Fundamental Grammar Rules You Should Never Forget
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When you are going to edit the text, it implies you’ve got to know the grammar well. Otherwise, you won’t be able to spot the mistake and correct it. However, with some native speakers and many foreigners writing in English might become a problem due to the deficient grammar.
The current post is intended for making you feel more confident in your English speaking and writing. You might not know all the words but still connect them correctly. This will make your speech comprehensive and the low vocabulary will pass unnoticed. Let’s have these tips outlined, scroll down now!
What’s a Grammar and Why Its Rules are Important?
“Grammar” is one of the terms that form the different concepts in the mind of each speaker. It can be associated with the Parts of Speech only (e.g. Noun, Adjective, Participle etc.) or include wider definitions (notions from syntax, punctuation, spelling). By saying “grammar”, we often imply the complex notion of the correctness of the text, its performance in accordance with the rules of the language.
There are too many mistakes in your text.
You’ve got to check your grammar and improve it.
So, grammar reflects the overall correctness of the text, its accordance to the existing language rules. In this regard, understanding the grammar gives a key to the fluent speaking and writing in the foreign language. When a child begins to perceive the mother tongue (and that happens even before the actual birth), the constructions of the language phrases get carved in the mind. Then, it is easier to fill them with the words the child gets to know when becoming older. Interested in the process of the universal earning? Browse the philosophic studies about cognition and make your choice! It is highly important and affects the whole process of your scientific development.
Learning grammar, thus, is discovering the basic constructions that make the ground for all the language forms and combinations. Embracing the variety is easy when you know what rule to follow. However, there can be more than one rule and even more than one way to interpret it. That is why, the eminent linguists’ posts describing some grammar rules in a simple and comprehensive way are so popular. Still, there are not so many of them. The Essay-Editor’s blog on English writing and editing is the number one source to contact if you look for such data. The grammar rules are described clearly and with plenty of illustrations, so, you won’t be misled in your pursuit for the perfect English grammar!
The grammar constructions outline the attitude of one language substance to others. They make the shapes that can be filled with any content. For example, the compare the next two sentences:
Writing an essay is a time-consuming work.
Watching a movie is a pleasant occupation.
As you see, the meaning is different. However, the form of the sentences, their way of representation is similar. “Something is something”. This structure is based on the functions of the words – the roles they play in the sentence. However, it is not the actual word that defines the function, but rather a certain function determines which word can take it.
Composing essays is my favorite assignment.
Jack spent several hours composing his speech.
You see? In both sentences, the same word “composing” plays different parts. In the first phrase, it defines a self-sufficient action that is described as an actor of the sentence. While in the second sentence, it defines an action that is initiated by some person (Jack) and does not have the “independence”=the variety of functions it had in the first sentence. But the word stayed the same, not a single letter has been changed.
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The functions the words play in the sentences, thus, determine the types of words that can perform these functions. For example, as we have seen above, the Gerund and the Proper Noun can perform the same function of an actor=the substance initiating action.
As you might guess, the number of functions is limited. The principal functions, or syntactic forms, are:
- Subject (S) – indicating the source of the action, the active participant, and
- Predicate (P) – defining the action in the wide understanding (including the states, implied actions etc.
It is quite common that these functions are mixed up with the Parts of Speech’ constructs (often, with Noun and Verb). Indeed, most frequently the Noun takes the position of the Subject, while the Verb fills in the Predicate form. However, as we have seen already, the Gerund (which is a form of the Verb) can well be the Subject of the sentence, while the Verb can perform the function of an Attribute (spent hours composing his speech – spent hours in what way, how).
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The syntactic forms are universal. It means that they are reflected in every language on the Earth. However, the actual content differs greatly. In some language, there is no habitual structure of the sentence, but it seems that the phrase consists of one or a few very long words (for example, the German language, the Finnish language). Indeed, the way of the word and sentence creation differs. When we want to add a characteristic to something in Finnish, we’ll have to add a suffix or literally glue two words together. Meanwhile, in English, we would need to add another word.
This is a girl. – This is a beautiful girl.
– This is a beautiful girl I know.
However, it does not matter much in which way the syntactic functions are expressed, they are still reflected in every sentence or every meaningful part of the actual speech.
Thus, the variety of languages, their forms, means of expression can be “packed” into several syntactic functions. Still, each language has developed its own rules as to the way of filling in the shapes that the functions foresee. For example, there is no Gerund in the Russian language; the meaning “composing an essay” from the example above would be expressed in another way (most often, by the Verb). The languages differ by the way the words are connected and make the following types:
- Synthetic – the words are united with their auxiliary words, sometimes with other Parts of Speech.
- Analytical – each word has its own shape not diffusing with other words
Certainly, there are no “pure” synthetic or analytical languages. Yet, most of them clearly show the inclination to one of the types listed above.
The way of filling in the universal shapes (some researchers call them the shapes of mind) makes the distinction of every single language. What Part of Speech can take the position of the Subject? In which form must the Verb be used if it also performs the Subject function? The correct spelling also means much. If the word is written incorrectly, it can compromise the whole structure of the sentence, as there will be no clarity as to the function of this word.
The wholesome food is thrice.
So, spelling is important as well. What about the punctuation? Can its correct or incorrect placement change the meaning and confuse the reader with regard to the assignment of the functions to words? It certainly can. First of all, punctuation marks the limits of the sentence. If there is no period or another end-marking symbol, it might be hard to understand where the sentence actually ends and another starts.
It has been a dream white pony emerged from the forest running
lightly across the lawn.
Most of the native English speakers understand that a period is missed after the “dream”. However, could the author mean “a dream-white pony” to be a romantic description? The possibilities and opportunities can be evaluated differently and the results can be different, too.
But the absence of the period is quite a rare mistake. Commas are missed much more often. Still, sometimes, this can also change the meaning considerably.
Lily was counting on her, fingers trembling.
Lily was counting on her fingers trembling.
Here, placing the comma means bringing quite another sense and structure to the sentence. It also changes the meaning of the sentence components (particularly, of the word-combination “counting on”.
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Sometimes, a good visual sample proves to be more effective than learning the grammar rules by heart. Reading the example and grasping its sense, you immediately anchor it in your mind. Having a similar experience in your everyday communication, you will automatically “pull” your anchor and get the sample popping up in your mind. That’s quite useful for non-thinking communication training. All you have to do is gather a collection of such anchors so that you will not get lost in the majority of situations. For the sample texts, look at the dedicated page on our website. The best sampling of essays and other pieces of writing are gathered there. Have a look now!
So, all parts of the language system and all language rules participate in building the straight functional construction of the sentence and of the speech. Though the basic constructions are the same for all languages, the actual implementation varies in Parts of Speech, actual meaning, spelling, punctuation and so on. All this diversity that makes the difference from other languages is called grammar. It is a set of rules defining the way to fill in the syntactic structures correctly. Mastering the grammar results in the fluent usage of the language and correct building of the speech (and correct understanding).
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What are the Fundamental Rules?
One might say, “Okay, I learned about the syntax, the deeper structure. Now, what of that? How am I to use it? How am I to improve my English with this knowledge?”
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The syntactic structure describes the “framework” of the language. It makes its basis, the foundation allowing building the walls – the actual sentences and phrases of the live language. The ore solid the foundations is… Well, you’ve got the point. That’s like having the concrete shapes that you can fill with any material and make different things – from the garden sculpture to the crockery pieces.
For example, you need to express a situation that happened to your friend recently. If you have in mind the syntactic shape “someone did something at the earlier date”, you just select the words that relate to the actual situation and put them into their places in the shape.
My brother’s got the first prize in the high school Olympiad.
Knowing the fundamental structure, you could have a clearer picture of the differences in languages and categorize the difference between English and your mother tongue. In this way, adopting the English syntax will become a matter of training. You will have all the knowledge; the only thing to do would be to try it in practice. And succeed!
Wonder what to start your study of syntax from? Begin by identifying the distinctive features of each language. You will need the classification of the language groups that outlines the syntactic properties as well.
That’s why, before plunging into the peculiarities of the English grammar and syntax, let us briefly outline the basic principles of organization of all the languages in the world – their inner deeper structure.
This structure is built adhering to the rules. Let’s mention the basic ones.
1. There can be no Subject, but there is nothing to say without Predicate. Even when it seems that there is no action in the sentence, there is a Predicate founding its structure. A Predicate is a nuclear component that makes it possible for the sentence to be built. Even in the sentences below, there is a Predicate.
Dusk. Cool breeze. Relief.
The words stand for some state and it seems that nothing happens. However, there is always some action behind any state.
Dusk = getting darker
Cool breeze=a motion of the air that is cool
Relief=a process of relaxation and taking away the burden
So, any sentence implies the Predicate. Indeed, the very possibility of talk has arisen out of the necessary to say, to fix, to inform – to make some action. Any state is the result of some change – some action. That’s why any phrase must have a Predicate. It wouldn’t exist otherwise.
The sentences without a Predicate do not make sense. For example, you need to approach an editor with the request, “Revise and reword my work!” If you drop the Predicate part, you will have “And my work!” However, even this sentence might be taken as the correct one, as the existence of the work is perceived as the Predicate. The Predicate is an organizational core of the sentence ad its obligatory component.
2. Out of the necessity of the Predicate, comes the second rule. The Subject cannot dominate over the Predicate. If it seems that the Subject is more important and more “powerful” in the sentence, it is not the Subject – it’s a Predicate.
Archer, he is.
In this sentence, the main focus is on the word “archer”. So, it might seem that a syntactic Object has the primary meaning. However, it makes a part of the compound Predicate “being an archer” that describes the process of transformation into someone with the skills and status of an archer.
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3. All other components (Object, Adverbial Modifier, Attribute) must conform to the main elements of the structure in accordance with the syntactic hierarchy: Predicate – Subject – Object – Attribute – Adverbial Modifier.
A lovely essay has been recently submitted by the talented student.
In this sentence, all mentioned syntactic functions are represented.
Lovely, talented – Attributes
Essay – Object (in the deep structure; in accordance with the school grammar studies, it is a Subject of the present sentence)
Has been submitted – Predicate
Student – Subject (can be considered as the Indirect Object)
Recently – Adverbial Modifier (of time)
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When you know the foundation of the sentence, it is easy to develop its structure and find the best way of conformity to the words. In the present example, you name the action and the actor (a student who submitted an essay) and then develop this structure adding other elements (lovely essay, submitted recently, by a talented student). The core elements (Predicate and Subject) go first (not physically first, in the order terms, but in the sense of the importance), then all the other elements are “glued” onto the foundation structure.
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4. All the components agree with each other in accordance with their hierarchy. Each level of the hierarchy can be independent.
It means that the Subject must concord with the Predicate (He is a perfect English writer), while the Attribute corresponds to the element it relates (perfect conforms in number and person with writer, not with another word). As to the Adverbial Modifiers, they might seem not depending on any of the sentence’s elements, but on a sentence as a whole. Still (remember rule #1), they relate to the Predicate, while their form is usually unchangeable.
I bought a cap recently.
The teacher has checked the work quickly.
We spoke lightly.
The underlined Adverbial Modifiers indicate the different things (time, manner). However, they characterize the action (when it happened, how it happened, in what way etc.)
Sometimes, the students not having sufficient linguistic knowledge mix up the notions and take the parts of a sentence for the Parts of Speech. Though in many directions, these classifications cross each other, they are not the same and are grounded on different principles. The skillful usage of the Predicate and connected Objects implies you know perfectly the rules of the Tense usage (if you don’t, check quickly the ways to learn Present Simple). However, the Tense does not directly influence the Object and its form.
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Now, that we are set with the deep language structures, we can “narrow down” to the limits of the English language and talk about the peculiar features of its grammar as the ones derived of the syntactic rules (to be precise, of their implementation). Let’s start uncovering the practical secrets of the English grammar in the next clause!
The English Syntax and Its Features
The deep structure is the same for all the languages on the Earth. However, if you learn other languages, you might notice that the way of the words’ connection is different. In some languages, the dependable word adopts the shape of the main one. In others, the words are less dependable on the grammar form of each other. Let us discuss the principal ways of the words connection:
- The form of the word. One word repeats the grammar form of another word because it depends on it or is connected to it. This type of the syntactic connection has almost vanished from the modern English language, while one still could meet it in the archaic versions of the language.
I’m going to meet you. – modern English, non-changeable form.
You’re going to meet me. – modern English, changeable form.
I intend to meet thee. – Old English, changeable form.
- Prepositions. The prepositions are the words that connect other words. The connection is their primary function. This type of connection can be traced in the English language as well.
The present was put under the box.
The present was put inside the box.
The present was put on the box.
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- Word order. The history of the English language’ development shows the gradual vanishing of all the types of connections between words. It comes to the point now, where only the word order means. The succession of one word by another determines the way of connection between these words. This is the most common type of syntactic connections in the modern English language.
Lisa scared the dog. – the dog is the one who was scared.
The dog scared Lisa. – Lisa is scared.
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- Intonation. This means of the words’ connection has different significance among the languages. As to the English language, intonation means a lot in the live communication and can change the meaning completely.
Who wrote this essay? – You, and I participated.
- You and I participated.
In the first example, the intonation accentuates the word “you” and thus, the Verb “participated” refers only to the Pronoun “I”. While in the second example this Verb refers to the “collective” you and I.
Intonation in English serves the auxiliary goals of marking out some piece of the data in the sentence. Meanwhile, in some other languages, its opportunities are much wider. Check the role of the intonation in Chinese and learn that a single sound can be articulated with the different intonation.
So, we see that the English language is a highly formalized one. It also features a well-developed syntactic structure. This provides for the primary means of connection between the words being the word order. The word order plays the part of the main determination means thanks to the almost complete absence of the flexions and cases.
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Thus, a sentence structure is determined by the sequence of its elements. Let us see what peculiarities are there.
1. The main components (Subject and Predicate) define the complete idea and make the integral element. Subject precedes the Predicate for most of the cases (the inverse structure is considered unusual and can be used as the literary means of expression).
need to write a short essay on molecules. – Subject precedes the Predicate.
this new rule nothing. – Predicate precedes Subject, a poetic form.
The Subject and Predicate must correspond to each other in number and person. That is, the Subject expressed by the Pronoun I must have a Predicate have. While he agrees with has. Certainly, there are different ways of concordance between the Verb and Noun / Pronoun. Still, these two categories always agree in number and person, whichever way is chosen (the second form of the Verb, the standard ending etc.).
Remember that the Subject and Predicate also have the non-matching features, such as Tense, Voice, Case etc. Learn what these characteristics are for and check the examples of their usage. Find out where to use the Past Indefinite Tense and what cases of the Noun are available in English.
2. Object comes after the Predicate. There can be some words (e.g. an Attribute) in between, but the Object does not precede the Predicate.
The cursor drew a wave line. – Predicate precedes.
A cup of tea he is buying. – Object is put before a Predicate. Non-standard form.
3. Adverbial Modifiers of place precede the Adverbial Modifiers of time. First, you say where then you say when. The Adverbial Modifiers are usually placed in the beginning or at the end of the sentence. Yet, they do not have a fixed place in the English sentence.
She used to jog in the park daily. – the place, then the time.
Slowly, the teacher handed a manuscript to the head of the board.
– Adverbial Modifier of manner.
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4. The Attribute can precede any part of the sentence it relates to. The Attribute defines the distinctive features and relates to some particular element, not to the situation as a whole (as an Adverbial Modifier does). An important remark, the Attribute defines only the parts of the sentence expressed by the Nouns / Pronouns.
A rapid typing sound had been rattling inside. – the Attribute for the Subject.
The aim was to write a perfect essay. – the Attribute for the Object.
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So, it is clear that each part of a sentence has its place in the sentence that is determined by its syntactic function. It also works in the reverse. We can guess the function from the way the word is used, from the words that precede and follow it. Look at the following example,
Being a writer is not an occupation, it’s a vocation. – Subject, precedes the Predicate
The family commended Jack for being a writer. – Object (the indirect one), comes after
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Such orientation leads to the erasure of the limits between the words with regard to their form. A slow process of the form unification has started long before and is currently unfolding. Who knows, maybe, someday the English words will be all the same Parts of Speech, while only their situational placement will matter. Unreal as it might seem, the current tendency supports such a theory. The Verbs become the Nouns and vice versa without any change to the form.
My favorite browser is Google.
I google everything!
Yet, presently we have a lot of grammar forms to deal with. Before shifting the focus to them, let us have a quick glance at the basic syntactic constructions – the sentences and their types.
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What are the English Sentences?
In the previous clause, we have reviewed the ways of connecting the words in a sentence containing one Subject and one Predicate. However, the structures of language (and the mind) allow us building constructions that are more complex. Let us analyze the types of syntactic constructions relevant for the English language.
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Let us clarify that we imply the syntactic characteristics that can be related to the sentence in a whole, not to its separate components (such as the Predicate group). For example, the Voice is not taken into account, while the Mood is the key notion for this discussion. The Active or Passive Voice structure can be characteristic for the sentences in the certain styles; the Voice can be determined for the separate Verbs. Still, the common expression “the Passive sentence” can mislead a student, so, a proper clarification must be provided.
Another type of the syntactic connection requires your attention if you plan to use English for your communication. That’s the connection between the parts of the sentence. Let us recall what the sentence types can be by their syntactic structure.
- Simple – these are the phrases that have only one Subject and Predicate (or just a Predicate).
A fire show was set at the close of the fest. – 1 Subject, 1 Predicate.
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- Compound – such sentences have two or more Subjects and Predicates that do not prevail upon each other. It means that each part of such a sentence cannot be determined as the main one.
The dissertation was written well and the
did not take much time.
– 2 Subjects, 2 Predicates; independent.
- Complex – the sentences where one part dominates over another part and determines its structure.
This essay would be rated higher if it had had a conclusion.
– 2 Subjects, 2 Predicates; dependent.
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An Independent Clause is a term that comes up frequently when it goes about the English syntax. Let’s have a short overview of it.
The Clause is a part of the sentence that has its own meaning core – a Subject and a Predicate. Thus, it constructs a separate sentence that, however, is incorporated into another sentence. Quickly browsing the data above, you might see that the Independent Clause fits well as a part of the Compound sentence.
If you doubt the nature of the clause, just try separating it from the other parts of the sentence.
The top position in the chart is the “Romantic essay”, and
it is the best novel ever!
The top position in the chart is the “Romantic essay”.
– a complete sentence; an Independent Clause.
The “Romantic essay”, which is the top position in
the chart has got much positive feedback.
Which is the top position in the chart. – an incomplete
Sentence; a Dependent Clause.
As we see, a Dependent Clause is preceded (or, sometimes, followed) by the Independent one. Together, they make a Complex sentence.
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The review of the syntactic peculiarities of the English language would be incomplete without mentioning the pragmatic functions of the basic constructions – the sentences. The term “pragmatic” implies the relation to the reality, the function the actual sentence performs in the actual situation.
With regard to the pragmatic function, the English sentences can be divided into
- Declarative – this kind of sentence is aimed at reflecting the facts and/or ideas. Primarily, its function is informative; it conveys the knowledge, not the attitude. The graphics implementation of the declarative sentence is a period or an ellipsis put at the end of the statement.
Editing the papers requires constant updating of the
skills and knowledge.
The crimson line on the horizon got blurred…
- Interrogative – the pragmatic function is showing the need for additional information, asking for help. Within the language, this need is shaped in the form of the question. The latter is constructed by the inverse word order (that sometimes cannot be applied) and the question mark at the end of the sentence
Do you participate in the writing contest?
Interrogation / question does not necessarily take the form of the interrogative sentence. Meanwhile, the interrogative sentence does not obligatory imply the need for the additional information and the expectation of the reply. Discover the formal and functional attributes of the rhetorical questions.
- Exclamatory – this type of sentence conveys the emotions involved in the speech. It signifies the emotional level is high and has the primary importance upon the information relayed. The emotional appeal is conveyed by the exclamation mark put at the end of the sentence.
What a sweet classic melody!
The editors’ team has won the first prize!
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It can happen that the form of the sentence does not correspond to its intended pragmatic function. For example, we can ask without putting a direct question
I wonder who could edit my paper within two hours.
Otherwise, a question can be put without the need for a reply.
What’s the use of senseless correspondence? (It is implied that there is none).
The imperative goal can be approached in the different ways. When there is no direct appeal, it is considered as politeness. The requirement might be put in the form of the question or a declarative statement.
Could you please pass me the contacts of your editor?
I would be highly grateful if you’d share your opinion
about this specialist.
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There are multiple ways to relate the connections between the words and express the syntactic function. The way of combining these ways makes the peculiarity of each language. However, that’s not where the original features of the language end. That’s the point at which the individuality of the language starts to unfold. Let us discuss the further levels of the English language (commonly referred to as “grammar”) and find out everything about its structure.
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Parts of Speech as Grammar Units
The words we use to convey our thoughts are different. They differ in length, composition, sound. However, they can be grouped by distinct features that reflect their functions in the language. Some words are used to describe the motion (Verbs), others – to depict the objects (Nouns, Pronouns), yet others – to signify the characteristics (Adjectives, Participles etc.)
These categories of words are called Parts of Speech. The function is not the only principle by which they are categorized. The words of the same function usually have the similar physical shape (endings, prefixes etc.) and repeat the patterns while changing the shape.
Parts of Speech are formally and functionally
differentiated groups that allow categorizing
This similarity in shape and its modification is called morphology. Morphological attributes are the formal attributes of the word (what root, ending, suffix etc. it has). See the basic principles of the morphology and how it is connected with the other levels in the integrated system of the language.
The Parts of Speech also make the two groups. A large part of words represents their own meaning as the Parts of Speech (a notion). For instance, the Noun reflects the meaning of an object that performs the action or is subject to it. Such Parts of Speech are called notional. Meanwhile, there are Parts of Speech that do not possess their own meaning, except for the function they perform. They serve to indicate how other words relate to each other, they connect or separate them. These are Prepositions, Conjunctions, Articles, Modal words. There are also the words that convey no notion or connection but illustrate the human’s emotions – Interjections and Exclamations. These Parts of Speech have the name of functional Parts of Speech
- Can we talk using only the functional words?
- Well, perhaps. Or…
- Won’t it be senseless?
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The notional group contains seven Parts of Speech that reflect the categories our mind uses for describing the outer world and our own perception. These are:
- Verbs – depict the action or its absence (sleep, idle). Generally, the Verbs serve to indicate the motion, the change. As such, they can also reflect the states (astonish, depress). Verbs can be independent, outlining a separate self-sufficient action (throw, browse) or auxiliary, making a part of the complex constructions (has, is). This function is backstopped by the capability of the Verbs to express Tenses. The Tense is one of the primary features of the Verb and can be relayed by different formal means (accepted ending change, the presence of the second and third form of the Verb).
Remember the third form table. Otherwise, you
might be misunderstood.
- She singed the hall out. (implying that she sang)
- Were there any victims?
Tense is the basic feature of the Verb that characterizes the action and makes its inseparable attribute. The primary Tense is the Present Simple that describes the action taking part continually or regularly and coincides with the moment of speech. Learn the Present Simple Tense and use it in due order, with our comprehensive grammar guide!
Verbs also develop several forms that approximate the other Parts of Speech in their shape and function. For example, the Gerund (planning, eating) finds its functional location somewhere between the Verb and the Noun. The Participle (bored, laughing) is situated between the Verb and the Adjective.
The Verb also has its own form not developed by other Parts of Speech – the Infinitive (to reach, to handle). This form is used to describe the action independently, without reference to other actions or objects or attributes.
- Nouns – indicate the objects that initiate the action or accept its impact. These can be humans, animals, other animated objects, things, sometimes states (loneliness, joy). The distinctive feature of Nouns is the opposition animated – non-animated and the ability for multiplication (the possibility to have the singular or plural form). Some Nouns can possess only one type of number (e.g. scissors (plural only) or aircraft (singular only)), however, they always potentially have the capacity to develop another form (*scissor, *aircraft). This is especially illustrative in the children speech.
I can’t get my leg out of this trouser!
Nouns also make the category of Parts of Speech where the spelling mistakes frequently occur. In most of the cases, having the ample knowledge of the word’s meaning helps avoid the awkward spelling fails. Here are some of the most popular misspelled pairs:
- accept vs. except. Gain access to the back door and do not allow for working daily in excess.
- affect vs. effect. There is a psychological notion of “affect” meaning a particular overwhelming state. Still, it often happens that this word is also used as a Verb. Anyhow, remember that an effect is a result of something while affect is a psychological concept or a Verb.
- roll vs. role. While making a sushi roll don’t forget to rehearse your role in the college theater performance.
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- Adjectives – give an estimation of the object or event without actually mentioning it (round, new, inexpensive). An adjective can refer to the Nouns and Pronouns, sometimes, to the Gerund.
- Adverbs – provide an estimation of the action or a general characteristic of the situation (impressively, awesome, luckily). They also perform the function of the reasoning identifying the cause of the present situation (because due etc.)
- Pronouns – words that perform the functions similar to other Parts of Speech (Nouns, Adjectives), yet show the relation, connection between the objects, events, actions (she, my, all). The Pronouns are also a popular background for making the spelling mistakes of a different kind. Find some of them below:
- their vs. they’re. They’re editors and for your grammar mistakes, their vengeance will be ruthless.
- my vs. mine. It’s easy to remember that my bag is carried alone while another bag is not mine.
- he’s vs. his. His house was a great mansion, but he’s not living there anymore.
- Prepositions – these short words perform the function of the railway turnout in the sentence. They indicate the way the different parts of the sentence are linked (above, inside, to). The prepositions can be named a soul of the language as they illustrate the core notions of the relevant outlook. All the people can see the same white snow, however, in some languages, it will be expressed by two or more words describing its properties (like cold-white-flakes), while in others, its geographic location might matter (dripping-from-North). The prepositions are the markers for the hierarchy of notions present in the particular language.
In English, you can meet a friend in the street.
In Russian, you meet a friend on the street.
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- Conjunctions – the words that unite or separate the parts of the sentence or even the whole sentences (and, or, apart from). Conjunctions are important for building the logical structure and the logical connections in the text. Besides, conjunctions are able to provide the bits of information that are not explicit in the text.
She watered the flowers yet smiled.
– She did not intend to water the flower
She watered the flowers and smiled.
– She intended watering the flowers before.
- Modal words – these words are Verbs that function in the capacity of the reality augmenters (could, must, should). By means of these words, we can describe the ideal world, the potential possibilities. They create the separate discursive and grammatical aspect – the Subjunctive mood. By their meaning, they are always abstract and can be combined with any Verb.
If I should, then I would.
If you could, then you must.
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- Articles – these are the words that mark the relation of the Noun to the speaker or situation and define the level of the proximity between them. If the object is considered as a typical representative of the similar objects, the a article would be used.
A student must not violate the college rules.
- Refers to any student.
If some definite object is spoken about, the article the must be used:
The carrot has been sweet.
- It goes about a particular carrot.
Thus, the articles help segregate the reality and defining the level of speaker’s attention to the determined objects.
- Interjections and exclamations. This Part of Speech conveys exclusively the emotional meaning. Still, the nature of the emotion and its possible cause and consequence can be derived out of the interjection.
Wow! (amazed and inspired, very excited)
- (upset as something went wrong)
Bingo! (glad as the solution has been found)
The Interjections could well be considered a notional Part of Speech, have they had some formal similarity or repeated patterns. Presently, they are considered the emotional markers of the situation.
The Parts of Speech are the fundamental categories that reflect the way we perceive and recreate the reality by means of the English language. The grammar rules based on the Parts of Speech classification describe the way the Parts of Speech refer to each other. Some Parts of Speech can make a combination and some cannot (or have restrictions for it). For example, the Adjective is well combined with the Nouns and Pronouns, but can be applied only to some of the Verb forms (e.g. the Gerund) and do not make sense when combined with the Adverb. There can be no smart luckily player, for example.
The definition of any Part of Speech involves the characteristic of its function. With regard to the central parts of the sentence (which are Predicate and Subject), these functions might become characteristic for a sentence in whole. That is how we come saying the plural sentences, the examples of the Gerund sentences and so on. Still, it must be remembered that these are mainly the figures of speech, not the statements relating to the actual correlation between the language functions and forms.
Each Part of Speech can develop different meaning and have some groups within its structure. The usage of the words belonging to these groups also has its peculiarities. That is why, though knowing the fundamental structure is a helpful; solid basis, the grammar manual will make a handy assistant on your way to fluent English.
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The Formal Markers – Punctuation
The common stereotypic opinion says that grammar is words. However, as we have discovered already, grammar is more about the relations between the words.
Boody zick has swit the melly kittely with the sleat.
In this sentence, all the words are made up. Yet, the overall meaning is comprehensible. Someone (zick) who can be described in some way (boody) has made something (has swit) with someone or something (melly) by means of something (with the sleat) and in a certain way (kittely).
Thus, the formal markers of the words are enough to categorize them as some Parts of Speech and define their syntactic functions. Another tool letting put the accents in the text and establish its formal constructions is the punctuation.
Punctuation is the secondary system in the language. It does not influence the meaning of the words directly, yet, it can change the sense of a whole sentence or a text. It can impact the syntactic position of the word. Compare the next two phrases:
It’s a shame. The cab hasn’t arrived yet.
It’s a shame the cab hasn’t arrived yet.
The second sentence has the cab as it sole object of interest (Subject) and informs the speaker feels upset by the situation. The first statement accentuates the words It’s a shame that are made a separate sentence and convey the more powerful appeal.
At the same time, the punctuation markers are used in the single words as well. An apostrophe, for instance, serves to demonstrate the diffusion of the two words (it is = it’s), the capital letter means the word is used as the own name (Melissa gathered Melissa herbs for her tea) and so on.
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Punctuation provides for the final refinement of the phrase. If the syntactic (Subject-Predicate) structure is the fundament of the house, grammar structure (Parts of Speech) is walls, punctuation serves as doors and windows. It defines the limits of the phrase, its bordering line with other phrases. If we miss a door and will enter the house through the attic window by mistake, we can be wrongly understood the Same situation is with the messed up punctuation in the text.
The punctuation performs its shaping functions by means of the punctuation marks. Some of them are more popular and are frequently used (like comma, apostrophe, parentheses), others are less common (like semicolon, brackets).
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The punctuation is secondary because it enables the clear functioning of the syntax and grammar, without “pursuing” its own purposes. In the modern English language, the most popular punctuation marks (commas, colons) are used less often and are not always considered in writing. This can be OK with the informal messages; still, the strict formal styles (like a scientific one) require the impeccable punctuation.
Let us see what punctuation marks are there and what basic rules must be remembered.
- End-of-sentence mark. Each sentence has its beginning and its finish. The latter is signified by one of the punctuation marks (the stopping marks). These may be various, period, ellipsis, exclamation or question mark. These marks serve for indicating the border of the phrase as well as its character and purpose. It might provide a statement (period), inquire (question mark), add emotion or accentuate on the importance (exclamation mark) or illustrate the appeal for the contemplation (ellipsis).
Know this grammar rule.
Know this grammar rule!
Know this grammar rule?
Know this grammar rule…
The period is the only mark that can be used without limits. Having other ones all over your text might produce an undesirable irritating effect.
- Beginning of the sentence. There is the only way to identify the beginning of the sentence – find a capital letter. Capitalization seems a simple process, yet, remember, that when using in the middle of the sentence, it must adhere to the grammar rules.
Prof. Jackson was sent on errands to Jackson, the
small city nearby.
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- Commas. These tiny little guys with tails tend to make their way through the sentence and appear in the most unlikely places. Yet, once you find out what roadmap they have “in mind”, you will have a clear picture of commas. Their main functions are accents’ placement, ranging the information (by the principle “known data – new data”), separating the items in the lists, attracting the attention to some objects (like in the appealing clause). The most frequent mistakes with commas are as follows:
- No comma after the Adverbial Clause, direct appeal and “e.g.”. All the listed words and word combinations must be followed by the comma.
Judging by your essay, Ms. Carlile,
there are several features to clarify.
E.g., the conclusion.
- Comma before “and”. To be honest, this won’t be a mistake if you choose to put or not put a comma before “and”. So far, as it goes about the list. In this case, a comma before “and” is called an Oxford comma. In other cases, there might apply other grammar and punctuation rules.
The grades were “A”, “A+”, and “C”.
The last was not pleasing, and Rick
has tried to erase it.
- Escaping comma or punctuation splice. That’s a popular mistake among the beginners in English writing. The rule says that the independent clauses connected by the listed conjunctions must have a comma before them. The conjunctions can be traced in the sampling phrase below:
The comma must be put, for we know well the punctuation
Is important, and the mistake can be made,
- can we count on receiving an approval,
- sometimes, we don’t know the rule, or simply forget,
- this phrase helps recall it.
Another way to remember them well is noting the word “F.A.N.B.O.Y.S.” standing as an abbreviation for the first letters of the conjunctions.
I’ve found your text, yet I could not
find the corrected version.
- Colon. That’s a mark seldom put correctly. However, there is nothing too difficult about it. Colon introduces a list of items that make a part of the main word. It can also precede the explanative clause. When a second part of the sentence explains the first one, you can put a colon to separate them and indicate this connection. However, it works only if there is no relevant conjunction.
An eminent writer revealed his secrets: what to write about,
how to make the text interesting etc.
We needed an explanation: how to write and why.
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- Semicolon. It is the punctuation mark that represents a “more solid” comma. It presumes a longer pause is made than with the regular comma. Use semicolon if your list features several levels, each one having a list inside. In this case, the principal list items must be separated by the semicolon.
When two independent clauses are connected, the semicolon can replace the conjunction between them.
She regarded the paper silently; the
student stood still anticipating questions.
The semicolon is also put when an introductory clause is implemented. It takes the place before such words as however, thus, therefore etc.
The text was esteemed high; thus, another grade
has been achieved.
- Apostrophe. This punctuation mark performs the function of the economy – it allows using one word instead of two (he’s, she’d). Besides, it is the means of illustrating the possessive connection between the words (Alice’s apple, bedroom’s floor). The apostrophe, thus, serves for the compression of the auxiliary Verb and its transformation into the part of the Noun or Pronoun.
Lisa’s done all she could to win the writer’s cup.
Her curator’s mailbox was full of e-mails
with the contests’ essays.
- Parentheses. This is the double punctuation mark that signifies the beginning and end of the particular construction. It serves for secluding some phrase that might bear clarifying character or contain the link to some information about another object that became relevant. When a parentheses’ mark is used alone, it means the smiley of the relevant mood was intended to be there.
I needed advice for my writing (and so I said).
I needed advice for my writing (as it lacked persuasion)
Punctuation marks are many; however, only some of them are used frequently. Besides, there were more some 100 years ago. Currently, the linguists accentuate the slow decline of the English punctuation. This process is particularly characteristic for the informal correspondence and popular media writing. No commas’ style used by some authors is regarded as the live conversational style. Though the comma has no competitors in separating the items on the list, it slowly gives up other positions (commas between the independent clauses, after the introductory words and so on). Thus, some function of the punctuation (like the end of sentence and capitalization) cannot be dismissed. Yet, there are other ones that do not influence the understanding greatly and slowly vanish from the informal writing.
Having all the grammar, syntax, punctuation rules and exceptions carved in your memory is a great assessment. However, understanding the principle of their structure and functioning is much more important. First of all, it saves you time that would be otherwise spent for intense learning by heart. Second, it would train your brain. Third, it would give you an opportunity to systemize the data, so, when you find out some new information, you would already know where it fits. The capacity of the human’s mind is truly amazing. So is the editing we provide. Do not just go for the words http://essay-editor.net/blog/steps-to-the-amazing-english-editing, see for yourself!
The language is a large multifunctional system that contains the terabytes of information. It is dynamic as it reflects immediately and change in the facts, events, concepts, perceptions etc. It contains billions of connections between the words, notions, facts of reality. However, this flow has its own order and rules of combination.
This is valid for any single language. However, each one has its distinctions due to the different way of the categorization of the reality. The different circumstances of living, different history and culture provide for the changes in the languages that might not correspond with other languages. For English, you have your personal consultant at the Essay-Editor’s website. Get the English check and proofreading service round-the-clock and at the minimal price!
As any system, language has its fundamental structures that are universal and make a basis for the construction of other system levels. The Subject-Predicate structure is the core element of any language. Presence of such an element enables the understanding between the people of the different language and culture and witnesses the similar framework of the human’s mind across the Earth.
The fundamental structures are embodied in the syntactic structures of different languages. Here, the difference starts to come up. Some languages have an Indirect Object, some don’t. In some languages, the Attribute’s area of function is limited by the Subject only, while others let it combine with any other part of a sentence.
The next level of the language system is grammar. The system of Parts of Speech classify the words as to their correlation with reality and the function in a sentence. This correlation is not direct and is subject to the conventional grammar rules.
Punctuation performs the function of the final organization of the sentence. It allows separating the new data from the older one, highlighting specific information, combining and separating the elements of the sentence and the sentences in the text. Need a more comprehensive explanation? Ask the specialists providing the best academic paper editing daily! Our work shift is 24 hours a day, so, consult us as soon as the question arises!
Knowing the basic rules for each level of the language and implementing them integrally as a system provides for the perfect mastering of the foreign language. Understanding of the deeper structures of the language allows building the correctly structured phrases and gain the skill of fluent English.
Any skill needs training and constant development. Train your English reading our blog dedicated to the different levels of the text writing. Enjoy the professional advice represented in the user-friendly interface!
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