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ENGLISH GRAMMAR

 

SUBJECT

Every sentence in English must have a verb. Subject may be a single noun.

Coffee is delicious.

It may be a noun phrase. A noun phrase is a group of words ending with a noun.

The book is on the table.

"It" can act as a subject of impersonal verb.

It rains quite often here in summer.

There was a fire in that building last month.

There were many students in the room.

VERB

Every sentence must have a verb. A verb may be a verb phrase, which consists of one or more auxiliaries and one main verb. The auxiliaries always precede the main verb.

Saikat is going to Calcutta tomorrow. [Auxiliary-is, main verb-going]

She must have gone to the bank.

COMPLEMENT

A complement completes the verb. Every sentence does not require a complement. The complement cannot begin with a preposition. A complement answers the question what or whom?

John bought a cake yesterday. [What did John buy?]

They called Mary yesterday. [Whom did they call yesterday?]

MODIFIER

A modifier tells the time, place or manner of the action. A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun.

Examples of prepositional phrases: in the morning, at the university, on the table.

A modifier can also be an adverb or adverbial phrase.

Last night, hurriedly, next year, outdoors.

Every sentence does not require a modifier. A modifier answers the question when, where or how?

Jill was swimming in the pool yesterday. [Where was Jill swimming?]

He was driving very fast. [How was he driving?]

THE NOUN PHRASE

The noun phrase is a group of words that ends with a noun. Both subjects and complements are generally noun phrases.

A AND AN

Means one, used in a general statement or to introduce a subject, which has not been previously mentioned.

A baseball is round. [General-means all baseballs]

I saw a boy on the street. [We don’t know which boy.]

THE

"The" is used to indicate something that we already know about or something that is common knowledge.

The boy in the corner is my friend. [The speaker and the listener know which boy.]

The earth is round. [There is only one earth.]

With non-count nouns, one uses the article the if speaking in speech terms, but uses no article if speaking in general.

Sugar is sweet. [General-all sugar]

The sugar on the table is from India. [Specific]

USE THE WITH DON’T USE THE WITH
Oceans, rivers, seas, plural lakes Singular lakes
Mountains Mounts
Earth, moon Planets, constellations
Schools, colleges etc. when the phrase begins with school etc.

e.g. the University of Florida

Schools, colleges etc. when the phrase begins with proper noun

e.g. Stetson University

Ordinal numbers before noun Cardinal numbers after nouns
Wars [except world wars]  
Countries with more than one word. E.g. the United States Countries proceeded by New or direction. E.g. New Zealand, South Africa, India
Historical documents Continents
Ethnic groups Sports
  Abstract nouns e.g. happiness
  General subject areas e.g. mathematics

OTHER

Another and other are non specific while the other is specific.

THE VERB PHRASE

SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE

Simple present tense is used to indicate a regular or habitual action.

I walk to school every day. [habitual action]

They understand the problem now. [stative verb]

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE [CONTINUOUS]

Subject + am/is/are + [verb + ing]…

The committee members are examining the material now. [present time]

George is living for France tomorrow. [future time]

SIMPLE PAST TENSE

This is used for a completed action that happened at one specific time in the past.

Saikat went to Canada last year.

I bought a car yesterday.

PAST PROGRESSIVE [CONTINUOUS]

Subject + was/were + [verb + ing]…

It is used to indicate:

An action which was occurring in the past and was interrupted by another action. In this case, the general rule is:

When + subject1 + simple past tense + subject2 + past progressive…

Or

Subject1 + past progressive + when + subject2 + simple past tense…

When Mark came home, Martha was watching television.

Martha was watching television when Mark came home.

Two actions occurring at the same time in the past. In this case the following rule usually apply:

Subject1 + past progressive + while + subject2 + past progressive…

Or

While + subject1 + past progressive + subject2 + past progressive…

Martha was watching television while John was reading a book.

An action which was occurring at some specific time in the past.

What were you doing at one o’clock this afternoon?

Saikat was driving on Main Street when his car broke down.

PRESENT PERFECT

Subject + has/have + [verb in past participle]…

An action that happened at an indefinite time in the past.

John has traveled around the world. [We don’t know when.]

An action that happened more than once in the past.

I have seen this movie three times.

An action that began in the past and is still occurring in the present.

John has lived in the same house since 1975. [He still lives there.]

FOR/SINCE

Use for + duration of time. Use since + beginning time.

YET/ALREADY

Used to indicate something has/has not happened at an unspecified time in the past.

Already-affirmative sentence, yet- negative sentences and questions

Subject + has/have + already + [verb in past participle]…

Subject + has/have + not + [verb in past participle]… + yet…

Subject + has/have + yet + [verb in infinitive]…

We have already written our reports.

The president hasn’t decided what to do yet.

John has yet to learn the material.

Note: coordinating conjunction yet means but.

I don’t have the money, yet I really need the computer.

PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE [CONTINUOUS]

Subject + has/have + been + [verb + ing]…

An action that began in the past and is still occurring in the present.

He has been to California three times.

My uncle has been working in Canada for three years.

PAST PERFECT

Subject + had + [verb in past participle]…

An action that has happened before another action in the past; there usually are two actions in the sentence.

John had gone [1st action] to the store before [2nd action] he went home.

My uncle told [2nd action] me yesterday that he had visited [1st action] Vancouver in 1996.

Subject + past perfect + before + subject + simple past tense

Subject + simple past tense + after + subject + past perfect

Before + simple past tense + subject + past perfect

After + subject + past perfect + subject + simple past tense

A state, which continued for a time in the past, but, stopped before now.

Ram had lived in New York for ten years before he moved to Calgary.

PAST PERFECT PROGRESSIVE [CONTINUOUS]

Subject + had been + [verb + ing]…

Bijan had been living in Calcutta for forty years before he moved to Canada.

SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT

The prepositional phrase has no effect on the verb.

The study of languages is very interesting.

The following expressions has no effect on verb: together with, along with, accompanied by, as well as.

 

WORDS THAT ALWAYS TAKE SINGULAR VERBS AND PRONOUNS

Any, no, some + singular noun, every, each

Either and neither are singular if they are not used with or and nor.

NONE/NO

None + of the + non count noun/plural count noun + singular/plural verb

No + singular/non count noun + singular verb

No + plural noun + plural verb

EITHER/NEITHER

Neither/either + noun + nor/or + plural/singular noun + plural/singular verb

GERUNDS AS SUBJECT

Dieting is very popular today.

COLLECTIVE NOUNS

Following nouns are usually singular: congress, organization, government, army, crowd, public, family, team etc.

Collective nouns indicating time, money and measurements used as a whole are singular.

Twenty-five dollars is too much to pay for that.

Fifty minutes isn’t enough time to finish the test.

A NUMBER OF/THE NUMBER OF

A number of + plural noun + plural verb…

The number of + plural noun + singular verb…

POSSESIVE PRONOUNS

Mine = my + noun. My book.

Her dress is green and my dress is red. Hers is green and mine is red.

VERBS AS COMPLEMENTS

VERBS THAT ARE ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY INFINITIVE

Some verbs can take another verb as complement instead of a noun.

The following verbs are always followed by the infinitive if the complement is a verb.

Agree Attempt Claim Decide Demand
Desire Expect Fail Forget Hesitate
Hope Intend Learn Need Offer
Plan Prepare Pretend Refuse Seem
Strive Tend Want Wish  

Mary learned to swim when she was very young.

VERBS THAT ARE ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY GERUND

Admit Appreciate Avoid Can’t help Consider
Delay Deny Enjoy Finish Mind
Miss Postpone Practice Quit Recall
Report Resent Resist Resume Risk
Suggest        

John admitted stealing the jewel.

I was considering buying a new car until the prices went up.

Note: these sentences are made negative by adding the negative particle not before the infinitive or gerund.

Either the infinitive or the gerund can follow the following verbs with no change in meaning.

Begin Can’t stand Continue Dread
Hate Like Love Prefer
Regret Start try  

He started to study after dinner.

He started studying after dinner.

VERBS + PREPOSITIONS FOLLOWED BY THE GERUND

If a verb + preposition, adjective + preposition, noun + preposition or preposition alone is followed directly by a verb, the verb will always be in the gerund form. The following list consists of verb + preposition.

Approve of Be better off Count on Depend on
Give up Insist on Keep on Put off
Rely on Succeed in Think about Think of
Worry about      

The following expressions contain the preposition to.

Object to, look forward to, and confess to.

We are not looking forward to going back to school.

You would be better off leaving now instead of tomorrow.

ADJECTIVES + PREPOSITIONS FOLLOWED BY THE GERUND

Accustomed to Afraid of Capable of Fond of
Intent on Interested in Successful in Tired of

Mitch is afraid of getting married now.

Craig is fond of dancing.

NOUNS + PREPOSITIONS FOLLOWED BY GERUNDS

Choice of Excuse for Intention of Method for/of
Possibility of Reason for    

There is a possibility of acquiring this property at a good price.

ADJECTIVES FOLLOWED BY THE INFINITIVE

Anxious Boring Dangerous Hard
Eager Easy Good Strange
Pleased Prepared Ready Able
Usual Common Difficult  

The students are not yet able to handle such difficult problems.

I am eager to see my family.

Some verbs can follow either infinitive of gerund but the meaning changes.

Stop - remember - forget

John stopped studying. [He is no going to study anymore.]

John stopped to study. [He stopped doing something in order to study.]

PRONOUNS BEFORE THE GERUND OR INFINITIVE

In cases where the infinitive is used as a complement, any noun or pronoun directly preceding it will be in the complement form. Some common verbs which are followed by the infinitive and which often require an indirect object are listed here.

Allow Ask Beg Convince Expect Instruct
Invite Order Permit Persuade Prepare Promise
Remind Urge Want      

Subject + verb + complement form {pronoun/noun} + [to + verb]…

John asked Mary to call him when she woke up.

I urge you to reconsider your decision.

However, before the gerund, a noun or pronoun must appear in possessive form.

Subject + verb + {possessive form of noun/ possessive adjective} + [verb + ing]…

We understand your not being able to stay longer.

We don’t approve of John’s buying this house.

We object to their calling at this hour.

THE VERB NEED

Animate being as subject + [verb in infinitive]…

My friend needs to learn Spanish.

Inanimate object as subject + {[verb + ing]/to be + [verb in past participle]}…

The grass needs cutting. The grass needs to be cut.

IN NEED OF

Subject + be + in need of + noun…

Jill is in need of money. [Jill needs money.]

The roof is in need of repair. [The roof needs to be repaired.]

QUESTIONS

When forming a question, one must place the auxiliary or the verb be before the subject.

YES/NO QUESTION

Auxiliary/be/do/does/did + subject + verb…

Is Mary going to school today?

Have you seen this movie before?

INFORMATION QUESTION

Who or whom in the subject question: a subject question is one in which the subject is unknown.

Who/what + verb + [complement] + [modifier]…

Who opened the door? [Someone opened the door.]

What happened last night? [Something happened last night.]

Whom and what in complement question: a complement question is one in which the complement is unknown.

Whom/what + auxiliary/do/does/did + subject + verb + [modifier]…

What did George buy at the store? [He bought something at the store.]

When/where/how/why + auxiliary/be/do/does/did +subject + [verb] + [complement] + [modifier]…

When did Saikat move to India?

Where has he gone?

EMBEDDED QUESTIONS

Subject + verb [phrase] + question word + subject + verb

Question: Where will the meeting take place?

Embedded question: We have not ascertained where the meeting will take place.

Auxiliary + subject + verb + question word + subject + verb

Do you know where he went?

Note: Question word can be single word or phrases.

I have no idea how long the interview will take.

I’ll tell you what kind of ice-cream tastes best.

Who will paint the picture?

They can’t decide who will paint the picture.

TAG QUESTION

Sentences using tag questions should have the main clause separated from tag by a comma.

It’s raining now, isn’t it?

Jill and Joe have been to Mexico, haven’t they?

She has an exam tomorrow, doesn’t she?

AFFIRMATIVE AGREEMENT

When a form of verb be is used in main clause:

Affirmative statement [be] + and + {subject + verb [be] + too}/{so + verb [be] + subject}

I am happy, and you are too. I am happy, and so are you.

When a compound verb [auxiliary + verb] is used in main clause:

Affirmative statement [complement] + and + {subject + auxiliary only + too}/{so + auxiliary only + subject}

They will work in the lab tomorrow, and you will too.

They will work in the lab tomorrow, and so will you.

When any verb except be appears without any auxiliaries in the main clause:

Affirmative statement [single verb except be] + and + {subject + do/does/did + too}/{so + do/does/did + subject}

Jane goes to school, and my sister does too.

NEGATIVE AGREEMENT

Negative statement + and + {subject + negative auxiliary or be + either}/{neither + positive auxiliary or be + subject}

I didn’t see Mary this morning, and John didn’t either.

NEGATION

To make a sentence negative, add the negative particle not after auxiliary or verb be. If there is no auxiliary, add the appropriate form of do/does/did and place the word not after that.

John is not rich.

They do not want to leave now.

SOME/ANY

Some – affirmative sentence

Any – negative sentences and questions

I have no money. I have some money.

HARDLY, BARELY, SELDOM ETC.

Hardly/barely/scarcely = almost nothing or almost not at all

Rarely/seldom/hardly ever = almost never

I hardly studied last night.

COMMANDS

Close the door. Leave the room.

NEGATIVE COMMANDS

Add the word "don’t" before the verb.

Don’t close the door.

INDIRECT COMMANDS

John told Mary to close the door.

Jack asked Jill to turn off the light.

NEGATIVE INDIRECT COMMANDS

Subject + verb + complement + not + [verb in infinitive]

John told Mary not to close the door.

MODAL AUXILIARIES

Modal auxiliaries are generally used to indicate something is potential or uncertain.

The simple form of verb word always directly follows a modal.

Modal + simple form of verb

Modal + have + [verb in past participle]

CONDITIONAL SENTENCES

If I have the time, I will go.

If I had the time, I would go.

If + subject + conjugate verb… + modal…

Subject + modal… + if… + conjugate verb…

 

Note: In the unreal condition, past tense of the verb be is always were.

If I were rich, I would travel around the world.

[I am not rich. I am not going to travel around the world.]

We would have left yesterday if it hadn’t snowed.

[We didn’t leave yesterday. It snowed.]

REAL CONDITIONS [POSSIBLY TRUE]

FUTURE TIME

If + subject + simple present tense… + will/can/may/must + [verb in simple form]

If I have the money, I will buy a new car.

HABITUAL

If + subject + simple present tense… + simple present tense…

If the doctor has morning office hours, he visits his patients in the hospital in the afternoon.

COMMAND

If + subject + simple present tense… + command form…

If you go to the Post Office, please mail this letter for me.

UNREAL CONDITION [NOT TRUE]

PRESENT OR FUTURE TIME

If + subject + simple past tense… + would/could/might + [verb in simple form]

If I had the time, I would go to the beach with you this weekend.

[I don’t have the time.] [I’m not going to the beach with you.]

PAST TIME

If + subject + past perfect… + would/could/might + have + [verb in past participle]

If I had known that you were there, we would have written you a letter.

[We didn’t know that you were there.] [We didn’t write you a letter.]

Had + subject + [verb in past participle]…

Had we known that you were there, we would have written you a letter.

If she had seen the movie, she would have told you.

AS IF/AS THOUGH

Subject + verb [present] + as if/as though + subject + verb [past]…

The old lady dresses as if it were winter even in summer.

[It’s not winter.]

Subject + verb [past] + as if/as though + subject + verb [past perfect]…

Jeff looked as if he had seen a ghost.

[He didn’t see a ghost.]

HOPE/WISH

The verb hope is used to indicate something that possibly happened or possibly will happen. The verb wish is used to indicate something that definitely did not happen or definitely will not happen. The verb hope can be followed by any tense. But the verb wish must not be followed by any present tense verb or present tense auxiliary.

We hope that they will come. [We don’t know if they are coming.]

We wish that they could come. [They are not coming.]

FUTURE WISH

Subject + wish + [that] + subject + {could + verb}/{would + verb}/{were + [verb + ing]}…

Subjects can be same or different.

We wish that you could come to the party tonight.

[You can’t come.]

PRESENT WISH

Subject + wish + [that] + subject + simple past tense…

I wish that I had enough time to finish my homework.

PAST WISH

Subject + wish + [that] + subject + {past perfect}/{could have + [verb in past participle]}

I wish that I had washed the clothes yesterday.

[I didn’t wash the clothes.]

USED TO

Subject + used to + [verb in simple form]…

When John was young, he used to swim once a day. [past time habit]

Subject + be/get + used to + [verb + ing]…

John is used to swimming every day. [He is accustomed to swimming every day.]

John got used to swimming every day. [He became accustomed to swimming every day.]

WOULD RATHER

Would rather means same as prefer. Would rather must be followed by a verb, but prefer may or may not be followed by any verb.

John would rather drink Coca-Cola than orange juice.

John prefers drinking Coca-Cola to drinking orange juice.

John prefers Coca-Cola to orange juice.

PRESENT

Subject + would rather + [verb in simple form]…

PAST

Subject + would rather + have + [verb in past participle]…

PRESENT SUBJUNCTIVE

Subject1 + would rather that + subject2 + [verb in simple form]

I would rather that you call me tomorrow.

PRESENT

Subject1 + would rather that + subject2 + [verb in simple past tense]…

Henry would rather that his girlfriend worked in the same department.

[His girlfriend does not work in the same department.]

PAST CONTRARY TO FACT

Subject1 + would rather that + subject2 + past perfect…

Jim would rather that Jill had gone to class yesterday.

[Jill didn’t go to class yesterday.]

WOULD LIKE

This expression is often used in invitation; it can also mean want.

Subject + would like + [to + verb]…

Would you like to dance with me?

COULD/MAY/MIGHT

Although could is used in conditionals, it can also be used to mean possibility. In this case could, may or might mean the same.

It might rain tomorrow. = It will possibly rain tomorrow.

It may/could rain tomorrow. = Maybe it will rain tomorrow.

Note: maybe means perhaps.

SHOULD

This modal is used to indicate: a recommendation, advice, expectation etc.

Subject + had better/should/ought to/be supposed to + [verb in simple form]…

You should study tonight.

MUST

This modal is used to indicate: complete obligation or logical conclusion.

One must endorse a check before one cashes it.

John’s lights are out. He must be asleep.

HAVE TO

This pseudo-modal means same as must. For past time, use had to.

MODALS + PERFECTIVE

NOTE: a modal is always followed by simple form of the verb.

COULD/MAY/MIGHT + PERFECTIVE

It may have rained last night, but I’m not sure.

SHOULD + PERFECTIVE

This is used to indicate an obligation that supposed to occur in the past, but for some reason it did not occur.

John should have gone to the post office this morning.

[John didn’t go to the post office.]

Note: was/were + supposed to means same as should + perfective.

MUST + PERFECTIVE

This can only mean logical conclusion in the past.

The grass is wet. It must have rained last night.

[It probably rain last night.]

ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS

An adjective answers the question: What kind…?

Adverbs modify verbs [except linking verbs], adjectives or other adverbs. Many descriptive adjectives can be changed to adverbs by adding –ly to the adjective base.

An adverb answers the question: How…?

Saikat speaks English fluently. [How does he speak?]

ADJECTIVES WITH LINKING [COPULATIVE] VERBS

A special category of verb connects/links the subject with subject complements. Unlike most verbs, these do not show action. They must be modified by adjectives.

Be Appear Feel
Become Seem Look
Remain Sound Smell
Stay Taste  

Mary fees bad about her test grade.

Children become tired quite easily.

Be, become and remain can be followed by adjective or noun phrase.

Christine became class president after a long, hard campaign.

Feel, look, smell, taste may also be transitive verbs and take a direct object.

He looked at the exams [object] happily [adverb].

COMPARISONS

EQUAL COMPARISONS

Subject + verb + as + adjective/adverb + as + noun/pronoun

Subject + verb + the same + [noun] + as + noun/pronoun

Note: the opposite of same as is different from.

UNEQUAL COMPARISONS

Subject + verb + {adjective + er}/{adverb + er}/{more + adjective/adverb}/{less + adjective/adverb} + than + noun/pronoun

Note: always use subject form of pronoun after than.

Subject + verb + far/much + adjective/adverb + er + than + noun/pronoun

Subject + verb + far/much + more/less + adjective/adverb + than + noun/pronoun

Subject + verb + as + many/much/little/few + noun + as + noun/pronoun

Subject + verb + more/fewer/less + noun + than + noun/pronoun

ILLOGICAL COMPARISONS

Incorrect: His drawings are as perfect as his instructor.

[This sentence compares drawings with the instructor.]

Correct: His drawings are as perfect as his instructor’s.

Correct: The salary of a professor is higher than that of a secretary.

MULTIPLE NUMBER OF COMPARATIVES

Subject + verb + number multiple + as much/many + [noun] + as + noun/pronoun

This encyclopedia costs twice as much as the other one.

DOUBLE COMPARATIVES

The + comparative + subject + verb + the + comparative + subject + verb

The hotter it is, the more miserable I feel.

The more + subject + verb + the + comparative + subject + verb

The more you study, the smarter you will become.

NO SOONER

No sooner + auxiliary + subject + verb + than + subject + verb

No sooner had we started out for home than is started to rain.

NOUNS FUNCTIONING AS ADJECTIVES

The 1st noun of the combination functions as an adjective, describing the 2nd noun. The nouns, which function as adjectives, are always in singular. Number noun combination always appears hyphenated.

He has a two-year [adjective] subscription [noun] to that magazine.

ENOUGH

Adjective/adverb + enough

Enough + noun

CAUSE CONNECTORS

Because [not followed by of] must always be followed by a clause. A clause standing alone is a complete sentence [there must be a subject and a verb]. Because of is followed only by a noun or noun phrase.

…because + {subject + verb}/{there + verb + subject}

…because of + noun [phrase]

PURPOSE AND RESULT [SO THAT]

Subject + verb + so that + subject + verb

He studied very hard so that he could pass the test.

CAUSE AND EFFECT [SO, SUCH]

Subject + verb + so + adjective/adverb + that + subject + verb

The soup tastes so good that everyone will ask for more.

Subject + verb + so + many/few + plural count noun + that + subject + verb

I had so few jobs, that it wasn’t difficult to select one.

Subject + verb + so + much/little + non count noun + that + subject + verb

The grass received so little water that it turned brown in the heat.

Subject + verb + such + a + adjective + singular count noun + that…

Or

Subject + verb + so + adjective + a + singular count noun + that…

It was such a hot day that we decided to stay indoors.

It was so hot a day that we decided to stay indoors.

Subject + verb + such + adjective + plural count noun/non count noun + that + subject + verb

She has such exceptional abilities that everyone is jealous for.

Jane has had such bad luck that she has decided not to gamble.

PASSIVE VOICE

In an "active" sentence, the subject performs the action. In a "passive" sentence, the subject receives the action.

SIMPLE PRESENT OR SIMPLE PAST

Am/is/are/was/were + [verb in past participle]

A great deal of property is destroyed by hurricanes each year.

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE OR PAST PROGRESSIVE

Am/is/are/was/were + being + [verb in past participle]

Several new proposals are being considered by the committee.

PRESENT PERFECT OR PAST PERFECT

Has/have/had + been + [verb in past participle]

Some new equipment has been ordered by the company.

MODALS

Modal + be + [verb in past participle]

These contracts should be signed by the manager today.

MODALS + PERFECT

Modal + have + been + [verb in past participle]

The president should have been called this morning.

CAUSATIVE VERBS

HAVE/GET

[1] ACTIVE

Subject + have [any tense] + complement [usually person] + [verb in simple form]…

[2] ACTIVE

Subject + get [any tense] + complement [usually person] + [verb in infinitive]…

[3] PASSIVE

Subject + have/get [any tense] + complement [usually thing] + [verb in past participle]…

Mary had John wash the car. [John washed the car.] active

Mary got John to wash the car. [John washed the car.] active

Mary got the car washed. Mary had the car washed. [The car was washed by somebody.] passive

MAKE

Make can be followed only by a clause in the active voice. It is stronger than have or get. It means force.

Subject + make [any tense] + complement + [verb in simple form]…

The robber made the teller give him the money.

LET

Subject + let + complement + [verb in simple form]…

Subject + permit/allow + complement + [verb in infinitive]…

John let his daughter swim with her friends.

John allowed her daughter to swim with her friends.

HELP

Help means assist.

Subject + help + complement + {[verb in simple form]/[verb in infinitive]}

John helped Mary wash the dishes.

John helped Mary to wash the dishes.

RELATIVE CLAUSES

THE RELATIVE PRONOUN

A relative clause is used to form one sentence from two separate sentences. Each clause must contain a verb.

We bought the stereo that had been advertised at a reduced price.

WHO/WHOM

… who + verb …

… whom + noun …

The men who are in this room are angry.

RESTRICTIVE AND NON RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES

A restrictive clause is one that cannot be omitted from a sentence if the sentence is to keep its original meaning. A non-restrictive clause contains additional information, which is not required to give the meaning of the sentence. A non-restrictive clause is set off from the other clause by commas and a restrictive clause is not. Who, whom, which can be used in restrictive and non-restrictive clauses. That can be used only in restrictive clauses.

Restrictive: Weeds that float to the surface should be removed before they decay.

Non-restrictive: My car, which is very large, uses too much fuel.

WHOSE

This relative pronoun indicates possession.

The board was composed of citizens whose dedication was evident.

THAT – OTHER USES

OPTIONAL THAT

That is usually optional after following verbs: say, tell, think and believe.

Saikat said [that] he was leaving next week.

OBLIGATORY THAT

That is usually obligatory after following verbs when introducing another clause: mention, declare, report and state.

George mentioned that he was going to France next year.

THAT CLAUSES

It is well known that many residents of third world countries are dying.

SUBJUNCTIVE

The subjunctive in English is the simple form of verb when used after certain verbs indicating that one person wants another person to do something.

We urge that he leave now.

We urge him to leave now.

Subject + verb [any tense] + that + subject + [verb in simple form]…

The judge insisted that the jury return a verdict immediately.

It + be [any tense] + adjective + that + subject + [verb in simple form]…

It is necessary that he find the books.

INCLUSIVES

NOT ONLY… BU ALSO

Subject + verb + not only + noun/adjective/adverb/prepositional phrase + but also + noun/adjective/adverb/prepositional phrase

Subject + not only + verb + but also + verb

AS WELL AS

Subject + verb + noun/adjective/adverb/prepositional phrase + as well as + noun/adjective/adverb/prepositional phrase

Subject + verb + as well as + verb

KNOW/KNOW HOW

Know how is usually used to indicate that one has the ability to do something.

Subject + know how + [verb in infinitive]…

Subject + know + noun/prepositional phrase sentence

CLAUSES OF CONCESSION

DESPITE/IN SPITE OF

Despite/in spite of + noun phrase

ALTHOUGH/ EVEN THOUGH/THOUGH

Although/even though/though + subject + verb + [complement]…

STYLES IN WRITTEN ENGLISH

SAY/TELL

Subject + say + [that] + subject + verb…

Subject + tell + indirect object + [that] + subject + verb…

Tell can also be followed occasionally by a direct object.

ANTECEDENTS OF PRONOUNS

If a pronoun is used in a sentence, there must be a noun of the same person and number before it. There must be one, and only one, antecedent to which the pronoun refers.

The members of the admission committee denied Henry admission to graduate school because they did not believe that he could handle the workload.

ILLOGICAL PARTICIPIAL MODIFIERS [DANGLING PARTICIPIAL]

After jumping out of the boat, the man was bitten by a shark.

The actual subject must appear immediately after comma.

PARTICIPLES AS ADJECTIVES

The present participle [verb + ing] is used as an adjective when the noun it modifies performs or is responsible for an action.

The crying baby woke Mr. Basak.

The past participle is used as an adjective when the noun it modifies is the receiver of an action.

The sorted mail was delivered to the offices before noon.

PARALLEL STRUCTURE

She likes to fish, to swim and to surf.

He is rich, handsome and popular.

TRANSFORMATION OF DIRECT AND INDIRECT OBJECT

The indirect object is an animate object(s) to whom or for whom something is done. The direct object can be a person or a thing and is the first receiver of the action.

I gave the book to Dan.

Not all verbs allow for this object transformation.

Subject + verb + direct object + for/to + indirect object

Subject + verb + indirect object + direct object

ADVERBIAL AT THE BEGINNING OF A SENTENCE

Hardly/rarely/seldom/never/only… + auxiliary + subject + verb…

Never have so many people been unemployed as today.

Seldom does the class let out early.

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Compiled by

Saikat Basak

29 April, 1999