PARTS OF SPEECH
The verb is the most important part of the sentence. A verb or compound verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and express actions, events, or states of being. The verb or compound verb is the critical element of the predicate of a sentence. Examples, the verb of the sentences are highlighted:
Dracula bites his victims on the neck.
The verb "bites" describes the action Dracula takes.
In early July, Siti will plant twenty tulip bulbs.
Here the compound verb "will plant" describes an action that will take place in the future.
A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea. Nouns are usually the first words which small children learn. The highlighted words in the following sentences are all nouns:
Late last year our friends bought a goat.
Portia White was an opera singer.
The bus inspector looked at all the passengers' passes.
A noun can function in a sentence as a subject, a direct object, an indirect object, a subject complement, an object complement, an appositive, an adjective or an adverb.
Many common nouns, like "engineer" or "teacher," can refer to men or women. Once, many English nouns would change form depending on their gender -- for example, a man was called an "author" while a woman was called an "authoress" -- but this use of gender-specific nouns is very rare today. Those that are still used occasionally tend to refer to occupational categories, as in the following sentences.
David Garrick was a very prominent eighteenth-century actor.
Sarah Siddons was at the height of her career as an actress in the 1780s.
Most nouns change their form to indicate number by adding "-s" or "-es", as illustrated in the following pairs of sentences:
Many people do not believe that truths are self-evident.
He tripped over a box left carelessly in the hallway.
Since we are moving, we will need many boxes.
There are other nouns which form the plural by changing the last letter before adding "s". Some words ending in "f" form the plural by deleting "f" and adding "ves," and words ending in "y" form the plural by deleting the "y" and adding "ies," as in the following pairs of sentences:
The harbour at Marble Mountain has one wharf.
There are several wharves in Halifax Harbour.
Warsaw is their favourite city because it reminds them of their courtship.
The vacation my grandparents won includes trips to twelve European cities.
The children circled around the headmaster and shouted, "Are you a mouse or a man?"
The audience was shocked when all five men admitted that they were afraid of mice.
In the possessive case, a noun or pronoun changes its form to show that it owns or is closely related to something else. Usually, nouns become possessive by adding a combination of an apostrophe and the letter "s."
You can form the possessive case of a singular noun that does not end in "s" by adding an apostrophe and "s," as in the following sentences:
The red suitcase is Cassandra's.
The only luggage that was lost was the prime minister's.
The exhausted recruits were woken before dawn by the drill sergeant's screams.
The miner's face was covered in coal dust.
You can form the possessive case of a singular noun that ends in "s" by adding an apostrophe alone or by adding an apostrophe and "s," as in the following examples:
The bus's seats are very uncomfortable.
The bus' seats are very uncomfortable.
The film crew accidentally crushed the platypus's eggs.
The film crew accidentally crushed the platypus' eggs.
Felicia Hemans's poetry was once more popular than Lord Byron's.
Felicia Hemans' poetry was once more popular than Lord Byron's.
You can form the possessive case of a plural noun that does not end in "s" by adding an apostrophe and a "s," as in the following examples:
The children's mittens were scattered on the floor of the porch.
The sheep's pen was mucked out every day.
Since we have a complex appeal process, a jury's verdict is not always final.
The men's hockey team will be playing as soon as the women's team is finished.
You can form the possessive case of a plural noun that does end in "s" by adding an apostrophe:
The concert was interrupted by the dogs' barking, the ducks' quacking, and the babies' squalling.
The janitors' room is downstairs and to the left.
My uncle spent many hours trying to locate the squirrels' nest. .
Using Possessive Nouns
When you read the following sentences, you will notice that a noun in the possessive case frequently functions as an adjective modifying another noun:
The miner's face was covered in coal dust.
Here the possessive noun "miner's" is used to modify the noun "face" and together with the article "the," they make up the noun phrase that is the sentence's subject.
The concert was interrupted by the dogs' barking, the ducks' quacking, and the babies' squalling.
In this sentence, each possessive noun modifies a gerund. The possessive noun "dogs"' modifies "barking", "ducks"' modifies "quacking," and "babies"' modifies "squalling."
The film crew accidentally crushed the platypus's eggs.
In this example the possessive noun "platypus's" modifies the noun "eggs" and the noun phrase "the platypus's eggs" is the direct object of the verb "crushed."
My uncle spent many hours trying to locate the squirrels' nest.
In this sentence the possessive noun "squirrels"' is used to modify the noun "nest" and the noun phrase "the squirrels' nest" is the object of the infinitive phrase "to locate."
Types of Nouns
NON- COUNTABLE NOUNS
You always write a proper noun with a capital letter, since the noun represents the name of a specific person, place, or thing. The names of days of the week, months, historical documents, institutions, organizations, religions, their holy texts and their adherents are proper nouns. A proper noun is the opposite of a common noun.
The proper nouns are highlighted, examples:
Many people dread Monday mornings.
Beltane is celebrated on the first of May.
Abraham appears in the Talmud and in the Koran.
A common noun is a noun referring to a person, place, or thing in a general sense -- usually, you should write it with a capital letter only when it begins a sentence. A common noun is the opposite of a proper noun.
In each of the following sentences, the common nouns are highlighted:
According to the sign, the nearest town is 60 miles away.
All the gardens in the neighbourhood were invaded by beetles this summer.
I don't understand why some people insist on having six different kinds of mustard in their cupboards.
The road crew was startled by the sight of three large moose crossing the road.
Many child-care workers are underpaid.
Sometimes you will make proper nouns out of common nouns, as in the following examples:
The tenants in the Garnet Apartments are appealing the large and sudden increase in their rent.
The meals in the Bouncing Bean Restaurant are less expensive than meals in ordinary restaurants.
A concrete noun is a noun which names anything (or anyone) that you can perceive through your physical senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, or smell. A concrete noun is the opposite of a abstract noun.
The highlighted are examples of concrete nouns:
The judge handed the files to the clerk.
Whenever they take the dog to the beach, it spends hours chasing waves.
The real estate agent urged the couple to buy the second house because it had new shingles.
An abstract noun is a noun which names anything which you can not perceive through your five physical senses, and is the opposite of a concrete noun. The highlighted words in the following sentences are all abstract nouns:
Buying the fire extinguisher was an afterthought.
Tillie is amused by people who are nostalgic about childhood.
A countable noun (or count noun) is a noun with both a singular and a plural form, and it names anything (or anyone) that you can count. You can make a countable noun can be made plural and attach it to a plural verb in a sentence. Countable nouns are the opposite of non-countable nouns and collective nouns.
In each of the following sentences, the highlighted words are countable nouns:
We painted the table red and the chairs blue.
Since he inherited his aunt's library, Jerome spends every weekend indexing his books.
A non-countable noun (or mass noun) is a noun which does not have a plural form, and which refers to something that you could (or would) not usually count. A non-countable noun always takes a singular verb in a sentence. Non-countable nouns are similar to collective nouns, and are the opposite of countable nouns.
The highlighted words in the following sentences are non-countable nouns:
Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen.
The word "oxygen" cannot normally be made plural.
Since "oxygen" is a non-countable noun, it takes the singular verb "is" rather than the plural verb "are."
We decided to sell the furniture rather than take it with use when we moved.
You cannot make the noun "furniture" plural.
The furniture is heaped in the middle of the room.
Since "furniture" is a non-countable noun, it takes a singular verb, "is heaped."
The crew spread the gravel over the roadbed.
You cannot make the non-countable noun "gravel" plural.
Gravel is more expensive than I thought.
Since "gravel" is a non-countable noun, it takes the singular verb form "is."
A collective noun is a noun naming a group of things, animals, or persons. You could count the individual members of the group, but you usually think of the group as a whole is generally as one unit. You need to be able to recognise collective nouns in order to maintain subject-verb agreement. A collective noun is similar to a non-countable noun, and is roughly the opposite of a countable noun.
In each of the following sentences, the highlighted word is a collective noun:
The flock of geese spends most of its time in the pasture.
The jury is dining on take-out chicken tonight.
A pronoun can replace a noun or another pronoun. You use pronouns like "he," "which," "none," and "you" to make your sentences less cumbersome and less repetitive.
Types of pronouns
· personal pronoun
· demonstrative pronoun
· interrogative pronoun
· indefinite pronoun
· relative pronoun
· reflexive pronoun
· intensive pronoun
A personal pronoun refers to a specific person or thing and changes its form to indicate person, number, gender, and case.
Subjective Personal Pronouns
A subjective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as the subject of the sentence. The subjective personal pronouns are "I," "you," "she," "he," "it," "we," "you," "they."
In the following sentences, each of the highlighted words is a subjective personal pronoun and acts as the subject of the sentence:
He stole the money.
I love you so much.
After many years, they returned to their homeland.
Objective Personal Pronouns
An objective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object of a verb, compound verb, preposition, or infinitive phrase. The objective personal pronouns are: "me," "you," "her," "him," "it," "us," "you," and "them."
In the following sentences, each of the highlighted words is an objective personal pronoun:
Sam takes her bag.
The objective personal pronoun "her" is the direct object of the verb takes.
They will meet us at the newest café in the market.
Here the objective personal pronoun "us" is the direct object of the compound verb "will meet."
Possessive Personal Pronouns
A possessive pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as a marker of possession and defines who owns a particular object or person. The possessive personal pronouns are "mine," "yours," "hers," "his," "its," "ours," and "theirs." Note that possessive personal pronouns are very similar to possessive adjectives like "my," "her," and "their."
Examples, the highlighted word is a possessive personal pronoun:.
This is yours.
Here too the possessive pronoun "yours" functions as a subject complement.
Theirs will be delivered tomorrow.
In this sentence, the possessive pronoun "theirs" is the subject of the sentence.
Ours is the green one on the corner.
Here too the possessive pronoun "ours" function as the subject of the sentence.
A demonstrative pronoun points to and identifies a noun or a pronoun. "This" and "these" refer to things that are nearby either in space or in time, while "that" and "those" refer to things that are farther away in space or time.
The demonstrative pronouns are "this," "that," "these," and "those." "This" and "that" are used to refer to singular nouns or noun phrases and "these" and "those" are used to refer to plural nouns and noun phrases.
Note that the demonstrative pronouns are identical to demonstrative adjectives, though, obviously, you use them differently. It is also important to note that "that" can also be used as a relative pronoun.
In the following sentences, each of the highlighted words is a demonstrative pronoun:
This must not continue.
Here "this" is used as the subject of the compound verb "must not continue."
That is the tree I want.
The demonstrative pronoun "that" is also a subject but refers to something farther away from the speaker.
An interrogative pronoun is used to ask questions. The interrogative pronouns are "who," "whom," "which," "what" and the compounds formed with the suffix "ever" ("whoever," "whomever," "whichever," and "whatever"). Note that either "which" or "what" can also be used as an interrogative adjective, and that "who," "whom," or "which" can also be used as a relative pronoun.
You will find "who," "whom," and occasionally "which" used to refer to people, and "which" and "what" used to refer to things and to animals.
"Who" acts as the subject of a verb, while "whom" acts as the object of a verb, preposition, or a verbal.
The highlighted word in each of the following sentences is an interrogative pronoun:
Which wants to see the dentist first?
"Which” is the subject of the sentence?
Who wrote the novel Rockbound?
Similarly "who" is the subject of the sentence.
Who will meet the delegates at the train station?
In this sentence, the interrogative pronoun "who" is the subject of the compound verb "will meet".
You can use a relative pronoun is used to link one phrase or clause to another phrase or clause. The relative pronouns are "who," "whom," "that," and "which." The compounds "whoever," "whomever," and "whichever" are also relative pronouns.
You can use the relative pronouns "who" and "whoever" to refer to the subject of a clause or sentence, and "whom" and "whomever" to refer to the objects of a verb, a verbal or a preposition.
You may invite whomever you like to the party.
The relative pronoun "whomever" is the direct object of the compound verb "may invite".
Whoever broke the window will have to replace it.
Here "whoever" functions as the subject of the verb "broke".
An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun referring to an identifiable but not specified person or thing. An indefinite pronoun conveys the idea of all, any, none, or some.
The most common indefinite pronouns are "all," "another," "any," "anybody," "anyone," "anything," "each," "everybody," "everyone," "everything," "few," "many," "nobody," "none," "one," "several," "some," "somebody," and "someone." Note that some indefinite pronouns can also be used as indefinite adjectives.
Many were invited to the lunch but only twelve showed up.
Here "many" acts as the subject of the compound verb "were invited".
Give a registration package to each.
Here "each" is the object of the preposition "to."
You can use a reflexive pronoun to refer back to the subject of the clause or sentence.
The reflexive pronouns are "myself," "yourself," "herself," "himself," "itself," "ourselves," "yourselves," and "themselves." Note each of these can also act as an intensive pronoun.
Each of the highlighted words in the following sentences is a reflexive pronoun:
Diabetics give themselves insulin shots several times a day.
After the party, I asked myself why I had faxed invitations to everyone in my office building.
Richard usually remembered to send a copy of his e-mail to himself.
An intensive pronoun is a pronoun used to emphasize its antecedent. Intensive pronouns are identical in form to reflexive pronouns.
The highlighted words in the following sentences are intensive pronouns:
I myself believe that aliens should abduct my sister.
The Prime Minister himself said that he would lower taxes.
An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. An adjective usually precedes the noun or the pronoun which it modifies.
In the following examples, the highlighted words are adjectives:
The truck-shaped balloon floated over the treetops.
Mrs. Morrison papered her kitchen walls with hideous wall paper.
The small boat foundered on the wine dark sea.
The coal mines are dark and dank. .
An adjective can be modified by an adverb, or by a phrase or clause functioning as an adverb. In the sentence
My husband knits intricately patterned mittens.
For example, the adverb ``intricately'' modifies the adjective ``patterned.''
Some nouns, many pronouns, and many participle phrases can also act as adjectives. In the sentence
Eleanor listened to the muffled sounds of the radio hidden under her pillow.
For example, both highlighted adjectives are past participles.
A possessive adjective (``my,'' ``your,'' ``his,'' ``her,'' ``its,'' ``our,'' ``their'') is similar or identical to a possessive pronoun; however, it is used as an adjective and modifies a noun or a noun phrase, as in the following sentences:
I can't complete my assignment because I don't have the textbook.
In this sentence, the possessive adjective ``my'' modifies ``assignment'' and the noun phrase ``my assignment'' functions as an object. Note that the possessive pronoun form ``mine'' is not used to modify a noun or noun phrase.
The bakery sold his favourite type of bread.
In this example, the possessive adjective ``his'' modifies the noun phrase ``favourite type of bread'' and the entire noun phrase ``his favourite type of bread'' is the direct object of the verb ``sold.''
After many years, she returned to her homeland.
Here the possessive adjective ``her'' modifies the noun ``homeland'' and the noun phrase ``her homeland'' is the object of the preposition ``to.'' Note also that the form ``hers'' is not used to modify nouns or noun phrases.'
The demonstrative adjectives ``this,'' ``these,'' ``that,'' ``those,'' and ``what'' are identical to the demonstrative pronouns, but are used as adjectives to modify nouns or noun phrases, as in the following sentences:
When the librarian tripped over that cord, she dropped a pile of books.
In this sentence, the demonstrative adjective ``that'' modifies the noun ``cord'' and the noun phrase ``that cord'' is the object of the preposition ``over.''
This apartment needs to be fumigated.
Here ``this'' modifies ``apartment'' and the noun phrase ``this apartment'' is the subject of the sentence.
Note that the relationship between a demonstrative adjective and a demonstrative pronoun is similar to the relationship between a possessive adjective and a possessive pronoun, or to that between a interrogative adjective and an interrogative pronoun.
An interrogative adjective (``which'' or ``what'') is like an interrogative pronoun, except that it modifies a noun or noun phrase rather than standing on its own (see also demonstrative adjectives and possessive adjectives):
Which plants should be watered twice a week?
Like other adjectives, ``which'' can be used to modify a noun or a noun phrase. In this example, ``which'' modifies ``plants'' and the noun phrase ``which paints'' is the subject of the compound verb ``should be watered'':
What book are you reading?
In this sentence, ``what'' modifies ``book'' and the noun phrase ``what book'' is the direct object of the compound verb ``are reading.''
An indefinite adjective is similar to an indefinite pronoun, except that it modifies a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase, as in the following sentences:
Many people believe that corporations are under-taxed.
The indefinite adjective ``many'' modifies the noun ``people'' and the noun phrase ``many people'' is the subject of the sentence.
I will send you any mail that arrives after you have moved to Sudbury.
The indefinite adjective ``any'' modifies the noun ``mail'' and the noun phrase ``any mail'' is the direct object of the compound verb ``will send.''
They found a few goldfish floating belly up in the swan pound.
In this example the indefinite adjective modifies the noun ``goldfish'' and the noun phrase is the direct object of the verb ``found'':
The title of Kelly's favourite game is ``All dogs go to heaven.''
Here the indefinite pronoun ``all'' modifies ``dogs'' and the full title is a subject complement.
An adverb can modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause. An adverb indicates manner, time, place, cause, or degree and answers questions such as "how," "when," "where," "how much".
While some adverbs can be identified by their characteristic "ly" suffix, most of them must be identified by untangling the grammatical relationships within the sentence or clause as a whole. Unlike an adjective, an adverb can be found in various places within the sentence.
In the following examples, each of the highlighted words is an adverb:
The seamstress quickly made the mourning clothes.
In this sentence, the adverb "quickly" modifies the verb "made" and indicates in what manner (or how fast) the clothing was constructed.
The midwives waited patiently through a long labour.
Similarly in this sentence, the adverb "patiently" modifies the verb "waited" and describes the manner in which the midwives waited.
Unfortunately, the bank closed at three today.
In this example, the adverb "unfortunately" modifies the entire sentence.
You can use a conjunctive adverb to join two clauses together. Some of the most common conjunctive adverbs are "also," "consequently," "finally," "furthermore," "hence," "however," "incidentally," "indeed," "instead," "likewise," "meanwhile," "nevertheless," "next," "nonetheless," "otherwise," "still," "then," "therefore," and "thus." A conjunctive adverb is not strong enough to join two independent clauses without the aid of a semicolon.
The government has cut university budgets; consequently, class sizes have been increased.
He did not have all the ingredients the recipe called for; therefore, he decided to make something else.
The report recommended several changes to the ways the corporation accounted for donations; furthermore, it suggested that a new auditor be appointed immediately.
A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.
A preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence as in the following examples:
The book is on the table.
The book is beside the table.
She read the book during class.
In each of the preceding sentences, a preposition locates the noun "book" in space or in time.
A prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition, its object and any associated adjectives or adverbs. A prepositional phrase can function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. The most common prepositions are "about," "above," "across," "after," "against," "along," "among," "around," "at," "before," "behind," "below," "beneath," "beside," "between," "beyond," "but," "by," "despite," "down," "during," "except," "for," "from," "in," "inside," "into," "like," "near," "of," "off," "on," "onto," "out," "outside," "over," "past," "since," "through," "throughout," "till," "to," "toward," "under," "underneath," "until," "up," "upon," "with," "within," and "without."
Each of the highlighted words in the following sentences is a preposition:
The children climbed the mountain without fear.
In this sentence, the preposition "without" introduces the noun "fear." The prepositional phrase "without fear" functions as an adverb describing how the children climbed.
There was rejoicing throughout the land when the government was defeated.
Here, the preposition "throughout" introduces the noun phrase "the land." The prepositional phrase acts as an adverb describing the location of the rejoicing.
The spider crawled slowly along the banister.
The preposition "along" introduces the noun phrase "the banister" and the prepositional phrase "along the banister" acts as an adverb, describing where the spider crawled.
You can use a conjunction to link words, phrases, and clauses, as in the following example:
I ate the pizza and the pasta.
Call the movers when you are ready.
You use a co-ordinating conjunction ("and," "but," "or," "nor," "for," "so," or "yet") to join individual words, phrases, and independent clauses. Note that you can also use the conjunctions "but" and "for" as prepositions.
Lilacs and violets are usually purple.
In this example, the co-ordinating conjunction "and" links two nouns.
This movie is particularly interesting to feminist film theorists, for the screenplay was written by Mae West.
In this example, the co-ordinating conjunction "for" is used to link two independent clauses.
Daniel's uncle claimed that he spent most of his youth dancing on rooftops and swallowing goldfish.
Here the co-coordinating conjunction "and" links two participle phrases ("dancing on rooftops" and "swallowing goldfish") which act as adverbs describing the verb "spends."
A subordinating conjunction introduces a dependent clause and indicates the nature of the relationship among the independent clause(s) and the dependent clause(s).
The most common subordinating conjunctions are "after," "although," "as," "because," "before," "how," "if," "once," "since," "than," "that," "though," "till," "until," "when," "where," "whether," and "while."
After she had learned to drive, Alice felt more independent.
The subordinating conjunction "after" introduces the dependent clause "After she had learned to drive."
If the paperwork arrives on time, your cheque will be mailed on Tuesday.
Similarly, the subordinating conjunction "if" introduces the dependent clause "If the paperwork arrives on time."
Gerald had to begin his thesis over again when his computer crashed.
The subordinating conjunction "when" introduces the dependent clause "when his computer crashed."
Correlative conjunctions always appear in pairs -- you use them to link equivalent sentence elements. The most common correlative conjunctions are "both...and," "either...or," "neither...nor,", "not only...but also," "so...as," and "whether...or." (Technically correlative conjunctions consist simply of a co-ordinating conjunction linked to an adjective or adverb.)
Both my grandfather and my father worked in the steel plant.
In this sentence, the correlative conjunction "both...and" is used to link the two noun phrases that act as the compound subject of the sentence: "my grandfather" and "my father".
Bring either a Jello salad or a potato scallop.
Here the correlative conjunction "either...or" links two noun phrases: "a Jello salad" and "a potato scallop."
The explosion destroyed not only the school but also the neighbouring pub.
An interjection is a word added to a sentence to convey emotion. It is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.
You usually follow an interjection with an exclamation mark. Interjections are uncommon in formal academic prose, except in direct quotations.
The highlighted words in the following sentences are interjections:
Ouch, that hurt!
Oh no, I forgot that the exam was today.
Hey! Put that down!
I don't know about you but, good lord, I think taxes are too high!