Grammar Guide for Students

A Grammar Guide for Students who find ‘Grammar’ Difficult to Understand

‘Grammar’ is not the scariest word in the English language.  It is not difficult either.  Your starting point is to use my Grammar Guide for Students to work through the main nine parts of speech.  Once you know the main nine parts of speech you have the Metalanguage you need to discuss your work grammatically.  Look at the nine parts of speech first and then follow on to combine that knowledge when you put words together to form sentences.

There are Nine parts of Speech:

  1.  Noun = Definition: The name of a person, place, animal, thing, quality or condition.  There are 4 types of nouns: (1) proper noun = always begin with a capital letter and name people, places and titles eg. Mr Jones, Melbourne.  (2) common noun = name general things around you eg. trees.  (3) collective nouns = name groups of people or collections of things eg. choir.  (4) abstract nouns = name emotions, states of being, qualities eg. love.
  2. Pronoun = Definition: A word that takes the place of a noun.  There are 2 main types of pronouns:  (1) personal pronouns = I, me, he, she, we, they, them.  (2) possessive pronouns = mine, my, his, hers, ours, theirs.
  3. Adjective = Definition: A word that adds meaning to a noun or pronoun eg. horrible Harold.
  4. Verb = Definition: doing, being and having words eg. jump, have, own.  Verbs made up of one word are called main verbs.  Verbs made up of two or more words are called complex or compound verbs eg. was reported.  Auxiliary verbs are am, are, is, was, were, being, would, may, might, must, had, can, could, shall, should, will, has, have did, does, do and been.
  5. Adverb = Definition: A word that adds meaning to a verb (or an adjective or another adverb) eg. slowly compose, run fast.
  6. Preposition = Definition: A word that links nouns and pronouns to another word in a sentence eg. to, over, underneath, across, beside, with, in, on, above, after, between.
  7. Conjunction = Definition: A word that connects or links various words or groups of words eg. because, since, although, whenever, and.
  8. Interjection = Definition: A word that expresses a feeling or attitude but has no grammatical function eg. great, cool, hey, wow.
  9. Article = Definition: There are two types of articles:  (1) indefinite article = a, an.  (2) definite article = the.

What are Sentences and Clauses in Grammar?

  1. A simple sentence in English is a group of words that has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought.  A simple sentence has one clause beginning with a noun group called the subject.  The subject is the person or thing that the sentence is about.  This is followed by a verb group, which tells you what the subject is doing, or describes the subject’s situation.
  2. The verb group may be followed by another noun group, which is called the object.  The object is the person or thing affected by the action or situation.  After link verbs like ‘be’, ‘become’, ‘feel’ and ‘seem’, the verb group may be followed by a noun group or an adjective, called a complement.  The complement tells you more about the subject.
  3. The verb group, the object, or the complement can be followed by an adverb or a prepositional phrase, called an adverbial.  The adverbial tells you more about the action or situation, for example how, when, or where it happens.  Adverbials are also called adjuncts.
  4. A compound sentence has two or more main clauses, ie. clauses which are equally important.  You join them with ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘or’.
  5. A complex sentence contains a subordinate clause and at least one main clause.  A subordinate clause gives information about a main clause, and is introduced by a conjunction such as ‘because’, ‘if’, ‘that’, or a ‘wh’ word eg. ‘who’.  Subordinate clauses can come before, after, or inside the main clause.

What is the Correct Word Order in a Sentence?

Using the correct word order is important in English because word order can change meaning.  The normal word order in an English sentence is as follows:

(1)Subject:We (2)Verb:watched (3)Object:a video (3)Place:at home (4)Time:last night

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