English Grammar and its Usage Notes-CSEET
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Grammar and its Usage
English language follows a set of rules like all other languages. Broadly speaking, the part of Grammar concerned with changes in the form of words by internal modification or by affixation is known as accidence and the manner in which these words are arranged in the form of a sentence is called syntax. For example, the root word ‘contradiction’ is a noun. It can be changed into different parts of speech. If you say ‘contradict, it becomes a verb and if you say ‘contradictory’ it becomes an adjective. Good dictionaries give all the changes that a root word can undergo.
Some words may be used as different parts of speech without any change in their form.
For example, the word beat remains unchanged in the following sentences; though it is a different part of speech in each sentence :
|1.||The angry mob was beating the thief mercilessly, (verb).|
|2.||The beat of the drum sent people into frenzy (noun)|
|3.||The beat generation (young people with unconventional dress and behaviour as expression of social philosophy) has its own ethics. (Adjective)|
Sometimes it is possible to use the same word, with a slight modification, as a different part of speech:
For example, the root word confirm is used here as a noun in the first, as a verb in the second and as an adjective in the third sentence.
|1.||We received confirmation of the order in writing yesterday. (Noun)|
|2.||The party confirmed the receipt of the consignment. (Verb)|
|3.||He is a confirmed defaulter. (Adjective)|
Parts of Speech in English Grammar
These word classes are called Part of Speech.
They are explained below:
A noun is “naming word”. It names somebody or something.
Rahul took the dog to park.
The car makes a lot of noise.
Look at the example above. A noun is the name of a person (Rahul), animal (dog), place (park), thing (car) or idea (noise).
Kinds of Nouns
Nouns may be divided into (a) common nouns and (b) proper nouns.
Common nouns are the names given in common to all persons, places or things of the same class. For example, bank, shop, market, etc.
Collective noun : Common nouns include another class known as collective nouns. A collective noun names agroup of people, animals or things regarded as a whole., e.g., batch, company, university, crowd, flock, etc.
Proper nouns are the names of particular persons, places or things. For example, India, Larsen and Tubro, Delhi, January, etc.
Pronouns are used in place of nouns. Pronouns may be Personal and Relative.
Personal Pronouns : To represent person or things., e.g., I, we, you, she, he, it him, us, them, etc. Relative Pronouns : The most common relative pronouns are whom, which and that.
A relative pronoun acts as a pronoun and as a conjunction at the same time.
This is the boy who save my life.
Possessive Pronouns : These show possession, e.g., mine, ours, yours their, its and hers.
A word used to describe or point out, a person, animal, place or thing which the noun names, or to tell thenumber and quantity, is called an Adjective.
Rani is a clever girl (Girl of what kind?)
He gave me six books (How many book?)
Two or more words can be joined with a hyphen to form a compound Adjective, e.g., government- financed project.
A verb is a word that tells or asserts something about a person or thing. Verb comes from Latin Verbum, meaning a word. It is so called because it is the most important word in the sentence.
A verb may tell us :
|1.||What a person or thing does; as Rohit runs.|
The bell rings.
|2.||What is done to a person or thing; as Ram is beaten.|
The door is broken.
|3.||What a person or thing is, as The boy is hurt.|
The chair is broken
I feel sad.
Note: a verb is a word used to tell or assert something about some person or thing.
While Adjectives qualify or add to the meaning of nouns, adverbs modify the meaning not only of verbs, but also of adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, etc.
The following sentences illustrate the varied use of adverbs:
Small investors find it very difficult to invest wisely.
(The first adverb very modifies the adjective difficult, and the second adverb wisely modifies the verb invest).
The CEO is an exceptionally sharp manager.
(The adverb exceptionally modifies the adjective sharp).
The cash counter is right behind you.
(The adverb right modifies the prepositions behind).
We have given this book to you only because you are a good reviewer. (The adverb only modifies the conjunction because).
A Preposition, by definition is placed before a noun or its equivalent in order to show its relationship in terms of time, place, etc.:
The space above the room houses the conference facility.
(The preposition above explains the relationship between the room and the conference facility).
There are hardly any rules governing the use of prepositions, some people feel that it is inelegant to put them at the end of a sentence since they are basically used as link-words. However, as Fowler points out, “Almost all ourgreat writers have allowed themselves to end a sentence or a clause with a preposition.” The thumb-rule is that the sentence should read well.
It is largely the usage that determines the choice of a preposition. Americans tend to drop them but it is largely colloquial. A wrong preposition certainly changes the intended meaning. Therefore, we have to learn the use of prepositions carefully. All standard dictionaries list the root word along with different prepositions or adverbial phrases and also show the difference in meaning.
The root word get conveys italicised meanings when used with:
… about, move or spread
… across, be understood
… ahead, make progress
… along, manage
… at, gain access to
… away, escape
… over, forget
… round, persuade
Conjunctions join words or even sentences conveying related ideas. Two commonly used conjunctions are:
We received your letter and telegram but regret our inability to attend the meeting.
Conjunctions may also be used in pairs, e.g. neither-nor, either-or, not only-but also, both-and, whether-or etc.
Such conjunctions are known as Correlative Conjunctions.
Interjections are words which are used in a sentence to express strong emotion or feeling. They may not form a part of its grammatical structure. Some of the common interjections are: Hi!, Alas!, Oh!, etc.
Voice in English Grammar
Voice is the term used to describe whether a verb is active or passive.
Active Voice: when the subject of the verb is doing the action of the verb (e.g., “The dog bit the postman.”), the verb is said to be in the active voice.
Passive Voice: When the subject of the verb is being acted upon (e.g., “The postman was bitten.”), the verb is said to be in the passive voice.
*the voice of a verb tells us whether the subject is acting or being acted upon.
Rules of Conversion from Active to Passive Voice:
|1.||Identify the subject, the verb and the object: S+V+O|
|2.||Change the object into subject|
|3.||Put the suitable helping verb or auxiliary verb|
|4.||Change the verb into past participle of the verb|
|5.||Add the preposition “by“|
|6.||Change the subject into object|
Passive Voice change for all tenses:
The rules for using Auxiliary verb for Passive Voice is different for each tense.
1.Present Indefinite Tense:
Active Voice: She writes a letter.
Passive Voice: A letter is written by her.
2.Present Continuous Tense:
Active Voice: They are eating oranges.
Passive Voice: Oranges are being eaten by them.
3.Present Perfect Tense:
Active Voice: Has she completed the work?
Passive Voice: Has the work been completed by her?
1. Past Indefinite Tense:
Active Voice: He did not buy a book.
Passive Voice: A book was not bought by him.
2.Past Continuous Tense:
Active Voice: She was washing a shirt.
Passive Voice: A shirt was being washed by her.
3.Past Perfect Tense:
Active Voice: They had won the match.
Passive Voice: The match had been won by them.
1. Future Indefinite Tense:
Active Voice: She will write a poem.
Passive Voice: A poem will be written by her.
2.Future Perfect Tense:
Active Voice: He will have received the letter.
Passive Voice: The letter will have been received by him.
Note: Passive voice cannot be formed for active voice sentences in the Present Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous, Future Continuous or Future Perfect Continuous.
Trick on using Voice:
Tirick 1: Let
If the given sentence in the active voice is in the imperative form, to get the passive voice use ‘Let’.
Formation of Passive Voice = Let + Object + be + Past Participle
Active: Help me.
Passive: Let me be helped.
Active: Open the door.
Passive: Let the door be opened.
Trick-2: Helping verbs like am, is, are, was, were, will, have, should, could, will
If the question in the Active Voice begins with a Helping verb the Passive voice must also begin with a suitable helping verb.
Active: Are you writing a letter?
Passive: Is a letter being written by you?
Active: Will you write a letter?
Passive: Will a letter be written by you?
What, When, Who, Why, How:
If the question begins with ‘Wh’ or How’ form (what, when, how, etc.) the Passive Voice must begin with the same. Only ‘who’ gets replaced by ‘By whom’.
Active: Why did you break the box?
Passive: Why was the box broken by you?
Active: Who broke the window?
Passive: By whom was the window broken?
Trick-3: Gerund, Infinitive
When used in passive form, gerund and Infinitive are formed differently.
Infinitive: passive is formed as ‘to be + past participle’
Active: I want to shoot the tiger.
Passive: I want the tiger to be shot.
Gerund: passive is formed as ‘being + past participle’
Active: I remember my father taking me to the theatre.
Passive: I remember being taken to the theatre by my father.
Trick-4: Direct and Indirect Object
If a sentence contains two objects namely Indirect Object and Direct Object in the Active Voice, two forms of Passive Voice can be formed.
Active: She brought me a cup of coffee.
Passive: (I) I was brought a cup of coffee by her.
Passive: (II) A cup of coffee was brought to me by her.
Object Complement: When made passive, these objects complements become subject complements; they come after the verb.
Active: They elected him their leader.
Passive: He was elected their leader.
Trick-5: Cases where ‘by’ is not used
With: use with in place of ‘by’ to talk about an instrument used by the agent/subject.
Active: Somebody hit the dog with a stick.
Passive: (I) The dog was hit by with a stick.
Passive: (II) The dog was hit by a boy.
Impersonal Passive: In scientific / technical / business writing, the emphasis is usually on the action or process. So the ‘by’ phrase is generally omitted.
Active: One finds mosquitoes everywhere.
Passive: Mosquitoes are found everywhere.
Trick-6: Cases where no passive form exists
Present perfect Continuous: She has been writing a letter.
Past perfect Continuous: He had been cleaning the house.
Future Continuous: I will be filing all the documents tomorrow.
Future Perfect Continuous: I will have been serving tea for customers at this hotel for twenty years by then.
Intransitive verb which do not take objects:
· I eat.
· I am living here.
· I have travelled by train.
· I went there.
· I waited for a long time.
|past time||present time||future time|
|present||simple||I want a coffee.||I leave tomorrow.|
|She likes coffee.|
|continuous||I am having dinner.||I am taking my exam next month.|
|They are living in London.|
|perfect||I have seen ET.||I have finished.|
|perfect continuous||I have been playing tennis.|
|We have been working for four hours.|
|past||simple||I finished one hour ago.||If she loved you now, she would marry you.||If you came tomorrow, you would see her.|
|continuous||I was working at 2am this morning.|
|perfect||I had not eaten for 24 hours.|
|perfect continuous||We had been working for 3 hours.||If I had been working now, I would have missed you.||If I had been working tomorrow, I could not have agreed.|
|future||simple||Hold on. I‘ll do it now.||I‘ll see you tomorrow.|
|continuous||I will be working at 9pm tonight.|
|perfect||I will have finished by 9pm tonight.|
|We will have been married for ten years next month.|
|perfect continuous||They may be tired when you arrive because they will have been working.|
|In 30 minutes, we will have been working for four hours.|
There are only three articles in English: a, an a the.
There are two types of articles: indefinite “a” and “an” or the definite – “the”.
Indefinite articles – A and An
A and an are indefinite articles. They are used when talk about something that is not specifically known to the person you are talking to with. A and an are used before nouns that introduce something or someone you have not mentioned before.
- Paul : Hi Peter, I saw an accident this morning outside my house.
- You are speaking about the “accident” for the first time to Peter. He did not know about it before.
A and an are also used when talking about your profession.
- I am an English teacher.
- I am a builder.
You use A when the noun you are referring to begins with a consonant: a house, a building, a car.
You use An when the noun you are referring to begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u).
Pronunciation changes this rule. It’s the sound that matters, not the spelling.
If the next word begins with a consonant sound when we say it, for example, “university” then we use a. If the next word begins with a vowel sound when we say it, for example “hour” then we use an.
We say “university” with a “y” sound at the beginning as though it were spelt ” you niversity”. – So, “a university” IS correct.
We say “hour” with a silent h as though it were spelt “our”. – So, “an hour” IS correct.
Definite article – the
You use The when you know that the listener knows or can understand what particular person/thing you are talking about.
You should also use The when you have already mentioned the thing you are talking about.
- Paul : Hi Peter, I saw an accident this morning outside my house.
- (you are speaking about the “accident” for the first time to Peter. He did not know about it before)
- Peter: Hi Paul, do you know how the accident happened?
- (Peter now knows about the accident)
We use The to talk about geographical points on the globe.
- the North Pole
- the equator
We use The to talk about rivers oceans and seas.
- the Nile
- the Pacific
- the English channel
We also use The before certain nouns when we know there is only one of a particular thing.
- the Rain
- the sun
- the wind
- the world
- the earth
- the White House
However if you want to describe a particular instance of these you should use a/an.
- I could hear the wind.
- There’s a cold wind blowing.
Theis also used to say that a particular person or thing being mentioned is the best, most famous, etc. In this use, ’the’ is usually given strong pronunciation:
- Harry’s Bar is the place to go.
Note – Thedoesn’t mean all.
- The books are expensive.
- Not all books are expensive, just the ones I’m talking about.
- Books are expensive.
- All books are expensive.
When not to use an article
We usually use no article to talk about things in general.
- People are worried about rising crime.
- People generally, so no article.
You do not use an article when talking about sports.
- My son plays football.
- Tennis is expensive.
You do not use an article before uncountable nouns when talking about them generally.
- Information is important to any organization.
- Coffee is bad for you.
You do not use an article before the names of countries except where they indicate multiple areas or contain the words (state(s), kingdom, republic, union). Kingdom, state, republic and union are nouns, so they need an article.
- Without an article
- Italy, Mexico, Bolivia, England
- the UK (United Kingdom), the USA (United States of America), the Irish Republic
- Multiple areas
- the Netherlands, the Philippines , the British Isles
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