Noun Verb Adverb Adjective & Sentence – English Grammar
In this lesson we discuss noun, verb, adverb, adjective, sentence and English grammar.
A clause that acts like a noun.
→ I like what I see.
(The noun clause is “what I see”)
→ I know that the tide is turning.
(The noun clause is “that the tide is turning”)
There are four sentence types. You can remember them by the acronym I-DIE.
Interrogative: asks a question. Ends in a question mark.
→ Where are you going?
Declarative: makes a statement. Ends in a period.
→ I am going to the doctor.
Imperative: gives a command. Can end in a period or an exclamation mark.
→ Do not touch the wall.
Exclamatory: says something with emotion. Ends in an exclamation mark.
→ Stop, thief!
There are four of them.
Complex: one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
→ When you are young, you are invincible.
Compound: two or more independent clauses.
→ You don’t like me but I don’t care.
Simple: only one independent clause.
→ Here’s looking at you, kid.
Compound-Complex: at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
→ If a doctor has good bedside manner, he should receive a promotion, but if he instills the fear of God in his patients, he should be demoted.
When two or more independent clauses are connected by only a comma.
To fix this, change the comma to a full stop, semicolon, dash, or ellipsis.
→ I didn’t like Susan, she was always telling lies.
(“I didn’t like Susan; she was always telling lies,” would fix this.)
object of preposition
The noun or pronoun the preposition is pointing to.
→ This is one small step for a man.
(The object of preposition is “man” since the preposition is “for”. The word “a” is a modifier.)
→ Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist.
(The object of preposition is “person” since the preposition is “inside”. The words “every cynical” are modifiers.)
A clause that acts like an adverb. Adverbial clauses are adjuncts and are dependent.
→ Keep hitting the gong until I tell you to stop.
(The adverbial clause “until I tell you to stop” describes the verb “hitting”. Therefore, it acts like an adverb.)
hierarchy of word units
The acronym to remember the hierarchy of word units is WPCSCC.
→ Word (e.g., Shark)
(A word is the smallest meaningful unit.)
→ Phrase (e.g., A seven-foot tiger shark)
(A phrase is a single piece of information made up of more than one word. It will not contain a subject and a verb.)
→ Clause (e.g., When a seven-foot tiger shark arrived…)
(A clause is a single piece of information made up of more than one word which contains a subject and a verb.)
→ Sentence (e.g., A seven-foot tiger shark arrived.)
(A sentence conveys a complete idea. It must contain at least one clause. Note: A clause that stands alone as a sentence is known as an independent clause.)
→ Complex Sentence (e.g., When a seven-foot tiger shark arrived, the crew stopped fishing.)
(A complex sentence is an independent clause supported by at least one other clause.)
→ Compound Sentence (e.g., A seven-foot tiger shark arrived, and the crew stopped fishing.)
(A compound sentence is a sentence made up of at least two independent clauses.)
A word, phrase, or clause that can be removed from a sentence without making it grammatically incorrect. An adjunct is usually an adverb used to modify a verb.
→ In the morning, we will leave for the countryside.
(The adjective phrase “in the morning” is an adjunct.)
→ She washes all of her dolls whenever Ollie washes his Legos.
(The adjective phrase “whenever Ollie washes his Legos” is an adjunct.)
A word that tells us more about a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
→ He ran quickly.
(The adverb “quickly” tells us more about the verb “ran”)
→ He ran to the shop.
(The adverbial phrase “to the shop” tells us more about where he ran)
→ Stephanie finished her assignment remarkably quickly.
(The adverb “remarkably” tells us more about the adverb “quickly”, which tells us more the verb “finished”.)
These pronouns show ownership and do not modify nouns. They can be memorized: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs.
→ This house is mine.
→ His is next door.
The case used for nouns and pronouns that are objects.
In English, only some pronouns change in the objective case. All nouns remain the same.
The accusative and dative cases encountered in other languages are one and the same in English: the objective case.
A clause that modifies a noun. It usually comes after the noun.
Put commas around the adjective clause if the information not needed to figure out what the noun is.
→ The rat which you saw yesterday was infected.
(The adjective clause “which you saw yesterday” describes the rat.)
→ The rate you saw yesterday was infected.
(The adjective clause “you saw yesterday” describes the rat. Notice that the relative pronoun was deleted yet the sentence is still grammatical.)
→ My brother, who had sprained his ankle moments earlier, sprinted after the bus.
(The adjective phrase “who had sprained his ankle moments earlier” is not required to figure out who “my brother” is.)
Letters added to the root of a word to change its meaning. If the letters are added before the root, they are called a prefix. If the letters are added after the root, they are called a suffix.
→ Homogenized – the prefix “homo” has been added
→ Incapable – the prefix “in” has been added
→ Laughing – the suffix “ing” has been added
Repetition of the same first sound in a string of words.
→ Sally sells seashells by the seashore.
→ Bouncing babies bathe beside the boats.
Repetition of the same consonant sound in a string of words. Consonance is not restricted to the first sound like alliteration is.
→ She painted the think tank pink.
→ We are bound by a transcendent bond.
A word (or group of words) made up of the exact letters of another.
→ Elvis – lives
→ rescue – secure
→ eleven plus two – twelve plus one
A comparison of two things to show how they are similar. Two common types of analogy are similes and metaphors.
→ Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.
→ She’s a total pig.
Repeating words at the start of sentences.
→ We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
→ The future’s bright. The future’s orange.
Repeating words at the end of sentences.
→ She’s safe, just like I promised. She’s all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised.
Repeating an idea over and over, using different words.
→ It’s passed on! This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late parrot! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolical processes are of interest only to historians! It’s hopped the twig! It’s shuffled off this mortal coil! It’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an ex-parrot!
→ We have considered your solution and are impressed by its practicality. It looks very viable. Very viable indeed.
Changing the normal word order.
→ Powerful you have become. The dark side I sense in you.
→ On a black cloak sparkle the stars.
The word that the pronoun refers to.
→ Gail called to say she’ll be late again.
(The antecedent is “Gail”. The pronoun referring to her is “she”.)
→ When you see him, please tell the professor I’m looking for him.
(The antecedent is “the professor”, and the pronouns referring to him come both before and after it.)
A noun, noun phrase, or noun clause which sits next to another noun and renames or describes it.
→ Don’t leave your shoes there or Ollie, my dog, will eat them.
(The appositive “my dog” renames “Ollie”)
→ The beast, namely a large lion with a tangled mane, growled at him.
(The appositive “a large lion with a tangled mane” describes “the beast” and is introduced by the word “namely”)
A clause that is needed to identify the word it modifies. It can’t be removed without changing the meaning. It is not written with commas around it.
Restrictive clauses usually begin with “which”, “that”, and “who”.
→ The boy who broke the window is at the door.
(The restrictive clause “who broke the window” modifies “the boy”. If we remove it, our reader / listener won’t be sure of which boy we’re referring to.
A clause that is not needed to identify the word it modifies. It can be removed without changing the meaning. It is written with commas around it.
→ Peter Jones, the man who plays goalkeeper for our village’s football team, has worked at this grocery store for 30 years.
(The non-restrictive clause “the man who plays goalkeeper for our village’s football team” is not needed to identify Peter Jones.)
→ She had a pretty gift of quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.
(The non-restrictive clause “which is a serviceable substitute for wit” is not needed to tell us about her gift of quotation.)
A sentence construction where a noun or noun phrase is place beside another to explain or define it. The noun or noun phrase that does the explaining is called the “appositive”.
→ Don’t leave your shoes there or Ollie, my dog, will eat them.
(The appositive “my dog” is in apposition.)
A word that is no longer used in English.
→ methinks – I think
→ wherefore – why
→ sooth – truth
→ anon – at once
→ aye – yes
In English, the words “a”, “an”, and “the” are the only articles. They show if something is specific or not.
Articles are a type of determiner.
A word that modifies a noun to show amount, ownership, specificity, or definiteness.
→ He has no dogs.
(The determiner “no” shows amount.)
→ He have five dogs.
(The determiner “five” shows amount.)
→ These are his dogs.
(The determiner “his” is a possessive adjective. It describe “dogs”. It is not a pronoun. It shows ownership.)
→ I love those dogs!
(The determiner “those” is a demonstrative adjective. It shows specificity.)
→ I want a dog.
(The determiner “a” is an article. It shows definiteness.)
Tells us more about a noun in a non-specific way.
→ However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do to you if you do not act upon them?
(The first “many” is an indefinite adjective as it describes “holy words”. The second “many” is an indefinite pronoun as it stands on its own.)
A word that tells us who owns the noun.
You can memorize them: my, your, his, her, its, their, our, whose.
→ That is her dog.
(The possessive adjective “her” shows us it is she who owns the dog. Do note that if we mentioned the girl’s name earlier, this “her” would also be considered a pronoun since it takes the place of the girl’s name.)
A word that points out a specific thing or things. It also describes a noun.
You can memorize them: this, that, these, those.
→ These pencils are hers.
(The demonstrative adjective “these” refers to the pencils.)
→ That dog is dirty!
(The demonstrative adjective “that” refers to the dog.)
A word that points out a specific thing or things. It takes the place of a noun.
You can memorize them: this, that, these, those.
→ These are hers.
(The demonstrative adjective “these” does not describe a noun. It takes the place of it.)
→ That is dirty!
(The demonstrative adjective “that” does not describe a noun.)
The part of a verb that tells us if the action is still going on or if it has finished.
There are four aspects: simple (AKA indefinite), perfect (AKA complete), progressive (AKA continuous), and perfect progressive.
→ He took the photos.
(simple aspect – no emphasis of completed or on-going action)
→ He had taken the photos by the time the owner arrived.
(perfect aspect – action completed)
→ He was taking the photos when the owner arrived.
(progressive aspect – action on going)
→ He had been taking the photos before the owner arrived.
(perfect progressive aspect – action on going but then finished)
These sentences are all in the past tense, but they all have a different aspect. Remember, we need aspect to tell us whether the action was on-going or completed.
Repeating the same vowel sound in a string of words.
→ The cat in the hat sat on a bat.
→ I keep my eye on the prize.
→ Love lunges from the heart.
A verb that is next to the main verb, telling us about its tense, mood, or voice.
→ She will have gone home by then.
(The helping verbs “will have” show the tense)
→ If he should arrive, tell him to leave.
(The helping verb “should” shows mood)
→ The dessert has been eaten by the dog.
(The helping verbs “has been” show voice. This is a passive sentence.)
The main verb plus its helping verbs.
→ The mad king will kill us all.
(The verb phase is the main verb (“kill”) and its helping verb (“will”).)
The simplest form of the verb. It is the form found in the dictionary. It is the same as the infinitive form, but the word “to” has been removed.
This shows a noun’s or pronoun’s relationship to the other words in the sentence. There are only four cases in Modern English: subjective, objective, possessive, and vocative.
The noun doesn’t change in any of them, other than getting ‘s in the possessive form.
The pronoun doesn’t have a vocative case. Otherwise, it usually changes in the other three cases.
The case for a noun or pronoun when it is the subject.
The case for a noun or pronoun when it shows that it owns something.
The case for a noun when it is being directly talked to. The noun doesn’t change from its regular form. It should have commas around it.
→ Paul, is this yours?
(“Paul” is in the vocative case)
A conjunction that joins two or more like with like. For example, adjective with adjectives, nouns with nouns, phrases with phrases, etc.
You can memorize them: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Use the acronym FANBOYS.
→ The waiters served sandwiches and cakes.
(joins two nouns)
→ The manager, his deputy, or his secretary will be with you in a moment.
(joins three nouns)
→ He is a small but aggressive dog.
(joins two adjectives)
→ He typed the letter quickly but accurately.
(joins two adverbs)
→ She must be able to sing and dance.
(joins two verbs)
→ She must be able to sing like a rock star, and dance like a ballerina.
(joins two phrases)
→ She must be able to sing, and she must be able to dance.
(joins two clauses)
A familiar expression used mostly in informal speech. This includes (but is not limited to) contractions, slang, and profanity.
Words or phrases that are very informal and often used only in a special context or by a certain social group.
→ groovy (great)
→ sweet (nice)
→ sick (nice)
→ Mary Jane (marijuana)
A commonly-used expression whose surface meaning does not relate to its actual meaning.
→ She’s pushing up daisies.
→ Cat got your tongue?
(What’s the matter? Why aren’t you speaking?)
→ She’s got a bun in the oven.
A punctuation mark used in ratios, times, titles, quotes, to expand an idea, and to introduce something.
→ His influence is obvious in two buildings: the local church and pavilion.
(In this example, the local church and pavilion is the appositive of two buildings.)
→ The following were fired: Tom, Jim, Suresh, and Yue Ming.
(The colon is used to introduce the names)
Used to separate parts of sentences:
• After setting the scene in the beginning of the sentence
• After transitions
• After an interjection
• Before a conjunction joining two independent clauses
• Instead of parentheses
• To separate list items
• In numbers
• Around the vocative case
• Before a quotation
A single adjective made up of more than one word. It is usually hyphenated.
→ She needs a three-by-four plank.
(The compound adjective is “three-by-four”)
→ Did you go to the Harry Potter theme park?
(The compound adjective is “Harry Potter”)
→ Is this your bona fide residence?
(The compound adjective is “bona fide”)
A predicate that tells us two or more things about the same subject, without repeating the subject.
→ Joel lives in Singapore but works in Malaysia.
(The compound predicate “lives in Singapore but works in Malaysia” tells us two different things about Joel.)
→ Jeff and his brother are fans of Liverpool and often attend its matches.
(The compound predicate “are fans of Liverpool and often attend its matches” tells us two different things about Jeff and his brother.)
A verb made up of more than one word.
Prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs, verbs with helping verbs, and compound single-word verbs make up this category.