Learn The Basic English Grammar Rules For Learning The Language
English grammar is the means by which meanings are encoded into wordings of the English language (this section will focus on Standard Modern English). These wordings include the structure of words, phrases, clauses, sentences, and entire texts.
Modern English has largely abandoned the inflectional case system of Indo-European in favor of analytic constructions using word order (in other words, English tends to favor a phrase like “the dog chases the ball” which conveys analytically the fact that the dog is acting on the ball). English and other analytic languages rely more heavily on the use of definite (“the”) and indefinite (“a” and “an”) articles, strict word order, prepositions, postpositions, particles, modifiers, and context.
Eight “word classes” or “parts of speech” are commonly distinguished in English (nouns form the largest word class, and verbs the second-largest):
- Nouns > Words used to identify people, places, or things
- Determiners > Modifying words that determine how a noun or noun group is referred to (e.g., a, the, every)
- Pronouns > Words that can function by themselves as noun phrases and that refer either to the participants in the discourse (e.g., I, you ) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse
- Verbs > Words used to describe an action, state or occurrence
- Adjectives > Words or phrases naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it
- Adverbs > Words or phrases that modify or qualify an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., gently, quite, then, there)
- Prepositions > Words governing (and usually preceding) a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause, as in “the man on the platform” or “she arrived after dinner.”
Conjunctions > Words used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause (e.g. and, but, if)
Unlike nouns in almost all other Indo-European languages, English nouns do not have grammatical gender. The personal pronouns in English (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us, and them) retain morphological case (Subjective Case, Objective Case [“I” > “me] or Possessive Case [“you” > “your” or “he” > “his”]) more strongly than any other word class (a remnant of the more extensive Germanic case system of Old English). For other pronouns, and all nouns, adjectives, and articles, grammatical function is indicated only by word order, by prepositions, and by possessive -‘s (often referred to as the “English possessive” or “Saxon genitive” (in tribute to its derivation from Old English, a.k.a. Anglo-Saxon)).