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Parts of Speech – the classification of words

according to how they are used in the

1. Noun – names a thing, person, place, quality
or act
a. compound noun
b. common ( 1. Concrete b. Abstract )
c. proper
a. Personal pronouns: These indicate the speaker,
the person or people spoken to or the person or
thing spoken about.
Cases of Pronoun
Subjective Possessive Objective

1st person I my mine me

(speaker) we our, ours us

2nd person you your yours you

(spoken to)
3rd person he his him
(spoken of) she her hers her
It its it
One one’s one
They their, theirs them
? It may have been me who broke it.
? John and me want our prize.
? He discussed it with my wife and I .
? He runs as fast as me / faster than
? That’s’ good news for we teachers,
where me and us are required.
? We were worried because one felt so helpless
X If one tries to switch on the radio, you get a nasty shock
Better: one tries , one gets

?? We made some more tea, because it was cold.

( was the tea cold, or the weather?)

Uncertain references:

?? He told him that he must help him to move his car.

George had to move his car, and he told Andrew to help him.
? In view of her tender years, I should advise Mary to wait
another term or two.

Better: In view of Mary’s tender years, I should advise her to

wait another term or two.
 Demonstrative pronouns: This that , these and
 Reciprocal: each other and one another.
 Relative and Interrogative pronouns: who, whom,
whose, which, what and that, with their expanded
 Indefinite pronouns – anybody, anyone, anything,
something, none either, neither, nothing,
nobody, everything etc.
 Reflexive pronoun – myself, ourselves, yourself,
yourselves, himself, herself, itself, one self
 Intensive pronoun – same as reflexive pronoun)
Example: agree, vanquish, be, cut

a. Regular verbs – form their past tense and past

participle by adding d or ed to the infinitive.
Example: we agreed
we have agreed
b. Irregular verbs – shows the differences in tense
by an internal vowel change.

They are called strong verbs:

Example: sing – sang – sung

go - went – gone
cut – cut – cut
Infinitive – the basic form of the verb, with or
without “to”.
Example: They are likely to agree.
They might agree.

 Functions of the Verb:

a. Transitive – takes D.O
b. Intransitive – does not take D.O.

 Voice of the verbs:

a. Active – subject does the action.
b. Passive- subject receives the action.
Auxiliary Verb. (helping verb)
Used with another verb to form a unit

a. tense
b. suggest – possibility, necessity or

Example: to be, to have, to do, as in = I am

working, He has arrived, They did not come.

Auxiliary verbs – can could, shall, should,

will, would, may might, need ought, dare.
 Reflexive Verbs – transitive verbs whose object
and subject are the same things or person.

Example: We may pride ourselves on something.

We can enjoy ourselves.

Reflexive verbs are used with reflexive pronouns =

myself themselves

a. Phrasal verb = combination of a verb with an


Example: Give up smoking.

 In some cases a preposition is preferred to no

Example: to approximate to the truth

to provide him with an excuse.

 Conversion = the common way of forming

new verbs by using words belonging to
another part of speech, usually a noun.

Example: to question = from the noun

To knife, to lunch
a. One kind of conversion is by which compound verbs are

Example: air-conditions
b. Back-formation = another way of forming verbs from
existing noun or adjective that might itself appear to be
derived from the verb.

Example: to laze = from adj. lazy

to edit = from editor
to extrude = extradition
to manipulate, to televise, to automate, to diagnose

Be careful in using = to liaise, self destruct, to enthuse

 Another kind of verb is formed by adding “ise
– ize” to existing word: to legalize, to

Be careful in using:
To finalize, hospitalize, privatize and

4. Adjective – are words that give some

information about the noun or noun
equivalent, by limiting qualifying or
specifying it. “Nice” is an adjective as in nice
house, French house, less obviously, so is
this, in this house, first house.
a. Attributive – can come before the noun they describe

Example: green house, silent majority

b. Predicative – can come after the noun they


Example: The door is green.

c. Post positive position – adjective is directly

after the noun.

Example: Three years old, two meters thick ,

president elect.
Some adjectives are only attributive:

Example: The main problem – not the problem is

The pilot is alive – not the alive pilot.
A man alone has got no chance.
A child eager to learn.

Nouns may be used as attributive adjectives.

Example: glass bottle

Silk ties
Iron railways
Participles of verbs as attributive adjectives.

Example: The coming months

A deserved rebuke

Compound adjectives:
Example: Soft-spoken negotiator, tax-free
items, tongue-tied, straight – from – the shoulder

Nouns used like adjectives:

Example: railway station, sports car, The rich, poor,

the deaf, the good
Adjective clauses/phrases

The man (that) you met. – adjective clause

The house at the corner – adjective phrase

Possessive forms of Personal Pronouns :

Example: my, your, our, his, her, its.


a. Positive – Ex. Bright, good, fast

b. Comparative – brighter, better, faster (add er)

c. Superlative – (extreme degree) (add est)

brightest, best, fastest

Using more and most

Done with some words of 2 syllables

Example: more complex, most seriously

Conversely: less and least (suit one syllable words
as well as those 2 or more syllables)

Example: less quickly, least desirable

More kind-hearted = kinder-hearted, most

kind – hearted = kindest –hearted

Irregular ways to form comparative/superlative

Good/well = better/best – bad/badly, worse/worst

In advertisement: comparative adjectives without

basis for comparison =
Example: better class hotel, detergent washes
Absolute Adjectives = cannot be used in

U cannot say: A more nuclear missile, a most medical


These adjectives should not be used in the comparative

or superlative since they imply a complete or final

Not possible = more perfect, most perfect, less perfect,

least perfect

It cannot be modified by such words as = absolutely,

totally, utterly, and very
But can be modified by nearly, quite, Example: an almost
perfect performance
Other absolute Adjectives:

Absolute, total, complete, contemporary,

entire, essential, everlasting, extreme,
supreme, total, unique

? Most ideal condition

Better: Most nearly ideal condition

ADVERB – modify verb = to continue steadily

Modify adjective = amazingly steady
Modify Adverb = surprisingly steadily
Preposition-is a word used to show the relationship of a noun
or a noun equivalent to the rest of the sentence.

Prepositional Phrases used as adverbs = example: right into my

eyes – (phrase)

Conjunctive adverbs: link a sentence with what precedes it.

Example: however, furthermore, never the less, moreover etc.

Adverbs answer the following questions:

a. How = slowly, eagerly

When = yesterday
Where = here
Placement of adverbs:

a. Insert an adverb between the parts of a verb.

Example: I should probably have gone.

They may sometimes refuse.
They couldn’t possibly remember

An adverb should not normally intervene between

a verb and its object.

? We explained carefully the matter.

⁄ We carefully explained the matter.
Certain adverbs particularly, only, even, quite,
just, hardly, scarcely are usually best placed
as close as possible to the part of the
sentence to which they apply.

Example: He has lost only one election.

He usually doesn’t wear a tie.
PREPOSITIONS: shows the relationship of a noun,
or a noun equivalent to the rest of the sentence.

It may answer the question:

Where: He sat at/on/beside/under the table

When: They arrived before/after breakfast.

Short phrase used as a preposition:

Example: in front of/by means/in accordance

with/with regard to/ as far/ in view of.
Preposition is set combination with some particular
verb/noun/adjective or adverb.

Example: by mistake/ on purpose/ we are fond of / in support of/

revenge on.

Example: The police may charge someone with murder. (charge –


The suspect was arrested on a charge of murder (charge = noun)

Example: He was accused of committing murder.

He was suspected of committing homicide.
He was sued for damages.
He conspires with another.
The UK consists of GB and Nb.
The beauty of the island consists in something.
They are satisfied with the result of the action.
The operation results in the arrest of the suspect.
 He admits to having stolen the jewels.
 The fact admits of only one explanation.
 Well-known things are familiar to people.
 The people are familiar with them.
 They are free of tax.
 Keep the garden free from weeds.
 A person can be susceptible to flattery.
 A theory is susceptible of an interpretation.
 You should be in sympathy with a point of
According to = a preposition
Example: Pay according to the work they do.

According as = conjunction (introduces sub clause)

Example: Promote them according as they do
well or badly.

Preferred prepositions:
Example: Affinity between/ with (not to/for)
Brood on/over something (not about)
Consequent on something (not about)
To die of something (not from)
Example: and, but, because, when, if

 Coordinating Conjunction – connects parallel

sentence elements of equal rank.

Example: and, but, or

It is legitimate and often very effective to begin

a sentence with and but or
 Subordinating Conjunction – connects a
subordinate clause to the main clause of the

Example: He laughed when I told him.

The conjunction when subordinates

I told him to the main clause.

Other examples: because, where, who if

“As” – as a conjunction:

What form should pronouns take after as? =

subject or object?

Do we say “ as I or as me?” for example – It

depends on the context. Since there is almost
always a missing verb ( such that “as” may be
considered a conjunction) the rule is this: just
add the missing verb (and any other missing
words) mentally to the sentence and that will
decide the case of the pronoun for you.

Example: The teacher scolded her as severely as

me = the teacher scolded her as severely as ( he
scolded me. (object)
The teacher scolded her as severely as I = the
teacher scolded her as severely as I (scolded her)

As used as conjunctions – as (while, when) I was

moving the lawn, the telephone rang.

I did as I was told. (what, that, which)

We must do it now as I will be away tomorrow
(since, because)

Wrestling is a contact sport as is boxing. (similar to

or like)

Leave my desk as it is. (In the way that)

As = a preposition in the following.

Example: As a child, she lived in Britain.

He came on stage, dressed as a King.
Josie is just as pretty as her sister.
(In the same degree) (AV) (P)

It is not as cold as it was last winter.

(AV) (C)

As (P) his secretary, she makes all his appointment.

As regards the party, wear something casual. (with
regard to, concerning)
Carnivores include animals such as lion, leopard and
cheetah. ( for example)
Ambiguous - ? I dislike her as much as you.
I dislike her as mush as you do.
I dislike her as much as I dislike you.

Interjection – a word that expresses feeling or

emotion and functions independently of a

Pain – ouch! That burns.

Joy – wow! This is great.
Contempt – Ah! Go away.
Hesitancy – Do you, uh! Believe that.
Avoiding sentence Errors:

A. Fragments: a group of words that does not

express a complete thought.

F- While we were swimming.

S – To know her is to admire her.

B. Run – on sentence is two or more independent
clauses that are not separated at all or that are
separated by only a comma.

Example: The animals weren’t hungry, they

R – had already eaten. (with only a comma)
S – Although he disliked her, he was polite.
R – Do most people like critism I don’t think
S – Do most people like critism? I don’t
think so.
Misrelated construction or misrelated adjective,

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers:

This sentence error is caused by faulty placement

of modifiers within a sentence.

A modifier should be placed as close as possible to

the word it modifies.

Example: Smashed beyond repair Rob saw his


Corrected – Rob saw his watch, smashed beyond

repair, lying on the court.
Dangling: Quietly descending the stairs a loose tile tripped
him up.

Corrected: Quietly descending the stairs, Peter tripped

himself up on a loose tile.

Clauses: A clause is a group of words containing a subject

and a predicate – typically a noun or noun equivalent
followed by a full verb.

1. A main clause is one that can stand alone as a sentence,

Example: The door was open.

A sentence may contain more than one main clause:

Example: The door was open and I went in.

2. Subordinate clauses function within the
sentence in the same way as single
adjectives, adverbs or nouns do.

Relative Clause – one that does the work of an


Example: The door that leads to the kitchen.

( instead of the kitchen door)

The place where we camped is now

Two types of Relative Clauses:

1. Restrictive Clause – defines or specifies the noun

and is essential to the meaning of the sentence. It
cannot be left out of the sentence.

Example: The family (that/which) prays together stays

together. (R-clause)

2. Non restrictive clause: simply gives some

information about the noun.

Example: The family, which is the basic unit of

human society, is losing it’s appeal. (the NR clause is
considered incidental, or even optional or
dispensable) – to be considered separately from the
noun “family” that it relates to.
That cannot be usually used to introduce a
non restrictive clause.

Which, who, whom, whose and so on can

be used to introduce restrictive and non
restrictive clause.

A restrictive clause can often do without

any pronoun to introduce it.

Example: The man I love is six feet tall.

Note the difference between the following two

(RC) – My brother “who lives in QC” is a dentist.

(NRC) – My brother, “who lives in QC, is” a

3. RC and NRC can apply to other construction

– notably to:
Appositional words, phrase and clauses.
(Apposition is a construction in which one
noun, noun phrase or clause, is placed after
another to explain it and has the same
grammatical function in the sentence.
(NRW) Example: James Taylor, the actor, is a
distant relative of mine. (non essential to the
subject, incidental word)

(RW) – James Taylor the actor is a distant relative of

(Essential to the subject)

Example: (NRC) - The fact, which we discussed

yesterday, is irrelevant.
(RC) - The fact (which (that) we discussed
yesterday is irrelevant.

The fact that we discussed it yesterday is

irrelevant. (Appositional Clause – not relative)
That here is not a relative pronoun but a

Example: Parkinson Law, that work expands

to fill the time available, needs some
qualification. (appositional clause)