BASICS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE

By Nancy D’Souza
IMPORTANCE OF
ENGLISH LANGUAGE – The why?
Spoken Skills & Fluency
• Mushrooming with claims to fame
• Status of English as a today –world as a
global village
• Used as a University language, a business language,
administrative language, social networking language etc.,
• Coloniser’s (imperialistic) language that has shed its culture
specific traits and embraced the local/natives culture of the
colonized
• Ever evolving and expanding its vocabulary : One of the
latest inclusions in 2013 includes the word “selfie”
• It has become the “ ” of the people across the
world

THE BASIC HICCUPS IN LEARNING
• Vernacular languages vs. English Language

• In Native languages, the alphabets sounds are distinct
( While in english, the alphabets and the sounds vary ex: cat, gun, pencil, wash, cane,
cash, jug ) (44 sounds by IPA: 12+8+24)

• In Native languages, words are pronounced the way they are written
(In English, they are many silent letters psychology, subtle, nestle)

• In Native languages, the sentence Syntax is SOV : Subject Object Verb
( In English, the syntax is : SVO , Rama killed Ravana)

• An English word does not have a single meaning but derives its meaning
from context
His dad stood by him at all times. The boy stood on the table.
Jesus died on a cross. Do not cross your limit. I was cross with her.
English Sentences are of 4 kinds
• Declarative or Assertive Sentences: make statements and assertions
“It is a sunny day today. Cakes from universal bakery taste good.”

• Interrogative Sentences : ask a question
“Where do you live? How do you manage them alone? “

• Imperative Sentences: express a command or request
“Sit down . Be quiet. Have mercy on them.”

• Exclamatory sentences: express strong feelings
“How wonderful the sight! What a beauty!




• Every sentence has two parts : The person or thing we are speaking about
(Subject) and the part which tells us something about the subject (Predicate)

• Honesty is the best policy.
• The cop was doing his job
• Here comes the bus.

• A Phrase is a group of words which is a part of sentence and makes sense but not
complete sense
• The sun rises in the east.
• Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

• While, A clause is a group of words which forms part of a sentence and contains a
subject and a predicate

• He has a chain which is made of gold.
• People who pay their debts are trusted.



Subject & Predicate / Phrase & Clause
St. Mary Centenary Degree College
PARTS OF SPEECH
ENGLISH GRAMMAR
All that we
can see,
hear, taste,
touch, touch
and think of
too
Collective Noun:
Crowd, Jury, pack,
wad, bevy, colony


Abstract Noun:
quality/action/state
Goodness, honesty,
theft, hatred,
poverty, slavery

English Grammar Exercises
• Meena had her breakfast at a café near the railway station (Noun
& preposition)
• Alas! Her aunt passed away this afternoon. (Interjection, verb,
adverb, possessive determiner)
• Each boy takes his turn to pray ( adjective. noun)
• She is my best friend. (adjective, possessive pronoun, noun)
• He neither likes tea nor coffee. (noun, conjunctions)
• The boy hit the ball forcefully. (adverb, verb, )
• I usually walk in the mornings. (Adverb, preposition)
• John did not complete his homework, although it was given to him
one week ago. (verb, conjunction)
• She annoys me. (verb). He was annoyed/annoying. (adjective)
• He looked annoyingly cheerful. (adverb, adjective)








• Many of the English words are imported from Latin,
French, Greek, Sanskrit and other languages.
• Many of them have silent alphabets
• Many a words have different ways of pronouncing like
British English (BE) and the American English (AE)
• Similes, metaphors, idioms are types of vocabulary
• One word substitutes
• Commonly confused words
• Commonly misspelt words
• Homophones, homonyms and homographs
The interesting facts of English Vocabulary
• Adapt : to adjust :: adept : Skillful
• Cereal: grains :: Serial : Story in parts
• Desert: dry land :: Dessert: sweet after meal
• Elicit : get info :: illicit : illegal
• Quiet: no noise :: quite: to some extent
• Sole: single :: soul: spiritual part
• Its : possessed by :: It’s : contraction of “It is/It has”
• Lose : no longer have :: loose: not tied properly
• Advice: a suggestion :: advise: an act of suggesting
• Facilitate: helps :: felicitate : honour
• Born : birth :: borne : bear
• Alternative : choice :: alternate : substitute (American Eng)
• Uninterested: not interested :: disinterested: act in a fair
manner
• Tyre : rubber :: tier : levels/layers














Commonly Confused Words
• Achieve:: acheive :: begining :: beginning
• Chief :: cheif :: commited :: committed
• Foreign :: foriegn :: existance :: existence
• Noticeable::noticable :: vaccum:: vacuum
• Separate :: seperate :: grammer:: grammar
• Humorous :: humourous
• Pronunciation:: pronounciation
• Embarrass :: embarass








Commonly misspelt Words
• à la carte—a menu with each item's price shown separately (àlà càrt)
• belle—a popular and attractive girl (béll )
• bouquet—flowers picked and fastened together in a bunch,(boukây )
• buffet—a sideboard; a counter for refreshments;(bùffay, boôfay )
• bureau—specialized administrative unit of a government; (bûro )
• cliché—a trite phrase or expression; that has become overly familiar or
commonplace (clêeshây )
• entourage - A group of attendants or associates (ónturàzh)
• entrepreneur - A person who operates & takes risk for a business venture
(óntrəprənër )
• façade - An artificial or deceptive , front of a building (fəssàd )
• Grand Prix—international motor-racing championship (Gràm Prêe)
• protégé - a person who is protected and aided by the patronage of another
person (prôtezhây )
• rendezvous - A prearranged meeting place (róndâyvoô, róndivoô )











Few mispronounced words
• rouge—red powder for facial colouring (roûzh )
• sabotage - Destruction of property or obstruction by enemy ( sábotàzh )
• sobriquet - an assumed name (sóbrikây )
• tábleau, tábleaux plural - a striking scene (táblô, táblôz )
• vignette - short scene or incident, short descriptions (veenyét )
• volte-face—about-face: a reversal in policy (vôlt electric fáss )
• Bon Voyage –Used to express farewell and good wishes to a traveler.(b) vwayazh )
• Niche – a specialized area or a suitable position or a recess in a wall
• Colonel – an officer of land or air forces junior to a brigadier (kernel)
• Alumni (plural of alumnus) - a former student of a school orcollege. (alumnai)
• cache—a hiding place , a storage place(cas)h)
• chauffeur— a person employed to drive a motor vehicle (shô-fër )
• collage—an artistic composition made of various materials (cóllàzh)
• forté - strength , ability ( fortay)
• gaffe - mistake(gaf)
• Picturesque – attractive and interesting (pictureesk)
• Grotesque - ugly and frightening (grotesk)
Few mispronounced words
• Similes : A simile is a figure of speech that says that one thing is
like another different thing. We often use the words as...as and like
with similes.
His skin was as cold as ice.
It felt as hard as rock.
he looked as gentle as a lamb.
He smokes like a chimney.
They fought like cats and dogs.
• Metaphors: A metaphor is a figure of speech that says that
one thing is another different thing
George is a sheep
America is a melting pot.
Her home was a prison
I'm neither an angel or a snake

Figures of Speech:
Similes, metaphors, oxymoron, hyperbole, Onomatopoeia
• Oxymoron: An oxymoron is a figure of speech that
deliberately uses two contradictory ideas.
“a living death” “deafening silence” “sounds of silence”

• Hyperbole: A figure of speech (a form of irony) in which
exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect; an extravagant
statement.
“I have a told them a million times” “He’s gottons of money”, “I'm
so hungry I could eat a horse.”

• Onomatopoeia : The use of words (such as hiss or murmur)
that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they
refer to.
“ wow, slushy, ding-don, bang, ”

Figures of Speech:
Similes, metaphors, oxymoron, hyperbole, Onomatopoeia
• Spelling differences ( AM sp Vs. BR sp)



To be consistent in his/her use of English and more importantly, to be understood, a
non-native speaker needs to know which words have distinct meanings and
pronunciations depending on whether they are used by a Briton or an American
airplane - aeroplane check - cheque
theater - theatre
/center-centre
defense - defence woolen - woollen Traveling - travelling
pajamas - pyjamas jail - gaol*
Mustache -
moustache
Color - colour Neighbor - neighbour Honor - honour
tire - tyre Jewelry - jewellery Program - programme
• address – address (BE) : address - aedress (AE)
• garage – gaeraaj, gaerij (BE) : garage – garaaj (AE)
• vase: vars as in cars (BE) : vace as in face (AE)
• route: root as in shoot (BE) : rout * as in shout (AE)
• buoy: boy as in toy (BE) : booey as in the French
name Louis (AE)
• ate: et as in let (BE) : ate as in late (AE)
• tomato: tomarto (BE) : tomayto * (AE)
• leisure as in pleasure (BE) : leesure (lee as in she) (AE)
• advertisement - BE : advertisement - AE

Pronunciation Differences
British English Vs. American English
AM - BE : AM - BE
• closet - cupboard : vacation - holiday
• fall – autumn : flashlight – torch
• subway – underground : baggage – luggage
• movie - film : drapes – curtains
• elevator – lift : yard-garden
• mailman - postman : check - bill *
• line - queue : candy - sweets
• gas - petrol : trailer – caravan
• cookies-biscuits : apartments-flats
• Siblings – brother & sister
Vocabulary
American English Vs. British English

• AE - The jury has not yet reached its decision.
BE - The jury have not yet reached their decision.
• AE - I'll try and visit you on the weekend.
BE - I'll try to visit you at the weekend.
• AE - Please write me when you arrive.
BE - Please write to me when you arrive.
• AE - Call me as soon as you get there.
BE - Ring me (phone me) as soon as you get there.
• AE - Most everyone has a telephone and a refrigerator these days.
BE - Almost everyone has a telephone and a fridge these days.
• AE - If you make a mistake, you'll just have to do it over.
BE - If you make a mistake, you'll just have to do it again.
• AE - He was born 3/27/1981.
BE - He was born on 27/3/1981.
• AE - The soccer team won two to nothing (2-0).
BE - The soccer team won two-nil (2-0).
• AE - She arrived at twenty of two.
BE - She arrived at twenty to two.


Grammar
American English Vs. British English