BASIC ENGLISH GRAMMAR

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BASIC ENGLISH GRAMMAR
The essence of the English language is the sentence. A sentence is a gam-
matically self-contained group of words that expresses a statement, a
question, a command, a wish, or an exclamation. It is composed of a sub-
ject, about which something is said, and a predicate, which expresses
what is said about the subject. The subject can be a single noun, a noun
phrase, such as the strong wind, or a noun clause, such as what he
decides
is important to all of us. The predicate can be a single verb, a
verb phrase, such as will be going, a verb and all its modifiers, such as will
be going as soon as the bus arrives
, or a verb and its complements, such
as gave his client the bad news.
In English, word order is important. The subject usually comes first,
but not necessarily:
An amusement park is across the river.
Across the river is an amusement park.
Is an amusement park across the river
The grammar of English is concerned with the structure of these ele-
ments that make up a sentence. Every word in a sentence can be classi-
fied as a particular part of speech noun, verb, adjective, etc. according
to its function in the sentence. The major parts of speech are briefly dis-
cussed in the following guide to basic English grammar.
THE ADJECTIVE
The adjective gives information
can also follow certain verbs:
about a noun or pronoun, such as
the house is white
what kind
white house
the black cat
the speeches seemed long
a joyful occasion
long speeches
the chair felt comfortable
or which one
comfortable chair
a first draft
the tree grew tall
that suggestion
tall tree
or how many
A few adjectives will follow their
nouns, but usually only in set phras-
ten players
es:
few new ideas.
court martial
The adjective usually precedes the
secretary-general
noun it modifies, but some adjectives
POSITIVE, COMPARATIVE, AND SUPERLATIVE
DEGREES OF ADJECTIVES
The positive degree is the basic form
whitest house in the neighborhood .
of the adjective. It gives basic infor-
When the adjective consists of a
mation about the noun without ref-
single syllable, the suffix -er is added
erence to anything else a white
to form the comparative degree, and
house . The comparative degree
the suffix -est is added to form the
relates a noun to another
as having
superlative degree. When the adjec-
more or less of some quality this
tive consists of two syllables, the suf-
house is whiter
than that the
fixes are often used to form the com-
superlative degree relates the noun
parative as gentler and superlative
to all others of its class this is the
as gentlest , but the adverbs more or

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less can also be used to form the
adverbs are usually used to form
comparative as more skillful and
the comparative and superlative
less skillful , and likewise, the
forms as more fortunate, most fortu-
adverbs most and least can be used
nate .
to form the superlative as most
There are a few adjectives that
skillful and least skillful . For adjec-
have unique comparative and
tives of more than two syllables, the
superlative forms:
Positive
Comparative
Superlative
good
better
best
bad
worse
worst
some
more
most
little (amount)
less
least
but
little (size)
littler
littlest
There are a few adjectives that have
an utter failure
no comparative or superlative forms:
the principal objections
DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVES
The demonstrative adjectives this
plural forms are these and those,
and that are used to point out the
respectively.
one person or thing referred to as
These books are mine and those
not this coat but that one . The
books are yours.
DESCRIPTIVE ADJECTIVES
A descriptive adjective describes or
a fascinating conversation
indicates a quality, type, or condi-
a positive attitude
tion:
a fast computer
INDEFINITE ADJECTIVES
An indefinite adjective is used to
some children
designate unspecified person s or
other projects
thing s :
any book
INTERROGATIVE ADJECTIVES
An interrogative adjective is used to
Whose office is this
form a question:
Which book do you want
THE NOUN USED AS ADJECTIVE
A noun sometimes serves to modify
the Vietnam War
another noun and thus functions as
word processing
an adjective:

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POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES
The possessive form of a personal
Where s my magazine
pronoun is called a possessive
Your cab is here.
adjective. Following is a list of
They can read his story.
possesssive adjectives and a few
It was her idea.
examples of how they are used:
The box and its contents
were inspected.
Singular
Plural
She s our mother.
Your photos are ready.
my
our
We paid for their tickets.
your
your
his her its their
PREDICATE ADJECTIVES
A predicate adjective modifies the
She became angry.
subject of a linking verb, such as
They are happy with the
be, become, feel, taste, smell, or
outcome.
seem:
The milk smells bad.
The student seems lonely.
He is lucky.
PROPER ADJECTIVES
A proper adjective is derived from
Victorian furniture
a proper noun and is capitalized:
a Chinese custom
a Shakespearean scholar
THE ADVERB
Adverbs, whether single words or
When the adjective ends in -y, the
phrases, usually give information
adverb is formed by changing -y to
about the verbs, such as when
-i and adding the suffix -ly:
We arrived yesterday
happily
He woke up late
daintily
or where
When the adjective ends in -ic, the
I found them at the restaurant
adverb is formed by adding the suf-
He spent time in the hospital
fix -ally:
or how
basically
numerically

They arose quickly
She worked hard
When an adjective ends in -ly, the
adverb retains the same spelling:
Most single-word adverbs end in
-ly and are formed by adding the
a daily routine adjective
suffix -ly to an adjective:
she called her mother daily
adverb
madly
an early meeting adjective
wonderfully
the show started early adverb