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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs

WHY WE NEED TO LEARN GRAMMAR FROM SCRATCH


Grammar together with Vocabulary forms the brick and mortar of any language. While vocabulary constitutes the content of the language Grammar determines its form and structure. Without a sound knowledge of grammar, therefore, one cannot understand a language, let alone master it. One of the main problems faced by students in communicating effectively and fluently in English is their lack of confidence which stems from their inadequate knowledge and understanding of English Grammar. Hence, thorough knowledge of basic grammar is a must for those who wish to acquire communication skills in English. This is the reason why we thought it fit to bring out this book to enable you to understand English Grammar the simple and effective way. The objective of the authors is to present English Grammar within a systematic and logical framework, in which the student, in addition to learning what constitutes good English, will get an in-depth understanding of why the language works the way it does. The best way to use this book is as study material in a structured programme that takes the student through the contents of this book.

WHAT IS GRAMMAR?
Grammar is a set of conventions shared by all speakers of a language. It is the set of rules that govern how words ought to be strung together to form meaningful sentences that enable smooth communication of ideas from one person to another. The extent to which we understand this set of conventions has a significant bearing on our ability grasp ideas presented to us in the form of language, whether written on spoken. Grammar provides us with a set of tools to make the transition from ideas to language. It is these same tools that we need to use in the reverse direction to make sense of what we read or hear.

GETTING STARTED - SENTENCE STRUCTURE:


The basic unit of any language is the Sentence . There are two distinct features of any sentence form and content. These constitute the brick and mortar that bind the language into a coherent whole. Content is largely about vocabulary. Form is decided by the sentence structure. A useful way of understanding sentence structure is to view every sentence as Subject + Predicate. The Subject is the thing the speaker wishes to speak about and the Predicate is what he wishes to say about the Subject. Any sentence in English can be broken into 3 types of units 1. Words - The ultimate building blocks of a sentence. 2. Phrases Groups of words that together convey a particular idea. They cannot, however, stand alone as a sentence in their own right. 3. Clauses Groups of words that can convey a whole idea and can stand alone as a complete sentence or convey a complete idea even if they are only part of a sentence and dependent on the rest of the sentence. You will get a better understanding of what constitutes phrase and clauses and the differences between them once we cover the basic concept of finite verbs in subsequent sections. For the moment, we shall focus our attention on Words. Words : - What a word means falls under the head vocabulary . In the study of grammar, however, words are looked at in terms of the function they perform in a sentence rather than in terms of what they are and what they mean. In English grammar, words can be classified into eight categories called parts of speech 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Noun Words that indicate an object Animate/Inanimate, e.g. boy, tree, Ahmed, kindness, iron, army Verb Words that indicate action write, will be coming, can do, will have been shown Pronoun Words that stand for a noun I, you, we, he, she, him, them, her, it, who, that, whom, whose Adjective Words that qualify/describe a noun clever, rich, beautiful, more intelligent, most wonderful Adverb Words that qualify/describe a verb, an adjective or an adverb ran fast, pretty easy, really difficult Preposition Words that relate things in, on, of, for, at, from, in front of, behind Conjunction Words that connect other words, phrases and clauses and, but, if, when, who, which Interjection Words that represent emotion Oh!, Ah!, Alas!

The study of Grammar is essentially about understanding these parts of speech and using that understanding to construct and analyse sentences.

CHOOSING OUR PATH

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


Given that the study of Grammar revolves around understanding the 8 parts of speech listed above, where should we start and where should we go from there? We shall start with the study of Verbs as they happen to be the most important part of speech for a person who wishes to become good at English. Why do we consider Verbs the most important part of speech? Consider the examples given below. a. b. c. Birds fly Children drink John speaks Birds Children John Subject Subject Subject fly drink speaks Verb Verb Verb

These are examples of the simplest sentences we can construct in English. Clearly, every one of these sentences consists of only 2 words 1. a Noun serving as the subject of the sentence or the thing about which the sentence is 2. a Verb that identifies the action performed by the subject One can even go to the extreme with the following examples. a. Go! b. Stop! These are examples of single word sentences that we use in direct speech, i.e., in speech directly addressed to a person. In such cases, even the subject is not specified explicitly, though it is implicit and is assumed to be You in all cases. The important point is that even a Verb all on its own is considered a full sentence. Further, any sentence, however long, revolves around the combination of subject and verb. This combination is the core or heart of any sentence. It has meaning on its own even if the other parts were not included. Starting from this simple structure, sentences may be made longer by the addition of more words that we call complements at one or more of 3 points in the simplest sentence structure (S + V) as denoted below Complement(s) + Subject + Complement(s) + Verb + Complement(s) Consider the following examples. The underlined sections are the complements. Several birds fly in the garden. The fat child drinks milk Professor John teaches Mathematics Notwithstanding the fact that he may finally be pronounced innocent, the defendant shall pay a sum of Rs. 10 lakh into an escrow account as interim relief for the victims of the accident caused by probable negligence on his part, failing which he shall be liable to pay a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh in addition to interest calculated at 18% per annum starting today and on the entire amount of Rs. 11 lakh. Complements of all types tell us more about the subject, the verb or other complements. The types of complements we encounter are y Objects Words, phrases or clauses that identify things that actions are directed at/by. Grammatically speaking, objects are similar to subjects because they represent things. y Descriptive words, phrases or clauses that tell us more about subjects (adjectives), verbs (adverbs), objects (adjectives) or other descriptive words, phrases or clauses (adverbs) In addition, within these complements, we also encounter words that y Connect words and meaningful strings of words to each other y Relate words and meaningful strings of words to each other Without these words that connect and relate, it would be extremely difficult to form sentences beyond the simple ones involving subject, verb and object. This understanding enables us to chart out our path to getting a grip on the English language. We shall divide our task of learning into 4 parts. y The grammar of verbs y The grammar of words, phrases and clauses that describe things, i.e., of subjects and objects y The grammar of descriptive words and words that help relate and join y The rules that govern putting subjects, verbs and objects into a coherent sentence using, where necessary, words that describe, connect and relate The first step and the most important one is the grammar of verbs and that is what we shall now turn our attention to.

INTRODUCTION TO VERBS
Verbs are words that indicate action. However, we also need to understand that language is not that simple. For instance, the same word may be used as a different part of speech depending on the circumstances and the idea that the speaker wishes to communicate. This is all the more true of words that we normally consider Verbs. Consider the following examples Example 1

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


a. b. c. Fish swim in water In this sentence, the word swim is used to denote an action. This action is performed by the Noun fish. The purpose of the sentence is to communicate that the noun has the nature of engaging in the action referred to. I go for a swim everyday In this sentence, the word swim refers to an activity rather than to a specific action. It therefore refers to a thing and not an action. It must thus be considered a noun rather than a verb. He goes to the club everyday to swim In this sentence, to + swim = to swim is the purpose of going to the club. A purpose is a thing. This is one more way to use the word swim as a Noun rather than as a verb.

Example 2 a. He was swimming when he got cramps In this sentence, the word swimming is used to refer to an action. This action is in progress at the time the swimmer got cramps. We thus see that it is used as a Verb. b. Swimming is my favourite exercise In this sentence, swimming is used to denote an activity. It must therefore be considered a Noun. c. He dived into the swimming pool In this sentence, the word swimming is used to tell us what kind of pool we are talking of. It is thus being used to describe the Noun pool. Therefore, it must be considered an Adjective. Example 3 a. I have spoken to him In this sentence, has + spoken = has spoken denotes the completion of the action of speaking. This completion was attained some time prior to the time of forming this sentence. It is thus a true action denoting word and may be considered Verb. b. We offer a course in Spoken English In this sentence, Spoken is used to create a smaller category within the broader word English. It does so by adding an attribute to the word English. Thus, Spoken becomes a word that describes the Noun English. Therefore, it must be considered an Adjective. Example 4 a. I play cricket every day Here, play is used to denote being in the habit of playing. b. I go to the playground to play cricket Here, to play is used to denote the purpose of going to the playground. A purpose is a thing and not an action. Hence, here, play is not used as a Verb. These examples illustrate the point that words that look like Verbs may be used to denote something other than action. What makes this possible? Is the English language so whimsical that any word may be used for any purpose? Words denote concepts, not things or actions A very basic aspect of all words in English is that they stand for concepts rather than for specific things. For instance, the word cat stands for a concept we carry in our mind. The concept cat stands for any thing that possesses the attributes that we associate with the things that we chose to label cat . This would include physical features such as body shape, fur, paws, claws, tail, whiskers, etc., non-physical features such as the particular sound they make, the furtive manner in which they are capable of walking, their agility, cunning, speed, dietary habits, etc. So, when we say Cats mew , we are not making an observation by seeing some cats mew. We are in fact identifying an attribute that is automatically known to us the moment we choose to talk of cats . It is part of the concept cats The same is true of words that denote action. They stand for the concept of an action rather than a particular action. The concept of action has to be converted into a particular action for it to truly denote action. How do we do this? Note that any action has to take place at some time. Logically, therefore, only words that denote time can therefore be considered as true Verbs. There is also enormous variety in the kinds of action that we may wish to speak about. The nature of one action could be different from the nature of another. Action can be instantaneous or in progress. Therefore, we need to have distinct ways of speaking about them. Another aspect of variety in speaking about actions comes with the introduction of the speaker. The very fact that the speaker is a human being brings in 3 dimensions. 1. The speaker of a sentence has to be speaking at some time. He always speaks in the present moment. When the action happens is irrelevant to this. We call this time of speaking the sentence speaking time. 2. The speaker is speaking about the action. So, the action is distinct from the speaker. So, the speaker is in effect viewing the action. He is viewing it from the point in time where he stands, i.e., the present moment. This means that the time of speaking and the time of the action can be different. We call this time at which the action happens action time. 3. The speaker could also view (and speak about) the action from any arbitrary point in time. He could arbitrarily choose some random point in time (because that sits better with the idea he wishes to communicate) and view the action from that viewing point. A simple analogy from the study of Physics will help you understand this better. Let s say your friend is in a moving train and walking from his seat towards the pantry car. Clearly, you would see him walking at different speeds depending on whether you are standing in the train or standing outside and watching him. Similarly, a speaker may wish to view and speak about an action that happened at some time prior to some randomly chosen time. This randomly chosen time which then becomes the viewing point from where the speaker views the action may be called the reference time. Going by the above classification, we may observe the following points. 1. To the speaker, the speaking time is always in the present moment. 2. Reference time, however, may be different from speaking time. It could be the same as, prior to or later than speaking time. 3. Action time could be the same as or later than (it cannot be prior to as you cannot view an action before it happens) reference time.

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


How the English language handles all this complexity English uses 2 devices to cut through this complexity and give the user of the language a simplified framework to work with. These devices are 1. Every word that may be used as a Verb has 5 and only forms in which it may be used, whether as a Verb or otherwise. These forms with examples of many Verbs in each form are given in the table below. Verb in Present Tense form Speak / Speaks Write / Writes Go/Goes Sing / Sings Drive / Drives Ring / Rings See / Sees Fly / Flies Swim / Swims Do / Does Rise / Rises Think / Thinks Run / Runs Teach / Teaches Sit / Sits Fight / Fights Seek / Seeks Cut / Cuts Put / Puts Let / Lets Talk / Talks Open / Opens Look/ Looks 2. Past Tense form Spoke Wrote Went Sang Drove Rang Saw Flew Swam Did Rose Thought Ran Taught Sat Fought Sought Cut Put Let Talked Opened Looked Past Participle form Spoken Written Gone Sung Driven Rung Seen Flown Swum Done Risen Thought Run Taught Sat Fought Sought Cut Put Let Talked Opened Looked Present Participle form Speaking Writing Going Singing Driving Ringing Seeing Flying Swimming Doing Rising Thinking Running Teaching Sitting Fighting Seeking Cutting Putting Letting Talking Opening Looking Infinitive form To speak To write To go To sing To drive To ring To see To fly To swim To do To rise To think To run To teach To sit To fight To seek To cut To put To let To talk To open To look

Every true action word in English has 2 parts. One is the word denoting the concept of the action itself. The other, and equally if not more important part is the one that brings the element of time into the action word. These special words are known as Auxiliary Verbs or Auxiliaries. One may say that English has 4 basic classes of Auxiliaries a. Auxiliaries of action The words of this type are do, does and did. Do and Does refer to action now while did refers to prior action. Further, between them, do is used when the subject is y the speaker I y one or many persons the speaker is addressing you y many entities including the speaker we and multiple, named, particular objects y many entities excluding the speaker they and multiple, named, particular objects while does is used when the subject is a single entity that the speaker is not addressing directly. This includes he, she, it and particular, named, single objects. Auxiliaries of action are in fact the most basic type of auxiliary verb. Other auxiliary verbs, while they may be used apparently without the use of the auxiliaries of action, implicitly assume their use, especially when they are used singly as the action word. b. Auxiliaries of existence and identity The basic word of this type is be. Be is used to denote the action of existing or coming into possession of certain attributes. It is used in the form be when the speaker is addressing it to one (you) or more (you or, one or more named, particular objects) entities that constitute the subject. Consider the following examples y You be right there In this sentence, be is used to tell the subject to exist in the place described later in the sentence y Be happy In this sentence you is the implicit subject you, be is used to tell the object to possess the attribute that follows as part of its identity. However, note that be implicitly used in this manner assumes the use of the appropriate auxiliary of action before itself. This could be illustrated as below. The two sentences y Be happy y Do be happy convey the same meaning and are equivalent. This point will be elaborated upon when we come to the negative form of be and the addition of modal verbs before be. When the speaker is not addressing the subject but speaking about it, modified forms of be such as am, is, are, was and were are used after the subject. They are always used to denote that the subject exists with the identity that includes the attribute described in the words that follow or are implied to follow. The process of deciding which of these 5 to use in a specific case is closely related to the use of do and does when the speaker is addressing the subject. y Where the reference time is in the present and the subject is such that we would have used

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


y o do, use are except when the subject is I, in which case use am. o does, use is. (Refer to rules laid out above regarding usage of do vs does when the speaker is addressing the subject) Where the reference time is in the past and the subject is such that we would have used o do, use were except when the subject is I, in which case use was o does, use was. (Refer to rules laid out above regarding usage of do vs does when the speaker is addressing the subject) The table below summarises the usage of am, is, are, was and were Subject I You We They He She It 1 Named entity Many named entities One thing Many things c. Present Am Are Are Are Is Is Is Is Are Is Are was were were were was was was Was were was were Past

d.

Auxiliaries of possession These auxiliaries may be summarized as exist(s) in the possession of . The basic word of this type is have. Other words that belong to this category are has and had. In fact, when has, have and had are used as stand alone verbs to denote possession of an object or objects, they would be implicitly or explicitly preceded by do or does in the same manner as described above for the usage of do and does. This is illustrated by the following examples. y He has two pens He does have two pens y We have truth on our side We do have truth on our side y You have good handwriting You do have good handwriting Had is used uniformly for all subjects when the reference time is in the past. In choosing between has and have, we follow the same rule as in the case of Auxiliaries of existence and identity, i.e., when the subject is such that we would have used do, use have and when the subject is such that we would have used does, use have. In both cases, we choose the usage of do/does assuming the speaker is addressing the subject. Auxiliaries of prediction The basic words of this type are will and shall. They are used to denote that the action takes place at some time in the future. They communicate certainty about the action. They may be translated as Exists with the certainty to act/of occurring

The rules given above may be called the rules governing Subject-Verb agreement and constitute one of the most important laws of grammar that within these rules, every sentence shall be such that the Subject and the Verb are in agreement with each other. With these rules in mind, let us go back to the five forms of the Verb and understand them more. In the process, we will also understand how to use Auxiliaries and the five forms of Verbs to represent actions of all kinds. 1. Simple Present form of the verb This is the basic form of any Verb. It is the fundamental word that denotes the concept of the particular action. In the table, however, we see that there are 2 forms for example, swim and swims. The reason we have 2 forms is that the former is short-hand for do + basic form of the Verb while the latter is short-hand for does + basic form of the Verb. Simple Past form of the verb This is short-hand for did + basic form of the verb. We may note that there are two kinds of simple past forms those which retain the basic structure of the basic Verb, i.e., are verb + d/ed/ied (with some minor changes) and those whose form is very different from that of the basic Verb, e.g., speak-spoke, sing-sang, swim-swam. The latter type of Verbs are known in English as Irregular Verbs. There are many irregular Verbs in English and one of the tasks of the learner is to develop awareness of the Irregular Verbs and their forms. That, however, is a task in expanding vocabulary and is not expanded on in this text. In Appendix XXX, you will find a list of a number of Irregular Verbs and their 5 forms. Past Participle This form, which for Regular Verbs is the same as the simple past form and for Irregular Verbs is distinct from the basic form, stands for the status of completion of the particular action. It is basically a property or attribute that may be possessed and is to be treated as an adjective Present Participle This form, which consists of the basic Verb + -ing basically stands for the attribute of existing in the process of the particular action or for the process of the action itself. For instance, swimming is the attribute of existing in the process of moving in a coordinated manner in water. At the same time, swimming also refers to the process of moving in a coordinated manner in water. Thus, it may be used as a Noun as well as an Adjective. Infinitive This form is unique among the 5 forms. It represents the purpose of engaging in that action. For instance, in the sentence y I came here to study

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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


to study stands for with the purpose of engaging in the action of studying . It is usually used as an add-on to other verbs to denote the purpose of the action. It is the use of a Verb to denote a thing (purpose) related to another Verb. In that sense, it is more a noun than a Verb. So, by their basic definition, the Present and Past forms of any Verb automatically denote time. They denote pure action now and at a point in time in the past respectively. What about the other forms? They denote action when combined with suitable Auxiliaries. Before going into that, however, it is important to mention that the Auxiliary be also has its Past Participle and Present Participle forms. These are been and being respectively. Having mentioned this, let us move on to the task of denoting all sorts of action other than pure action happening now or at an instant in the past. Type of action to denote Exists with the certainty to act as defined in the action word that follows Exist(s) with the identity of existing in a process of the particular action Existed with the identity of existing in a process of the particular action Exists with the certainty to exist with the identity of existing in a process of the particular action (at some specific time in the future) Exist(s) with the possession of the status of completion of the particular action now Existed with the possession of the status of completion of the particular action at some specific time prior to now Exists with the certainty to exist in possession of the status of completion of the particular action at some specific time in the future Exist(s) in possession of the status of completion of existing in the process of the particular action now Existed in possession of the status of completion of existing in the process of the particular action at some specific time prior to now Exists with the certainty to exist in possession of the status of completion of existing in the process of the particular action at some specific time in the future Form of the verb will + basic form of the Verb am/is/are/was/were + Present Participle form of the Verb was/were + Present Participle form of the Verb will + be + Present Participle form of the Verb Name Simple Future Present Continuous or Present Progressive Past Continuous or Past Progressive Future Continuous or Future Progressive

has/have + Past Participle form of the Verb had + Past Participle

Present Perfect Past Perfect

will + have + Past Participle

Future Perfect

has + been + Present Participle

Present Perfect Continuous or Present Perfect Progressive Past Perfect Continuous or Past Perfect Progressive

had + been + Present Participle

Will + have + been + Present Participle

Future Perfect Continuous or Future Perfect Progressive

The 10 types of time and action denoting combinations of words listed above and, the Simple Present and Simple Past forms of the Verb are called the Tenses of a Verb. These 12 forms of any verb denote the entire range of action that we may wish to denote and constitute a comprehensive listing of all possible Tenses that we may ever use. One observation we may make of the 12 Tenses listed above is that while the Simple and the Progressive tenses denote action at a certain point in time, the Perfect tenses denote the action of existence in possession of the status of completion. To possess the status of completion at any point in time, it is necessary that the action should have taken place prior to that time. This is a logical necessity of this form of the tense itself. In simple terms, we can see that the reference time from which we describe the action is different from and, more specifically, later than the time of action. There is thus a 3-way split in time as speaking time, reference time and action time. Restated in simpler terms, the Perfect Tense denotes action that took place or will take place viewed from a time after the action time. There is a clear interval between the action time and the reference time. For example, if we consider the sentence y Agatha Christie has written many a brilliant book we are saying that seen from the present moment, the subject attained the status of completion of the action write at some time in the past. Similarly, if we consider the sentence y I had done my homework by then the phrase by then indicates a particular point in time in the past while the Past Perfect tense denotes that the subject existed in possession of the status of completion of the action do at some time prior to that. Equally interesting is the case of the Perfect Continuous tenses. These denote an extremely complex idea of that the subject exists in possession of the status of completion of existing in the process of the particular action at some specific time. This is possible only if there is a period of time prior to the reference time during which the possession of the status of completion was continually or continuously attained. For example, if we consider the sentence

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


y Sachin Tendulkar has been playing cricket since he was 10 years old the Verb denotes the following complex idea that the subject, y (as indicated by has) seen from the present moment, exists in possession of y (as indicated by been) the status of completion of existing in y (as indicated by playing) the process of the particular action. The important point to note that playing is something that happens over a period of time. The status of completion of existing in the process of playing must be attained at every instant Sachin is playing. Existence in possession of this status of completion must also happen over the same period of time, i.e., at various points in time in that period. In this case, the period of time starts at the time Sachin was 10 years old and continues till the present moment. Thus, we see that the Perfect Continuous Tense requires a period of time ending in the reference time during which the subject must exist in possession of the status of completion of existing in the process of the particular action. Another very interesting case is the Simple Present Tense. It is an obvious aspect of reality that no one can utter two words at the same time. So, the time when the speaker utters the Subject must necessarily be different from the time of uttering the Verb. This means that it is impossible for any human being to construct a sentence where the subject acts in the present moment. What then does the Simple Present Tense indicate? It indicates the nature or identity or, in the case of animate objects, habits of the subject. For instance, when we say y The sun rises in the east we mean that the subject exists with the nature or identity of rising in the east. Similarly, when we say y I eat rice we mean that the subject exists with the nature of eating rice. The reason it is the Present Tense is that at any point in time, the subject exists with the specified nature/identity/habit. Even if the particular activity happened at some time(s) in the past or is slated to happen at some time(s) in the future, at the present instant, it is part of the nature of the subject and the subject exists with that nature. It is this existence that the Present Tense describes. Consider, for instance, the following examples. y The President arrives in Chennai tomorrow. While the President s arrival is scheduled for tomorrow , i.e., some time in the future, the statement tells us that at the present moment, as per his schedule (which is part of the President s identity), he exists with the identity of arriving in Chennai tomorrow. Therefore, the correct tense to use is the Simple Present Tense and not the Simple Future Tense. The table below gives examples of the use of different auxiliaries with different kinds of subjects to denote different kinds of actions. The first table identifies the Verb and the second table associates each Verb with its Tense. Auxiliary Verb Do Does Did Be Am Is Are Was Were Will Use as a stand-alone verb I do He does. She did. You be right there I am Ram. I am a painter. This painting is beautiful. They are from Russia. She was there at 6 am. We were happy. Use as an Auxiliary Verb I do play cricket (I play cricket) He does play cricket (He plays cricket) She did meet him (She met him) Always changed to am, is, are, was or were I am playing cricket. It is raining cats and dogs. We are working together. He was reading a book. They were studying History. I will be a doctor when I grow up. I will be playing cricket this evening. I will have done the job before 8 am I will have been studying for four years by then. I shall do your booking right away. I shall be writing to you every week. I shall have done the job before 8 am I shall have been waiting for 15 minutes by the time you reach. She has completed her task. Tendulkar has been playing cricket since he was 11. I have finished painting the house. I have been waiting for two hours. I had been to London. She had been playing minor roles until then. Identifying the Verb do play (play) does play (plays) did meet (met) Non-existent am playing is raining are working was reading were studying will be will be playing will have done will have been studying shall do shall be writing shall have done shall have been waiting has completed has been playing have finished have been waiting had been had been playing

Shall

Has Have Had

He has some money to spare. I have no time to waste. Mary had a little lamb.

Identifying the Verb Do play (play) does play (plays) did meet (met)

Identifying the Tense Simple Present Simple Present Simple Past

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


Identifying the Verb am playing is raining are working was reading were studying will be will be playing will have done will have been studying shall do shall be writing shall have done shall have been waiting has completed has been playing have finished have been waiting had been had been playing Identifying the Tense Present Continuous Present Continuous Present Continuous Past Continuous Past Continuous Simple Future Future Continuous Future Perfect Future Perfect Continuous Simple Future Future Continuous Future Perfect Future Perfect Continuous Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous Past Perfect Past Perfect Continuous

Summarising the above, tables, we see the following. When used in conjunction with other words that denote action, auxiliary verbs give a sense of time required for words denoting the concept of a specific action to denote true action words, i.e., verbs that denote the time and nature of the action. One can even say that without auxiliary verbs, no action denoting word is can be formed. In formal English grammar, action-denoting words that indicate the time and nature of the action clearly are considered Verbs in function are called finite verbs while those that do not indicate both time and nature of the action are considered Verbs in form but not in function and are called non-finites. The table below summarises the use of different combinations of auxiliaries to denote different tenses. Auxiliary Verb am, is, are was, were will, shall will be, shall be has, have has been, have been Had had been will have, shall have will have been, shall have been Form of Main Verb Present Participle Present Participle Present Tense Present Participle Past Participle Present Participle Past Participle Present Participle Past Participle Present Participle Tense used for Present Continuous Past Continuous Simple Future Future Continuous Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous Past Perfect Past Perfect Continuous Future Perfect Future Perfect Continuous

Examples of usage of different Tenses With Explanations as per theory outlined above
1. I feel happy y Reference time Now Present y Time of action Now Not Perfect y Refers to action this instant feel Simple Present She watches a movie every Friday y Reference time That same day on every Friday Present y Time of action Every Friday Not Perfect y Refers to action this instant watches Simple Present George saw a tiger y Reference time Earlier Past y Time of action The same as reference time Not Perfect y Refers to action at the same instant saw Simple Past We will win the game y Reference time Later Future y Time of action The same as reference time Not Perfect y Refers to action at that instant will win Simple Future I am carrying an umbrella y Reference time Now Present y Time of action Now Not Perfect

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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


6. y Refers to an ongoing action am carrying Present Continuous She is writing a letter y Reference time Now Present y Time of action Now Not Perfect y Refers to an ongoing action is writing Present Continuous They are arranging a show y Reference time Now Present y Time of action Now Not Perfect y Refers to an ongoing action are arranging Present Continuous The tiger was hiding behind a bush y Reference time Some time earlier than now Past y Time of action The same as reference time Not Perfect y Refers to an ongoing action was hiding Past Continuous My friends will be leaving for Delhi y Reference time Some time later than now Future y Time of action The same as reference time Not Perfect y Refers to an ongoing action will be leaving Future Continuous When I went to the station, the train had already left y Reference time The time of my going to the station Earlier than now (indicated by went) Past y Time of action The time of the train s departure Earlier than the reference time Perfect y Refers to an action at an instant left Past Perfect She had committed this mistake several times before y Reference time Not specified explicitly Before and had indicates some incident or time earlier than now Past y Time of action The time of commission of the previous mistakes Before indicates earlier than the reference time Perfect y Refers to an action at an instant committed Past Perfect Farmers have harvested the food grains y Reference time Not specified explicitly have indicates that reference time is to be taken as now Present y Time of action Some time prior to the reference time Earlier than the reference time Perfect y Refers to an action at an instant harvested Present Perfect Preethi has finished her job y Reference time Not specified explicitly has indicates that reference time is to be taken as now Present y Time of action Some time prior to the reference time Earlier than the reference time Perfect y Refers to an action at an instant finished Present Perfect By this time tomorrow, he will have read this novel y Reference time This time tomorrow Future y Time of action Some time prior to the reference time Reading novel happens before this time tomorrow Perfect y Refers to an action at an instant will have read and not will have been reading Future Perfect Harbhajan has been bowling well in this match y Reference time Specified indirectly through in this match this match has to be happening now The statement is being made at some time when the match is in progress Present y Time of action Comments about bowling done in a match can be made only after the bowling has been done Time of action prior to reference time Perfect y Refers to ongoing action bowling Present Perfect Continuous The police have been searching for him till now y Reference time Specified explicitly through now Present y Time of action Searching must have started prior to Reference time Perfect y Refers to ongoing action searching Present Perfect Continuous She had been taking treatment from the doctor for one year when her condition dramatically worsened y Reference time The instant at which her condition dramatically worsened worsened implies it must have been earlier than now Past y Time of action Prior to the instant of worsening, the reference time Perfect y Refers to an ongoing action taking Past Perfect Continuous Mary had been looking after her sister s children till her marriage. y Reference time The time of her sister s marriage had indicates it must have been earlier than now Past y Time of action Prior to the marriage, the reference time Perfect y Refers to an ongoing action taking care Past Perfect Continuous

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

Active vs Passive Voice


Take a look the examples 1 to 18 given above. In particular, pay close attention to the relationship between the subject and the action. Take the following example y I feel happy feel is the finite verb. It is an action that the subject I is engaged in.

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


y They are arranging a show are arranging is the finite verb. It is an action that the subject, They, is engaged in. Thus, we see that the subject is actively engaged in the action described by the Finite Verb. Such sentences are said to be in the Active Voice. What else can be the relationship between the subject and the object? Any action directed at an object has two entities on the two sides y The entity that engages in the action y The entity at which the action is directed or the entity that is subject to the action nd Therefore, it is possible that the relationship between the subject and the action is as given in the 2 option just above. In other words it can be that the subject of the sentence is acted upon as described by the Finite Verb. Clearly, some other entity, specified or unspecified is acting on the subject as described. The subject, then, is the passive recipient of an action that is clearly engaged in by the other entity. Sentences of this type are said to be in the Passive Voice. In this section, we shall investigate the structure of finite verbs in the Passive Voice. In the Passive Voice, the subject is given the status of completion of the specific action by the entity that acts on it. Thus, the verb in the Passive Voice always uses the Past Participle form of the basic Verb. Further, the subject can be in exactly 3 states with respect to attainment of the status of completion. As of a particular instant, it may 1. exist in possession of the status of completion given to it by the acting entity These are the Simple Tenses which follow the structure y exist(s) (am/is/are) in possession of the status of completion (Past Participle) Simple Present Tense y existed (was/were) in possession of the status of completion (Past Participle) Simple Past Tense y exists with the certainty to (will) exist (be) in possession of the status of completion (Past participle) Simple Future Tense 2. exist in the process of existing in possession of the status of completion These are the Continuous or Progressive Tenses which follow the structure y exists(s) (am/is/are) in the process of existing (being) in possession of the status of completion (Past Participle) Present Continuous or Present Progressive Tense y existed (was/were) in the process of existing (being) in possession of the status of completion (Past Participle) Past Continuous or Past Progressive Tense A third structure leading to the Future Continuous is impossible because it would require the following structure y exists with the certainty to (will) exist (be) in the process of existing (being) in possession of the status of completion (Past Participle) This would require a second auxiliary with the meaning exist to be included after the will. That can only be be. That leads to the following structure o will + be + being + Past Participle This structure automatically becomes the Future Continuous Tense in the Active voice where the Past Participle becomes the adjective while the finite verb is will + be + being. We see that the attempt to create a Future Continuous Tense in the Passive Voice converts the Verb into one in the Future Continuous Tense of the Active Voice. Thus, we have shown that the Future Continuous Tense in the Passive Voice is logically impossible. 3. exist in possession of a prior state of existence in possession of the status of completion of the primary action. These are the Perfect Tenses which follow the structure y exist(s) in possession of (has/have) a prior state of existence (been) in the possession of the state of completion of the primary action (Past Participle) Present Perfect Tense y existed in possession of (had) a prior state of existence (been) in possession of the state of completion of the primary action (Past Participle) Past Perfect Tense y exists with the certainty to (will) exist in possession of (have) a prior state of existence (been) in possession of the state of completion of the primary action (Past Participle) Future Perfect Tense Unlike in the Active Voice, a fourth state is not possible. This is because a fourth state requires the following structure exist in possession of (has) a status of prior existence in (been) the process of existing (being) in possession of the status of completion (Past Participle). It will in effect become a finite verb involving the newly introduced word being rather than one involving the Past Participle. For instance, we will have to use a construct such as y The job has been being done With the introduction of being, has been being now becomes the finite verb and the word done denotes something the job has been being. It becomes a sentence in the Active Voice with the primary Verb being be. Further, the sentence is also in the Present Perfect Tense of the Active Voice. Thus, we see that in the attempt to form a sentence in the Perfect Continuous Tense in the Passive Voice, we ended up constructing a sentence in the Perfect Continuous Tense in the Active Voice but with a different Primary Verb. This explains why the Perfect Continuous Tense in the Passive Voice is logically impossible. The analysis above shows us that there are only 3 broad Tenses possible in the Passive Voice. These are the Simple Tense, the Simple Continuous or Progressive Tense and the Perfect Tense. Within the Simple Continuous Tense, the Future Continuous Tense in the Passive Voice is impossible. Thus we see that there are only 8 tenses in the Passive Voice as against 12 in the Active Voice. Summary of Tenses in the Passive Voice and their meanings

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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


Type of action to denote exist(s) in possession of the status of completion existed in possession of the status of completion exists with the certainty to exist in the status of completion exists(s) in the process of existing in the status of completion existed in the process of existing in the status of completion exist(s) in possession of the status of completion of existence in the status of completion existed in possession of the status of completion of existence in the status of completion exists with certainty to exist in possession of the status of completion of existence in the status of completion Form of the verb am/is/are + Past Participle was/were + Past Participle will + be + Past Participle am/is/are + being + Past Participle was/were + being + Past Participle has/have + been + Past Participle Name Simple Present Tense Simple Past Tense Simple Future Tense Present Continuous or Present Progressive Tense Past Continuous or Past Progressive Tense Present Perfect Tense

had + been + Past Participle

Past Perfect Tense

will + have + been + Past Participle

Future Perfect Tense

Summary Table of structures of all Tenses in the Active Voice Present Subject - Verb in Present Tense Object Subject - am/is/are + Present Participle Object Subject - has/have + Past Participle - Object Subject - has/have + been + Present Participle - Object Past Subject - Verb in Past Tense Object Subject - was/were + Present Participle - Object Subject - had + Past Participle Object Subject - had + been + Present Participle - Object Future Subject will + Verb in Present Tense Object Subject - will + be + Present Participle Object Subject will + have + Past Participle Object Subject - will + have + been + Present Participle Object

Simple Continuous Perfect Perfect Continuous

Summary Table of structures of all Tenses in the Active Voice Present Subject - is/are + Past participle + by Object Subject - is/are + being + Past participle + by Object Subject - has/have + been + Past participle + by Object X Past Subject - was/were+ Past participle + by Object Subject - was/were + being + Past participle + by Object Subject - had + been + Past participle + by Object X Future Subject - will/shall + be + Past participle + by Object X Subject - will + have + been + Past participle + by Object X

Simple Continuous Perfect Perfect Continuous

Auxiliaries and Forming Sentences in the Negative and Interrogative Forms


All the sentences that we have formed and analysed until now are in what is called the Affirmative form. This form is the basic template that defines the structure of 2 other types of sentences Negative and Interrogative Sentences. Negative sentences are a negation or a denial of an action by or upon a subject. Negation is achieved by inserting the word not in after the first auxiliary in a Finite Verb. Given below are the rules for the formation of negative sentences from the basic affirmative sentences. 1. When Auxiliary Verbs are used prior to the Main Verb, just place a not after the first Auxiliary Verb in the Finite Verb. 2. When the verb is in the Simple Present, first replace the verb with do + basic form of verb or does + basic form of verb. Note that do is used when the basic form of the Verb is already in use while does is used when the Main Verb takes the form Basic form of Verb + s/-es/ies. Once the replacement is made, place a not after the do/does because it is now the first auxiliary. This applies to auxiliaries of possession (has/have) used as the main verb y I play cricket = I do play cricket => I do not play cricket y He plays cricket = He does play cricket => He does not play cricket. y I have a pen = I do have a pen => I do not have a pen y She has a good voice = She does have a good voice => She does not have a good voice

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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


3. When the verb is in the Simple Past, first replace the verb with did + basic form of Verb. Now place a not after the did because it is now the first auxiliary. This applies to auxiliaries of possession (had) used as the main verb y He sang well = He did sing well => He did not sing well y We fought hard = We did fight hard => We did not fight hard y I had a good time = I did have a good time => I did not have a good time When the main verb is do, does or did, add a do after that and then place the not after the original do, does or did. Consider the following examples. y I do my homework = I do do my homework => I do not do my homework y She does the embroidery = She does do the embroidery => She does not do the embroidery y He did a good job = He did do a good job => He did not do a good job

4.

Interrogative sentences raise questions. The most basic questions that may be raised are those related to Action, Existence, Possession and Certainty. Interrogation is achieved by moving the main Auxiliary Verb to the beginning of the sentence. Given below are the rules for the formation of interrogative sentences from the basic affirmative sentences. 1. When Auxiliary Verbs are used prior to the Main Verb, move the first Auxiliary Verb in the Finite Verb to the beginning of the sentence. 2. When the verb is in the Simple Present, first replace the verb with do + basic form of verb or does + basic form of verb. Note that do is used when the basic form of the Verb is already in use while does is used when the Main Verb takes the form Basic form of Verb + s/-es/ies. Once the replacement is made, move the first Auxiliary Verb in the Finite Verb to the beginning of the sentence. This applies also to auxiliaries of possession (has/have) used as the main verb. y You sing well= You do sing well => Do you sing well? y He plays cricket = He does play cricket => Does he play cricket? y They have the ability = They do have the ability => Do they have the ability? y She has a good voice = She does have a good voice => Does she have a good voice? 3. When the verb is in the Simple Past, first replace the verb with did + basic form of Verb. Now move the first Auxiliary Verb in the Finite Verb to the beginning of the sentence. This applies also to auxiliaries of possession (had) used as the main verb. y He sang well = He did sing well => Did he sing well? y We fought hard = We did fight hard => Did we fight hard? y Rakesh had a good time = Rakesh did have a good time => Did Rakesh have a good time? 4. When the main verb is do, does or did, add a do after that and then place the not after the original do, does or did. Consider the following examples. y You do structural design = You do do structural design => Do you do structural design? y She does the embroidery = She does do the embroidery => Does she do the embroidery? y He did a good job = He did do a good job => Did he do a good job?

Passive Voice and Intransitive Verbs


Verbs used in such a way in the Active Voice that the sentence cannot be rewritten in the Passive Voice are called Intransitive Verbs. Consider the following examples. y She speaks fast y He has arrived y Ravi goes to school The reason these verbs in these usages cannot be rewritten in the Passive Voice is that they do not have an object following the verb towards which the action is directed (a direct object). As we understood in the introduction to the Passive Voice, logically, only an object towards which action is directed can be the passive recipient of action. Therefore, intransitive verbs may be easily identified by the absence of a direct object. This also tells us that a verb may be transitive or intransitive depending on whether it is followed by a primary object. Therefore, it is possible for the same verb to be transitive in some cases and intransitive in some other cases.

Deriving the Past and Past Participle forms of verbs Irregular Verbs
As we have learnt so far, one of the most important steps in learning English is learning the 5 forms of a verb. The table below highlights the rules usually followed to convert verbs into their Past Tense form S No. 1 2 3 4 5 Structure Verbs ending in y with the y preceded by a consonant Verbs ending in y with the y preceded by a vowel Verbs ending in any other consonant Verbs ending in e Words that end in b, g, m, n and p Past Tense/Past Participle Form Verb-y+ied Verb+ed Verb+ed Verb+d Verb+last letter+ed Examples Carry-y+ied = Carried Allay+ed = Allayed Reason+ed = Reasoned Free+d = Freed Slip + p + ed = Slipped

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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


(last letter is doubled) Nab + b + ed = Nabbed While the majority of verbs in English fit into one of these categories, there are some verbs, however, which are either modified very differently or are altogether replaced by another word in the Past or the Past Participle form. y Teach Taught - Taught y Rise Rose - Risen y Do Did - Done Such verbs are called irregular verbs. Many of these irregular verbs are also commonly used in day-to-day speech and writing. Hence, in order to attain a high level of competence in English, it is necessary to learn as many of these irregular verbs as possible and how to use them in different situations. Annexure 1 contains a table of a number of irregular verbs arranged in alphabetical order. The table contains the Present, Past and Past Participle forms of each verb.

Phrasal Verbs
Another interesting and important aspect of English is the concept of Phrasal Verbs. A Phrasal Verb is a combination of a Verb and a Preposition that means an action very different from the original Verb or what would be inferred logically from the meanings of the Verb and the Preposition. y Call + up An order to report for active military duty/telephone o Just 2 days into his vacation, he was called up for active service on account of the sudden outbreak of war o I called him up to discuss the latest developments y Call + out Announce so that others may hear o The teacher called out the names of the students one by one to take attendance. y Call + off Cancel a scheduled activity o The match was called off due to incessant rain. y Call + upon Urge, Exhort o Dr. Abdul Kalam called upon students to rededicate themselves to the cause of science y Call + on To make a visit to meet a person, preferably at the latter s place (home/office) o I called on him to enquire about his health

y
y

Call + in Get someone to come and do a job o We had to call in a plumber to fix the leaking sink o The situation went out of hand and the army had to be called in Call + for Demand o The opposition party called for the minister s resignation after the scandal broke out

In all these examples, we see that the phrase has a meaning very different from that of the word call though they have a peripheral similarity with it. Phrasal verbs get their meaning through history of usage and have to be learnt through exposure and familiarisation. Annexure I gives a list of common phrasal verbs used in day-to-day English with examples of the same. Past, Past Participle and Present Participle forms of Phrasal Verbs are formed by using the corresponding Past, Past Participle and Present Participle form respectively of the original verb. Present Catch up Catch on Do in Past Caught up Caught on Did in Past Participle Caught up Caught on Done in Present participle Catching up Catching on Doing in

Introduction to Modals
Verbs are words used to make a reference to an action. This, however, does not cover the entire range of ideas we wish to communicate. For instance, rather than just make a reference to a future action, we may want to predict a future action or outcome. The difference here is that this kind of statement allows us to convey not just a description but also the speaker s opinions, assessments, recommendations, preferences, orders, deductions, etc., regarding the actions or outcomes being referred to. Modals are words used to make the above possible. Given below is a list of commonly used modals. y Must y Should y Would y Could y Can y Might y May

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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


y y Ought to Have to Usage of Modals Modals may be considered as replacements of the primary auxiliary of a verb. In simple terms, they take the place of the first auxiliary in a verb consisting of multiple words including one or more auxiliaries. However, apart from this, the introduction of a modal may also change the basic structure of the verb itself. Consider the following pair of statements y Ram is sick y Ram must be sick The modal must along with be replaced the original verb is. Consider now the following example y I had spoken to him before booking the ticket y I should have spoken to him before booking the ticket The verb had spoken is replaced by the modal verb should have spoken. Note that the auxiliary had indicating the past perfect tense has been replaced with the auxiliary have which normally represents the Present Perfect Tense. Use of modal verbs would involve such changes in structure and it is important for a student to be familiar with how each of the 20 tenses changes its structure upon use of a modal. Modals are inserted at the head of a Finite Verb. The insertion of a modal is also accompanied by significant changes in the structure of the Verb. The nature of these changes depends on the structure of the original Finite Verb, i.e., on the Voice as well as the Auxiliary used. The next segment explains the insertion of Modals in sentences in the Active Voice and the subsequent segment explains the insertion of Modals in sentences in the Passive Voice Inserting Modals in sentences in the Active Voice Modal Structure 1. Where the Finite Verb uses an explicit Auxiliary of Certainty at the head, the Modal replaces that Auxiliary y I will meet him I should meet him y I will be meeting him I should be meeting him y I will have spoken by then I should have spoken by then y I will have been studying for 7 years by then I would have been studying for 7 years by then Modal Structure 2. Where the Finite Verb uses an Auxiliary of Possession, that Auxiliary must first be transformed into the have form. Next, the have must be preceded by the Modal. y I have spoken to him I have spoken to hum I should have spoken to him y I had spoken to him I have spoken to hum I should have spoken to him y I have been speaking to him I have been speaking to him I should have been speaking to him y I had been speaking to him I have been speaking to him I should have been speaking to him Modal Structure 3. Where the Finite Verb uses an Auxiliary of Existence in the Present Tense, the Auxiliary should be replaced with Modal + be format as given below y I am careful I should be careful y You are diligent You should be diligent y She is wary of his intentions She should be wary of his intentions y They are extremely grateful They would be extremely grateful Modal Structure 4. Where the Finite Verb uses an Auxiliary of Existence in the Past Tense, the Auxiliary should be replaced with Modal + have + been format. y They were ecstatic with joy They must have been ecstatic with joy y We were very careful We should have been very careful y I was watching his every move I should have been watching his every move y The coach was using Shyam on the right wing The coach should have been using Shyam on the right wing y His fans were waiting eagerly for him to show up His fans must have been waiting eagerly for him to show up Modal Structure 5. Where the Finite Verb uses an Auxiliary of Action in the Present Tense implicitly, first make it explicit by rewriting the verb in the do/does + Basic form of Verb structure. Now, replace the Auxiliary of Action with the Modal. y I play on the left wing I do play on the left wing I should play on the left wing y She plays the guitar She does play the guitar She should play the guitar Modal Structure 6. Where the Finite Verb uses an Auxiliary of Action in the Past Tense implicitly, replace it with Modal + have + Past Participle form of the Verb. y I spoke to him yesterday I should have spoken to him yesterday y She sang a popular number She could have sung a popular number Inserting Modals in the Passive Voice

14

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


Modal Structure 7. Where the Finite Verb contains is, will be or is + being followed by the Past Participle, replace the is, will be or is being with modal + be y The job is done The job should be done y He will be invited He should be invited y A letter is being sent A letter should be sent Modal Structure 8. Where the Finite Verb contains was, was being or has/have/had been followed by the Past Participle, replace the was, was being or has/have/had been with modal + have + been. y The footage was seen by millions of people The footreage would have been seen by millions of people y The new recruits were being trained for the job The new recruits should have been trained for the job y The letter has been written The letter should have been written y The letter had been written The letter should have been written y The letter will have been written The letter should have been written The following table summarises the analysis above and condenses it into 6 different structures in which modal verbs may be used and the corresponding original tenses that were modified to attain that form. Understanding this can greatly enhance your comprehension of the shades of meanings introduced by modals. S No 1 Structure of Sentence with Modal Subject + Modal + Present Tense + Complement Subject + Modal + be + Present Participle + Complement Subject + Modal + have + Past Participle + Complement Tenses of verbs it can replace Simple Present (AV) Simple Future (AV) Present Continuous (AV) Future Continuous (AV) Present Perfect (AV) Simple Past (AV) Past Perfect (AV) Future Perfect (AV) Present Perfect Continuous (AV) Past Continuous (AV) Past Perfect Continuous (AV) Future Perfect Continuous (AV) Simple Present (PV) Present Continuous (PV) Simple Future (PV) Present Perfect (PV) Simple Past (PV) Past Continuous (PV) Past Perfect (PV) Future Perfect (PV) Particulars am/is/are become be . does/do become do . Simple Present Tense with s becomes Simple Present Tense All modals may be used All modals except can may be used All modals except can may be used

2 3

Subject + Modal + have + been+ Present Participle + Complement

All modals except can may be used

Subject + Modal + be + Past participle + by + complement Subject + Modal + have + been + Past Participle + by + Complement

All modals may be used

All modals except can may be used

Understanding the range of meanings introduced by Modals Modal Must Should Would Could Can May Might Ought to Have to Meaning Presents an imperative to act as described by the rest of the verb and the complement Makes a recommendation for immediate or future action as described by the rest of the verb and the complement States the speaker s expectation of the status of the Subject with respect to the rest of the verb and the complement States the speaker s opinion that the subject would prefer to act as described by the rest of the verb and the complement It is possible and even preferable that the subject acts as described by the rest of the verb and the complement Used to make polite offers when subject is I, and to make polite suggestions when the subject is You. The subject has the capability to act as described by the rest of the verb and the complement Expresses the probability that the subject acts as described by the rest of the verb and the complement Expresses the probability (weaker than may) that the subject acts as described by the rest of the verb and the complement Expresses the speaker s opinion that to act as described by the rest of the verb and the complement is the morally preferable option for the subject Expresses the speaker s opinion that the subject possesses an imperative to act as described by the rest of the verb and the complement

The formation of Negative and Interrogative sentences with Modals The formation of negative and interrogative sentences using Modals follows rules similar to those involved in formation of such sentences using the primary Auxiliaries.

15

Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


Negation is achieved by inserting the word not in after the Modal in a Finite Verb. Given below are the rules for the formation of negative sentences from the basic affirmative sentences using Modals. Construction of Interrogative sentences is achieved by moving the Modal to the beginning of the sentence. A point of caution while using modals in the negative and interrogative forms While in the case of Auxiliary verbs, the Negative and Interrogative forms correspond to the Affirmative form in terms of meaning and usage, the same is not applicable with respect to Modals. For instance, the sentence May I come in? is not the question form of I may come in. The former is a way of seeking permission to come in while the latter mentions the possibility of coming in. In fact, some usages of some modals do not have a corresponding negative or interrogative form with the same modal. Consider the following conversations Student: May I come in? Teacher: You may come in. Weatherman: Sports enthusiast: It might rain tomorrow. Could it rain tomorrow?

Insert Exercise Create the negative & interrogative forms given the affirmative form

INTRODUCTION TO PHRASES AND CLAUSES


Now that we have explored the concept of finite verbs and non-finites, we may now take the next step and define the concepts phrase and clause . Phrase - A group of words that conveys a single idea but does not contain a finite verb, though it may contain a non-finite verb 1. 2. 3. 4. A number of attempts were made ( Phrase containing no verb) Coming out from the hall, he met the pressmen (Phrase containing a non-finite verb) Written by a scholar, the book makes excellent reading. (Phrases containing non-finite verbs) To understand philosophy is difficult (An infinitive)

Clause - A group of words that conveys a whole idea and contains a finite verb 1. 2. 3. I taught him ( containing the finite verb taught ) - Simple sentence containing only one clause and thus one finite verb When I saw him, he was crying Two clauses combining the finite verbs saw and was crying I warned him but he did not listen Two clauses containing the finite verbs warned and did not listen .

The important point a learner needs to understand is that the bare minimum requirement for a complete sentence is 1 clause. A stand-alone phrase never makes a complete sentence. A sentence could consist of 1 or more clauses and any number of phrases, but there should always be 1 clause that forms the core of the sentence. Everything else in the sentence, be it a word, phrase or clause, plays the role of adding to the contents of that core clause, giving us more information about the subject or verb of that core cause or about other words, phrases or clauses in the sentence. Types of Phrases and Clauses: Phrases and clauses serve many different purposes in a sentence. 1. Noun phrase A group of words that stands for something(s) or someone, i.e., a noun y The clever boy escaped. y It is an interesting novel Adjectival phrase A group of words that describes/qualifies a Noun, Noun equivalent or a Noun Phrase y This is a jewel of gold. y I raised a very important point. Adverbial Phrase A group of words that stands for something which describes/qualifies a verb, an adjective or an adverb y She walked in a brisk manner. y He studied for two hours. y They lived in a big city

2.

3.

There are 2 types of clauses in any sentence Main Clause and Subordinate Clause.

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Basics of Sentence Structure, All about Verbs


Main Clause When a clause is a stand-alone part of a sentence and is not dependent on any other part of the sentence to convey a meaningful idea y John ran fast y He is intelligent but he is lazy y I called on him and I enquired about his health Subordinate Clause When a clause cannot stand on its own as an independent sentence and depends on another part of the sentence for it to be meaningful y I don t know where he lives. y She forgot that I had helped her. y If they wish, they can get it. y Though the time was over, he continued writing the examination Subordinate clauses, like phrases, are of three types 1. Noun clauses y I know that he has lied. 2. Adjectival clauses and y They attacked the fort which was surrounded by a moat. 3. Adverbial clauses 1. Raju left the place when they came here.

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