When it comes to English grammar, there are a few key things you need to know in order to communicate effectively. First and foremost, always use proper verb tense when speaking or writing. This means using the correct form of the verb for the time frame you are referring to. For example, if you are talking about an event that happened in the past, you would use the past tense form of the verb. If you are talking about something that is happening right now, you would use the present tense form of the verb. It may seem like a small detail, but using proper verb tense is essential for clear communication.
In addition to using proper verb tense, be sure to use adjectives and adverbs correctly. Adjectives provide details about people or things and typically come before a noun. They remain the same even if the noun is in plural form. For example: “I have a big car” and “We have big cars” both use the adjective “big” to describe the noun “car.” Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs and usually come after the verb. For example: “She drives slowly” and “He slowly drove his car out of the garage” both use the adverb “slowly” to modify how the subject is driving.
Grammar is the framework that dictates how we employ language. It encompasses the arrangement of words, phrases, clauses, and sentences.
Grammar can be divided into two types:
1. Prescriptive grammar: This type of grammar lays down the rules for correct usage of a language. It is based on the idea that there is a “correct” way to use a language, and people should follow these rules in order to be considered properly educated or well-spoken.
2. Descriptive grammar: This type of grammar describes how a language is actually used by its speakers, rather than prescribing how it should be used. It is based on the idea that languages are constantly evolving and changing, and that there is no one “correct” way to use them. Most grammars today are descriptive rather than prescriptive.
1. Adjectives and adverbs
Be sure to use adjectives and adverbs accurately. Adjectives present, distinguish and quantify people or things and generally come before a noun. They remain the same regardless of if the noun is singular or plural. Adverbs alter verbs, adjectives and other adverbs and normally come after the verb. For instance:
He’s a slow driver. (adjective)
He drives slowly. (adverb)
The majority of adverbs are formed by attaching -ly to an adjective, like in the instance mentioned. However, some adverbs are irregular, for example:
fast (adjective) – fast (adverb)
hard (adjective) – hard (adverb)
good (adjective) – well (adverb)
For example, Your English is good. You speak English well.
2. Pay attention to homophones
Words that share the same pronounciation, but have different meanings and spellings, are referred to as homophonic words. English contains numerous homophonic words, which can easily create confusion. For instance:
they’re – their – there
you’re – your
it’s – its
I – eye
here – hear
break – brake
flower – flour
our – hour
As you write, pay attention to the correct spellings. And when you hear words, keep in mind that they may have a different interpretation. Use the surrounding words and phrases to guess the definition.
3. Use the correct conjugation of the verb
When writing, make sure to use the correct verb that corresponds to the subject. He, she, and it require special attention as they tend to have different conjugations than the other subjects. For instance:
She has two cats. RIGHT
She have two cats. WRONG
This might be an easily overlooked error, but it's important to avoid it to make sure you sound reliable. Also, you should remember that when using the phrase ‘There is/are', the verb should correspond to the first thing you mention. For instance:
A sofa, a few chairs, and a table are present.
A few chairs, a table, and a sofa are visible.
4. Connect your ideas with conjunctions
To connect two ideas or short phrases, you can join them together using a conjunction. For instance,
I’m studying English. English is important.
I’m studying English because it’s important.
The most common conjunctions are:
and – addition
because – to give the reason
but – to express contrast
so – to describe a consequence
or – to describe an alternative
Here are some examples:
He's into football and participates in a squad.
We figured we'd go out to alleviate our boredom.
She wishes she had more time to devote to her studies.
Kim is visiting so I'm tidying up my place.
5. Sentence construction
Generally, sentences in English writing tend to be quite brief. This is beneficial to English learners since it eliminates the challenge of constructing longer, intricate sentences. Generally, a sentence comprises either two or possibly three phrases (subject + verb + object) which are linked with a conjunction.
A great way to make your sentences even more understandable is by including commas. Commas aid the reader to identify when one phrase finishes and another starts. When it is generally recommended to use a comma, some of the most common scenarios are:
To separate two clauses, for instance, If the atmosphere is pleasant tomorrow, we intend to go to the park.
To set apart items in a list, for instance, Our youngsters appreciate swimming, skiing, ice-skating, and cycling.
Subsequent to several conjunctions, for example, Our vacation was fabulous and the hotel was marvelous. Nonetheless, the weather was deplorable.
To add extra data in the middle of a sentence (a non-defining clause), for example, My neighbor from Brazil is really adept at cooking.
And don’t forget to start every sentence with a capital letter!
6. Remember the word order for questions
When constructing questions in English, the phrase order and sometimes use of the auxiliary verb ‘do’ are different from affirmative statements. To help you form questions, there are four main methods to consider.
Questions with 'to be': Reverse the order of the subject and verb. For instance, Is the student you?
Questions using other verbs: Add the auxiliary 'do' at the beginning. Like, Do they have a job here?
Modal verb queries: Switch the modal verb and the subject. For instance, Is it possible for him to play the piano?
Sentences with auxiliary verbs: Rearrange the auxiliary verb and the subject. Say, Have you spotted Bob?
These same regulations remain when an interrogative word like what, how, why is included. For example:
Where are you from?
When can we meet?
Why have they left?
7. Utilize the correct conjugation of verbs in the past tense.
Talking about the past in English is not a challenge. The same word is used to discuss the past by everyone, so there is no need to be concerned about acquiring half a dozen words like with some languages. Although, many verbs are irregular and don't observe the conventional form of adding -ed. You don't have to know each one of them, but make an effort to become familiar with the most common ones, as an example,
Go – went
Have – had
Make – made
We went to the cinema last Saturday.
A gathering was organized to recognize Tom's birthday.
I prepared a cake earlier today.
8. Become acquainted with the primary English verb tenses
If you’re new to English, don't worry if you don't know all the tenses yet. Concentrate on becoming comfortable with the four to five tenses that are used most often. Your goal should be to be able to apply these:
The present simple tense is used to describe habitual actions and states that do not change. An example would be: We live in New York.
The present continuous is used to describe actions that are happening right now or those planned for the near future. An example is: I'm meeting John later.
The past simple indicates actions that have already been completed. For example, They arrived at 3 p.m.
The present perfect is used to talk about experiences that have taken place in the past, but have an effect on the present. A sentence demonstrating this usage is: We've finished the reports.
Lastly, the future tense, will, is for talking about things planned for the future. An example of this is: I'll meet you in front of the conference center.
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