Grammar Guide

Whether you are writing a term paper, a business report, or just a letter to a friend, having good grammar will make your writing more comprehensible and engaging. Grammar is the most basic element of the English language, and it provides a system of language rules that enables you to write in a more structured and meaningful way. Here are some of the basic elements of grammar:

1) Nouns - Nouns refer to words that represent things, people, animals, places, ideas, activities, or qualities. Examples of these nouns are "ball" (thing), "Mary" (person), "dog" (animal), "home" (place), "divinity" (idea), "excursion" (activity), and "size" (quality). You will usually find more than one noun in a sentence, and they can be either a subject, object, or complement. For example, in "Danny went to the mall with his friends", "Danny" is the subject, "mall" is the object, and "his friends" is the complement.

2) Verbs - Verbs are expressions of actions, states of being, or relationships. They usually appear right after nouns, and they can be modified to become nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. In their modified forms, they are still representative of the meanings of their pure forms. In the sentence "Suzie walks to school everyday", the verb is "walks".

3) Adjectives - Adjectives are words that describe or limit nouns or pronouns. They are usually used before a noun. There are two types of adjectives, and they are attributive adjectives and predicate adjectives. An attributive adjective appears next to a noun. For example, in the sentence "Billy is a tall boy", the attributive adjective is "tall". A predicate adjective follows a linking verb. In "The class is noisy", the predicate adjective is "noisy".

4) Adverbs - Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or entire sentences. Most adverbs have -ly at the end, but there are some adverbs that do not end with -ly. Words such as "quietly", "happily", "slowly", "bluntly", and "easily" are examples of words with -ly, and words like "often", "well", "there", "so", and "seldom" are adverbs without -ly.

5) Conjunctions - Conjunctions are words that join phrases and other words. Examples of conjunctions are "and", "but", "for", "or", "yet", and "so".

6) Punctuations - Punctuations are symbols that make writing more structured and organized, and they can also indicate pauses and intonations for the purpose of oral presentation. Some of the common punctuations that are used include period (.), comma (,), question mark (?), exclamation mark (!), colon (:), semi-colon (;), dash (-), and quotation marks ("..").

7) Commas - Commas are punctuation marks that are mainly used to separate words and phrases. It can be used to list items, such as "There are five apples, four oranges, and two pears in the basket", or to separate phrases, as in "After the ceremony, Joe and Jill went to the park".

8) Semicolons - Semicolons are used to join two grammatically complete sentences. An example of a sentence that has a semicolon is "Gerard went to church yesterday: he was sitting in the front row".

9) Colons - Colons are punctuations that act as an introduction for a list of things or long phrases. An example of how colons are used is "These are the things that you have to consider: price, size, design, features, and durability".

10) Quotation Marks - Quotation marks are used in pairs to enclose quotations; names of songs, articles, and book chapters; skeptical words or statements; and words that are being referred to as terms. There are single and double quotation marks, and they can appear together in a sentence, like "Did you know that Charles Darwin is regarded as the 'greatest botanist of all time'?"

11) Capitalization - Capitalization refers to the act of using a capital letter to begin a word. Every sentence should begin with a capitalized word, and names, titles, and the first word of a quotation or a salutation should also be capitalized. Examples of capitalized words and phrases are "Robert", "Grand Canyon", "Lieutenant Frank Johnson", and "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp".

Grammar is something that is quite easy to learn. With so many online lessons available on the internet, you can teach yourself how to write proper grammar through distance learning. Once you have mastered grammar, you will be able to communicate more effectively in the English language.

Published: 2010-01-20