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Adjectives are used to describe nouns. They give more details or information about the nouns they are associated with. A: Tell me about your boyfriend B: Well, he is tall, dark, and handsome. A: Sounds like mine. Adjectives can be used to answer the questions What kind (of) or Which one? A: Hi. I'm calling about the car you're selling? B: It's a great car. (It's) in excellent condition. A: What kind of seats does it have? B: They're very comfortable seats, (soft, plush, just like a sofa.) A: Uh. I think I'll sleep on it. A: Hand me a book. B: Which one do you want? A: The red book. The red one.

Adjectives come before the nouns they modify (not after). Three happy hippies lived in the Heartquake Hotel. WRONG: Three hippies happy lived in the Heartquake Hotel. Adjectives can also be used with linking verbs to describe the subject of a sentence. When used in this manner, the adjective(s) come after the linking verb. My mother is tall and slender. WRONG: My mother tall and slender. (No linking verb.) Seem, become, appear, and verbs of perceptioncan also be used as linking verbs. Note how they are used with adjectives in the following. Can you identify the linking verbs and the adjectives? The journey seemed long. (It appeared strenuous and boring.)

You smell nice today. What kind of cologne are you wearing? A: What do you want to do this weekend? Bowling? Shopping? A movie? B: Bowling sounds good.

CAUTION/BE CAREFUL: Tom looked greedy. (He appeared to be a greedy person.) The adjective greedy is used to describe Tom. Tom looked greedily at the pie on the table. (He saw it and wanted it for himself.) The adverb greedily is used to describe Tom's action.

Adjectives are the same for all nouns. They do not change for plurals. Example: Three tired tigers tried to tie a triangular tie. Not: Not three tireds tigers.

Adverbs are used to describe actions. They may come before or after a verb, but not between a verb and its object. Mrs.Jenner sang softly. (Most common word order.) Mrs. Jenner softly sang. (Also possible.) Mrs. Jenner softly sang a lullaby. Mrs. Jenner sang a lullaby softly. Mrs. Jenner sang softly a lullaby. (Not correct.) Adverbs may come between a main verb and its auxiliaries. Mrs. Jenner is softly singing a lullaby. Mrs. Jenner softly is singing a lullaby. (Not correct.) Mrs. Jenner has been softly singing that lullaby for a long time.

Some time and frequency adverbs are movable. That is, they can be placed at various points in a sentence. Yesterday I visited the dentist. I visited the dentist yesterday. Jack Prompt is here already. Jack Prompt is already here.

Even though some adverbs can be used in certain sentence positions, others can not. I yesterday visited the dentist. (Not okay.) I already visited the dentist. (Okay.) Already I visited the dentist. (Not okay.) Adverbs such as quite, very, really, extremely, and absolutely are used to modify adjectives and other adverbs. They come directly before the words they describe. Greg is quite happy with his new boss. Sue eats very slowly. Youre absolutely right! Many adverbs can be formed by adding ly to adjectives: Carl is a quick runner. Carl runs quickly. Some adverbs are identical to adjectives in form. Others are completely different. Carl is a fast runner. (Adjective) Carl runs fast. (Adverb) Jill is a good student. (Adjective) Jill studies well. (Adverb)

Be careful with words like hardly and lately, which have no relation to the adjectives/adverbs hard and late.


<br> Adverbs are words or groups of words which tell time, place, frequency or manner. I ate my lunch yesterday. She went there.

I ate at that restaurant last week. She went downtown. Prepositions are usually followed by objects in prepositional phrases. They can also be used to indicate time, place, frequency, duration, reason, manner, or to show contrast. I ate my lunch at noon. She went to the store. I ate in the cafeteria. She walked into the house. *Do not use adverbs as objects of prepositions. Incorrect: Correct: I went to somewhere. I was busy at last night. John works in downtown. I went somewhere. I was busy last night. John works downtown.

She came to home on yesterday. She came home yesterday Be careful with words such as home, downtown, today, next/last week, etc. which are sometimes used as adverbs and sometimes used as nouns. As adverbs As nouns I will go back tomorrow. She went home last night. Next week I will travel to Iowa. Tomorrow is another day. They built a home in Oregon.

Next week is my vacation. Grammar: Adverbs See also: Grammar: Prepositions of Location If you have questions or comments about this page, please contact us. Be sure to include the title of this page in the Subject line of your e-mail.


<br> >Basic Modals Click for Audio Modal auxiliary verbs are used to moderate the main verb, that is to enhance or restrict the verb to a certain context. The most common modal auxiliaries in English are: can could may should might will must would

Notice the usage of modals in the following sentences: I pay my taxes. I can pay my taxes. I might pay my taxes. I will pay my taxes. I should pay my taxes. I could pay my taxes. I would pay my taxes. I must pay my taxes. General declaration of fact. Paying taxes is something I normally do. Expresses ability. I have the means (funds) to pay. Expresses possibility, but not certainty. Maybe I will pay; maybe I won't. Expresses future intent. I resolve to do it at some later time. Expresses mild obligation. It is required, and I expect to comply. Expresses possibility. If I have nothing else to do with the money, I might pay taxes. (In this case), expresses reservation. If I had the money (but I don't). . . Expresses strong obligation. I am required and have to comply.

Modals are followed by only the base form of the verb and are not used alone unless there is a clear connection to a main verb. He must to finish his homework. He must finish his homework. Jack could heard the bell. Jack could hear the bell. Penny will going to the movie. Penny will go to the movie. WRONG RIGHT WRONG RIGHT WRONG RIGHT

There are many ways to make requests in English. The most common involves using the imperative and modals. See the examples below: Using the Imperative The imperative is the simple form of the verb. The subject of an imperative sentence is understood as "you" although it is usually not spoken. Open the door. Will you help me? Pick up your toys. Please help me. (You) open the door. Yes, I will (help you). (You) pick up your toys. (You) please help me.

The imperative is often used by persons of authority when speaking to subordinates, e.g. parent to child. Using Modals To show respect and politeness, most people use modal expressions when making requests. For example: Will you...? Would you...? Will you open the door for me? Would you open the door for me?

Would you please...? Could you (please)...? Could you possibly...?

Would you please open the door (for me)? Could you (please)...? Could you (please) open the door? Could you possibly open the door?

Would you kindly...? Would you kindly open the door? Would you mind (Ving )...? Would you mind opening the door? Would you be so kind as to...? Would you be so kind as to open the door?

Common Problems with Modals 1. Using "to" unnecessarily: Incorrect They going to meet us at the theater. He should to eat his dinner. I had better to go now. You must not to use that pencil. Correct They are going to meet us at the theater. He should eat his dinner. I had better go now.

You must not use that pencil. 2. Using anything but the base form after a modal: John could heard the bell. John could hear the bell. Penny will going to the movie. 3. Using double modals: You should ought to speak English. She might can help me. 4. Omitting "be" in certain modal expressions: They going to meet us at the theater. Jack supposed to take his medicine. 5. Using wrong word order in questions: How I can help you? Where I should go for the meeting? They are going to meet us at the theater. Penny will go to the movie. You ought to speak English. /should speak She might be able to help me.

Jack is supposed to take his medicine. How can I help you? Where should I go for the meeting?

See also: Grammar: Common Modal Usage Vocabulary: Simple Modals Modal Verb Introduction (from If you have questions or comments about this page, please contact us. Be sure to include the title of this page in the Subject line of your e-mail.


There are five basic patterns around which most English sentences are built.* They are as follows: S-V Subject-Verb John sleeps. Jill is eating. Jack will arrive next week. S-V-O Subject-Verb-Object I like rice. She loves her job. He's eating an orange. S-V-Adj Subject-Verb-Adjective He is funny. The workers are lazy. Karen seems angry. S-V-Adv Subject-Verb-Adverb Jim is here. Flowers are everywhere. No one was there. S-V-N Subject-Verb-Noun She is my mom. The men are doctors. Mr. Jones is the teacher. At the heart of every English sentence is the Subject-Verb relationship. Other elements can be added to make a sentence more interesting, but they are not essential to its formation.

The following sentences are examples of the S-V pattern. She sleeps. She sleeps soundly. She sleeps on the sofa. She sleeps every afternoon. She is sleeping right now. Mary will sleep later. Core sentence An adverb is added to describe how she sleeps. A prepositional phrase is added to tell where she sleeps. A time expression is added to tell when she sleeps. Verb tense is changed, but S-V relationship remains the same. Subject is named and another tense is used.

The dogs are sleeping in the New subject may require a different form of the verb. garage. Note: Any action verb can be used with this sentence pattern.

The following sentences are examples of the S-V-O pattern. They like rice. The people like rice. The friendly people like rice. The people in the restaurant like rice. The people like boiled rice. The people like hot, white rice. Core sentence Specific subject Subject modified with an adjective Subject modified with an adjective Object modified with an adjective Object modified with more than one adjective

Note: Only transitive action verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.

The following sentences are examples of the S-V-Adj pattern. He is fine. He seems happy. Basic sentence with "be" verb Basic sentence with another linking verb

Jordan is tall, dark and handsome. Series of adjectives He appears very comfortable. George became sick last night. Adverb or intensifier added Different tense and linking verb

Note: Only linking verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.

The following sentences are examples of the S-V-Adv pattern. The teacher is here. The teacher is over there. Teachers are everywhere. The teachers are in the lobby. Basic sentence Using an adverb phrase Plural noun and verb used Prepositional phrase functioning as adverb

Note: Only linking verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.

The following sentences are examples of the S-V-N pattern. The man is a doctor. The women are doctors. My father is a nice guy. Basic sentence Using plural noun and verb Modified subject and complement

My grandparents are senior Modified plural subject and complement citizens. Note: Only linking verbs can be used with this sentence pattern.

*Other, less common structures are dealt with in another unit.

See also: Grammar: Noun and Verb Phrases If you have questions or comments about this page, please contact us. Be sure to include the title of this page in the Subject line of your e-mail.


<br> Conjunctions and Linking Words

Click for Audio Coordinators Coordinators connect elements of equal importance. S + V , but (and, but, so, or, nor, for*, yet) S+V S + V and V S and S + V N and N Adj. and Adj. Phrase and Phrase Can be used in a series: A, B, C, or D

Subordinators Subordinators connect elements of unequal importance. One clause is not as strong as the other. S + V although S + V (although, even though, because, since*, when, while, before*, after*, whenever, wherever*, if, unless, whether?[or not] as, as [adjective] as, so that, whereas anywhere*, anytime*) Although S + V , S + V Sentence Connectors Sentence Connectors connect paragraphs or show relationship between very different ideas. S + V . However, S + V (however, therefore, thus, moreover, nevertheless, first*, then*, next*, still* S + V ; however, S + V besides, consequently, furthermore) Prepositions Prepositions show relationship among elements of a sentence. They are followed by noun phrases only and cannot take on a S + V. S + V (prep. phrase) (during, after*, before*, in, on, at despite, in spite of, for*, since*, by (Prep. phrase), S + V like, except, but*, about, to*, from between [A and B], among, with (Prep. phrase) V + S (unusual) within, without, beside, near, next to) * These words have more than one function.

See also: Grammar: Coordinators Grammar: Subordinators


<br> Everyday vs. Every Day Click for Audio Explanation Everyday is an adjective meaning "daily." Every day is a time expression meaning "each day" or "regularly." Examples Note the difference in the following sentences: 1. Jane goes to class every day (each day) 2. Jane has an everyday class. (a daily class) Common Errors The most common error is writing "every day" as one word (everyday) as in the following sentences: 1. I used to jog three miles everyday (Incorrect) 2. I used to jog three miles every day. (Correct)


<br> Frequency Adverbs Click for Audio The most common frequency adverbs in English are: Always 100% of the time Frequently Usually Often Sometimes Occasionally Seldom Rarely Never about 90% of the time about 80% of the time about 70% of the time about 50% of the time about 40% of the time about 20% of the time about 10% of the time about 00% of the time

Note: The percentages here are rough estimates only. Frequency adverbs can be placed at various points in the sentence, but are most commonly used before the main verbs and after be verbs. I always come to work on time. They are seldom home when we call. He's usually eating breakfast at this time. She's never been to Maine. A: Do you come here often? B: Yes. I'm here occasionally. A: What do you usually do here? B: Sometimes I just sit and ponder the meaning of life. Note: The adverbs seldom, rarely, never and hardly ever are considered negative. A: Do you always carry a briefcase?

B: (Yes,) I usually do. No, I usually don't. No, I rarely do. No, I hardly ever do. Other frequency adverbs and expressions are as follows: Every day/week/month Every other day/week Once a week/month/year Twice a year/day, etc. (Every) once in a while Every so often These expressions are used at the beginning and end of sentences, not before main verbs. Every once in a while I visit my grandmother in Minnesota. I visit my grandmother in Minnesota every once in a while. I every once in a while visit my grandmother in Minnesota. (Incorrect) Regularly Normally (according to schedule) (commonly nowadays)

Traditionally (commonly in the past) These words can come at various points in the sentence. I regularly floss my teeth. I floss my teeth regularly. Traditionally, that was considered child's play. I normally get up around 6 o'clock. Normally, I get up around 6 o'clock.

Some verbs cannot be used in the progressive tenses. They are called non-action verbs. Non-action verbs indicate state, sense, desire, possession, or opinion. The most common nonaction verbs are: be* look* like have* think* seem sound* want own believe appear* smell* prefer possess consider* taste* love* feel* (existence) (senses) (desire) (possession) (opinion)

Note the usage in the following sentences: Mr. Tactful is seeming like a nice guy. Mr. Tactful seems like a nice guy. This salad is tasting delicious. This salad tastes delicious. I am liking banana cream pie. I like banana cream pie. (Wrong!) (Correct) (Wrong!) (Correct) (Wrong!) (Correct)

Some verbs have both action and non-action meanings. They are indicated by an asterisk* in the table above. The situation determines whether the action or non-action form of the verb is used. Those flowers look beautiful. Flora is looking out the window. I think thats a great idea. I am thinking about my upcoming speech. We have a brand new car. We are having a party this weekend. Craig is a real estate agent. Billy is being naughty today. (Non-action) (Action) (Non-action) (Action) (Non-action) (Action) (Non-action) (Action)


Noun Phrases Noun Phrases are groups of words that can function as subjects or objects in sentences.They may take on various forms: Water is important for survival. Mr. Jones spoke to Dr. James. The boy ate an apple. My friend works with her father. The young girl wore a long, white dress. Some of the kids ate all of the cake. The man with the gun frightened the people in the bank. The woman who lives there is my aunt. The dogs sleeping on the deck should be left alone. Whoever wrote this is in trouble. (Single words) (Proper names) (Nouns and articles) (Nouns and possessives) (Nouns and adjectives) (Nouns and quantifiers) (Nouns and prep. phrases) (Nouns and relative clauses) (Nouns and phrases) (Noun clauses)

Pronouns and similar words can also function as subjects and objects: He gave the money to us.Someone left this.Give me one of each. Verb Phrases Verb phrases are groups of words that express action or state of being. They take on various forms. The men live in the dormitory. He stayed at the Hi Hat Hotel. I am learning many new things. She has been there before. They have been working here five years. I could use some assistance. The trip was approved by the professor. Do you want some more pie? Other words can be added to enhance verb phrases: The mayor works here. Neil is not a candidate. They live in the suburbs. She'll leave whenever she wants. Don't talk while eating. (Single verbs) (Past tense verbs) (Progressive verbs) (Perfect verbs) (Perfect progressive verbs) (Verbs and modals) (Passive verbs) (Verbs in questions) (adverbs) (negatives) (prepositional phrases) (adverbial clauses) (phrases)


Prepositions: In, On, and At (with specific times and places) The prepositions in, on, and at can be used to indicate time and place. Notice how they are used in the following situations:

Preposition In On At

Time Year, Month, In 1999, In December

Place Country, State, City In Japan, In Utah, InTaipei

Day, Date Street On Saturday, On May 1 On Main Street, On 1st Ave. Time At 8:00, At 7:30 Address At 815 East Main Street

In many languages, there is only one preposition for the above situations. In English there are three. Just remember that in usually indicates the "largest" time or place, and at usually indicates the "smallest" time or place. Examples:

A: Where's your office? B: In Taipei, Taiwan. A: Really? What part of Taipei? B: It's on Chung Shan North Road. A: I know that area. Where exactly is it? B: It's at 105 Chung Shan North Road, next to the bookstore.

C: When is the wedding? D: It's in June. C: What day?

D: It's on Saturday, the 25th. C: What time? D: It starts at 6:00.

Prepositions with articles and locations

When talking about locations, use at to indicate the general vicinity or area, and in to indicate inside the building, enclosed area, etc. For example: at the swimming pool (on site) at the post office/bank (general) at the zoo (visitors, general area) at school in the swimming pool (in the pool itself i.e. in the water) in the post office/bank (inside the building) in the zoo (animals in their cages) in the classroom

Sample sentences: I met my wife at the theater. (while watching a movie) I spilled my drink in the theater (on the floor of the building) She works at the library on Wednesdays. She found a rare coin in the library (building). Dr. Jones works at the hospital every day. John was in the hospital for a week with a broken leg. For school, prison, and church, the is used to indicate the building. No article indicates the general situation. Note the following: "practice"/situation building

in school (studying, listening to teacher, etc.) in the school (building) in jail/prison (staying there as a criminal) in the jail/prison (temporary)

in church (praying, listening to a sermon, etc.) in the church (building) Where's Dad?

in church (attending services) at church in prison (He committed a crime.)

in the church (fixing the windows) at the church at the prison (visiting his friend)

For Practice: See

At-On-In Used in Time and Dates (from The Internet TESL Journal) Prepositions: At, In and On (from The Internet TESL Journal)


Prepositions of Location

Click Here for Audio The most common prepositions of location are in on at (See: In, On, At) by near nearby above below over under up down around through inside outside (of) between

beside beyond in front of in back of behind next to on top of within beneath underneath among along against These prepositions are most commonly followed by "the" and a noun. Both the speaker and the listener likely know which object is being referred to. Examples, The keys are on the table. (We both know which table.) The post office is next to the bakery. (Not: next to bakery) Occasionally, prepositions can be used with "a/an." This usually indicates that the speaker knows of the place, but the listener does not. For example, I live by a river. (You probably don't know which one.) I live by the river. (You know the river I'm talking about.)

See also: Speaking: Talking about Locations Vocabulary: Locations Adverbs and Prepositions