir Construir Correr Cortar Costar Criar Cultivar Dar Dar cuerda Dar zancadas Dardecomer Decir Dejar Deletrear Derramar Desamparar Desgarrar Deslizar Despertar Despojarsede Dibujar
Swing Sweep Beat Drink Shine Spring Seek Fall Lead Sing Dig Shut Catch Hang Set Eat Buy Drive Get Build Run Cut Cost Breed Grow Give Wind Stride Feed Say Let Spell Spill Forsake Rend Slide Wake Shed Draw
Swang Swept Beat Drank Shone Sprang Sought Fell Led Sang Dug Shut Caught Hung Set Ate Bought Drove Got Built Ran Cut Cost Bred Grew Gave Wound Strode Fed Said Let Spelt Spilt Forsook Rent Slid Woke Shed Drew
Swung Swept Beaten Drunk Shone Sprung Sought Fallen Led Sung Dug Shut Caught Hung Set Eaten Bought Driven Got Built Run Cut Cost Bred Grown Given Wound Stridden Fed Said Let Spelt Spilt Forsaken Rent Slid Woken Shed Drawn
Disparar Doblar Doler Dormir Echar Elegir Empezar Encender Encoger Encontrar Encontrar Enseñar Entender Enviar Escribir Escupir Esforzarse Estropear Ganar Gastar Golpear Golpear Guardar Hablar Hacer Hacer Hacer punto Helarse Hender Hilar Huir Hundir Impulsar Ir Jurar Lanzar Leer Levantarse Llegar a ser
Shoot Bend Hurt Sleep Cast Choose Begin Light Shrink Find Meet Teach Understand Send Write Spit Strive Spoil Win Spend Hit Strike Keep Speak Do Make Knit Freeze Split Spin Flee Sink Thrust Go Swear Sling Read Rise Become
Shot Bent Hurt Slept Cast Chose Began Lit Shrank Found Met Taught Understood Sent Wrote Spat Strove Spoilt Won Spent Hit Struck Kept Spoke Did Made Knit Froze Split Spun Fled Sank Thrust Went Swore Slung Read Rose Became
Shot Bent Hurt Slept Cast Chosen Begun Lit Shrunk Found Met Taught Understood Sent Written Spat Striven Spoilt Won Spent Hit Struck Kept Spoken Done Made Knit Frozen Split Spun Fled Sunk Thrust Gone Sworn Slung Read Risen Become
Llevar puesto Llorar Matar Moler Montar Morar Morder Mostrar Nadar Oir Oler Olvidar Pagar Pegar Pegar Pelear Pensar Perder Perturbar Picar Poner Posar Prestar Prohibir Quemar Rasgar Reventarse Robar Romper Saber Saltar Sangrar Sembrar Sentarse Sentirse Significar Sonar Soñar Soplar
Wear Weep Slay Grind Ride Dwell Bite Show Swim Hear Smell Forget Pay Hit Stick Fight Think Lose Upset Sting Put Lay Lend Forbid Burn Tear Burst Steal Break Know Leap Bleed Sow Sit Feel Mean Ring *Dream Blow
Wore Wept Slew Ground Rode Dwelt Bit Showed Swam Heard Smelt Forgot Paid Hit Stuck Fought Thought Lost Upset Stung Put Laid Lent Forbade Burnt Tore Burst Stole Broke Knew Lept Bled Sowed Sat Felt Meant Rang Dreamt Blew
Worn Wept Slain Ground Ridden Dwelt Bitten Shown Swum Heard Smelt Forgotten Paid Hit Stuck Fought Thought Lost Upset Stung Put Laid Lent Forbidden Burnt Torn Burst Stolen Broken Known Lept Bled Sown Sat Felt Meant Rung Dreamt Blown
Temblar Tener Tirar Tomar Traer Tratar con Tumbarse Extender Vendar Vender Venir Volar
Shake Have Throw Take Bring Deal Lie Spread Bind Sell Come Fly
Shook Had Threw Took Brought Delt Lay Spread Bound Sold Came Flew
Shaken Had Thrown Taken Brought Delt Lain Spread Bound Sold Come Flown Kids Section
English - Active & Passive Voice
The most famous sentence, most of us are familiar is: Ram killed Ravana. Ravana was killed by Ram. - Passive Voice Active Voice
Here the first sentence is said to be in Active Voice and the second sentence in Passive Voice. A sentence is said to be in Active Voice when the subject does something. Similarly, a sentence is said to be in Passive Voice when something is done to the subject. In the above sentence Ram is the ‗subject‘ and Ravana is the ‗object‘. In the active voice sentence Ram i.e., the subject has killed the object Ravana. In the second sentence Ravana is the subject but he allowed himself to be killed by subject Ram. Here the subject is Passive. Therefore, it is called Passive voice. Eg. : Raghu kicked the ball. In this sentence Raghu is the ‗subject‘ and ball is the ' object'. The word kicked is the verb. Here it must be noted that: ‗I‘ ‗We‘ becomes ‗me‘ becomes in Passive voice ‗us‘
‗You‘ ‗He‘ ‗She‘ ‗It‘ ‗They‘ becomes ‗them.‘
remains becomes becomes remains
‗you‘ ‗him‘ ‗her‘ ‗it‘
Here also the active voice and passive voice are expressed in different tenses. I) Present Tense a) Simple Present I watch movies every week. Movies are watched by me every week. - Passive Voice We watch movies Movies are watched by us every week. You watch movies Movies are watched by you every week. He watches movies Movies are watched by him every week. She watches movies Movies are watched by her every week. It watches movies Movies are watched by it every week. They watch movies Movies are watched by them every week. b) Present Continuous I am watching A movie is being watched by me now. We are watching A movie is being watched by us now. You are watching A movie is being watched by you now. He is watching A movie is being watched by him now. a movie now. Active Voice
She is watching A movie is being watched by her now. It is watching A movie is being watched by it now. They are watching A movie is being watched by them now. c) Present Perfect I have watched A movie has been watched by me today. We have watched A movie has been watched by us today. You have watched A movie has been watched by you today. He has watched A movie has been watched by him today. She has watched A movie has been watched by her today. It has watched A movie has been watched by it today. They have watched A movie has been watched by them today. d) Present Perfect Continuous
Normally ideas are not expressed in Passive Voice in this tense. Therefore it is better to avoid attempting a Passive Voice in any Perfect Continuous Tense. II) Past Tense a) Simple Past I watched a A movie was watched by me yesterday. We watched a A movie was watched by us yesterday. movie yesterday.
You watched a A movie was watched by you yesterday. He watched a A movie was watched by him yesterday. She watched a A movie was watched by you yesterday. It watched a A movie was watched by it yesterday. They watched a A movie was watched by them yesterday. b) Past Continuous I was watching a A movie was being watched by me yesterday. We were watching a A movie was being watched by me yesterday. You were watching a A movie was being watched by you yesterday. He was watching a A movie was being watched by him yesterday. She was watching a A movie was being watched by her yesterday. It was watching a A movie was being watched by it yesterday. They were watching a A movie was being watched by them yesterday. c) Past Perfect I had watched a movie A movie had been watched by me three years ago. We had watched a movie A movie had been watched by us three years ago. You had watched a movie
A movie had been watched by me three years ago. He had watched a movie A movie had been watched by him three years ago. She had watched a movie A movie had been watched by her three years ago. It had watched a movie A movie had been watched by it three years ago. They had watched a movie A movie had been watched by them three years ago. d) Past Perfect Continuous As we indicated earlier, ideas are normally not expressed in Passive Voice in this tense. Therefore it is better to avoid attempting a Passive Voice in any Perfect Continuous Tense. III) Future Tense a) Simple Future I will watch a A movie will be watched by me tomorrow. We will watch A movie will be watched by us tomorrow. You will watch A movie will be watched by you tomorrow. a movie tomorrow. three years ago.
He will watch a A movie will be watched by him tomorrow. She will watch A movie will be watched by her tomorrow. It will watch A movie will be watched by it tomorrow. a
They will watch a A movie will be watched by them tomorrow. b) Future Continuous
I will be watching a movie at this A movie will be being watched by me at this time tomorrow. We will be watching a movie at this A movie will be being watched by us at this time tomorrow. You will be watching a movie at this A movie will be being watched by you at this time tomorrow. He will be watching a movie at this A movie will be being watched by him at this time tomorrow. She will be watching a movie at this A movie will be being watched by her at this time tomorrow. It will be watching a movie at this A movie will be being watched by it at this time tomorrow. They will be watching a movie at this A movie will be being watched by them at this time tomorrow. c) Future Perfect I will have watched a movie by 6 A movie will have been watched by me by 6 pm tomorrow. We will have watched a movie by A movie will have been watched by us by 6 pm tomorrow. 6
You will have watched a movie by 6 A movie will have been watched by you by 6 pm tomorrow. He will have watched a movie by 6 A movie will have been watched by him by 6 pm tomorrow. She will have watched a movie by 6 A movie will have been watched by her by 6 pm tomorrow. It will have watched a movie by A movie will have been watched by it by 6 pm tomorrow. 6
They will have watched a movie by 6 A movie will have been watched by them by 6 pm tomorrow. d) Future Perfect Continuous
Normally ideas are not expressed in Passive Voice in this tense. Therefore it is better
to avoid attempting a Passive Voice in any Perfect Continuous Tense. All sentences cannot be made into Passive Voice. Only the sentences with an object in them can be made into Passive Voice. All verbs are not transitive. A verb which takes an object is said to be a Transitive Verb and a Verb which does not take an object is said to be Intransitive. For Example, the following sentence cannot be converted into Passive Voice for the simple reason that the verb ‗go‘ does not take an object. I go for a walk everyday. In the above sentence the verb ‘go’ is an Intransitive Verb. Such sentences which do not have an object cannot be converted into Passive Voice. More examples of sentences with Intransitive Verbs: Raju David Sita drove rashly. A case of double object. Certain sentences contain two objects. In such a case two passive sentences can be made using one object in each case. The principal sent a A telegram was sent by the Principal to Gopi. telegram to Gopi. jumped ran 10 feet. fast.
Bottom of Form TESTS PREPOSITIONS
Prepositions of time Preposition Use in months in year in 1985; in 1999 Examples in July; in September
in summer; in the summer of 69 in the morning; in the afternoon; in the evening in a minute; in two weeks at night at 6 o'clock; at midnight at Christmas; at Easter at the same time on Sunday; on Friday on the 25th of December* on Good Friday; on Easter Sunday; on my birthday on the morning of September the 11th* after school
part of the day
duration part of the day time of day at celebrations fixed phrases days of the week date on
a special part of a day
later than sth.
how far sth. happened (in the 6 years ago past) earlier than sth. before Christmas
before between by
time that separates two points between Monday and Friday not later than a special time by Thursday
through the whole of a period during the holidays of time
for from ... to from... till/until past since
period of time
for three weeks from Monday to Wednesday from Monday till Wednesday from Monday until Wednesday 23 minutes past 6 (6:23) since Monday till tomorrow until tomorrow 23 minutes to 6 (5:37) up to 6 hours a day within a day
two points form a period
time of the day point of time
no later than a special time
to up to within
time of the day not more than a special time during a period of time
* The words in italic are only spoken, not written (date). Prepositions at, in, on Preposition Examples We sit in the room. I see a house in the picture. There are trouts in the river. in He lives in Paris. I found the picture in the paper. He sits in the corner of the room. He sits in the back of the car.
We arrive in Madrid. He gets in the car. She likes walking in the rain. My cousin lives in the country. There are kites in the sky. He plays in the street. (BE) She lives in a hotel. The boys stand in a line. There is a big tree in the middle of the garden. He is in town. I have to stay in bed. You mustn't park your car in front of the school. The robber is in prison now. She sits at the desk. Open your books at page 10. The bus stops at Graz. at I stay at my grandmother's. I stand at the door. Look at the top of the page. The car stands at the end of the street.
Can we meet at the corner of the street? I met John at a party. Pat wasn't at home yesterday. I study economics at university. The childen are at gandmother's. He's looking at the park. He always arrives late at school. The map lies on the desk. The picture is on page 10. The photo hangs on the wall. He lives on a farm. Dresden lies on the river Elbe. Men's clothes are on the second floor. He lives on Heligoland. The shop is on the left. My friend is on the way to Moscow. Write this information on the front of the letter. When she was a little girl people saw unrealistic cowboy films on television.
Thanks to Alexandra.
Prepositions of place and direction Preposition above Use higher than sth. from one side to the other side Examples The picture hangs above my bed. You mustn't go across this road here. There isn't a bridge across the river. The cat ran after the dog. After you. The bird flew against the window.
one follows the other
directed towards sth. in a line; from one point to another in a group in a circular way at the back of lower than sth. next to
They're walking along the beach.
among around behind below beside
I like being among people. We're sitting around the campfire. Our house is behind the supermarket. Death Valley is 86 metres below sea level. Our house is beside the supermarket. Our house is between the supermarket and the school. He lives in the house by the river. Our house is close to the supermarket. He came down the hill.
sth./sb. is on each side
by close to down
near near from high to low the place where it starts
Do you come from Tokyo?
in front of
the part that is in the direction it faces opposite of outside entering sth. close to beside away from sth. moving to a place on the other side leaving sth. opposite of inside above sth./sb. going near sth./sb. in a circle going from one point to the other point
Our house is in front of the supermarket.
inside into near next to off onto opposite out of outside over past round
You shouldn't stay inside the castle. You shouldn't go into the castle. Our house is near the supermarket. Our house is next to the supermarket. The cat jumped off the roof. The cat jumped onto the roof. Our house is opposite the supermarket. The cat jumped out of the window. Can you wait outside? The cat jumped over the wall. Go past the post office. We're sitting round the campfire.
You shouldn't walk through the forest.
I like going to Australia. to towards sth./sb. Can you come to me? I've never been to Africa. We ran towards the castle. The cat is under the table.
in the direction of sth. below sth.
from low to high
He went up the hill.
Article (grammar) An article (abbreviated art) is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun, in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope. The articles in the English language are the and a/an, and (in some contexts) some. 'An' and 'a' are modern forms of the Old English 'an', which in Anglian dialects was the number 'one' (compare 'on', in Saxon dialects) and survived into Modern Scots as the number 'ane'. Both 'on' (respelled 'one' by the Normans) and 'an' survived into Modern English, with 'one' used as the number and 'an' ('a', before nouns that begin with a consonant sound) as an indefinite article. In some languages, articles are a special part of speech, which cannot easily be combined with other parts of speech. It is also possible for articles to be part of another part of speech category such as determiner, an English part of speech category that combines articles and demonstratives (such as 'this' and 'that'). In languages that employ articles, every common noun, with some exceptions, is expressed with a certain definiteness (e.g., definite or indefinite), just as many languages express every noun with a certain grammatical number (e.g., singular or plural). Every noun must be accompanied by the article, if any, corresponding to its definiteness, and the lack of an article (considered a zero article) itself specifies a certain definiteness. This is in contrast to other adjectives and determiners, which are typically optional. This obligatory nature of articles makes them among the most common words in many languages—in English, for example, the most frequent word is the.  Types Articles are usually characterized as either definite or indefinite. A few languages with well-developed systems of articles may distinguish additional subtypes. Within each type, languages may have various forms of each article, according to grammatical attributes such as gender, number, or case, or according to adjacent sounds.  Definite article A definite article indicates that its noun is a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. It may be something that the speaker has already mentioned, or it may be something uniquely specified. The definite article in English, for both singular and plural nouns, is the.
The children know the fastest way home. The sentence above refers to specific children and a specific way home; it contrasts with the much more general observation that: Children know the fastest way home. The latter sentence refers to children in general, perhaps all or most of them. Likewise, Give me the book refers to a specific book whose identity is known or obvious to the listener; as such it has a markedly different meaning from Give me a book which does not specify what book is to be given. The definite article can also be used in English to indicate a specific class among other classes: The cabbage white butterfly lays its eggs on members of the Brassica genus.  Indefinite article An indefinite article indicates that its noun is not a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. It may be something that the speaker is mentioning for the first time, or its precise identity may be irrelevant or hypothetical, or the speaker may be making a general statement about any such thing. English uses a/an, from the Old English forms of the number 'one', as its primary indefinite article. The form an is used before words that begin with a vowel sound (even if spelled with an initial consonant, as in an hour), and a before words that begin with a consonant sound (even if spelled with a vowel, as in a European). She had a house so large that an elephant would get lost without a map. Before some words beginning with a pronounced (not silent) h in an unstressed first syllable, such as hallucination, hilarious, historic(al), horrendous, and horrific, some (especially older) British writers prefer to use an over a (an historical event, etc.). An is also preferred before hotel by some writers of British English (probably
reflecting the relatively recent adoption of the word from French, where the h is not pronounced). The use of "an" before words beginning with an unstressed "h" is more common generally in British English than American. American writers normally use a in all these cases, although there are occasional uses of an historic(al) in American English. According to the New Oxford Dictionary of English, such use is increasingly rare in British English too. Unlike British English, American English typically uses an before herb, since the h in this word is silent for most Americans. The word some is used as a functional plural of a/an. "An apple" never means more than one apple. "Give me some apples" indicates more than one is desired but without specifying a quantity. This finds comparison in Spanish, where the singular indefinite article 'uno/una' ("one") is completely indistinguishable from the unit number, but where it has a plural form ('unos/unas'): Dame una manzana" ("Give me an apple") > "Dame unas manzanas" ("Give me some apples"). However, some also serves as a quantifier rather than as a plural article, as in "There are some apples there, but not many." Some also serves as a singular indefinite article, as in "There is some person on the porch". This usage differs from the usage of a(n) in that some indicates that the identity of the noun is unknown to both the listener and the speaker, while a(n) indicates that the identity is unknown to the listener without specifying whether or not it is known to the speaker. Thus There is some person on the porch indicates indefiniteness to both the listener and the speaker, while There is a person on the porch indicates indefiniteness to the listener but gives no information as to whether the speaker knows the person's identity.  Partitive article A partitive article is a type of indefinite article used with a mass noun such as water, to indicate a non-specific quantity of it. Partitive articles are used in French and Italian in addition to definite and indefinite articles. The nearest equivalent in English is some, although this is considered a determiner and not an article. . Haida has a partitive article (suffixed -gyaa) referring to "part of something or... to
one or more objects of a given group or category," e.g. tluugyaa uu hal tlaahlaang 'he is making a boat (a member of the category of boats).'  Negative article A negative article specifies none of its noun, and can thus be regarded as neither definite nor indefinite. On the other hand, some consider such a word to be a simple determiner rather than an article. In English, this function is fulfilled by no, which can appear before a singular or plural noun: No man is an island. No dogs are allowed here.  Zero article See also: Zero-marking in English#Zero articles The zero article is the absence of an article. In languages having a definite article, the lack of an article specifically indicates that the noun is indefinite. Linguists interested in X-bar theory causally link zero articles to nouns lacking a determiner. In English, the zero article rather than the indefinite is used with plurals and mass nouns, although the word "some" can be used as an indefinite plural article. indefinite and definite articles only definite articles indefinite and postfixed definite articles only postfixed definite articles no articles
Degrees of Comparison Degrees of Comparison are used when we compare one person or one thing with another. There are three Degrees of Comparison in English. They are: 1. Positive degree.
2. Comparative degree. 3. Superlative degree. Let us see all of them one by one. 1.Positive degree. When we speak about only one person or thing,We use the Positive degree. Examples: • This house is big. In this sentence only one noun ―The house‖ is talked about. • He is a tall student. • This flower is beautiful. • He is an intelligent boy. Each sentence mentioned above talks about only one noun. The second one in the Degrees of Comparison is... 2.Comparative degree. When we compare two persons or two things with each other, We use both the Positive degree and Comparative degree. Examples: a. This house is bigger than that one. (Comparative degree) This house is not as big as that one. (Positive degree) The term ―bigger‖ is comparative version of the term ―big‖. Both these sentences convey the same meaning. b. This flower is more beautiful than that. (Comparative) This flower is not as beautiful as that. (Positive)
The term ―more beautiful‖ is comparative version of the term ―beautiful‖. Both these sentences convey the same meaning. c. He is more intelligent than this boy. (Comparative) He is not as intelligent as this boy. (Positive) The term ―more intelligent‖ is comparative version of the term ―intelligent‖. Both these sentences convey the same meaning. d. He is taller than Mr. Hulas. (Comparative) He is not as tall as Mr. Hulas. (Positive) The term ―taller‖ is comparative version of the term ―tall‖. Both these sentences convey the same meaning. The third one in the Degrees of Comparison is... 3.Superlative degree:
When we compare more than two persons or things with one another, We use all the three Positive, Comparative and Superlative degrees. Examples: a. This is the biggest house in this street. (Superlative) This house is bigger than any other house in this street. (Comparative) No other house in this street is as big as this one. (Positive) The term ―biggest‖ is the superlative version of the term ―big‖. All the three sentences mean the same meaning. b. This flower is the most beautiful one in this garden. (Superlative) This flower is more beautiful than any other flower in this garden. (Comparative)
No other flower in this garden is as beautiful as this one. (Comparative) The term ―most beautiful‖ is the superlative version of the term ―beautiful‖. All the three sentences mean the same meaning. c. He is the most intelligent in this class. (Superlative) He is more intelligent than other boys in the class. (Comparative) No other boy is as intelligent as this boy. (Positive) The term ―most intelligent‖ is superlative version of the term ―intelligent‖. Both these sentences convey the same meaning. d. He is the tallest student in this class. (Superlative) He is taller than other students in this class. (Comparative) No other student is as tall as this student. (Positive) The term ―tallest‖ is superlative version of the term ―tall‖. Both these sentences convey the same meaning.
*Degrees of Comparison are applicable only to Adjectives and Adverbs* *Nouns and verbs do not have degrees of comparisons* He is the tallest student in the class. The term ―tallest‖ is an adjective. Among the members of the group, Mr. Clinton speaks most effectively. The term ―effectively‖ is an adverb. All the terms used in the above-examples are either adjectives or adverbs. We have seen all the three Degrees of Comparison. Let us see their models.
Model -1: ―The best‖: Examples: i. This is the best hotel in this area. No other hotel is as better as this on in this area. No other hotel is as good as this one in this area. ii. Unemployment is the most serious problem facing our country. Unemployment is more serious than any other problem facing our country. No other problem facing our country is as serious as unemployment. Model-2: ―One of the best‖: Examples: i. Calcutta is one of the largest cities in India. Calcutta is large than most other cities in India. Very few cities in India are as large as Calcutta. ii. Satin Tendulkar is one of the best batsmen in the world. Satin Tendulkar is better than most other batsmen in the world. No other batman in the world is as good as Satin Tendulkar. Model-3: ―Not the best‖: Examples: i. This is not the best solution to the problem. ii. This is not better than few other solutions to this problem. iii. Other solutions to this problem are not as good as this one. ii. New York is not the largest city in America. New York is not bigger than many other cities in America. Few other cities in America are at least as large as New York.
Few adjectives and adverbs get their Comparative forms by simply getting ―more‖ before them. And their superlative terms, by getting ―most‖ before them. Examples: Beautiful..........more beautiful..........most beautiful Effective……….more effective………most effective Effectively………more effectively……….most effectively Enjoyable………….more enjoyable……….most enjoyable Useful……………….more useful………..most useful Different………..more different…………most different Honest………..more honest…………..most honest Qualified…………more qualified…………most qualified Few adjectives and adverbs get their Comparative forms by simply getting ―er‖ after them and their superlative terms, by getting ―est‖ after them. Examples: Hard……………..harder……………..hardest Big……………….bigger…………….biggest Tall……………..taller……………tallest Long………………longer………………longest Short……………..shorter……………….shortest Costly…………………costlier……………costliest Simple………………….simpler………….simplest Degrees of Comparison add beauty and varieties to the sentences.
Clauses What is a clause? A clause is a part of a sentence. There are two main types: independent (main clauses), dependent (subordinate clauses). Independent Clauses An independent clause is a complete sentence; it contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought in both context and meaning. For example: The door opened. Independent clauses can be joined by a coordinating conjunction to form complex or compound sentences. Co-ordinating Conjunctions and or yet but nor for so
For example: Take two independent clauses and join them together with the conjunction and: " The door opened." "The man walked in." = The door opened and the man walked in.
Dependent Clauses A dependent (subordinate) clause is part of a sentence; it contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. They can make sense on their own, but, they are dependent on the rest of the sentence for context and meaning. They are usually joined to an independent clause to form a complex sentence.
Dependent clauses often begin with a a subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun (see below) that makes the clause unable to stand alone. Subordinating Conjunctions after before in order that since though whenever whether although even if once so that unless where while as even though provided that than until whereas why because if rather than that when wherever
Relative Pronouns that who whose For example: The door opened because the man pushed it. Dependent clauses can be nominal, adverbial or adjectival. A nominal clause (noun clause) functions like a noun or noun phrase. It is a group of words containing a subject and a finite verb of its own and contains one of the following: that | if | whether For example:
which whoever whosever
whichever whom whomever
I wondered whether the homework was necessary.
Noun clauses answer questions like "who(m)?" or "what?"
An adverbial clause (adverb clause) is a word or expression in the sentence that functions as an adverb; that is, it tells you something about how the action in the verb was done. An adverbial clause is separated from the other clauses by any of the following subordinating conjunctions: after | although | as | because | before | if | since | that | though | till | unless | until | when | where | while For example:
They will visit you before they go to the airport.
Adverbial clauses can also be placed before the main clause without changing the meaning. For example:
Before they go to the airport, they will visit you.
!Note - When an adverb clause introduces the sentence (as this one does), it is set off with a comma. Adverb clauses answer questions like "when?", "where?", "why?" An adjectival clause (adjective clause or relative clause) does the work of an adjective and describes a noun, it's usually introduced by a relative pronoun: who | whom | whose | that | which For example:
I went to the show that was very popular.
This kind of clause is used to provide extra information about the noun it follows. This can be to define something (a defining clause), or provide unnecessary, but interesting, added information (a non-defining clause). For example:
The car that is parked in front of the gates will be towed away. (Defining relative clause.)
Information contained in the defining relative clause is absolutely essential in order for us to be able to identify the car in question.
My dog, who is grey and white, chased the postman. ( Non-defining relative clause)
A non-defining relative clause is separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. If you take away the non-defining clause the basic meaning of the sentence remains intact. For example:
My dog chased the postman.
Adjective clauses answer questions like "which?" or "what kind of?" Summary An adjective clause functions as an adjective (modifies a noun or pronoun); an adverb clause functions as an adverb (describes a verb, adjective or other adverb); a noun clause is used as a noun (subject of a verb, direct object, indirect object, predicate nominative or object of the preposition). !Note - The difference between a clause and a phrase is that a phrase does not contain a finite verb.
Relative Clauses A relative clause follows the noun it modifies. It is generally indicated by a relative pronoun at the start of the clause, although sometimes you can tell simply by word order. The choice of relative pronoun, or choice to omit one, can be affected by the following:Human or Non-human? We make a distinction between an antecedent that is a human — who(m) — and an
antecedent which is a non-human — which. Who(m) is used when the antecedent is a person. That is used to refer to either a person or thing. Which is used to refer to anything exept a person.
I met a man and a woman yesterday. The woman, who had long blonde hair, was very pretty. The man she was with, was the man that / who won the race. The race was the one that I lost. The man, to whom the winnings were given, was with the woman who was very pretty.
!Note - Whom is not used much in spoken English.
Restrictive or Non-restrictive? Restrictive relative clauses are sometimes called defining relative clauses, or identifying relative clauses. Similarly, non-restrictive relative clauses are called nondefining or non-identifying relative clauses. In English a non-restrictive relative clause is preceded by a pause in speech or a comma in writing, unlike a restrictive clause. For example:The builder, who erects very fine houses, will make a large profit. This example, with commas, contains a non-restrictive relative clause. It refers to a specific builder, and assumes we know which builder is intended. It tells us firstly about his houses, then about his profits. The builder who erects very fine houses will make a large profit. This second example uses a restrictive relative clause. Without the commas, the sentence states that any builder who builds such houses will make a profit.
Restrictive Human Subject Object After preposition Possessive Nonhuman who, that who, whom, that, Ø whom
Non-restrictive Human which, that which, that, Ø which whose, of which Nonhuman who who, whom which which
whom whose, of whom
which whose, of which
whose, of whom
Main verbs are also called "lexical verbs".
Main verbs have meaning on their own (unlike helping verbs). There are thousands of main verbs, and we can classify them in several ways:
Transitive and intransitive verbs
A transitive verb takes a direct object: Somebody killed the President. An intransitive verb does not have a direct object: He died. Many verbs, like speak, can be transitive or intransitive. Look at these examples: transitive:
I saw an elephant. We are watching TV. He speaks English.
He has arrived. John goes to school. She speaks fast.
A linking verb does not have much meaning in itself. It "links" the subject to what is said about the subject. Usually, a linking verb shows equality (=) or a change to a different state or place (>). Linking verbs are always intransitive (but
not all intransitive verbs are linking verbs).
Mary is a teacher. (mary = teacher) Tara is beautiful. (tara = beautiful) That sounds interesting. (that = interesting) The sky became dark. (the sky > dark) The bread has gone bad. (bread > bad)
Dynamic and stative verbs
Some verbs describe action. They are called "dynamic", and can be used with continuous tenses. Other verbs describe state (non-action, a situation). They are called "stative", and cannot normally be used with continuous tenses (though some of them can be used with continuous tenses with a change in meaning). dynamic verbs (examples):
hit, explode, fight, run, go
stative verbs (examples):
be like, love, prefer, wish impress, please, surprise hear, see, sound belong to, consist of, contain, include, need appear, resemble, seem
Regular and irregular verbs
This is more a question of vocabulary than of grammar. The only real difference between regular and irregular verbs is that they have different endings for their past tense and past participle forms. For regular verbs, the past tense ending and past participle ending is always the same: -ed. For irregular verbs, the past tense ending and the past participle ending is variable, so it is necessary to learn them by heart. regular verbs: base, past tense, past participle
look, looked, looked work, worked, worked
irregular verbs: base, past tense, past participle
buy, bought, bought cut, cut, cut
do, did, done
Here are lists of regular verbs and irregular verbs.
One way to think of regular and irregular verbs is like this: all verbs are irregular and the so-called regular verbs are simply one very large group of irregular verbs.
Often the above divisions can be mixed. For example, one verb could be irregular, transitive and dynamic; another verb could be regular, transitive and stative
List of English auxiliary verbs
The following English verb forms can appear as auxiliary verbs.:p.19; Note that some of these forms can also be used as main verbs. The main criterion used here for whether something is an auxiliary verb is whether it participates in subjectauxiliary inversion.
am, aren't (only in inversion, as in Aren't I running fast?), ain't, 'm (as in I'm) are, aren't, ain't, 're (as in you're) be (NB: this is an infinitive/imperative form and as such does not participate in subject inversion or tag questions) been better, had better, 'd better (as in You'd better go now) can, can't could, couldn't dare did, didn't do, don't does, doesn't had, hadn't, 'd (as in She'd gone out) has, hasn't, 's (as in She's gone out) have, haven't, 've (as in I've) is, isn't, 's (as in She's back) keep, (as in Keep writing) may, mayn't might, mightn't must, mustn't need, needn't ought (to), oughtn't (to) shall, shan't should, shouldn't used (to) was, wasn't were, weren't will, won't, 'll (as in she'll)
would, wouldn't, 'd (as in I'd go out)
The contracted forms can be stacked, e.g. I'd've told her to leave, or She'll've left already by the time you get there. Dare, need, used (to), and ought (to) are sometimes:p.19 considered auxiliaries, but they do not permit subject-auxiliary inversion in many dialects. When they are auxiliaries, they permit sentences such as Dare you go? (with nonauxiliary equivalent Would you dare to go?), Need you say this? (Do you need to say this?), Used we to go?, and Ought we to go through with this? ((Do we have to / Should we) go through with this?). When dare and need are used as auxiliaries, that use is always in either the interrogative or the negative (He dare not go; He need not go), neither the auxiliary nor the main verb conjugates for the third person singular, and the particle to is not included before the bare infinitive. However, Warner:p.8 rejects ought and used as auxiliaries because the subsequent infinitive form includes the particle to. Palmer:p.40 gives arguments for also including better or 'd better (or had better) as auxiliaries (as in the unconjugated He had better go, He had better not go, Had he better not go?). But Warner:p.3 does not include it.
Auxiliary Verbs are the verbs be, do, have, will when they are followed by another verb (the full verb) in order to form a question, a negative sentence, a compound tense or the passive.
The verb "be"
The verb be can be used as an auxiliary and a full verb. As an auxiliary we use this verb for compound tenses and the passive voice. Note that be is an irregular verb:
I am, he/she/it is, we/you/they are
I/he/she/it was, we/you/they were
You can tell that in the following sentences be is an auxiliary because it is followed by another verb (the full verb). (For progressive forms use the "-ing" form of the full verb; for passive voice, use the past participle of the full verb.) Progressive Forms
He is playing football.
He was playing football.
Present Perfect Progressive:
He has been playing football.
Past Perfect Progressive:
He had been playing football.
The house is/was built.
The house has/had been built.
The house will be built.
"be" as a full verb The verb be can also be a full verb. In this case, it's not followed by another verb. If be is used as a full verb, we do not need an auxiliary in negative sentences or questions.
They are fifteen years old.
They are not fifteen years old.
Are they fifteen years old?
The verb "have"
The verb have, too, can be used both as an auxiliary and as a full verb. As an auxiliary we use this verb to form compound tenses in active and passive voice. (Use the past participle of the full verb.) Compound Tenses - Active Voice
Present Perfect Simple:
He has played football.
Past Perfect Simple:
He had played football.
Present Perfect Progressive:
He has been playing football.
Past Perfect Progressive:
He had been playing football.
Compound Tenses - Passive Voice
The house has/had been built.
Note that have is an irregular verb, too:
I/we/you/they have, he/she/it has
"have" in positive sentences As a full verb have indicates possession. In British English, however, we usually use have got (have being the auxiliary, got the full verb).
I have a car.
I have got a car.
"have" in negative sentences and questions When we use have as a full verb, we must use the auxiliary do in negative sentences and questions. If we use have got, however, we do not need another auxiliary.
have as a full verb:
I do not have a car. Do I have a car?
have as an auxiliary verb:
I have not got a car. Have I got a car?
The verb "will"
The verb will can only be used as an auxiliary. We use it to form the future tenses.
The auxiliary verb "will"
He will not play football.
He will have played football.
The verb will remains the same for all forms (no "s" for 3rd person singular). The short form for negative sentences is won't.'
Examples: I will, he will I will not = I won't
The verb "do"
The verb do can be both an auxiliary and a full verb. As an auxiliary we use do in negative sentences and questions for most verbs (except not for be, will, have got and modal verbs) in Simple Present and Simple Past. (Use the infinitive of the full verb.) The auxiliary "do" in negative sentences
He does not play football.
He did not play football.
The auxiliary "do" in questions
Does he play football?
Did he play football?
The verb do is irregular:
I/we/you/they do, he/she/it does
The full verb "do" As a full verb we use do in certain expressions. If we want to form negative sentences or questions using do as a full verb, we need another do as an auxiliary.
She does her homework every day.
She doesn't do her homework every day.
Does she do her homework every day?
Sentences without the auxiliary "do"
In the following cases, the auxiliary do is not used in negative sentences/questions: the full verb is "be"
Example: I am not angry. / Are you okay?
the sentence already contains another auxiliary (e.g. have, be, will)
Example: They are not sleeping. / Have you heard that?
the sentence contains a modal verb (can, may, must, need, ought to, shall, should)
Example: We need not wait. / Can you repeat that, please?
the question asks for the subject of the sentence
Example: Who sings that song?
ADVERBS 1. Types of Adverbs 2. Comparison of Adverbs 3. Forming Adverbs from Adjectives
An adverb is a word that adds more to the meaning of a verb, an adjective or another adverb. I dreamt about you last night. (dreamt=verb; last night=adverb) The monster was incredibly ugly. (ugly=adjective; incredibly=adverb) The heart patient collapsed quite suddenly. (suddenly=adverb; quite=adverb)
An adverb is usually placed after the verb when it is used in a sentence as follow:
He called yesterday. The train will arrive soon. They struggled hard to reach the top. The patient is sleeping soundly.
Unlike adjectives, adverbs do not modify nouns. CORRECT: The woman has a beautiful daughter. (Adjective) INCORRECT: The woman has a beautifully daughter. (Adverb) CORRECT: She was still sad about it. (Adjective) INCORRECT: She was still sadly about it. (Adverb)
Some words can be both adverbs and adjectives as follow: far, hard, and long. It is important to distinguish how they are used. I don‘t live far away from here. (Adverb) Where I live isn‘t far from here. (Adjective) She worked quite hard. (Adverb) She found the work quite hard. (Adjective) If we exercise regularly, we may live longer. (Adverb) If we exercise regularly, we may live longer lives. (Adjective)
1. Types of Adverbs
Adverb of Time – This shows when an action or something is done or happens. It answers the question "When?" It is either placed at the beginning or at the end of a sentence. When they are at the beginning, they are often emphasized.
Example: I phoned you yesterday. Example: I saw her a few months ago. Example: Last week I saw them walking together.
Adverb of Place – This shows where an action or something is done or happens. It answers the question "Where?" Such adverbs are placed after the verb.
Example: I live here. / He fell down. / They are talking outside. / He walked in. Example: We met her in the zoo. Example: They like to walk along the river.
Adverb of Manner – This shows how an action or something is done. It answers the question "How?" The adverb is placed just after the verb when it is used in a sentence.
Example: She cried loudly. / He drives quickly. / She speaks softly.
Adverb of Degree or Quantity – This answers the questions, "To what degree?" or "How much?" It is usually placed before the adjective and the adverb.
Example: It is too dark for us to see anything. (Before adjective) Example: Last night it rained very heavily. (Before adverb)
Adverb of Frequency – This answers the question "How often?" Adverbs of frequency are very important because we often use them. Examples of these adverbs include: never, rarely, seldom, hardly ever, occasionally, sometimes, generally, usually, frequently, nearly always, often and ever. Also included are: quite, just, already, almost and nearly.
Example: He will never have finished in time. Example: Jane is rarely late for work. Example: Peter seldom reads the Bible. Example: Sue hardly ever wore lipstick. Example: We only write to each other very occasionally. Example: Sometimes he stays late in the office to complete his work. Example: The proposal is not generally acceptable to the public. Example: It is usually the man who proposes marriage.
Example: While overseas, he frequently phoned home. Example: She's not nearly always right although she thinks she's always right. Example: We always go to school by bus. Example: Sharon has often forgotten her books. Example: Does he ever come to play chess?
Affirmative Adverb (yes) and Adverb of negation (No) - examples of this adverb includes: yes, surely, certainly, indeed, by all means, no, not at all, by no means.
Example: I hope my parent just for once will say yes to my latest idea. Example: You must have heard about the haunted house surely? Example: Certainly we'll try to rid this place of the foul odour. Example: It would indeed help if I had a bodyguard. Example: By all means eat whatever you want, but I think you will not be able to finish all the food. Example: Oh no, not another breakdown at the traffic lights? Example: It is not at all certain that the match will take place. Example: It is by no means easy that we will finish it soon.
Interrogative Adverb (Question): When? Where? How? Why? How much/often?
Example: When was the last time you saw the accused? Example: Where have you been all the while? Example: How could you have overlooked all these mistakes? Example: Why do you have to do such a stupid thing?
Relative Adverb: when, where, how, why These words are the same in form as Interrogative Adverbs; but they are not questions.
Example: The time when he arrived is still unknown. Example: The scene where the accident occurred is close to the hospital.
Example: He is the only one who knows how to do it. Example: Nobody knows why he left in such a hurry
Conjunctions A conjunction is a word that "joins". A conjunction joins two parts of a sentence. Here are some example conjunctions: Coordinating Conjunctions and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so Subordinating Conjunctions although, because, since, unless
We can consider conjunctions from three aspects. Form Conjunctions have three basic forms:
Single Word for example: and, but, because, although Compound (often ending with as or that) for example: provided that, as long as, in order that Correlative (surrounding an adverb or adjective) for example: so...that
Function Conjunctions have two basic functions or "jobs":
Coordinating conjunctions are used to join two parts of a sentence that are grammatically equal. The two parts may be single words or clauses, for example: - Jack and Jill went up the hill.
- The water was warm, but I didn't go swimming.
Subordinating conjunctions are used to join a subordinate dependent clause to a main clause, for example: - I went swimming although it was cold.
Coordinating conjunctions always come between the words or clauses that they join. Subordinating conjunctions usually come at the beginning of the subordinate clause.
In this lesson we will look in more detail at
1. Coordinate conjunctions Coordinate conjunctions are used to join two similar grammatical constructions; for instance, two words, two phrases or two clauses. e.g. My friend and I will attend the meeting. Austria is famous for the beauty of its landscape and the hospitality of its people. The sun rose and the birds began to sing. In these examples, the coordinate conjunction and is used to join the two words friend and I, the two phrases the beauty of its landscape and the hospitality of its people, and the two clauses the sun rose and the birds began to sing. The most commonly used coordinate conjunctions are and, but and or. In addition, the words nor and yet may be used as coordinate conjunctions. In the following table, each coordinate conjunction is followed by its meaning and an example of its use. Note the use of
inverted word order in the clause beginning with nor.
and: in addition but: however or: alternatively nor: and neither yet: however
She tried and succeeded. They tried but did not succeed. Did you go out or stay at home? I did not see it, nor did they. The sun is warm, yet the air is cool.
As illustrated above, when a coordinate conjunction joins two verbs which have the same subject, the subject need not be repeated. For instance, in the example she tried and succeeded, the pronoun she acts as the subject for both the verb tried and the verb succeeded. It should also be noted that when a coordinate conjunction joins two verbs which do not have the same subject, the two coordinate clauses may be separated by a comma or semicolon, in order to make the meaning clear.
2. Correlative conjunctions
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs, in order to show the relationship between the ideas expressed in different parts of a
sentence. For instance, in the following example, the expression either ... or is used to indicate that the ideas expressed in the two clauses represent two alternative choices of action. e.g. Either you should study harder, or you should take a different course. The most commonly used correlative conjunctions are both ... and, either ... or and neither ... nor. In the table below, each pair of correlative conjunctions is accompanied by an example of its use. Note that in the construction if ... then, the word then can usually be omitted.
both ... and either ... or neither ... nor hardly ... when if ... then no sooner ... than
He is both intelligent and good-natured. I will either go for a walk or read a book. He is neither rich nor famous. He had hardly begun to work, when he was interrupted. If that is true, then what happened is not surprising. No sooner had I reached the corner, than the bus came.
not only ... but She is not only clever, but also hard-working. also rather ... than I would rather go swimming than go to the library.
scarcely ... when what with ... and whether ... or
Scarcely had we left home, when it started to rain. What with all her aunts, uncles and cousins, she has many relatives. Have you decided whether you will come or not?
3. Subordinate conjunctions
As has been seen in previous chapters, subordinate clauses may begin with relative pronouns such as that, what, whatever, which, who and whom, as well as with words such as how, when, where, wherever and why. In the following examples, the subordinate clauses are underlined. e.g. The house, which stood on a hill, could be seen for miles. I wonder how he did that. In addition, subordinate clauses may also begin with words which are commonly referred to as subordinate conjunctions. In the following examples, the subordinate conjunctions are printed in bold type. e.g. Because it was cold, I wore my winter coat. Let us wait until the rain stops. The subordinate conjunctions below are accompanied by their meanings and examples of use.
Subordinate Conjunctions As 1. because: As he is my friend, I will help him. 2. when: We watched as the plane took off. After 1. later in time: After the train left, we went home. Although or though 1. in spite of the fact that: Although it was after midnight, we did not feel tired. Before 1. earlier than: I arrived before the stores were open. Because 1. for the reason that: We had to wait, because we arrived early. For 1. for, because: He is happy, for he enjoys his work. If 1. on condition that: If she is here, we will see her. Lest 1. for fear that: I watched closely, lest he make a mistake. Note the use of the Subjunctive Mood in the clause with lest. Providing or provided
1. on condition that: All will be well, providing you are careful. Since 1. from a past time: I have been here since the sun rose. 2. as, because: Since you are here, you can help me. So or so that 1. consequently: It was raining, so we did not go out. 2. in order that: I am saving money so I can buy a bicycle. Note: When used with the meaning in order that, so is usually followed by that in formal English. e.g. I am saving money so that I can buy a bicycle. Supposing 1. if: Supposing that happens, what will you do? Than 1. used in comparisons: He is taller than you are. Unless 1. except when, if not: Unless he helps us, we cannot succeed. Until or till 1. up to the time when: I will wait until I hear from you. Whereas 1. because: Whereas this is a public building, it is open to everyone. 2. on the other hand: He is short, whereas you are tall. Whether 1. if: I do not know whether she was invited.
While 1. at the time when: While it was snowing, we played cards. 2. on the other hand: He is rich, while his friend is poor. 3. although: While I am not an expert, I will do my best. In addition, the following phrases are often used at the beginning of subordinate clauses. As if 1. in a similar way: She talks as if she knows everything. As long as 1. if: As long as we cooperate, we can finish the work easily. 2. while: He has lived there as long as I have known him. As soon as 1. immediately when: Write to me as soon as you can. As though 1. in a similar way: It looks as though there will be a storm. Even if 1. in spite of a possibility: I am going out even if it rains. In case 1. because of a possibility: Take a sweater in case it gets cold. Or else 1. otherwise: Please be careful, or else you may have an accident. So as to
1. in order to: I hurried so as to be on time.
Certain words, such as after, before, since and until may function either as prepositions or subordinate conjunctions. However it should be noted that in some cases different words must be used as prepositions and subordinate conjunctions, in order to express similar meanings. This is illustrated in the table below.
Differing Prepositions and Conjunctions
Meaning for this reason in spite of this at the time when in a similar way
Preposition because of despite during like
Conjunction because although while as if
In the following examples, the objects of the prepositions, and the verbs of the subordinate clauses are underlined. Preposition: They were upset because of the delay. Conjunction: They were upset because they were delayed. Preposition: Despite the rain, we enjoyed ourselves. Conjunction: Although it rained, we enjoyed ourselves. Preposition: We stayed indoors during the storm.
Conjunction: We stayed indoors while the storm raged. Preposition: It looks like rain. Conjunction: It looks as if it will rain. In the above examples, it can be seen that the prepositions because of, despite, during and like have the noun objects delay, rain and storm; whereas the subordinate conjunctions because, although, while and as if introduce subordinate clauses containing the verbs were delayed, rained, raged and will rain. It should be noted that like is sometimes used as a subordinate conjunction in informal English. e.g. It looks like it will rain. However, this use of like is considered incorrect in formal English Direct and I indirect Speech Direct Speech / Quoted Speech Saying exactly what someone has said is called direct speech (sometimes called quoted speech) Here what a person says appears within quotation marks ("...") and should be word for word. For example: She said, "Today's lesson is on presentations." or "Today's lesson is on presentations," she said.
Indirect Speech / Reported Speech Indirect speech (sometimes called reported speech), doesn't use
quotation marks to enclose what the person said and it doesn't have to be word for word. When reporting speech the tense usually changes. This is because when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too. For example: Direct speech Indirect speech "I'm going to the cinema", He said he was going to the he said. cinema.
Tense change As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense: (the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right): Direct speech Present simple She said, "It's cold." Present continuous She said, "I'm teaching English online." Present perfect simple She said, "I've been on the web since 1999." Present perfect continuous She said, "I've been teaching English for seven years." Past simple She said, "I taught online › Indirect speech Past simple She said it was cold.
Past continuous › She said she was teaching English online. Past perfect simple › She said she had been on the web since 1999. Past perfect continuous › She said she had been teaching English for seven years. › Past perfect She said she had taught online
yesterday." Past continuous She said, "I was teaching earlier." Past perfect She said, "The lesson had already started when he arrived." Past perfect continuous She said, "I'd already been teaching for five minutes."
yesterday. Past perfect continuous › She said she had been teaching earlier. Past perfect › NO CHANGE - She said the lesson had already started when he arrived. Past perfect continuous NO CHANGE - She said she'd › already been teaching for five minutes.
Modal verb forms also sometimes change: Direct speech will She said, "I'll teach English online tomorrow." can She said, "I can teach English online." must She said, "I must have a computer to teach English online." shall She said, "What shall we learn today?" may She said, "May I open a new browser?" Indirect speech would › She said she would teach English online tomorrow. could › She said she could teach English online. had to › She said she had to have a computer to teach English online. should › She asked what we should learn today. might › She asked if she might open a new browser.
!Note - There is no change to; could, would, should, might and ought
to. Direct speech Indirect speech "I might go to the cinema", He said he might go to the he said. cinema. You can use the present tense in reported speech if you want to say that something is still true i.e. my name has always been and will always be Lynne so:Direct speech "My name is Lynne", she said. Indirect speech She said her name was Lynne. or She said her name is Lynne. You can also use the present tense if you are talking about a future event. Direct speech (exact quote) "Next week's lesson is on reported speech ", she said. Indirect speech (not exact) She said next week's lesson is on reported speech.
Time change If the reported sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it to fit in with the time of reporting. For example we need to change words like here and yesterday if they have different meanings at the time and place of reporting. Today + 24 hours - Indirect speech
"Today's lesson is on presentations."
She said yesterday's lesson was on presentations.
Expressions of time if reported on a different day this (evening) › that (evening) today › yesterday ... these (days) › those (days) now › then (a week) ago › (a week) before the weekend before last / the previous last weekend › weekend here › there next (week) › the following (week) tomorrow › the next/following day In addition if you report something that someone said in a different place to where you heard it you must change the place (here) to the place (there). For example:At work At home "How long have you worked She asked me how long I'd here?" worked there.
Pronoun change In reported speech, the pronoun often changes. For example: Me "I teach English online." You She said she teaches English online.
Reporting Verbs Said, told and asked are the most common verbs used in indirect speech. We use asked to report questions:For example: I asked Lynne what time the lesson started. We use told with an object. For example: Lynne told me she felt tired. !Note - Here me is the object. We usually use said without an object. For example: Lynne said she was going to teach online. If said is used with an object we must include to ; For example: Lynne said to me that she'd never been to China. !Note - We usually use told. For example: Lynne told me that she'd never been to China. There are many other verbs we can use apart from said, told and asked. These include:accused, admitted, advised, alleged, agreed, apologised, begged, boasted, complained, denied, explained, implied, invited, offered, ordered, promised, replied, suggested and thought.
Using them properly can make what you say much more interesting and informative. For example: He asked me to come to the party:He invited me to the party. He begged me to come to the party. He ordered me to come to the party. He advised me to come to the party. He suggested I should come to the party.
Use of 'That' in reported speech In reported speech, the word that is often used. For example: He told me that he lived in Greenwich. However, that is optional. For example: He told me he lived in Greenwich. !Note - That is never used in questions, instead we often use if. For example: He asked me if I would come to the party.
Tag Questions A tag question is a special construction in English. It is a statement followed by a mini-question. The whole sentence is a "tag question", and the mini-question at the
end is called a "question tag". A "tag" is something small that we add to something larger. For example, the little piece of cloth added to a shirt showing size or washing instructions is a tag. We use tag questions at the end of statements to ask for confirmation. They mean something like: "Am I right?" or "Do you agree?" They are very common in English. The basic structure is: + Positive statement, Snow is white, Negative statement, You don't like me, negative tag? isn't it? + positive tag? do you?
Look at these examples with positive statements: positive statement [+] negative tag [-] personal pronoun (same as subject) you? we? you? you? notes:
You We You You
are have do
coming, finished, like like coffee, coffee,
are have do do
n't n't n't n't
like... won't = will not
I We He You
can must should
come, go, try are harder, English,
can must should are
't n't n't n't
I? we? he? you? no auxiliary for main verb be present & past
Look at these examples with negative statements: negative statement [-] positive tag [+] personal pronoun (same as subject) it? we? you? they?
It We You They
is have do will
n't never n't not
raining, seen like help, that, coffee,
is have do will
They I We He You John
wo can must should
n't never n't n't
report do tell drive are was n't not
us, it right, her, so fast, English, there,
will can must should are was
they? I? we? he? you? he?
Statements with negative adverbs The adverbs never, rarely, seldom, hardly, barely and scarcely have a negative sense. Even though they are in a positive statement, the feeling of the statement is negative. We treat statements with these words like negative statements, so the question tag is normally positive. Look at these examples:
He never came again, did he? She rarely comes, does she? You hardly ever come late, do you? I barely know you, do I? You can scarcely expect her to know that, can you?
Some more special cases: I am right, aren't I? You have to go, don't you? I have been answering, haven't I? Nothing came in the post, did it? Let's go, shall we? aren't I (not amn't I) you (do) have to go...
use first auxiliary
treat statements with nothing, nobody etc like negative statements let's = let us
He'd better do it, hadn't he?
he had better (no auxiliary)
Here are some mixed examples:
But you don't really love her, do you? This will work, won't it? Well, I couldn't help it, could I? But you'll tell me if she calls, won't you? We'd never have known, would we? The weather's bad, isn't it? You won't be late, will you? Nobody knows, do they?
Notice that we often use tag questions to ask for information or help, starting with a negative statement. This is quite a friendly/polite way of making a request. For example, instead of saying "Where is the police station?" (not very polite), or "Do you know where the police station is?" (slightly more polite), we could say: "You wouldn't know where the police station is, would you?" Here are some more examples:
You don't know of any good jobs, do you? You couldn't help me with my homework, could you? You haven't got $10 to lend me, have you?
Intonation We can change the meaning of a tag question with the musical pitch of our voice. With rising intonation, it sounds like a real question. But if our intonation falls, it sounds more like a statement that doesn't require a real answer: intonation You don't know where my wallet is, It's a beautiful view, do you? isn't it? / rising \ falling real question not a real question
Answers to tag questions A question tag is the "mini-question" at the end. A tag question is the whole sentence. How do we answer a tag question? Often, we just say Yes or No. Sometimes we may
repeat the tag and reverse it (..., do they? Yes, they do). Be very careful about answering tag questions. In some languages, an oposite system of answering is used, and non-native English speakers sometimes answer in the wrong way. This can lead to a lot of confusion! Answer a tag question according to the truth of the situation. Your answer reflects the real facts, not (necessarily) the question. For example, everyone knows that snow is white. Look at these questions, and the correct answers: tag question Snow is white, isn't it? Snow isn't white, is it? Snow is black, isn't it? Snow isn't black, is it? correct answer
Yes (it is).
the answer is the same in both cases - because snow IS WHITE! but notice the change of stress when the answerer does not agree with the questioner the answer is the same in both cases - because snow IS NOT BLACK!
Yes it is!
No it isn't!
No (it isn't).
In some languages, people answer a question like "Snow isn't black, is it?" with "Yes" (meaning "Yes, I agree with you"). This is the wrong answer in English! Here are some more examples, with correct answers:
The moon goes round the earth, doesn't it? Yes, it does. The earth is bigger than the moon, isn't it? Yes. The earth is bigger than the sun, isn't it? No, it isn't! Asian people don't like rice, do they? Yes, they do! Elephants live in Europe, don't they? No, they don't! Men don't have babies, do they? No. The English alphabet doesn't have 40 letters, does it? No, it doesn't.
Question tags with imperatives Sometimes we use question tags with imperatives (invitations, orders), but the sentence remains an imperative and does not require a direct answer. We use won't for invitations. We use can, can't, will, would for orders. imperative + question tag invitation Take a seat, won't you? Help me, can you? Help me, can't you? Close the door, would you? Do it now, will you? notes: polite quite friendly quite friendly (some irritation?)
less polite with negative imperatives only will is possible
Don't forget, will you?
Same-way question tags Although the basic structure of tag questions is positive-negative or negativepositive, it is sometimes possible to use a positive-positive or negative-negative structure. We use same-way question tags to express interest, surprise, anger etc, and not to make real questions.
So you're having a baby, are you? That's wonderful! She wants to marry him, does she? Some chance! So you think that's amusing, do you? Think again.
Negative-negative tag questions usually sound rather hostile:
So you don't like my looks, don't you
Sentences: Simple, Compound, and Complex
SIMPLE SENTENCE A simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought. In the following simple sentences, subjects are in yellow, and verbs are in green. A. Some students like to study in the mornings. B. Juan and Arturo play football every afternoon. C. Alicia goes to the library and studies every day. The three examples above are all simple sentences. Note that sentence B contains a compound subject, and sentence C contains a compound verb. Simple sentences, therefore, contain a subject and verb and express a complete thought, but they can also contain a compound subjects or verbs. COMPOUND SENTENCE FANBOYS A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinator. The coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. (Helpful hint: The first letter of each of the coordinators spells FANBOYS.) Except for very short sentences, coordinators are always preceded by a comma. In the following compound sentences, subjects are in yellow, verbs are in green, and the coordinators and the commas that precede them are in red. A. I tried to speak Spanish, and my friend tried to speak English. B. Alejandro played football, so Maria went shopping. C. Alejandro played football, for Maria went shopping. The above three sentences are compound sentences. Each sentence contains two independent clauses, and they are joined by a coordinator with a comma preceding it. Note how the conscious use of coordinators can change the relationship between the clauses. Sentences B and C, for example, are identical except for the coordinators. In sentence B, which action occurred first? Obviously,
"Alejandro played football" first, and as a consequence, "Maria went shopping. In sentence C, "Maria went shopping" first. In sentence C, "Alejandro played football" because, possibly, he didn't have anything else to do, for or because "Maria went shopping." How can the use of other coordinators change the relationship between the two clauses? What implications would the use of "yet" or "but" have on the meaning of the sentence? COMPLEX SENTENCE (BSAAWWWT) A complex sentence has an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or when or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which. In the following complex sentences, subjects are in yellow, verbs are in green, and the subordinators and their commas (when required) are in red. A. When he handed in his homework, he forgot to give the teacher the last page. B. The teacher returned the homework after she noticed the error. C. The students are studying because they have a test tomorrow. D. After they finished studying, Juan and Maria went to the movies. E. Juan and Maria went to the movies after they finished studying. When a complex sentence begins with a subordinator such as sentences A and D, a comma is required at the end of the dependent clause. When the independent clause begins the sentence with subordinators in the middle as in sentences B, C, and E, no comma is required. If a comma is placed before the subordinators in sentences B, C, and E, it is wrong. Note that sentences D and E are the same except sentence D begins with the dependent clause which is followed by a comma, and sentence E begins with the independent clause which contains no comma. The comma after the dependent clause in sentence D is required, and experienced listeners of English will often hear a slight pause there. In sentence E, however, there will be no pause when the independent clause begins the sentence.
COMPLEX SENTENCES / ADJECTIVE CLAUSES Finally, sentences containing adjective clauses (or dependent clauses) are also complex because they contain an independent clause and a dependent clause. The subjects, verbs, and subordinators are marked the same as in the previous sentences, and in these sentences, the independent clauses are also underlined. A. The woman who(m) my mom talked to sells cosmetics. B. The book that Jonathan read is on the shelf. C. The house which AbrahAM Lincoln was born in is still standing. D. The town where I grew up is in the United States. Adjective Clauses are studied in this site separately, but for now it is important to know that sentences containing adjective clauses are complex.
Synthesis of Sentences Synthesis of Sentences is the opposite of transformation of sentences and means combination of a number of simple sentences into one new sentence. That new sentence might be either simple sentence or a compound sentence or a complex sentence. The following are the chief ways of combining two or more Simple Sentences into one Simple Sentence. 1. By using a Participle: • He jumped up. He ran away. • Jumping up, he ran away. • He was tired of play. He sat down to rest. • Tired of play, he sat down to rest. • He is well versed in English. He was appointed as the English teacher in the school. • For his knowledge of English, he was appointed as English teacher
in the school Here you may find the Synthesis of Sentences into a simple sentence. 2. By using a noun or a phrase in apposition: • This is my friend. His name is Rama. • This is my friend Rama. • I spent two days in London. It is one of the most attractive places in England. • I spent two days in London, one of the most attractive places in England. • Buddhism was founded in 2500 years ago. It is one of the greatest religions. • Buddhism, one of the greatest religions, was founded in 2500 years ago. Here you may find the Synthesis of Sentences into a simple sentence. 3. By using a preposition with noun or gerund: • The moon rose. Their journey was not ended. • Before their journey was ended, the moon rose. • He has failed many times. He still hopes to win. • Having failed for many times, he still hopes to win. • Her husband died. She heard the news. She fainted. • On hearing the news of the death of her husband, she fainted. 4. By using, Nominative Absolute Construction: • The soldiers arrived. The mob dispersed. • The soldiers having arrived, the mob dispersed. • The town was enclosed by strong wall. The enemy was unable to capture it.
• The town having been enclosed by strong wall, the enemy was unable to capture it. Here you may find the Synthesis of Sentences into a simple sentence. 5. By using an infinitive: • I have some duties. I must perform them. • I have some duties to perform. • We must finish this exercise. There are still three sentences. • We have still three sentences in this exercise to finish. • He wanted to educate his son. He sent him to London. • He sent his son to London to educate him. • He is very fat. He can not run. • He is very fat to run. 6. By using an adverb or an Adverbial Phrase: • He deserved to succeed. He failed. • He failed undeservedly. • The sun set. The boys had not finished the game. • The boys had not finished the game by sunset. Here you may find the Synthesis of Sentences into a simple sentence. Several of these methods can be combined in the same sentence. • The sun rose. The fog dispersed. The general determined to delay no longer. He gave order to advance.
These four simple sentences may be combined to form a single simple sentence. • At sunrise, the fog having dispersed, the general, determined to delay no longer, gave the order to advance.
Introduction Words combine to make phrases, and phrases are one of the basic patterns out of which we build sentences.
A phrase is a group of words which acts as a single unit in meaning and in grammar, and is not built round a verb.
Phrases can have many different functions in a sentence. They are used as subjects, objects, complements, modifiers, or adverbials. Understanding phrasal patterns helps us to discuss and explain the effects in our own and others‘ writing. In the sentence: The strange green creatures with bobbing heads spoke.
the phrase the strange green creatures with bobbing heads acts as the subject of the verb spoke. The phrase is a single unit both in its meaning and in its grammar. the fragment the strange green is not a phrase, because it has no separate meaning and no grammatical function.
Expansion and heads A phrase is an expansion of one of the words inside it, which is called its head. For example, creatures is the head of the strange green creatures with bobbing heads. The words that expand the head of a phrase are its 'expanders', which
are generally the head's modifiers; for example, green modifies creatures. All this means is that green makes the meaning of creatures more precise - instead of meaning simply 'creatures', it means 'green creatures'. (For an expander which is not a modifier see Prepositional phrases.) There is a useful notation for showing heads and their expanders, in which the head is written higher than the modifiers, showing that it is the 'boss' and the expanders are its assistants, brought in to make the message more precise.
How long is a phrase? A phrase can be two words long: big dog Sometimes you will even see a single word referred to as a phrase. Or a phrase can be much longer: that lovely old pub by the bridge over the river Phrases within phrases Longer phrases are like Russian dolls – they contain a number of shorter phrases:
The phrases whose heads are by and over are prepositional phrases and will be explained below. The other notation shows the same structure in a different way:
These diagrams are both useful in revealing the way in which the larger phrase is built out of smaller parts, each of which helps to expand a word which is before or after it: river the river over the river the bridge over the river by the bridge over the river that lovely old pub by the bridge over the river
Noun phrases A noun phrase has a noun as its head. The modifiers may be: determiners possessives adjectives prepositional phrases He carried the bags She brought Mary's bags The heavy bags are downstairs The bridge over the river
The pub we went to
A noun phrase does the work of a noun in a sentence. It can be: the subject: the object: the complement: possessive the object of a preposition The red balloon soared upwards. I read that book about dinosaurs She wants to be a doctor. my best friend‘s father looked over the fence
Most sentences contain several noun phrases, which often determine the overall length and complexity of the whole sentence. This is why it‘s important to be able to focus attention on the noun phrases in a text, in order to discuss their structures and how they are used. Adjectival and adverbial phrases
Adjectival phrases have an adjective as their head. o e.g. good at ..., very tall Adverbial phrases have an adverb as their head. o e.g. very quickly
Adjectival phrases Adjectival phrases either
expand noun phrases or complete the verb (act as the complement)
They are really enthusiastic. They are keen on football.
The adjective enthusiastic is modified by the adverb really to form the adjectival phrase. It is the complement of the verb are. The adjective keen combines with the prepositional phrase, on football. The head of the phrase is keen, and the phrase describes the keen-ness, so it‘s an adjectival phrase. The adjective tall is modified by the adverb unusually to form the adjectival phrase. It expands the noun phrase the boy.
the unusually tall boy
At KS3 one main area of development with adjective phrases is likely to concern the use of prepositions and linking words (e.g. different from, conscious of, accustomed to, sufficiently big to). Adverbial phrases Like single adverbs, they modify verbs, adjectives or adverbs. For example: He opened it extremely easily. I'll do it quite soon. I ran so fast. He was quite unexpectedly kind. He came very surprisingly quickly. extremely easily quite soon so fast modifies opened modifies do modifies ran
quite modifies kind unexpectedly very surprisingly modifies quickly
Prepositional phrases Prepositional phrases have a preposition as their head: at lunchtime behind the fridge for an interview from eating too much in the drawer Heads and objects in prepositional phrases The preposition is usually followed by a noun or noun phrase lunchtime, the fridge, etc. This is called its object, because the preposition + object combination is rather like a verb + object (e.g. forgot lunchtime, opened the fridge). Why don't we treat the preposition as a modifier of the object? Because the preposition doesn't modify the object's meaning - for example, behind doesn't turn the fridge into a particular kind of fridge. In fact, the preposition sets up the meaning for the whole phrase, and the object makes it more precise. For example, behind picks out some place, and defines it in relation to something else - the fridge, Mary, the Houses of Parliament, depending on what the object may be. This is why we treat the preposition as the phrase's head. Adjectival and adverbial uses of prepostional phrases Think about the functions of the two preposition phrases in this sentence: The boy from the shop is waiting at the corner
from the shop :The head of this prepositional phrase is the preposition from. The function of the phrase is adjectival - it does the work of an adjective by describing the noun boy. It modifies the noun, answering the question: which boy? at the corner :The head of this prepositional phrase is the preposition at. The function of the phrase is adverbial - it does the work of an adverb by modifying the verb waiting. It answers the question: where is he waiting?
Adverbial prepositional phrases, like adverbs, modify verbs, adjectives, adverbs or prepositions, and answer the same range of questions as adverbs: How? in a hurry, with enthusiasm When? after the party, at midnight Where? at the station, near London Why? for my sake, because of the cold Adjectival prepositional phrases, like adjectives, modify nouns: for example, they tell you which boy: The boy in a hurry is waiting over there. The boy at the station told me. The boy from London lives here. The boy with red hair is called Ginger. The boy behind the shed is smoking. As some of these examples show, the same phrase can be adjectival or adverbial, depending on its function in the sentence.
The Garden of Phrases
A phrase is a group of related words that does not include a subject and verb. (If the group of related words does contain a subject and verb, it is considered a clause.) There are several different kinds of phrases. Understanding how they are constructed and how they function within a sentence can bolster a writer's confidence in writing sentences that are sound in structure and various in form. NOUN PHRASE A noun phrase comprises a noun (obviously) and any associated modifiers:
The long and winding road A noun phrase any associated modifiers
The modifiers that accompany a noun can take any number of forms and combination of forms: adjectives, of course ("the tall and brilliant professor"); a participial phrase ("the road following the edge of the frozen lake"); an infinitive phrase ("the first man to walk on the moon"); a modifying clause ("the presentation that he had made the day before"); and prepositional phrases ("the building next to the lodge, over by the highway"). [See below for definitions of participial, infinitive, and prepositional phrases.] Usually, a noun phrase will be all of a piece, all the words that compose it being contiguous with the noun itself. It is possible, however, for a noun phrase to be broken, to become what we call discontinuous. Sometimes part of the noun phrase is delayed until the end of the sentence so that that portion of the phrase (usually modifying phrases — participial or prepositional) can receive end weight or focus. In our first example, for instance (noun phrase in dark red) ,
Several accidents have been reported involving passengers falling from trains .
we could have put the entire noun phrase together: "Several accidents involving passengers falling from trains have been reported recently." Shifting the modifying phrases of the red-colored part of the phrase to the end puts additional emphasis on that part. Here are some other examples:
A rumor circulated among the staff that he was being promoted to Vice President . (instead of "A rumor that he was being promoted to Vice President circulated among the staff.") The time had come to stop spending money foolishly and to put something away for the future . (instead of "The time to stop spending money foolishly and to put something away for the future had come.") That hard drive was faulty that you sold me . (instead of "That hard drive that you sold me was faulty.") What business is it of yours? (instead of "What business of yours is it? ")
Clearly, there is nothing inherently wrong with a discontinuous noun phrase. One very good reason for a discontinuous noun phrase is to achieve a balance between a subject and its predicate:
The story is told that he was once a soldier in French Foreign Legion .
Without the discontinuous noun phrase in the sentence above, we end up with a twelve-word subject, a linking verb, and a one-word predicate — sort of lop-sided. Authority: A Grammar of Contemporary English by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. Longman Group: London. 1978. One thing you want to watch out for with noun phrases is the long compound noun phrase.* This is sometimes called the "stacked noun
phrase" or "packed noun phrase." It is common to find one noun modifying another: student body, book cover, water commission. But when we create a long string of such attributive nouns or modifiers, we create difficulties:
People who author web-pages have become aware of what is now known as the uniform resource locator protocol problem.
The difficulty we have here is knowing what is modifying what. Also, the reader keeps expecting the string to end, so the energy of the sentence (and our attention) dwindles into a series of false endings. Such phrases are a particular temptation in technical writing. Usually, the solution to an overly extended compound noun phrase is to take the last noun of the series and liberate it from the rest of the string (putting it at the beginning of the sentence) and then to turn at least one of the modifying nouns into a prepositional phrase:
The problem with the protocol of uniform resource locators is now recognized by people who author webpages as. . . .
(This is one situation in which making a sentence longer is probably an advantage.) A vocative — an addressed person's name or substitute name — is often a single word but sometimes takes the form of a noun phrase. A vocative is always treated as a parenthetical element and is thus set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma or a pair of commas (if it appears within the flow of a sentence). When vocatives are proper nouns (usually the case), they are also referred to as "nouns of address." Vocatives are like adverbs: they can pop up almost anywhere in the sentence. Do not, however, get into the habit of throwing commas at people's names; unless the name refers to someone who is actually being addressed, it is not a vocative and will not necessarily be parenthetical:
He told Jorge to turn the boat around. Jorge, turn the boat around
Quirk and Greenbaum enumerate four different kinds of vocatives: 1. Single names, with or without a title: Jorge, Mr. Valdez, Dr. Valdez, Uncle, Grandma. Dr. Valdez, will you please address the graduates? 2. The personal pronoun you (not a polite form of address): You, put down that gun! The second person pronoun is sometimes combined with other words (but the result is often rather rude and is never used in formal prose ["You over there, hurry up!" "You with the purple hair and silver nose rings, get back in line!"]) The indefinite pronouns can also serve as a vocative: Call an ambulance, somebody! Quick, anybody! Give me a hand! 3. Appellatives (what we call people) of endearment ("Darling," "Sweetheart," "My dear," "Love") Come sit next to me, my dear.; of respect ("Sir," "Madam," "Your Honor," "Ladies and gentlemen") I would ask you, Sir, never to do that again.; of profession or status ("Professor," "Mr. President," "Madam Chairman," "Coach") Please, Coach, let me play for a while. 4. Nominal clause: Whoever is making that noise, stop it now. Authority for this section: A University Grammar of English by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum. Longman Group: Essex, England. 1993. Used with permission; examples our own. PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, a noun or pronoun that serves as the object of the preposition, and, more often than not, an adjective or two that modifies the object. Ernest Hemingway apparently fell in love with the rhythms of his prepositional phrases at the beginning of his short story "Hills Like White Elephants":
The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. Close against the side of the station there was the warm shadow of the building and a curtain, made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this junction for two minutes and went on to Madrid. Prepositional phrases usually tell when or where: "in forty minutes," "in the sun, against the side, etc." Prepositional phrases can perform other functions, however: Except Jo, the children were remarkably like their father. A prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence constitutes an introductory modifier, which is usually a signal for a comma. However, unless an introductory prepositional phrase is unusually long, we seldom need to follow it with a comma. You may have learned that ending a sentence with a preposition is a serious breach of grammatical etiquette. It doesn't take a grammarian to spot a sentence-ending preposition, so this is an easy rule to get caught up on (!). Although it is often easy to remedy the offending preposition, sometimes it isn't, and repair efforts sometimes result in a clumsy sentence. Based on shaky historical precedent, the rule itself is a latecomer to the rules of writing. Those who dislike the rule are fond of recalling Churchill's rejoinder: <"That is nonsense up with which I shall not put." We should also remember the child's complaint (attributed to E.B. White): "What did you bring that book that I don't like to be read to out of up for?" APPOSITIVE PHRASE An appositive is a re-naming or amplification of a word that immediately precedes it. (An appositive, then is the opposite of an oppositive.) Frequently another kind of phrase will serve in apposition.
My favorite teacher, a fine chess player in her own right, has won several state-level tournaments. [Noun phrase as appositive] The best exercise, walking briskly, is also the least expensive. [Gerund phrase as appositive] Tashonda's goal in life, to become an occupational therapist, is within her grasp this year, at last. [Infinitive phrase as appositive]
ABSOLUTE PHRASE Usually (but not always, as we shall see), an absolute phrase (also called a nominative absolute) is a group of words consisting of a noun or pronoun and a participle as well as any related modifiers. Absolute phrases do not directly connect to or modify any specific word in the rest of the sentence; instead, they modify the entire sentence, adding information. They are always treated as parenthetical elements and are set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma or a pair of commas (sometimes by a dash or pair of dashes). Notice that absolute phrases contain a subject (which is often modified by a participle), but not a true finite verb.
Their reputation as winners secured by victory, the New York Liberty charged into the semifinals. The season nearly finished, Rebecca Lobo and Sophie Witherspoon emerged as true leaders. The two superstars signed autographs into the night, their faces beaming happily.
When the participle of an absolute phrase is a form of to be, such as being or having been, the participle is often left out but understood.
The season [being] over, they were mobbed by fans in Times Square.
[Having been] Stars all their adult lives, they seemed used to the attention.
Another kind of absolute phrase is found after a modified noun; it adds a focusing detail or point of focus to the idea of the main clause. This kind of absolute phrase can take the form of a prepositional phrase, an adjective phrase, or a noun phrase.
The old firefighter stood over the smoking ruins, his senses alert to any sign of another flare-up. His subordinates, their faces sweat-streaked and smudged with ash, leaned heavily against the firetruck. They knew all too well how all their hard work could be undone — in an instant.
It is not unusual for the information supplied in the absolute phrase to be the most important element in the sentence. In fact, in descriptive prose, the telling details will often be wrapped into a sentence in the form of an absolute phrase:
Coach Nykesha strolled onto the court, her arms akimbo and a large silver whistle clenched between her teeth. The new recruits stood in one corner of the gym, their uniforms stiff and ill fitting, their faces betraying their anxiety.
A noun phrase can also exist as an absolute phrase:
Your best friends, where are they now, when you need them? And then there was my best friend Sally — the dear girl — who has certainly fallen on hard times.
It might be useful to review the material on Misplaced Modifiers because it is important not to confuse an absolute phrase with a
misplaced modifier. INFINITIVE PHRASE An infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive — the root of the verb preceded by to — and any modifiers or complements associated with it. Infinitive phrases can act as adjectives, adverbs, and nouns.
Her plan to subsidize child care won wide acceptance among urban politicians. [modifies plan, functions as an adjective] She wanted to raise taxes. [noun-object of the sentence] To watch Uncle Billy tell this story is an eye-opening experience. [noun-subject of the sentence] To know her is to love her. [noun, predicate nominative] Juan went to college to study veterinary medicine. [tells us why he went, so it's an adverb]
GERUND PHRASE Gerunds, verbals that end in -ing and that act as nouns, frequently are associated with modifiers and complements in a gerund phrase. These phrases function as units and can do anything that a noun can do. Notice that other phrases, especially prepositional phrases, are frequently part of the gerund phrase.
Cramming for tests is not a good study strategy. [gerund phrase as subject] John enjoyed swimming in the lake after dark. [gerund phrase as object] I'm really not interested in studying biochemistry for the rest of my life. [gerund phrase as object of the preposition in ]
Reviewing the general uses of gerunds and infinitives might not be a bad idea. Click HERE.
PARTICIPIAL PHRASE Present participles, verbals ending in -ing, and past participles, verbals that end in -ed (for regular verbs) or other forms (for irregular verbs), are combined with complements and modifiers and become part of important phrasal structures. Participial phrases always act as adjectives. When they begin a sentence, they are often set off by a comma (as an introductory modifier); otherwise, participial phrases will be set off by commas if they are parenthetical elements.
The stone steps, having been worn down by generations of students, needed to be replaced. [modifies "steps"] Working around the clock, the firefighters finally put out the last of the California brush fires. [modifies "firefighters"] The pond, frozen over since early December, is now safe for ice-skating. [modifies "pond"]
Precis writing tips
The summary or précis of a passage has to be expressed in the fewest and clearest words possible. In a summary you should mention only important points and leave out all unnecessary details.
What is a good precis?
A summary or précis is the shortened form of a passage. A good summary should be complete in itself. It should be able to convey the ideas expressed in the original passage so that a reader who does not have enough time to read the original one should have no trouble getting the message. A summary should be brief, clear and precise. It should be brief, but it shouldn‘t be a number of disjointed simple sentences. A good summary should give ideas, facts or points in the order in which it appears in the original. Note that it is best to write summaries in the same tense as the original. The original passage may contain pieces of conversation. When you summarize it, all the sentences given in the direct speech should be changed into indirect. The summary should be in the writer‘s own words. As far as possible, avoid using the vocabulary used in the original. Also note that a summary shall not contain points not mentioned in the original.
How to summarize a given passage?
Read the given passage thoroughly and try to understand what it means. If you don‘t understand the passage after reading it once, read it twice or thrice. Try to find out what the passage is really about. And then provide a title for it. Underline important points in the passage. Prepare a sketch or outline summary, containing all the points which you have marked in the passage. Compare the outline with the original passage. If you have left out some points, add them. If the outline contains some unnecessary details, strike them out. Prepare your summary with the help of your notes. Don‘t refer to the original. Finally, read what you have written. Correct all spelling or grammatical errors if any.
Some important points
If the passage is in poetry, express its ideas in prose. Write the précis in simple language. Avoid lengthy sentences containing many clauses. Don‘t use phrases such as ‗the writer says‘, ‗I think‘ or ‗in my opinion‘.
Principles of Letter-Writing—Forms—Notes Many people seem to regard letter-writing as a very simple and easily acquired branch, but on the contrary it is one of the most difficult forms of composition and requires much patience and labor to master its details. In fact there are very few perfect letter-writers in the language. It constitutes the direct form of speech and may be called conversation at a distance. Its forms are so varied by every conceivable topic written at all times by all kinds of persons in all kinds of moods and tempers and addressed to all kinds of persons of varying degrees in society and of different pursuits in life, that no fixed rules can be laid down to regulate its length, style or subject matter. Only general suggestions can be made in regard to scope and purpose, and the forms of indicting set forth which custom and precedent have sanctioned. The principles of letter-writing should be understood by everybody who has any knowledge of written language, for almost everybody at some time or other has necessity to address some friend or acquaintance at a distance, whereas comparatively few are called upon to direct their efforts towards any other kind of composition. Formerly the illiterate countryman, when he had occasion to communicate with friends or relations, called in the peripatetic schoolmaster as his amanuensis, but this had one draw-back,—secrets had to be poured into an ear other than that for which they were intended, and often the confidence was betrayed. Now, that education is abroad in the land, there is seldom any occasion for any person to call upon the service of another to compose and write a personal letter. Very few now-a-days are so grossly illiterate as not to be able to read and write. No matter how crude his effort may be it is better for any one to write his own letters than trust to another. Even if he should commence,—"deer fren, i lift up my pen to let ye no that i hove been sik for the past 3 weeks, hopping this will findye the same," his spelling and construction can be excused in view of the fact that his intention is good, and that he is doing his best to serve his own turn without depending upon others. The nature, substance and tone of any letter depend upon the occasion that calls it forth, upon the person writing it and upon the person for whom it is intended. Whether it should be easy or formal in style, plain or ornate, light or serious, gay or grave, sentimental or matter-of-fact depend upon these three circumstances. In letter writing the first and most important requisites are to be natural and simple; there should be no straining after effect, but simply a spontaneous out-pouring of thoughts and ideas as they naturally occur to the writer. We are repelled by a person who is stiff and labored in his conversation and in the same way the stiff and labored letter bores the reader. Whereas if it is light and in a conversational vein it immediately engages his attention.
The letter which is written with the greatest facility is the best kind of letter because it naturally expresses what is in the writer, he has not to search for his words, they flow in a perfect unison with the ideas he desires to communicate. When you write to your friend John Browne to tell him how you spent Sunday you have not to look around for the words, or study set phrases with a view to please or impress Browne, you just tell him the same as if he were present before you, how you spent the day, where you were, with whom you associated and the chief incidents that occurred during the time. Thus, you write natural and it is such writing that is adapted to epistolary correspondence. There are different kinds of letters, each calling for a different style of address and composition, nevertheless the natural key should be maintained in all, that is to say, the writer should never attempt to convey an impression that he is other than what he is. It would be silly as well as vain for the common street laborer of a limited education to try to put on literary airs and emulate a college professor; he may have as good a brain, but it is not as well developed by education, and he lacks the polish which society confers. When writing a letter the street laborer should bear in mind that only the letter of a street-laborer is expected from him, no matter to whom his communication may be addressed and that neither the grammar nor the diction of a Chesterfield or Gladstone is looked for in his language. Still the writer should keep in mind the person to whom he is writing. If it is to an Archbishop or some other great dignitary of Church or state it certainly should be couched in terms different from those he uses to John Browne, his intimate friend. Just as he cannot say "Dear John" to an Archbishop, no more can he address him in the familiar words he uses to his friend of everyday acquaintance and companionship. Yet there is no great learning required to write to an Archbishop, no more than to an ordinary individual. All the laborer needs to know is the form of address and how to properly utilize his limited vocabulary to the best advantage. Here is the form for such a letter:
17 Second Avenue, New York City. January 1st, 1910. Most Rev. P. A. Jordan, Archbishop of New York. Most Rev. and dear Sir:— While sweeping the crossing at Fifth Avenue and 50th street on last Wednesday morning, I found the enclosed Fifty Dollar Bill, which I am sending to you in the hope that it may be restored to the rightful owner. I beg you will acknowledge receipt and should the owner be found I trust you will notify me, so that I may claim some reward for my honesty. I am, Most Rev. and dear Sir, Very respectfully yours, Thomas Jones.
Observe the brevity of the letter. Jones makes no suggestions to the Archbishop how to find the owner, for he knows the course the Archbishop will adopt, of having the finding of the bill announced
from the Church pulpits. Could Jones himself find the owner there would be no occasion to apply to the Archbishop. This letter, it is true, is different from that which he would send to Browne. Nevertheless it is simple without being familiar, is just a plain statement, and is as much to the point for its purpose as if it were garnished with rhetoric and "words of learned length and thundering sound." Letters may be divided into those of friendship, acquaintanceship, those of business relations, those written in an official capacity by public servants, those designed to teach, and those which give accounts of the daily happenings on the stage of life, in other words, news letters. Letters of friendship are the most common and their style and form depend upon the degree of relationship and intimacy existing between the writers and those addressed. Between relatives and intimate friends the beginning and end may be in the most familiar form of conversation, either affectionate or playful. They should, however, never overstep the boundaries of decency and propriety, for it is well to remember that, unlike conversation, which only is heard by the ears for which it is intended, written words may come under eyes other than those for whom they were designed. Therefore, it is well never to write anything which the world may not read without detriment to your character or your instincts. You can be joyful, playful, jocose, give vent to your feelings, but never stoop to low language and, above all, to language savoring in the slightest degree of moral impropriety. Business letters are of the utmost importance on account of the interests involved. The business character of a man or of a firm is often judged by the correspondence. On many occasions letters instead of developing trade and business interests and gaining clientele, predispose people unfavorably towards those whom they are designed to benefit. Ambiguous, slip-shod language is a detriment to success. Business letters should be clear, concise, to the point and, above all, honest, giving no wrong impressions or holding out any inducements that cannot be fulfilled. In business letters, just as in business conduct, honesty is always the best policy. Official letters are mostly always formal. They should possess clearness, brevity and dignity of tone to impress the receivers with the proper respect for the national laws and institutions. Letters designed to teach or didactic letters are in a class all by themselves. They are simply literature in the form of letters and are employed by some of the best writers to give their thoughts and ideas a greater emphasis. The most conspicuous example of this kind of composition is the book on Etiquette by Lord Chesterfield, which took the form of a series of letters to his son. News letters are accounts of world happenings and descriptions of ceremonies and events sent into the newspapers. Some of the best authors of our time are newspaper men who write in an easy flowing style which is most readable, full of humor and fancy and which carries one along with breathless interest from beginning to end. The principal parts of a letter are (1) the heading or introduction; (2) the body or substance of the letter; (3) the subscription or closing expression and signature; (4) the address or direction on the
envelope. For the body of a letter no forms or rules can be laid down as it altogether depends on the nature of the letter and the relationship between the writer and the person addressed. There are certain rules which govern the other three features and which custom has sanctioned. Every one should be acquainted with these rules.
The Heading has three parts, viz., the name of the place, the date of writing and the designation of the person or persons addressed; thus:
73 New Street, Newark, N. J., February 1st, 1910. Messr. Ginn and Co., New York Gentlemen:
The name of the place should never be omitted; in cities, street and number should always be given, and except when the city is large and very conspicuous, so that there can be no question as to its identity with another of the same or similar name, the abbreviation of the State should be appended, as in the above, Newark, N. J. There is another Newark in the State of Ohio. Owing to failure to comply with this rule many letters go astray. The date should be on every letter, especially business letters. The date should never be put at the bottom in a business letter, but in friendly letters this may be done. The designation of the person or persons addressed differs according to the relations of the correspondents. Letters of friendship may begin in many ways according to the degrees of friendship or intimacy. Thus:
My dear Wife: My dear Husband: My dear Friend: My darling Mother: My dearest Love: Dear Aunt: Dear Uncle: Dear George: etc.
To mark a lesser degree of intimacy such formal designations as the following may be employed:
Dear Sir: My dear Sir: Dear Mr. Smith: Dear Madam: etc.
For clergymen who have the degree of Doctor of Divinity, the designation is as follows:
Rev. Alban Johnson, D. D. My dear Sir: or Rev. and dear Sir: or more familiarly Dear Dr. Johnson:
Bishops of the Roman and Anglican Communions are addressed as Right Reverend.
The Rt. Rev., the Bishop of Long Island. or The Rt. Rev. Frederick Burgess, Bishop of Long Island. Rt. Rev. and dear Sir:
Archbishops of the Roman Church are addressed as Most Reverend and Cardinals as Eminence. Thus:
The Most Rev. Archbishop Katzer. Most Rev. and dear Sir: His Eminence, James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore. May it please your Eminence:
The title of the Governor of a State or territory and of the President of the United States is Excellency. However, Honorable is more commonly applied to Governors:—
His Excellency, William Howard Taft, President of the United States. Sir:— His Excellency, Charles Evans Hughes, Governor of the State of New York. Sir:— Honorable Franklin Fort, Governor of New Jersey. Sir:—
The general salutation for Officers of the Army and Navy is Sir. The rank and station should be indicated in full at the head of the letter, thus:
General Joseph Thompson, Commanding the Seventh Infantry. Sir: Rear Admiral Robert Atkinson, Commanding the Atlantic Squadron. Sir:
The title of officers of the Civil Government is Honorable and they are addressed as Sir.
Hon. Nelson Duncan, Senator from Ohio. Sir: Hon. Norman Wingfield, Secretary of the Treasury. Sir:
Hon. Rupert Gresham, Mayor of New York. Sir:
Presidents and Professors of Colleges and Universities are generally addressed as Sir or Dear Sir.
Professor Ferguson Jenks, President of .......... University. Sir: or Dear Sir:
Presidents of Societies and Associations are treated as business men and addressed as Sir or Dear Sir.
Mr. Joseph Banks, President of the Night Owls. Dear Sir: or Sir:
Doctors of Medicine are addressed as Sir: My dear Sir: Dear Sir: and more familiarly My dear Dr: or Dear Dr: as
Ryerson Pitkin, M. D. Sir: Dear Sir: My dear Dr:
Ordinary people with no degrees or titles are addressed as Mr. and Mrs. and are designed Dear Sir: Dear Madam: and an unmarried woman of any age is addressed on the envelope as Miss So-and-so, but always designed in the letter as
The plural of Mr. as in addressing a firm is Messrs, and the corresponding salutation is Dear Sirs: or Gentlemen: In England Esq. is used for Mr. as a mark of slight superiority and in this country it is sometimes used, but it is practically obsolete. Custom is against it and American sentiment as well. If it is used it should be only applied to lawyers and justices of the peace.
The Subscription or ending of a letter consists of the term of respect or affection and the signature. The term depends upon the relation of the person addressed. Letters of friendship can close with such expressions as:
Yours lovingly, Yours affectionately, Devotedly yours,
Ever yours, etc.
as between husbands and wives or between lovers. Such gushing terminations as Your Own Darling, Your own Dovey and other pet and silly endings should be avoided, as they denote shallowness. Love can be strongly expressed without dipping into the nonsensical and the farcical. Formal expressions of Subscription are:
Yours Sincerely, Yours truly, Respectfully yours,
and the like, and these may be varied to denote the exact bearing or attitude the writer wishes to assume to the person addressed: as,
Very sincerely yours, Very respectfully yours, With deep respect yours, Yours very truly, etc.
Such elaborate endings as
"In the meantime with the highest respect, I am yours to command," "I have the honor to be, Sir, Your humble Servant," "With great expression of esteem, I am Sincerely yours," "Believe me, my dear Sir, Ever faithfully yours,"
are condemned as savoring too much of affectation. It is better to finish formal letters without any such qualifying remarks. If you are writing to Mr. Ryan to tell him that you have a house for sale, after describing the house and stating the terms simply sign yourself
Your obedient Servant Yours very truly, Yours with respect, James Wilson.
Don't say you have the honor to be anything or ask him to believe anything, all you want to tell him is that you have a house for sale and that you are sincere, or hold him in respect as a prospective customer. Don't abbreviate the signature as: Y'rs Resp'fly and always make your sex obvious. Write plainly
Yours truly, John Field
and not J. Field, so that the person to whom you send it may not take you for Jane Field. It is always best to write the first name in full. Married women should prefix Mrs. to their names, as
Very sincerely yours, Mrs. Theodore Watson.
If you are sending a letter acknowledging a compliment or some kindness done you may say, Yours gratefully, or Yours very gratefully, in proportion to the act of kindness received. It is not customary to sign letters of degrees or titles after your name, except you are a lord, earl or duke and only known by the title, but as we have no such titles in America it is unnecessary to bring this matter into consideration. Don't sign yourself,
Sincerely yours, Obadiah Jackson, M.A. or L.L. D.
If you're an M. A. or an L.L. D. people generally know it without your sounding your own trumpet. Many people, and especially clergymen, are fond of flaunting after their names degrees they have received honoris causa, that is, degrees as a mark of honor, without examination. Such degrees should be kept in the background. Many a deadhead has these degrees which he could never have earned by brain work. Married women whose husbands are alive may sign the husband's name with the prefix Mrs: thus, Yours sincerely, Mrs. William Southey. but when the husband is dead the signature should be— Yours sincerely, Mrs. Sarah Southey. So when we receive a letter from a woman we are enabled to tell whether she has a husband living or is a widow. A woman separated from her husband but not a divorcee should not sign his name.
The address of a letter consists of the name, the title and the residence.
Mr. Hugh Black, 112 Southgate Street, Altoona, Pa.
Intimate friends have often familiar names for each other, such as pet names, nicknames, etc., which they use in the freedom of conversation, but such names should never, under any circumstances, appear on the envelope. The subscription on the envelope should be always written with propriety and correctness and as if penned by an entire stranger. The only difficulty in the envelope inscription is the title. Every man is entitled to Mr. and every lady to Mrs. and every unmarried lady to Miss. Even a boy is entitled to Master. When more than one is addressed the title is Messrs. Mesdames is sometimes
written of women. If the person addressed has a title it is courteous to use it, but titles never must be duplicated. Thus, we can write
Robert Stitt, M. D., but never Dr. Robert Stitt, M. D, or Mr. Robert Stitt, M. D.
In writing to a medical doctor it is well to indicate his profession by the letters M. D. so as to differentiate him from a D. D. It is better to write Robert Stitt, M. D., than Dr. Robert Stitt. In the case of clergymen the prefix Rev. is retained even when they have other titles; as
Rev. Tracy Tooke, LL. D.
When a person has more titles than one it is customary to only give him the leading one. Thus instead of writing Rev. Samuel MacComb, B. A., M. A., B. Sc., Ph. D., LL. D., D. D. the form employed is Rev. Samuel MacComb, LL. D. LL. D. is appended in preference to D. D. because in most cases the "Rev." implies a "D. D." while comparatively few with the prefix "Rev." are entitled to "LL. D." In the case of Honorables such as Governors, Judges, Members of Congress, and others of the Civil Government the prefix "Hon." does away with Mr. and Esq. Thus we write Hon. Josiah Snifkins, not Hon. Mr. Josiah Snifkins or Hon. Josiah Snifkins, Esq. Though this prefix Hon. is also often applied to Governors they should be addressed as Excellency. For instance:
His Excellency, Charles E. Hughes, Albany, N. Y.
In writing to the President the superscription on the envelope should be
To the President, Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C.
Professional men such as doctors and lawyers as well as those having legitimately earned College Degrees may be addressed on the envelopes by their titles, as
Jonathan Janeway, M. D. Hubert Houston, B. L. Matthew Marks, M. A., etc.
The residence of the person addressed should be plainly written out in full. The street and numbers should be given and the city or town written very legibly. If the abbreviation of the State is liable to be confounded or confused with that of another then the full name of the State should be written. In writing the residence on the envelope, instead of putting it all in one line as is done at the head of a letter, each item of the residence forms a separate line. Thus,
Liberty, Sullivan County, New York.
215 Minna St., San Francisco, California.
There should be left a space for the postage stamp in the upper right hand corner. The name and title should occupy a line that is about central between the top of the envelope and the bottom. The name should neither be too much to right or left but located in the centre, the beginning and end at equal distances from either end. In writing to large business concerns which are well known or to public or city officials it is sometimes customary to leave out number and street. Thus,
Messrs. Seigel, Cooper Co., New York City, Hon. William J. Gaynor, New York City.
Notes may be regarded as letters in miniature confined chiefly to invitations, acceptances, regrets and introductions, and modern etiquette tends towards informality in their composition. Card etiquette, in fact, has taken the place of ceremonious correspondence and informal notes are now the rule. Invitations to dinner and receptions are now mostly written on cards. "Regrets" are sent back on visiting cards with just the one word "Regrets" plainly written thereon. Often on cards and notes of invitation we find the letters R. S. V. P. at the bottom. These letters stand for the French repondez s'il vous plait, which means "Reply, if you please," but there is no necessity to put this on an invitation card as every well-bred person knows that a reply is expected. In writing notes to young ladies of the same family it should be noted that the eldest daughter of the house is entitled to the designation Miss without any Christian name, only the surname appended. Thus if there are three daughters in the Thompson family Martha, the eldest, Susan and Jemina, Martha is addressed as Miss Thompson and the other two as Miss Susan Thompson and Miss Jemina Thompson respectively. Don't write the word addressed on the envelope of a note. Don't seal a note delivered by a friend. Don't write a note on a postal card. Here are a few common forms:—
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wagstaff request the honor of Mr. McAdoo's presence on Friday evening, June 15th, at 8 o'clock to meet the
Governor of the Fort. 19 Woodbine Terrace June 8th, 1910.
This is an invitation to a formal reception calling for evening dress. Here is Mr. McAdoo's reply in the third person:—
Mr. McAdoo presents his compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wagstaff and accepts with great pleasure their invitation to meet the Governor of the Fort on the evening of June fifteenth. 215 Beacon Street, June 10th, 1910.
Here is how Mr. McAdoo might decline the invitation:—
Mr. McAdoo regrets that owing to a prior engagement he must forego the honor of paying his respects to Mr. and Mrs. Wagstaff and the Governor of the Fort on the evening of June fifteenth. 215 Beacon St., June 10th, 1910.
Here is a note addressed, say to Mr. Jeremiah Reynolds.
Mr. and Mrs. Oldham at home on Wednesday evening October ninth from seven to eleven. 21 Ashland Avenue, October 5th.
Mr. Reynolds makes reply:—
Mr. Reynolds accepts with high appreciation the honor of Mr. and Mrs. Oldham's invitation for Wednesday evening October ninth. Windsor Hotel October 7th
Mr. Reynolds regrets that his duties render it impossible for him to accept Mr. and Mrs. Oldham's kind invitation for the evening of October ninth. Windsor Hotel, October 7th,
Sometimes less informal invitations are sent on small specially designed note paper in which the first person takes the place of the third. Thus
360 Pine St., Dec. 11th, 1910. Dear Mr. Saintsbury: Mr. Johnson and I should be much pleased to
have you dine with us and a few friends next Thursday, the fifteenth, at half past seven. Yours sincerely, Emma Burnside.
Mr. Saintsbury's reply:
57 Carlyle Strand Dec. 13th, 1910. Dear Mrs. Burnside: Let me accept very appreciatively your invitation to dine with Mr. Burnside and you on next Thursday, the fifteenth, at half past seven. Yours sincerely, Henry Saintsbury. Mrs. Alexander Burnside.
NOTES OF INTRODUCTION
Notes of introduction should be very circumspect as the writers are in reality vouching for those whom they introduce. Here is a specimen of such a note.
603 Lexington Ave., New York City, June 15th, 1910. Rev. Cyrus C. Wiley, D. D., Newark, N. J. My dear Dr. Wiley: I take the liberty of presenting to you my friend, Stacy Redfern, M. D., a young practitioner, who is anxious to locate in Newark. I have known him many years and can vouch for his integrity and professional standing. Any courtesy and kindness which you may show him will be very much appreciated by me. Very sincerely yours, Franklin Jewett. Top of page
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