Basic English grammar

Small children seem to have an intuitive grasp of language structure – which is why they sometimes make mistakes, assuming principles that are not always true. If you hear a child talk about ‘two mouses’ he is not repeating something he has heard; he has understood the concept that we add the sound ‘-es’ to a word ending in a ‘s’ sound, to create a plural. Continue reading “Basic English grammar”

Basic English grammar components

When you’re learning the English language, you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to all the different grammar components.  There are so many variables that affect the choice of words, even in everyday conversations.  In order to get the most from your English lessons, you’ll need to understand all the different grammatical elements that are used.  The following is a listing of some of the most commonly used English grammar components and what each one means.

Pronouns:  Personal pronouns will often take the place of a person’s name.  There are four different cases of personal pronouns: subjective, objective, genitive, and possessive.  Pronouns may also have number, person, or gender attributes.  Here are some examples:

Subjective: These are pronouns that are used in the subject of the sentence and include “I,” “you,” “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” “you,” and “they.”  An example of a subjective pronoun used in a sentence is, “I have a book.”  In this case, “I” is the subject of the sentence and has taken the place of the speaker’s name.

Objective:  These are words that are used as the object of the sentence and include “me,” “you,” “him,” “her,” “us,” “you,” and “them.”  An example of an objective pronoun used in a sentence is, “Give her the book.”  In this case, “her” is the object of the sentence.

Genitive:  These are words that generally used to modify noun phrases.  This type of pronoun is also called an “attributive possessive pronoun.”  These pronouns include “my,” “your,” “his,” “her,” “our,” and “their.”  An example of a possessive adjective is, “This is your book.”  In this case, “your” demonstrates ownership of the book without actually giving the name of the owner.

Possessive:  These pronouns occur in the object of the sentence and include “mine,” “yours,” “his,” and “hers.”  An example of a possessive pronoun is, “This book is ours.”  In this case, “ours” shows a more detailed point of ownership of the book.

Participles:  Participles are verbs that are used as adjectives and commonly end in “–ed” or “–ing.”  A participle expresses a deed or state of action.  Since participles are used as verbs, they usually end up modifying nouns and pronouns.  The following are two examples of participles in action:

“The crying baby woke up.”
“The burning wood smells good.”

Past participles usually end in “–en,” “-ed,” “-d,” “-t,” and “-n.”

Prepositions: These are words that are used to link one part of a sentence to another.  Here’s an example:  “The dog slept on the floor.”  The preposition in the sentence is the word “on,” which connects the dog to the floor.

Verbs: Verbs are action words.  In the sentence, “I caught the ball,” the verb is the word “caught.”  Many of these verbs will be spoken, written, and read differently, depending on the choice of nouns or pronouns.  If you’re ever stumped, try speaking with someone who is fluent in English.  While they may not be able to tell you “why” something is wrong, they can tell you the correct way to conjugate different verb tenses.

It’s not as difficult as you may think to learn English grammar; however, it will take dedication and patience.  It’s best to set aside a specific time each day to study – if not, it’s easy to become frustrated and quit.

Grammar

What is grammar?

Language consists of words – spoken or written – which we use to communicate with other people. Grammar is the structure of that language: the way it’s used, and the conventions that help us understand what is meant from the context.  We learn grammar as toddlers when we learn to speak, so if you speak correctly it’s likely that your children will too, without ever having been taught formally. Continue reading “Grammar”

Pronouns

Personal pronouns, Possessive determiners, Possessive pronouns

Personal pronouns Possessive determiners Possessive pronouns
as subject
(nominative)
as object
(accusative and dative)
I me     my mine
you you    your yours
he him   his his
she her her hers
it it its its
we us our ours
you you your yours
they them their theirs
1 2 3 4
We have some books. The books are for us. These are our books. The books are ours.

Reflexive pronouns

A reflexive pronoun is a special kind of pronoun. It is usually used when the object of a sentence is the same as the subject, as you will see below. Each personal pronoun (such as I, you, and she) has its own reflexive form. This introduction will explain what the different forms of reflexive pronouns are, and when they are used.

The forms of reflexive pronouns

Personal Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun
I myself
you (singular) yourself
you (plural) yourselves
he himself
she herself
it itself
we ourselves
they themselves

When to use a reflexive pronoun

Reflexive pronouns are used in three main situations.

  1. Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and object are the same.
    I hurt myself.
    The band call themselves “Dire Straits”.
    He shot himself.
  2. They are used as the object of a preposition, when the subject and the object are the same.
    I bought a present for myself.
    She did it by herself. (She did it alone.)
    That man is talking to himself.
  3. They are used when you want to emphasize the subject.
    I’ll do it myself. (No one else will help me.)
    They ate all the food themselves. (No one else had any.)

Relative clauses with who/which

who: when we talk about people
which: when we talk about things
whose: instead of his/her or their

We also use that for who/which.