One of the most difficult concepts to grasp while learning English would be its many grammar rules – a small mistake can easily change the meaning of a sentence. For example, the presence of the apostrophe in It’s and its would make a world of difference when used in a sentence even though it can sound the same when read out loud.
Read on to find out what are some of the most important English grammar rules all English beginners should get acquainted with.
1. Adverbs and Adjectives
Adverbs are used to modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. They usually come after the verb within a sentence. For example – ”Sam learns quickly”.
Types of Adverbs
Adverbs of manner – describe how somebody does something, goes after the verb or verb phrase, can be a word or a phrase
Adverbs of frequency – goes before the main verb, but after the verb to be. For example – sometimes, usually, normally
Adverbs of time and place – Place adverbs normally go at the start of sentences while time adverbs can be used at the start or end of sentences.
Adjectives describe, identify and quantify people or things and usually go in front of a noun. For example – “Sam is a fast learner”.
2. Uncountable and Plural Nouns
Uncountable nouns do not have a plural form and use a singular verb (is instead of are). For example – accommodation, behaviour, health, politics and other words ending in -ics
However, for other uncountable nouns such as advice, bread, equipment, furniture and homework, you can use “a piece of” when referring to an individual item
Plural & Collective Nouns
Plural nouns are nouns that only have a plural form, and cannot be used with a or an. For example – Belongings, clothes, manners, outskirts, scissors, trousers. These nouns should be used with a plural verb (are instead of is) as well.
However, collective nouns such as crew, family, government, police, staff, team refers to a group of people and should be used with a singular verb as you will refer to them as a singular group.
Articles refer to words such as a, an, the, and no.
The general rule is to use a or an when you mention somebody or someone for the first time and use the when it is already clear who or what is being mentioned. Do not use an article to speak in general with plural and uncountable nouns, you also shouldn’t use an article in phrases like at home, at work, go, come home, to bed, next week and last week.
Although not enforced as a grammar rule, it is uncommon to use the with names of countries, continents and regions ending with the name of a country or continent, however there are some exceptions – the USA, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic.
We normally use the with the names of mountain ranges, rivers, seas, desert, island groups. For example – the Swiss Alps, the Ganges River, the Pacific Ocean, the Sahara desert and the Bahamas.
4. Auxiliary Verbs
Auxiliary verbs are used to avoid repeating the main verb or verb phrase. It shortens sentences so unnecessary details do not have to be mentioned again in the same sentence. For example, auxiliary verbs shorten the sentence “I like pasta but my husband doesn’t like pasta” to “I like pasta but my husband doesn’t”
Auxiliary verbs are usually used with so or neither to show that someone or something is the same. For example – “He did not buy dinner, neither did I” or “He is hungry, so am I”. Neither is used to respond with negative verb and so + auxiliary + adjective to respond with positive verb
It also allows you to make question tags like “It’s a nice day, isn’t it?” or “She’s so pretty, isn’t she”, which are usually used to ask another person to agree with you during a conversation.
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