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GRAMMAR > What is Grammar? > The English Grammar > Most Confusing English Words > Plain English

English Grammar in a Nutshell


English GrammarIf someone asked you what small divisions make up our writing, you would probably say, "Writing is divided into sentences." But sentences are composed of words. The real basis of writing is the individual words. The English language has classified all words according to their functions in a sentence. Words perform eight definite duties in making a sentence. Thus, we can put every word of the language into a class according to one of these eight duties; and each of these duties has a name that identifies it. The words of the language, classified under the head of the eight duties of words, are called the "parts of speech." The reason a word belongs to one part of speech rather than another is that it does the work of that part.

Here is our English language in a nutshell:

The Sentence.

1. A sentence is a group of words that make complete sense.

2. Every word in a sentence has one definable function.

3. A word having one definable function is termed a PART OF SPEECH (one part of speech).

4. We have eight parts of speech: Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, and Interjection.

Let's define the parts of speech.

1) Noun

The Noun is the most important part of speech because other parts depend on it. A Noun signifies the name of any person, place or thing; in fact, we can use a noun for any thought or idea.

EX.— Tree, boy, war, rocket, North, South, East, West, Europe, etc.

Common noun

A common noun is a word used as the name of any one class of persons, places, or things.

EX.— author, city, girl, computer, etc.

Proper noun

A proper noun is a word used as the name of a particular person, place, or thing.

EX.— George Clooney, New York City, the Kenilworth Ski Club.

Begin all proper nouns with a capital letter.

2) Pronoun

A Pronoun is a word used in the place of a noun.

EX.— He, she, him, her, it, who, whom, they, theirs, etc.

3) Adjective

An Adjective is a word used to qualify, limit, or define a noun.

EX.— He is a good boss.
EX.— We have six girls in our class.

The article (a, an, is, the) was formerly classed as a distinct part of speech (the ninth part of speech), but it is now defined as an adjective.

We use an "article" as a word to limit the meaning of a noun. English has three articles: a, an, and the. A and an are called the indefinite articles, and the is called the definite article.

EX.— A baby bird is chirping.
EX.— An apple fell on his head.
EX.— The tennis players are practicing.

4) Verb

A Verb is a word used to assert or declare something about a particular thing. It expresses action, existence, or condition.

EX.— Brian walks.
EX.— Dogs bark.
EX.— She is here.

5) Adverb

An Adverb is a word used to modify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

EX.— He talks slowly.
EX.— A very expensive pair of sneakers.
EX.— He walks very slowly.

6) Preposition

A Preposition is a word used to show the relation between the noun or pronoun that follows it and some preceding word. The preceding word may be a verb, an adverb, an adjective, a noun or pronoun.

EX.— She is at work.
EX.— She is happy in her marriage.
EX.— She took her kid to the parade.

7) Conjunction

A Conjunction is a word used to connect words, phrases, and clauses.

EX.— Brian and Danielle are going to the movies together.
EX.— Either Lori or Lisa is going home.

8) Interjection

An Interjection is a word used to express emotion or feeling. It has no grammatical relation to the words in the sentence.

EX.— Alas! Hurrah! Oh!
EX.— "Ah!" breathed the crowd.
EX.— Hurrah' We've won!
EX.— Good work! That's excellent singing!"

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GRAMMAR > What is Grammar? > The English Grammar > Most Confusing English Words > Plain English