Grammar

Definition

A noun is a part of speech that names a person, place, thing, idea, action or quality. All nouns can be classified into two groups of nouns, either common or proper.

 

Examples of Noun

 

Naming People

 

  • It could be a name of any person, for example: – John, Fatima, Singh, Michael, Tom and so on.

 

Naming Places

 

  • It could be a name of any place, for example: – America, China, Church, Taj Mahal, Paris and so on.

 

Naming Things

 

  • It could be a name of anything, for example: – Car, Hat, Bottle, Table, Chair, Ball and so on.

 

Naming Animals

 

  • It could be a name of any animal, for example: – Dog, Rabbit, Elephant, Chicken, Horse and so on.

 

Naming Feeling/Qualities/Ideas

 

  • It could be a name of any feeling, quality and idea for example: – Joy, Fear, Beauty, Strength, Anger and so on.

 

Example Sentences of Noun

 

  1. I live in Australia.                                          I love to play with my dog.
  2. Jenny is my sister.                                          The name of this monkey is Boo.
  3. Pacific Ocean is very vast.

 

Types of Nouns

 

Proper Noun

 

Names of people or places such as your name, your friend’s name, your parents’ name or the name of your town and country are special naming words. These words are called proper nouns. Special naming words or proper nouns always begin with a capital letter.

 

Example Sentences of Proper Noun

 

  1. My name is Mark. 3. Come Tom, let us go for a walk.

 

  1. Her name is Sofie. 4. I visited the Taj Mahal in India.

 

  1. My cousin lives in Norway. 6. Hello Jack! Will you play with me?

 

  1. These bears are from China. 8. Albert Einstein was born in Germany.

 

 

Understanding Proper Nouns

The days of the week and the months of the year are proper nouns.

 

Example Sentences

 

  1. Every Sunday Mike visits the church.

 

  1. Christmas comes in the month of December.

 

  1. My sister was born in March month.

 

  1. Sam goes for swimming classes every Friday.

 

The names of buildings, mountains, rivers and seas are also proper nouns.

 

Example Sentences

 

  1. River Nile is very long.

 

  1. I have seen the Great Wall of China.

 

  1. Last year we visited the Niagara Falls.

 

  1. Many people have climber the Mount Everest.

 

 

 

 

Common Noun

 

Common nouns are naming words that are common to people, places, things and animals etc. Common nouns do not define any particular person, place or thing. They are general names. So, they are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence. For example, boy, girl, doctor, town, city, dog, car and so on.

 

Example Sentences of Common Noun

 

  1. Teachers teach in school. 2. Birds live on trees.

 

  1. I love to read storybooks. 4. Sally’s mother is a doctor.

 

  1. These chocolates and cakes are so delicious.

 

Identify and learn about proper nouns and common nouns in the list of sentences below.

 

  1. Sony produces cameras too.

 

  1. Alicia and Cathy were playing with a doll.

 

  1. Sandy is joining school today.

 

  1. Hens have laid eggs at Todd‘s farm.

 

  1. The postman Mr. Robert was carrying postcards.

 

In above examples the words in italic words are proper noun whereas words in bold are common nouns.

 

Collective Noun

 

Collective nouns are used to name a group of persons, places, animals or things. A collective noun represents a complete whole. For examples: a library of books, a team of players and a family of four.

 

Some collective nouns are used to name a group of animals and birds.

 

 

  1. 1. A flock of sheep. A herd of cattle. 3. A stud of horses.                 

 

  1. A gaggle of geese. 5. A litter of cubs. 6.  A flock of birds.

                                                                       

  1. A shoal of fish.

 

                       

Some collective nouns define a group of people.

 

  1. 1. A crew of sailors. 5. A troupe of actors.

 

  1. An army of soldiers. 6. A panel of judges.

 

  1. A band of musicians. 7. A gang of robbers.

 

  1. A class of pupils.

 

There are some collective nouns that stand for a group of things.

 

  1. A bunch of keys.                                            A galaxy of stars.

 

  1. A pile of clothes.                                            A pack of cards.

 

  1. A collection of books.                                                An atlas of maps.

 

  1. A string of pearls.                                          A bouquet of flowers.

 

  1. A set of stamps.                                                          A bunch of grapes.

 

Example Sentences of Collective Noun

 

  1. My maternal aunt bought me a pair of tennis shoes.

 

  1. At the playground, you get to observe a colony of ants.

 

  1. A pile of clothes was kept on the bed.

 

  1. I need to finish an agenda of tasks before I leave.

 

  1. There is a network of computers in Joseph’s office.

 

Material Noun

 

A material noun refers to a tangible substance or ingredient. Specifically, it is a mass term for a chemical compound that cannot be counted. For example, ‘lead’ is a material noun and refers to the substance since you cannot break down all of its particles.

 

Example Sentences of Material Noun

 

  1. I have a cricket bat in my closet. 2. The bat is made of wood from a tree.

 

  1. My brother has a mobile phone. 4. The phone is made of plastic and metal.

 

  1. I need some water for the cake. 6. The jug is on the table.

 

  1. There is also a pen and a diary on it. 8. The pen is out of ink.

 

  1. Your shirt has a button short. 10. This ring is made of gold and diamond.

 

Here are some other examples of material nouns:

 

  • water
  • silver
  • silk
  • sand
  • iron

 

Abstract Noun

An abstract noun names a quality or an idea. Abstract nouns are nouns that name abstract concepts, or concepts that cannot be experienced with the senses. In contrast, concrete nouns name things that we can know by our senses (mosquito, grass, bacon, etc.) We can think of an abstract noun as being similar to an abstract painting. Both abstract nouns and abstract art represent ideas instead of concrete objects.

 

Example Sentences of Abstract Noun

 

Showing Human Qualities or Characteristics

 

Calm Beauty
Charity Bravery
Courage Brutality
Coldness Brilliance

 

Showing Emotions/Feelings

 

  • Anger . Anxiety
  • Clarity . Adoration
  • Delight . Amazement
  • Despair . Apprehension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incorrect and Correct sentences based on Noun

 

  • Incorrect The clock has struck five hours.
  • Correct The clock has struck five.

 

  • Incorrect There is no place in the hall.
  • Correct There is no room in the hall.

 

  • Incorrect Little thing has been done.
  • Correct Little has been done.

 

  • Incorrect We have an urgent business.
  • Correct We have an urgent piece of business.

 

  • Incorrect He came by the 4:30 o’clock train.
  • Correct He came by the 4:30 train.

 

  • Incorrect He left the place with his belonging goods.
  • Correct He left the place with his goods.

 

  • Incorrect: She likes to feed the poors.
  • Correct: She likes to feed the poor.

 

  • Incorrect: He is working for the blinds.
  • Correct: He is working for the blind.

 

Expressions like the poor, the blind, the deaf etc., are always plural. We don’t have to make their plural forms by adding –s to them.

 

  • Incorrect: I told this news to my father.
  • Correct: I told this news to my father.

 

News is a singular uncountable noun. Therefore, it has to be used with a singular determiner.

 

  • Incorrect: The teacher gave us many advices.
  • Correct: The teacher gave us some advice.

 

Advice is an uncountable noun. It does not have a plural form. The determiner many is only used with plural countable nouns.

 

  • Incorrect: I have a five dollars note.
  • Correct: I have a five dollar note.

 

  • Incorrect: She has bought two dozens apples.
  • Correct: She has bought two dozen apples.

 

  • Incorrect: I saw many deers in the jungle.
  • Correct: I saw many deer in the jungle.

 

The nouns sheep and deer have identical singular and plural forms.

 

  • Incorrect: Bring me some bloating.
  • Correct: Bring me some bloating paper.

 

  • Incorrect: The boy is in the boarding.
  • Correct: The boy is in the boarding house.

 

  • Incorrect: Please put your sign here.
  • Correct: Please put your signature here.

Noun phrases

Often a noun phrase is just a noun or a pronoun:

 

  • Peoplelike to have money.                                         . I am tired.

 

Premodifiers

 

But noun phrases can also include:

 

  • determiners:        Thosehouses are very expensive.

 

  • quantifiers:          I’ve lived in a lot of houses.

 

  • numbers:            My brother owns two

 

  • adjectives:          I love oldhouses.   

 

These parts of the noun phrase are called premodifiers because they go before the noun.

We use premodifiers in this order:

 

determiners and quantifiers > numbers > adjectives + NOUNS

For example:

Determiners and quantifiers Numbers Adjectives NOUNS
The six children
Our young children
Six young children
These six young children
Some young children
All those six young children
Their many young children

 

Postmodifiers

Other parts of a noun phrase go after the noun. These are called postmodifiers.

Postmodifiers can be:

·          . prepositional phrases:

a man with a gun
the boy in the blue shirt
the house on the corner

·          . –ing phrases :

the man standing over there
the boy talking to Angela

·          . relative clauses :

the man we met yesterday
the house that Jack built
the woman who discovered radium
an eight-year-old boy who attempted to rob a sweet shop

·         . that clauses. These are very common after nouns like ideafactbeliefsuggestion:

He’s still very fit, in spite of the fact that he’s over eighty.
She got the idea that people didn’t like her.
There was a suggestion that the children should be sent home.

Definition

A pronoun is a word which is used in place of a proper noun or a common noun. Generally, a pronoun takes the place of a particular noun. The pronoun refers to its antecedent. A pronoun helps us avoid unnecessary repetition in our writing and speech.

In other words, words that can be used instead of a noun are called pronouns. The word “pronoun” means “for a noun”.

Let’s understand pronouns with the help of these example sentences:

  • Look at Mike. Mike is a good boy.
  • Mike loves to study. Mike is good at skating.

Instead of Mike we can use ‘he ‘.

 

Now read these sentences again:

 

  • Look at Mike. He is a good boy.
  • He loves to study. He is good at skating.

The word ‘he ‘takes the place of Mike and is called pronoun.

Types of Pronouns

 

 

 

 

Personal Pronouns

 

Personal pronouns are used to replace nouns or noun phrases.

 

Personal pronouns stand for three persons:

  1. First Person
  2. Second Person
  3. Third Person

Personal pronoun of the first person stands for the person(s) speaking.
(I, we, me, us)

Example Sentences:

  1. This car belongs to us.
  2. I won the award.
  3. The matter is between Chris and me.
  4. We shall stand by the truth.

Personal pronoun of the second person stands for the person(s) spoken to.
(You, thou, thee)

Example Sentences:

  1. It is to thee that I owe a debt of gratitude.
  2. Only you are allowed to attend the party.
  3. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  4. Why are you crying…?

Personal pronoun of the third person stands for the person(s) spoken of.
(He, she, it, they, them, him, her)

Example Sentences:

  1. I heard him telling them about the movie.
  2. He agreed to look after the baby.
  3. The headmistress likes her a lot.
  4. She asked me to review it by this evening.
  5. They went to the museum.
  6. It is an endangered species now.
  7. They were planning to hide it under the bed.

Personal pronouns for people: I, you, he, she, we, they, me, you, him, her, us, them
Personal pronouns for things and animals: it, they, them

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are used to join sentences or clauses, and they refer back to the nouns going before them.

Relative Pronouns List

  • who . which
  • whom . whose
  • that

Example Sentences:

  • This is the lady who helped me.
  • This is the book that my mother wrote.
  • There is the man whose horse won the race.
  • This is the house which belongs to my great-grandfather.
  • This is the person whom we met at the party.
  • This is the letter box that I was talking about.
  • A chair is a piece of furniture which we use for sitting.
  • I found the ring that I thought I had lost.
  • Jack is the boy whose sister is a famous tennis player.
  • This is the boy who scored the highest marks.

In relative pronouns we use the following pronoun words:

  • For people: who, whom
  • For animals and thing: which
  • And to show possession: whose, that

Emphatic Pronoun

Emphatic pronouns are pronouns used for highlighting, stressing or emphasizing the noun or pronoun that comes before it. An emphatic pronoun can be omitted without changing the sense of a sentence.

Emphatic Pronouns List

  • myself
  • himself
  • herself
  • itself
  • yourself
  • themselves
  • ourselves

Example Sentences

 

  • Joseph himself went to check the gate.
  • He himself is responsible for those low grades.
  • Jane herself looks into the nitty-gritty of running the house.
  • They themselves admitted to their mistakes.
  • The book itself tells you all about pronouns.
  • I myself am a slow walker.
  • The children themselves made the plan.
  • The village itself is very small.
  • We ourselves will be completing the assignment.
  • Ruskin Bond himself is a great author.

Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun refers to an indefinite or general person or thing. These pronouns refer to people in a vague and general meaning.

  • All . none
  • any . nothing
  • each . several
  • everyone . some
  • few . somebody
  • many . everything
  • neither                                                             . nobody
  • anyone . someone
  • something

Example Sentences

  • Nobody attended the meeting. .     Everyone was smiling.
  • Something is wrong there. .     He never does favour to others.
  • Everything was told prior to the meeting. .     Many of them were injured.

An indefinite pronoun can stand for singular, plural or at times for both. The following lists some indefinite pronouns terms that are commonly used.

 

Singular

  • anyone . nothing
  • anything . neither
  • anybody . nobody
  • each . no one
  • everybody . one
  • everything . someone
  • either . somebody
  • everyone . something
  • little . much

Plural

  • both . many
  • few . others
  • several

Singular or Plural

  • all . most                                       . none

Example Sentences

  1. Every season one of the racers attempts to break Schumacher’s record. (Singular)
  2. Both have paid homage to their great ancestors. (Plural)
  3. All of the players we count on are out of form. (Plural)
  4. Almost all the money in my bank account has been spent. (Singular)

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns point out people or objects. There are four demonstrative pronouns.

Demonstrative Pronouns List

  • this . these
  • that . those

Example Sentences

  • Those are my neighbour’s dogs.
  • This is my bicycle.
  • These are cakes and those are burgers.
  • In those days, we were young and innocent.
  • This is a present from my uncle.
  • That is the sound of a factory siren.
  • Are those your classmates…?
  • That is not the best thing to do.

 

When these words appear before nouns, they become demonstrative adjectives.

For example:

  • This car is better than that. . These animals are wilder than those.

In above sentences, ‘this’ and ‘these’ are demonstrative adjectives, and ‘that’ and ‘those’ are demonstrative adjectives, and ‘that’ and ‘those’ are demonstrative pronouns.

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns ask questions. Compound interrogative pronouns (those ending in ‘ever’) are used to express surprise, confusion, irritation, etc.

Interrogative Pronoun List

  • which . what
  • who . whoever
  • whom . whomever
  • whatever . whichever

Example Sentences

  • Which is your book? . Whichever came first?
  • Who is there at the door? . Whose is this dress?
  • Whatever are you doing? . What do you mean?
  • Who is making noise? . Whoever came to the shop?
  • Whom were you speaking to? . Whomever should tom invite?

Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun points towards the owner of something.

 

Possessive Pronouns List

 

  • his . ours
  • here . theirs
  • Mine . yours

Example

  • My aunt is a Graphic Designer. This computer is hers.
  • The blue hat is mine. Yours is on the upper shelf.

Often the words used as possessive pronouns are slight modifications of the words used as possessive adjectives. So, we may get confused at times.

Remember, that there is a major distinction between them. While possessive pronouns are used in place of nouns, possessive adjectives modify or describe nouns.

Example Sentences

  • This dress is mine. . This is her school.
  • This is my dress. . This house is theirs.
  • That school is hers. . This is their

In these sentences ‘mine’, ‘hers’ and ‘theirs’ are possessive pronouns, and ‘my’, ‘her’ and ‘their’ are possessive adjectives.

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are pronouns where the subject and the object are the same person(s), i.e. when the action of the verb refers back to the doer. Reflexive pronouns are formed by using ‘self’ in the singular and ‘selves’ in the plural.

 

 

 

Reflexive Pronouns List

  • yourself . itself
  • myself . yourselves
  • himself . themselves
  • herself . ourselves

 

Example Sentences

  • You are old enough to dress yourself.
  • Suddenly, I found myself in a dark corner.
  • The dog covered itself with dirt.
  • She contradicted herself, unknowingly.
  • They were discussing amongst themselves.
  • The only people there were ourselves.
  • John reminded himself that he had to try harder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incorrect and Correct sentences based on Pronoun

 

  • Incorrect He absented from the school yesterday.
  • Correct He absented himself from the school yesterday.

 

  • Incorrect He availed of the opportunity.
  • Correct He availed himself of the opportunity.

 

  • Incorrect Don’t pride on your victory.
  • Correct Don’t pride yourself on your victory.

 

  • Incorrect The girl wants to get herself married.
  • Correct The girl wants to get married.

 

  • Incorrect The climate of India is hotter than England.
  • Correct The climate of India is hotter than that of England.

 

  • Incorrect Everybody will get their share.
  • Correct Everybody will get his share.

 

  • Incorrect: Both did not come.
  • Correct: Neither came.

 

  • Incorrect: Both of them did not pass the test.
  • Correct: Neither of them passed the test.

In negative clauses, we use ‘neithernot both.

 

  • Incorrect: Each of these girls sing very well.
  • Correct: Each of these girls sings very well.

After each and every, we use a singular verb.

 

  • Incorrect: We all did not go.
  • Correct: None of us went.

 

  • Incorrect: We all had not been invited.
  • Correct: None of us had been invited.

 

  • Incorrect: One should love his country.
  • Correct: One should love one’s country.

 

  • Incorrect: ‘Have you got a pencil?’ ‘No, I haven’t got.’
  • Correct: ‘Have you got a pencil?’ ‘No, I haven’t got one.’ / ‘No, I don’t have one’.

Have is a transitive verb. It needs an object to complete its meaning.

 

  • Incorrect: ‘Is he at home?’ ‘Yes, I think.’
  • Correct: ‘Is he at home?’ ‘Yes, I think so.’

 

  • Incorrect: We enjoyed during the holidays.
  • Correct: We enjoyed ourselves during the holidays.

Enjoy is a transitive verb. It requires an object.

 

  • Incorrect: The boy who works hard he will get the prize.
  • Correct: The boy who works hard will get the prize.
  • Correct: Whoever works hard will get the prize.

 

  • Common Errors with Pronouns – Part II

 

  • Incorrect: The boy who works hard he will win.
  • Correct: The boy who works hard will win.

Explanation

This sentence has two clauses ‘the boy will win’ and ‘who works hard’ and each clause has its own subject. There is no need to use a pronoun when the noun it stands for is already present in the clause.

 

  • Incorrect: Whoever does best he will get a prize.
  • Correct: Whoever does best will get a prize.

 

  • Incorrect: Who painted this picture? Myself
  • Correct: Who painted this picture? I (myself)

Explanation

An emphatic pronoun (e.g. myself, himself, themselves, yourself) cannot be used as the subject of a sentence.

 

  • Incorrect: I and he are brothers.
  • Correct: He and I are brothers.

Explanation

It is considered conceited to put I first when there are two subjects.

 

  • Incorrect: I with my friends watched the show.
  • Correct: I watched the show with my friends.

 

  • Incorrect: He himself hurt due to his carelessness.
  • Correct: He hurt himself due to his carelessness.

Explanation

When a personal pronoun is used as subject it should not be separated from its verb if possible.

  • Incorrect: He is taller than me.
  • Correct: He is taller than I (am).

Explanation

The pronoun following than should be in the same case as the pronoun preceding it. Note that this rule is no longer strictly followed and the sentence ‘He is taller than me’ is considered correct.

 

  • Incorrect: None of us have seen him.
  • Correct: None of us has seen him.

Explanation

The words every, each, none etc., are singular in number and should be followed by singular verbs.

 

  • Incorrect: People starve when he has no money.
  • Correct: People starve when they have no money.

Explanation

The noun people is plural in number. The pronoun used instead of a plural noun should be plural in number.

 

  • Incorrect: My car is better than my friend.
  • Correct: My car is better than that of my friend.

 

  • Incorrect: The size of the shoe should be the same as this shoe.
  • Correct: The size of the shoe should be the same as that of this shoe.

 

  • Incorrect: His teaching was like Buddha.
  • Correct: His teaching was like that of Buddha.

 

Explanation

In a comparative sentence we must be careful to compare the same part of two things. That of, these of and those of.

 

  • Incorrect: None but I turned up.
  • Correct: None but me turned up.

 

  • Incorrect: They are all wrong but I.
  • Correct: They are all wrong but me.

 

Explanation

When but is used as a preposition it means except. The preposition but should be followed by a pronoun in the objective case.

 

Common Errors with Pronouns – Part I

 

  • Incorrect: Each of these girls sing well.
  • Correct: Each of these girls sings well.

 

  • Incorrect: None of my student attended the class today.
  • Correct: None of my students attended the class today.

 

  • Incorrect: One of my servant has gone on leave.
  • Correct: One of my servants has gone on leave.

 

  • Incorrect: Some of my servants has gone on leave.
  • Correct: Some of my servants have gone on leave.

 

Explanation

The noun following one of, none of, some of and similar expressions must be plural in number, but the verb agrees in number with the subject of the sentence. In the sentence ‘Each of these girls sings well’, the real subject is each which is a singular word. It should therefore be followed by a singular verb.

Other singular words which often cause confusion are: every, either, neither, none, much and person.

 

  • Incorrect: Some of my friends has decided to go on a picnic.
  • Correct: Some of my friends have decided to go on a picnic.

 

Explanation

Some is a plural word. It must be followed by a plural verb.

 

  • Incorrect: Both did not come.
  • Correct: Neither came.

 

Explanation

 

The expression both…not is not correct in standard English. Instead, we use neither.

 

  • Incorrect: One should respect his parents.
  • Correct: One should respect one’s parents.

 

Explanation

           

One, if used in a sentence, should be used throughout. More examples are given below:

 

  • One should take care of one’s health.
  • One should love one’s country.

 

  • Incorrect: One should work hard.
  • Correct: A man/woman/boy/girl should work hard.

 

The sentence ‘One should work hard’, is not wrong but in standard English the use of one as subject should be avoided when possible.

 

  • Incorrect: Here is the bottle: please fill.
  • Correct: Here is the bottle: please fill it.

 

  • Incorrect: Have you a pen? I have not got.
  • Correct: Have you a pen? I have not got one.

 

  • Incorrect: He enjoyed at the party.
  • Correct: He enjoyed himself at the party.

 

Explanation

The verbs fill, enjoy and got are transitive. All transitive verbs                     must have an expressed object.

 

  • Incorrect: I asked for his bicycle but he didn’t lend me.
  • Correct: I asked for his bicycle but he didn’t lend it to me.

 

  • Incorrect: Please give your book.
  • Correct: Please give me/him/her/them your book.

 

Explanation

Some transitive verbs like give and lend must have two expressed objects.

 

Correct Use of Nouns and Pronouns Part II

 

  • Pronouns used as complements of to be

Grammarians formerly recommended that a pronoun used as the complement of the verb to be should be in the nominative case. Today the use of the nominative case in such cases is considered extremely formal and over-correct. Instead, we use the objective case.

 

  • It is me. (Formal: It is I.)
  • It was him. (Formal: It was he.)

 

A pronoun used as the object of a verb or a preposition should be in the objective case.

 

  • You can’t trust him. (NOT You can’t trust he.)
  • We have invited them. (NOT We have invited they.)

 

            There is really no difference between you and him.

            (Here the pronouns you and him are used as the objects of the preposition between.)

 

  • He has given great trouble to us.

(Here we use the objective case because the pronoun us is the object of the verb to.)

 

A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, person and gender.

 

  • All students should bring their books.

            (Here the pronoun their agrees with its antecedent students in number and person.)

 

  • John has brought his book.

            (Here the pronoun his agrees with its antecedent John in number, person and gender.)

  • Each of the girls gave her own version of the story.

 

  • I am not one of those who believe everything they hear.

            (Here the antecedent of the pronoun they is those and not I.)

 

Some grammarians recommend that the pronoun of the masculine gender should be used to refer back to anybody, everybody, anyone, each etc., when the sex is unknown.

 

  • Everybody ran as fast as he could.
  • Anybody can do it if he tries.

 

In modern English it is more common to use plural pronouns to refer back to anybody, everyone etc.

  • Everybody should bring their books. (Less formal)
  • Everybody should bring his books. (Very formal)
  • Everybody ran as fast as they could.
  • Each of them had their share. (Less formal)
  • Each of them had his share. (Very formal)

 

            Who and whom

                                     Who is in the nominative case; whom is in the objective case. I don’t know who (not whom) they were.

The student, whom you thought so highly of, has failed to win the first prize.  In modern English whom is unusual except in a formal style.

  • Who did you meet? (Less formal)
  • Whom did you meet? (Very formal)

 

Correct Use of Nouns and Pronouns

   Countable and uncountable nouns

 

Words like flower, book, tree, chair and pen are countable nouns because they refer to objects that can be counted. Countable nouns can have plural forms. They can also be used with numbers and the articles a/an.

 

  • There is a book on the table.. She sat in a chair.
  • There are two books on the table.. We need to buy some chairs.

 

Words like milk, water, knowledge and wisdom are uncountable nouns because they refer to objects or qualities that cannot be counted. Uncountable nouns do not normally have plural forms. They are also not used with the articles a/an.

 

  • Milk is rich in nutrients. (NOT A milk/milks …)
  • We subsist on rice. (NOT … a rice/rices.)
  • Water is essential for the existence of life.

 

Some common uncountable nouns are: furniture, advice, news, information, business, work, weather, traffic, scenery and bread.

  • Wrong: He gave me an advice.
  • Right: He gave me a piece of advice. OR He gave me some advice.

 

We normally use a phrase like a piece of/ a bottle of to talk about a unit of an uncountable thing.

 

Examples are given below:

 

  • A bottle of water (NOT A water)
  • A piece of work (NOT A work)
  • A piece of / a bar of soap

Definition

A verb is a doing word that shows an action, an event or a state. A sentence may either have a main verb, a helping verb or both. In other words, a verb is a word that informs about an action, an existence of something or an occurrence. The verb is the main word in a sentence. No sentence can be completed without a verb.

 

The word ‘verb’ derived from the Latin word ‘verbum ‘.

 

Types of Verbs

 

 

Main Verbs or Action Verbs

 

Main verbs or action verbs are used to express action; something that an animal, a person or a thing does. In each of the following sentences, we only have a main verb.

 

  • The sun shines. .  The horse neighs.
  • The monkey jumps.

 

Helping Verbs

 

As the name suggests, helping verbs help or support the main verb.

 

  • We are learning about helping verbs. (are: helping verb; learning: main verb)
  • We are in the Green House Club. (are: helping verb)
  • You should complete the work by tomorrow. (should: helping verb; complete: main verb)

 

State of Being Verbs (Linking Verbs)

 

State of Being verbs state that something ‘is’. State of being verbs also known as linking verbs. Linking verbs explain a link between the subject of the sentence and

a noun or adjective being linked to it.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • The flowers are bright. . I feel scared.
  • Diamond is the hardest substance.

 

 

 

Understanding Verbs

The words: is, am, are, was, and were, belong to the verb “to be”. We use ‘am’ or ‘was’ with the pronoun ‘I’. We use ‘is’ or ‘was’ when the subject of the sentence is singular. We use ‘are’ or ‘were’ when the subject of the sentence is plural.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • I am twelve years old.
  • She is a wonderful singer.
  • They were winners last year.
  • These questions are
  • He was planning to meet the doctor.

 

We use ‘is‘ with singular nouns and pronouns ‘he, she, it‘.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • Dog is a faithful animal. . My school is near my house.
  • She is writing a postcard. . This restaurant is closing down.

 

We use ‘are‘ with plural nouns and pronouns ‘we, you, they‘.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • They are best friends. . We are going to win the match.
  • The balloons are . They are planning to go by train.

 

We use ‘are‘ when we join two or more nouns.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • John and Sam are
  • Joseph and we are
  • Sharon and Jenny are competing for the gold medal.
  • and Mr. Lee are planning to visit New Zealand.

 

Subject-Verb Agreement

 

It is very important to take care of the subject and verb agreement while framing a sentence. It is very important that a verb must be compatible and agree with its subject to make a correct and valid sentence.

 

Let us understand with the help of an example.

 

If we write:

 

  • Phil is playing with a ball. (Correct)!
  • Phil are playing with a ball. (Incorrect) X

In the first sentence, the subject (Phil) is singular, so we need a singular verb (is playing). The sentence is correct. In the second sentence, the subject (Phil) is singular, but the verb is plural (are playing). The sentence is incorrect.

 

Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement

 

Rule 1 – Subject-Verb agreement with a singular noun
If the subject is a singular noun or a pronoun (he, I, she, it), we must ensure that we use a singular verb to write a correct sentence.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • He enjoys .       She is playing the guitar.
  • She is cheering the team. .       My mom drives

 

  • Does he know the minister well? .       The moon revolves round the earth.
  • The postman is asking for your signature.      The movie has caught everyone’s attention.

 

Rule 2 – Subject-Verb agreement with plural noun
If the subject is plural (we, they, those, you), we need a plural verb to write a correct sentence.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • Philip and Luke are swimming. .       We have finished our homework.
  • Both the boys have worked .       Two of our girls have won the quiz.
  • The students were writing their exam. .       The boys were dancing in the corridor.
  • The children are playing in the garden. .       The teachers are correcting the answer sheets.

Rule 3 – Subject-Verb agreement with collective nouns
The collective nouns are considered as singular. We use singular verbs with them.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • The crowd was very noisy.
  • My family is from Poland.
  • Our team has to win the match.
  • The choir is singing
  • The audience is enjoying a gala time.
  • The band is playing the school song.

 

Rule 4 – Subject-Verb agreement with ‘either/or’ or ‘neither/nor’
The verb must agree with the noun or the pronoun that is closer to ‘either/or’ or ‘neither/nor’.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • Neither he nor I am
  • Either you or your sister is telling a lie.
  • Either Nancy or Mary is typing the letter.
  • Neither Bob nor his friends want the party.

 

Rule 5 – Subject-Verb agreement with indefinite pronouns
Indefinite pronouns like ‘nobody’, ‘everybody’, ‘someone’, ‘somebody’, ‘one’ are always singular.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • Someone is calling for you.
  • Somebody is knocking at the door.
  • Nobody is allowed to enter that room.
  • Everybody likes Ola, the new History teacher.
  • One of the passengers was asking for tomato soup.

.

Rule 6
We use singular verbs for uncountable nouns

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • Salt is obtained from sea water.
  • Sugar is yet to get over in the container.
  • There is sufficient food in the refrigerator.
  • Cold weather is a problem in this part of the country.
  • Milk with cornflakes is one of my favourite breakfast options.

 

Rule 7
A plural noun takes a singular verb when it is a name such as Paris, China, Arabian Nights, and so on.

 

List of Example Sentences

 

  • Norway is a very cold country.
  • ‘The Power of Positive Talk’ is a good book.
  • China is the most densely populated country.

 

Types of Action Verbs

 

There are two types of action verbs:

 

 

 

 

Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb expresses an action directed towards a person, place or thing. The action expressed by a transitive verb passes from the doer or the subject to the receiver of the action. Words that receive the action of a transitive verb are called objects.

 

For example:

 

  • Peter cut the cake.
  • The teacher made the question paper.

 

In the above two sentences, we can see that the words in green colour ‘the question paper‘ and ‘the cake‘ complete the sense of the sentence or work as objects. The two sentences would not make complete sense without the objects.

 

  • Peter cut ……………….. what? (the cake)
  • The teacher made ……………….. what? (the question paper)

 

In the above sentences, the verbs ‘made‘ and ‘cut‘ are transitive verbs. A transitive verb needs a direct object to complete its meaning.

 

Example Sentences of Transitive Verb

 

  • I like . She is eating a pear.
  • Birds have . She is writing an essay.
  • Dennis bought a bicycle. . They are playing
  • The teacher praised the pupil. .

 

Intransitive Verbs

 

A verb which does not need an object to make complete sense is called an intransitive verb. An intransitive verb expresses action (or tells something about the subject) without the action passing to a receiver or object. It can stand alone in the predicate because its meaning is complete.

 

Example Sentences of Intransitive Verb

 

  • The ship sank rapidly. .           Becker jogs every day.
  • John speaks loudly. .           Anne looks very beautiful.
  • The wind blew strongly. .           Ben is driving carefully.

 

To determine if a verb is transitive, ask yourself ‘Who?’ or ‘What?’ after the verb. If you can find an answer in the sentence, the verb is transitive.

Some verbs are always intransitive, such as: to snore or to fall. It is incorrect to say: She snores her nose.

 

For example: She snores a lot. In this example ‘a lot’ is not an object but an adverb. It doesn’t represent what the person snores but rather how or how much she snores.

Some verbs are always transitive, such as to recognise or to merit. It is somewhat incorrect to say: “Ah, yes, I recognise” or she certainly does merit.

Double Object

 

Some transitive verbs have two objects. Those things that you do for someone or you give to someone are called direct objects. The person who receives the thing is called the indirect object.

 

Examples of Double Object

 

  • Nancy baked a cake for me.
  • Can you fetch me a cup and a plate?
  • The manager gave her the money.
  • Mother is reading Michael a story.

 

In above examples:

 

  • Verbs: ‘gave, reading, baked and fetch’.
  • Indirect object: ‘her, Michael, me, me’.
  • Direct object: ‘money, story, cake, cup and a plate’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the most important part of a speech, for without a verb, a sentence would not exist. Simply put, this is a word that shows an action (physical or mental) or state of being of the subject in a sentence.

 

Examples of “State of Being Verbs” : am, is, was, are, and were

 

Sample Sentences:

  • As usual, the Stormtroopers missed their shot.
  • The italicized word expresses the action of the subject “Stormtroopers.”
  • They are always prepared in emergencies.
  • The verb “are” refers to the state of being of the pronoun “they,” which is the subject in the sentence.

Common errors in the use of verbs

Go through these sentences.

  • Incorrect: She told to me an interesting story.
  • Correct: She told me an interesting story.

The verb tell is followed by an indirect object without to.

 

  • Incorrect: She told that she wouldn’t come.
  • Correct: She told me that she wouldn’t come.

OR                   She said that she wouldn’t come.

When used with a that-clause tell takes an indirect object, while say does not.

 

  • Incorrect: I want that you should be your partner.
  • Correct: I want you to be my partner.

The verb want cannot be used with a that-clause. It is used with a to-infinitive.

 

  • Incorrect:She suggested me to consult a doctor.
  • Correct:She suggested that I should consult a doctor.

OR                   She suggested consulting a doctor.

 

The verb suggest should be used with a gerund or a that-clause. It cannot be used with a to-infinitive.

The verbs discuss, describe, order and request are transitive verbs. They should be followed by direct objects, and not prepositions.

 

  • Incorrect: We discussed about his plans.
  • Correct: We discussed his plans.

 

  • Incorrect: He described about the situation.
  • Correct: He described the situation.

 

  • Incorrect: I have ordered for two cups of coffee.
  • Correct: I have ordered two cups of coffee.

 

  • Incorrect: She requested for my help.
  • Correct: She requested my help.

Correct the following sentences

 

  • I have seen him yesterday.

 

  • We had gone to the movies last night.

 

  • I had spoken to them about my holiday.

 

  • You must attend your teacher’s instructions.

 

  • The hen has lain six eggs.

 

  • I have seen him a moment ago.

 

  • They discussed about the whole matter.

 

  • We are playing tennis every day.

 

  • He is sleeping for two hours.
  • Neither of the boys have returned.

 

Answers

  • I saw him yesterday.

(We do not use the present perfect tense with past time expressions.)

 

  • We went to the movies last night.
  • I spoke to them about my holiday.

(The past perfect tense is not used to say that something happened in the past. It is used to indicate the earlier of the two past actions.)

 

  • You must listen to your teacher’s instructions.
  • The hen has laid six eggs.
  • I saw him a moment ago.
  • They discussed the whole matter.

(The verb discuss does not take a preposition.)

 

  • We play tennis every day.

 

(We use the simple present tense to talk about our habits and general facts.)

 

  • He has been sleeping for two hours.

 

(We use the present perfect continuous tense to show duration.)

 

  • Neither of the boys has

(After ‘either’ and ‘neither’ we use a singular verb.)

 

I’ve got no decent shoes to wear.

These are very common after indefinite pronouns and adverbs:

You should take something to read.
I need somewhere to sleep.

There may be more than one postmodifier:

an eight-year old boy with a gun   who tried to rob a sweet shop
that girl 
over there   in a green dress   drinking a Coke

Verb phrases

Verbs in English have four basic parts:

 

Base form – Ing form Past tense Past participle

 

work working worked worked
play playing played played
listen listening listened listened

 

Most verbs are regular: they have a past tense and past participle with –ed (worked, played, listened). But many of the most frequent verbs are irregular.

 

Verb phrases

 

Verb phrases in English have the following forms:

 

  1. main verb:
Main verb

 

We are here.
I like it.
Everybody saw the accident.
We laughed.

 

The verb can be in the present tense (are, like) or the past tense (saw, laughed).

 

 

  1. the auxiliary verb beand a main verbin the –ing form:

 

Auxiliary be -ing form

 

Everybody is watching.
We were laughing.

 

verb phrase with be and –ing expresses continuous aspect. A verb with am/is/are expresses present continuous and a verb with was/were expresses past continuous.

  1. the auxiliary verb haveand a main verb in the past participle form:

 

Auxiliary have past participle

 

They have enjoyed themselves.
Everybody has worked hard.
He had finished work.

A verb phrase with have and the past participle expresses perfect aspect. A verb with have/has expresses present perfect and a verb with had expresses past perfect.

 

  1. modal verb(can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) and a main verb:

 

                                 Modal verb Main verb

 

They will come.
He might come.

 

 

  1. the auxiliary verbshaveand been and a main verb in the –ing form:

 

Auxiliary have been -ing form

 

Everybody has been working hard.
He had been singing.

 

A verb phrase with have been and the -ing form expresses both perfect aspect and continuous aspect. A verb with have/has expresses present perfect continuous and a verb with had expresses past perfect continuous.

 

  1. modal verband the auxiliaries behaveand have been:

 

       Modal Auxiliary Verb

 

They will be listening.
He might have arrived.
She must have been listening.

 

  1. the auxiliary verb beand a main verb in the past participle form:

 

              Auxiliary be Past participle

 

English is spoken all over the world.
The windows have been cleaned.
Lunch was being served.
The work will be finished soon.
They might have been invited to the party.

 

A verb phrase with be and the past participle expresses passive voice.

We can use the auxiliaries do and did with the infinitive for emphasis:

 

  • It was a wonderful party. I did enjoy
    do agreewith you. I think you are absolutely right.

 

We can also use do for polite invitations:

 

  • Do comeand see us some time.
    There will be lots of people there. Do bring your friends.

Definition

 

An adjective is a part of speech which describes, identifies, or quantifies a noun or a pronoun. So basically, the main function of an adjective is to modify a noun or a pronoun so that it will become more specific and interesting. Instead of just one word, a group of words with a subject and a verb, can also function as an adjective. When this happens, the group of words is called an adjective clause.

 

For example:

 

My brother, who is much older than I am, is an astronaut.

 

In the example above, the underlined clause modifies the noun” brother.”

 

What are the Different Kinds of Adjectives?

Now that you already know the answer to the question, “What is an adjective?” you should know that not all adjectives are the same. They modify nouns and pronouns differently, and just like the other parts of speech, there are different kinds of adjectives. These are:

 

1. Descriptive Adjectives

 

Among the different kinds of adjectives, descriptive adjectives are probably the most common ones. They simply say something about the quality or the kind of the noun or pronoun they’re referring to.

 

Examples:

 

  • Erika is witty.
  • She is tired.
  • Adrian’s reflexes are amazing.

2. Adjectives of Number or Adjectives of Quantity

 

As the name suggests, this kind of adjective answers the question, “How many?” or “How much?”

 

Examples:

 

  • The plants need more
  • Twenty-one students failed the exam.

3. Demonstrative Adjectives

 

Demonstrative adjectives point out pronouns and nouns, and always come before the words they are referring to.

 

Examples:

 

  • I used to buy this kind of shirts.
  • When the old man tripped over that wire, he dropped a whole bag of groceries.

 

4. Possessive Adjectives

 

Obviously, this kind of adjectives shows ownership or possession. Aside from that, possessive adjectives always come before the noun.

 

Examples:

 

  • I can’t answer my seatwork because I don’t have a calculator.
  • Trisha sold his

 

5. Interrogative Adjectives

 

Interrogative adjectives ask questions and are always followed by a noun.

 

Examples:

 

  • What movie are you watching?
  • Which plants should be placed over here?

 

What are the Degrees of Adjectives?

 

There are only three degrees or levels of adjectives (also known as degrees of comparison) namely, positive, comparative, and superlative. When you talk about or describe only a single person, place, or thing, you should use the positive degree.

 

Examples:

 

  • She is a beautiful
  • It was a memorable

 

If on the other hand, you are comparing two persons, places, or things, it is appropriate to use the comparative degree of the word. Normally, you will need to add “- er” to transform the word into its comparative form or add the word “more.” Also, the word “than” should be added after the adjective in the comparative degree.

 

Examples:

 

  • This swimming pool is bigger than that one.
  • Ashley is more intelligent than Aldrin.

 

Note: 

 

For words ending in “y,” you should first change the “y” into “i,” and then add “-er” (e.g., lovely-lovelier; pretty- prettier; tasty- tastier)

 

Lastly, if you are comparing more than two things, the superlative form of the adjectives should be used and the word “the” should be added before the adjective.

In order to transform the adjective into its superlative form, you just have to add the suffix “-est” or the word “most.”

 

Examples:

 

  • That is by far, the tallest tree I have ever seen in my entire life.
  • This is the most crucial match of the season.

 

Note:

 

 For words ending in “y,” you should first change the “y” into “i,” and then add “-est” (e.g., lovely-loveliest; pretty- prettiest; tasty- tastiest)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incorrect and Correct sentences based on Adjectives

Adjective

An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. An adjective usually precedes the noun or the pronoun which it modifies.

The highlighted words are adjectives-

 

  • The truckshaped balloon floated over the treetops.
  • The small boat foundered on the wine dark
  • The coal mines are dark and dank.
  • The back room was filled with large, yellow rain boots.

Kinds of adjective

 

  • Adjective of quality: –

 

Adjective showing the kind or quality of nouns or pronouns are called Adjective of Quality.

 

  • Adjective of quantity: –

 

Adjective which shows the quantity of thing is called the Adjective of Quantity.

 

  • Demonstrative adjective: –

 

This Adjective straight=away points out the person or thing concerned

 

The four words this, that, these and those are called demonstratives.

 

  • Incorrect He is sick.
  • Correct He is ill.

 

  • Incorrect I have strong headache.
  • Correct I have a severe headache.

 

  • Incorrect This is more preferable than that.
  • Correct This is preferable to that.

 

  • Incorrect No less than fifty students were present.
  • Correct No fewer than fifty students were present.

 

  • Incorrect I want a little quantity of milk.
  • Correct I want a small quantity of milk.

 

  • Incorrect John only is guilty.
  • Correct John alone is guilty.

 

  • Incorrect Do not go out in the sun with your head open.
  • Correct Do not go out in the sun with your head bare OR uncovered.

 

  • Incorrect Give a verbal translation of the passage.
  • Correct Give a literal translation of the passage.

 

  • Incorrect The association has three thousands of rupees in cash.
  • Correct The association has only three thousand rupees.

 

Common Errors with Adjectives – Part III

 

  • Incorrect: We live in city.
  • Correct: We live in a city.

 

Explanation

A singular common noun (e.g. city, state, country, boy, girl, teacher etc.) takes the article a/an before it. But if the common noun refers to a particular person or thing it requires the definite article the whether the noun is singular or plural.

 

Compare:

 

  • We live in a city.

            (Here we use the indefinite article because we are not referring to any particular city.)

 

  • The city is very big.

(Here we use the definite article (the) because we are referring to a particular city that has already been mentioned in a previous sentence.)

 

  • Incorrect: He is best player.
  • Correct: He is the best player.

 

  • Incorrect: She is a most intelligent girl in the class.
  • Correct: She is the most intelligent girl in the class.

 

Explanation

Adjectives in the superlative degree takes the article the before them.

 

  • Incorrect: The London is big city.
  • Correct: London is a big city.

 

  • Incorrect: I live in the Mumbai.
  • Correct: I live in Mumbai.

 

Explanation

Both London and Mumbai are proper nouns because they are the names of particular cities. Proper nouns do not take articles before them.

Remember that a noun can be proper in one sentence and common in another sentence; so it is useless to label a particular noun as proper or common.

 

  • Incorrect: The gold is yellow.
  • Correct: Gold is yellow.

Explanation

Material nouns (gold, rice, silver, iron, wood, marble etc.) do not take articles before them.

 

  • Incorrect: Himalayas are mountains.
  • Correct: The Himalayas are mountains.

 

  • Incorrect: We should love the God.
  • Correct: We should love God.

 

  • Incorrect: The man is a member of society.
  • Correct: Man is a member of society.

Explanation

Here the noun man refers to the whole of mankind. We do not use                           articles before a noun used to refer to the whole of its kind.

 

  • Incorrect: We had a picnics nearly every day.
  • Correct: We had picnics nearly every day.

 

Articles are not normally used before plural common nouns that do not refer to a particular person or thing.

 

  • Incorrect: Each of us loves our country.
  • Correct: Each of us loves his/her country.

 

  • Incorrect: None of the boys had brought their books.
  • Correct: None of the boys had brought his books.

 

Explanation

                                    The pronoun referring back to singular words like each, every and none should be singular in number.

 

            Notethat this rule is no longer strictly followed.

Sentences like ‘Each of us loves our country’ and ‘None of the boys had brought their books’

are now considered correct in informal speech and writing. However, in a formal style you must stick to the rules and use the correct pronoun.

 

Common Errors with Adjectives – Part II

 

  • Incorrect: In our school the number of students is less.
  • Correct: In our school the number of students is small.

 

Explanation

Less is the comparative of little. Comparative forms are not used in sentences where no comparison is implied.

         But is the sentence In our school the number of students is little’ correct? No.

 

The adjective little can be used only in the attributive position (before a noun).     In the predicative position (after a verb like is) we have to use a word with a   similar meaning.

 

  • Incorrect: From the two she is pretty.
  • Correct: She is the prettier of the two.

 

  • Incorrect: Of the two routes this is the short.
  • Correct: Of the two routes this is the shorter.

 

            Explanation

When a comparison is made between two people or things we use a structure with of, not from. Note that we use an adjective or adverb in the comparative form to compare two people or things.

 

  • Incorrect: From the three he is the smarter.
  • Correct: He is the smartest of the three.

 

Explanation

To compare more than two people or things we use an adjective or adverb in the superlative degree.

 

  • Incorrect: There is a best student in that class.
  • Correct: There is a very good student in that class.

 

            Explanation

It is wrong to use comparative and superlative forms when no comparison is implied.

 

 

Compare:

  • Charles is the smartest boy in the class.

(Here Charles is being compared with other boys in the class. Therefore, we use a superlative adjective.)

 

  • He is the smarter of the two brothers.

(Here a comparison is made between two people. Therefore, we use a comparative adjective.)

 

  • He is a smart boy. OR He is very smart.

 (Here no comparison is implied. Therefore, we use a positive adjective.)

 

  • Incorrect: I have never seen a so good boy.
  • Correct: I have never seen such a good boy.
  • Correct: I have never seen so good a boy.
  • Incorrect: He was a so big man that he could not sit in that chair.
  • Correct: He was so big a man that he could not sit in that chair.

 

Explanation

So is very often used in the rather formal structure so + adjective + a/an + singular countable noun.

            Note that it is wrong to put the article before so in this structure.

 

  • Incorrect: Yours affectionate brother
  • Correct: Your affectionate brother
  • Correct: Yours affectionately

 

  • Incorrect: Your lovely friend
  • Correct: Your loving friend

Lovely doesn’t mean the same as loving.

 

Common Errors with Adjectives

 

  • Incorrect: Every one knows this.
  • Correct: Everyone knows this.

 

Explanation

Everyone should be written as one word.

 

  • Incorrect: He held the bag in the both hands.
  • Correct: He held the bag in both hands.
  • Correct: He held the bag in both his hands.

 

            Explanation

We do not use the before both.

 

  • Incorrect: Everybody should do some or other work.
  • Correct: Everybody should do some work or other.

 

  • Incorrect: Iron is more useful than any other metals.
  • Correct: Iron is more useful than any other metal.

 

  • Incorrect: Winston Churchill is greater than any other British politicians.
  • Correct: Winston Churchill is greater than any other British politician.

 

Explanation

In these comparative sentences we should use a singular noun after any other.

 

  • Incorrect: He came a 3rd time.
  • Correct: He came a third time.

 

  • Incorrect: He is in class eighth.
  • Correct: He is in class eight.
  • Correct: He is in the eighth class.

 

  • Incorrect: He opened the book at six page.
  • Correct: He opened the book at page six.

 

  • Incorrect: This is a portrait of King George the sixth.
  • Correct: This is a portrait of King George VI.

 

Explanation

 

The numbers of kings and queens should be written in Roman characters. Examples are: Elizabeth II, Louis XIV

 

Ordinal numbers (e.g. first, second, tenth etc.) up to twelfth should be written in words except in dates.

Examples

18th October 2003 (NOT Eighteenth October 2003)

 

  • This is the fifth time you have asked the same question.

 (NOT This is the 5th time …)

 

Dates should be written as follows:  July 7th or 7th July. (NOT 7th of July or seventh of July)

 

Cardinal numbers up to twelve should be written in words except when telling the time.

 

Examples

 

  • He came at 10 am. (NOT He came at ten am.)
  • She has seven siblings. (NOT She has 7 siblings.)

 

Cardinal and ordinal numbers above twelve and twelfth may be written in either words or figures.

 

  • Incorrect: He is worst than you.
  • Correct: He is worse than you.

 

  • Incorrect: Mumbai is hot than Delhi.
  • Correct: Mumbai is hotter than Delhi.

 

Explanation

Only an adjective or adverb in the comparative degree can be used                         before than.

  • Incorrect: A horse is usefuller than a car.
  • Correct: A horse is more useful than a car.

 

Adjectives and adverbs having more than one syllable form their comparative and superlative forms by the addition of more and most.

Correct Use of Some Adjectives

 

Adjectives with verbs

An adjective can be used with a verb when some quality of the subject, rather than the action of the verb is to be expressed.

 

Read the sentences given below:

 

  • Roses smell sweet. (NOT sweetly)

Here what we are talking about is a particular quality of the subject (roses).

 

  • She looks smart. (NOT smartly)
  • The milk turned sour. (NOT sourly)
  • I feel sad. (NOT sadly)

 

Kind and Kinds

As a general rule the word kind is singular and should be used with that and this to modify a singular noun. Similarly, the word kinds is plural and should be used with these or those to modify a plural noun.

 

  • This kind of thing . These kinds of things
  • These sorts of apples . Those kinds of dogs

 

This rule, however, is not strictly followed. Expressions such as ‘this kind of things’ and ‘these kind of things’ are now used even by educated native speakers.

 

Comparison of Adjectives

When a comparison is made by means of a comparative followed by than, the thing that is compared must be excluded from the group of things with which it is compared. This is usually accomplished by using a word such as other.

  • James was wiser than any other man. OR James was wiser than all other men. (NOT James was wiser than all men/any man.)

 

  • The Taj Mahal is more beautiful than all other mausoleums.

             OR The Taj Mahal is more beautiful than any other mausoleum.

 

  • The crocodile is larger than any other reptile.

             OR The crocodile is larger than all other reptiles.

 

When a comparison is made by means of a superlative, the thing that is compared must be a part of the group of things with which it is compared.

 

  • Solomon was the wisest of all men. (NOT … all other men.)
  • The crocodile is the largest of all reptiles. (NOT … all reptiles.)

 

Another very common error is exemplified in the following example:

 

Wrong: The population of Tokyo is greater than any other city in India.

 

The above sentence is wrong because it makes a comparison between the population of Tokyo and cities in India whereas the comparison should have been made between the population of Tokyo and the population of the cities in India.

 Therefore we should say:

 

Right: The population of Tokyo is greater than that of any other city in India.

 

More examples are given below:

 

  • Incorrect: The quality of education provided by our school is better than any other school.
  • Correct: The quality of education provided by our school is better than that provided by any other    school.

 

Correct Use of Some Adjectives

 Adjectives with verbs

An adjective can be used with a verb when some quality of the subject, rather than the action of the verb is to be expressed.

 

Go through the sentences given below:

 

  • Roses smell sweet. (NOT sweetly)

Here what we are talking about is a particular quality of the subject (roses).

  • She looks smart. (NOT smartly)
  • The milk turned sour. (NOT sourly)
  • I feel sad. (NOT sadly)

 

Kind and Kinds

                             As a general rule the word kind is singular and should be used with that and this to modify a singular noun. Similarly, the word kinds is plural and should be used with these or those to modify a plural noun.

 

  • This kind of thing
  • Those kinds of dogs
  • These sorts of apples
  • These kinds of things

 

This rule, however, is not strictly followed. Expressions such as ‘this kind of things’ and ‘this kind of things’ are now used even by educated native speakers.

 

Definition

An adverb is a part of speech used to describe a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. It simply tells the readers how, where, when, or the degree at which something was done.

 

For example:

 

  • The manager accepted the challenge very

The italicized word is an adverb that describes nicely, which is another adverb.

 

  • Tears began to fall as he saw the completely lifeless body of his wife.

The adverb in this sentence is completely, which describes the         adjective

lifeless.

  • Surprisingly, the cubicles of the public restroom are clean.

            Surprisingly is the adverb in this sentence. It modifies the clause that comes           right after it.

 

Even though all of the sample sentences above have one-word adverbs, adverbs    are not limited to a single word. Sometimes, adverbs come in phrases. Take a    look at the example below.

 

  • At 4 a.m., a stray cat jumped into the open window.

The italicized part is a prepositional phrase with an adverbial function. It tells        when the event occurred.

 

What are the Different Kinds of Adverb?

 

Aside from answering the main question “What is an adverb?” it is also important to explore the different kinds of this part of speech. Basically, there are four kinds of adverbs:

 

                                                                               

↓Time

 

→Manner    Adverbs               Degree←

Place↑

Adverbs of Manner

 

This kind of adverb describes the manner by which something was done or something happened. Adverbs of manner answer the question “How?”

Examples:

 

  • The students measured the volume of the chemicals accurately.

            The italicized adverb describes the verb “measured.”

 

  • She walks gracefully.

            Gracefully modifies the verb “walks.”

Adverbs of Place

 

Adverbs of place simply answer the question “Where?” Here are some examples:

 

Examples:

 

  • Heisenberg looked away from the dead body.

 

            The adverb away answers the question, “Where did Heisenberg look?”

 

  • They built a huge toy factory nearby.

 

            The adverb nearby answers the question, “Where did they build the huge toy      factory?”

 

            You will notice based on these examples that adverbs of place can be placed        right after the verb or after the object of the verb.

 

Adverbs of Time

 

Aside from answering when an event occurred, adverbs of time also answer questions like, “How long?” and “How often?”

 

Examples:

 

  • Syndra lived in Germany for a year.

 

            For a year tells how long something happened (how long Syndra lived in Germany).

 

  • I’m going to the dentist tomorrow.

 

The adverb tomorrow indicates when something will be done.

 

Adverbs of Degree

 

This kind of adverb indicates the degree at which something will be done. It tells something about the intensity.

 

Examples:

 

  • You didn’t try hard enough.

 

            Hard enough is an adverb pertaining to the verb, “try.”

 

  • The temperature of the room was extremely

 

            Extremely describes the adjective, “high.”

 

The Most Important Tips for Using Adverbs:

 

Sometimes, people know what adverbs are but don’t know how to use them properly. So here are the most useful tips that you should keep in mind:

 

  1. In writing an adverb of manner, you must never write the adverb in between the verb and the object of the verb.

Examples (from above):

 

  • The students measured accurately the volume of the chemicals. (wrong)
  • The students measured the volume of the chemicals accurately. (correct)

 

The first sentence is wrong because the adverb is located somewhere between      “measured” (verb) and “volume” (object of the verb).

 

  1. Know when to use the comparative or superlative forms of adverbs. Words like more or less are added to the main adverb when comparing two things. Most or least are used if there are three or more things to compare.

 

Examples

                       

  • most often; more frequently

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like adjectives, adverbs are also used to describe words, but the difference is that adverbs describe adjectives, verbs, or another adverb.

 

The different types of adverbs are:

 

  • Adverb of Manner– this refers to how something happens or how an action is done.

Example:

Annie danced gracefully.

The word “gracefully” tells how Annie danced.

 

  • Adverb of Time- this state “when” something happens or “when” it is done.

Example:

She came yesterday.

The italicized word tells when she “came.”

 

  • Adverb of Place– this tells something about “where” something happens or” where” something is done.

Example:

Of course, I looked everywhere!

The adverb “everywhere” tells where I “looked.”

 

  • Adverb of Degree– this state the intensity or the degree to which a specific thing happens or is done.

Example:

The child is very talented.

The italicized adverb answers the question, “To what degree is the child talented?”

Errors in the use of adverbs

 

Different kinds of adverbs go in different positions in a sentence. The usage is sometimes very different, too.

 

  • Incorrect: He plays tennis good.
  • Correct: He plays tennis well.

Good is an adjective. The adverb for this meaning is well.

 

  • Incorrect: I am very much sorry.
  • Correct: I am very sorry.

Very is used without much before adjectives and adverbs in the positive degree.

 

  • Incorrect: I am much tired.
  • Correct: I am very tired.

Much does not mean the same as very.

 

  • Incorrect: She is so poor to pay the dues.
  • Correct: She is too poor to pay the dues.
  • Incorrect: It is very hot to go out.
  • Correct: It is too hot to go out.

Note the structure too…to.

 

  • Incorrect: She carefully drove.
  • Correct: She drove carefully.

 

  • Incorrect: She angrily spoke.
  • Correct: She spoke angrily.

 

Adverbs of manner usually go in the end-position.

 

  • Incorrect: The room is enough spacious for us.
  • Correct: The room is spacious enough for us.

 

The adverb enough goes after the adjective or adverb it modifies.

 

  • Incorrect: I know to swim.
  • Correct: I know how to swim.

 

Know cannot be directly followed by an infinitive. Instead we use the structure   know how to.

 

  • Incorrect: He is not clever to solve the problem.
  • Correct: He is not clever enough to solve the problem.

 

  • Incorrect: He is now too strong to walk.
  • Correct: He is now strong enough to walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbials of manner

Adverbs of manner are usually formed from adjectives by adding –ly:

bad > badly quiet > quietly sudden > suddenly

but sometimes there are changes in spelling:

easy > easily gentle > gently careful > carefully

The adverb formed from good is well:

  • You speak English very well.

Adverbs of manner normally come after the verb:

  • He spoke angrily.

or after the object:

  • He opened the door quietly.

If an adjective already ends in -ly, we use the phrase in a …. way to express manner:

  • silly: He behaved in a silly way.
  • friendly: She spoke in a friendly way.

A few adverbs of manner have the same form as the adjective:

  • They all worked hard.
  • She usually arrives late/early.
  • I hate driving fast.

 

                             Be Careful

hardly and lately have different meanings from hard and late:

He could hardly walk. = It was difficult for him to walk.
I haven’t seen John lately. = I haven’t seen John recently.

We often use phrases with like as adverbials of manner:

  • She slept like a baby.
  • He ran like a rabbit.

Adverbials of manner and link verbs

We very often use adverbials with like after link verbs:

  • Her hands feltlike ice.
  • It smellslike fresh bread.

 

                                               

 

                                                        Be Careful

We do not use adverbs of manner after link verbs. We use adjectives instead:

They looked happy. (NOT happily)
That bread smells delicious. (NOT deliciously)

Intensifiers and mitigators

Intensifiers

We use words like veryreally and extremely to make adverbs stronger:

  • She speaks English very
  • They behaved really
  • He put the glass down extremely

We call these words intensifiers. Other intensifiers are:

amazingly exceptionally incredibly remarkably particularly

We also use enough to say more about an adverb, but enough comes after its adverb:

She didn’t win. She didn’t play well enough.

 

Mitigators

 

We use words like fairlyrather and quite to make adverbs less strong:

 

  • She speaks English fairly
  • They behaved rather
  • The children played quite

We call these words mitigators. Mitigators are the opposite of intensifiers.

Adverbials of place

Most adverbials of place are prepositional phrases:

  • They are in Franceat present.
  • Come and sit next to me.

But we also use adverbs:

abroad downstairs nearby overseas
ahead here next door there
away indoors out of doors upstairs

 

  • They are abroadat present.
  • Come and sit here.

 

We use adverbials of place to describe location, direction and distance.

Location

We use adverbials to talk about where someone or something is:

  • He was standing by the table.
  • You’ll find it in the cupboard.
  • You’ll find it inside.
  • Sign your name here – at the bottom of the page.
  • Stand here.
  • They used to live nearby.

 

Direction

 

We use adverbials to talk about the direction in which someone or something is moving:

 

  • Walk past the bankand keep going to the end of the street.
  • It’s difficult to get into the carbecause the door is so small.
  • They always go abroad for their holidays.

 

Distance

 

We use adverbials to show how far things are:

 

  • Birmingham is 250 kilometresfrom London.
  • We live in Birmingham. London is 250 kilometres away.

We often have an adverbial of place at the end of a clause:

  • The door is very small, so the car is difficult to get into.
  • We’re in Birmingham. London is 250 kilometres away.
  • Our house is down a muddy lane, so it’s very difficult to get to.
  • Can I come in?

Adverbials of location

We use prepositions to talk about where someone or something is:

above among at behind below beneath
beside between by in in between inside
near next to on opposite outside over
round through under underneath

 

  • He was standing by the table.
  • She lives in a village near Glasgow.
  • You’ll find it in the cupboard.

We use phrases with of as prepositions:

at the back of at the top of at the bottom of at the end of
on top of at the front of in front of in the middle of

 

  • There were some flowers in the middle of the table.
  • Sign your name here – at the bottom of the page.
  • I can’t see. You’re standing in front of me.

We can use right as an intensifier with some of these adverbials:

  • He was standing right next to the table.
  • There were some flowers rightin the middle of the table.
  • There’s a wood rightbehind our house.

We also use adverbs for location:

abroad here indoors upstairs
overseas there outdoors downstairs
away round out of doors home
nearby around next door

 

  • Children love to play out of doors.
  • Did you see anybody there?
  • We have one-bedroom downstairs.
  • Don’t leave things lying around.

Adverbials of direction

We use prepositions to talk about direction:

across along back  back to down into
onto out of  past through to towards

 

  • She ran out of the house.
  • Walk past the bankand keep going to the end of the street.

We use adverbs and adverb phrases for both location and direction:

everywhere abroad indoors upstairs home
anywhere away outdoors downstairs back
somewhere here inside up in
nowhere there outside down out

 

  • I would love to see Paris. I’ve never been there(place)
  • We’re going to Paris. We flythere (direction)
  • The bedroom is upstairs(place)
  • He ran upstairsto the bedroom. (direction)

 

We often have adverbials of direction or location at the end of a clause:

  • This is the room we have our meals in.
  • Be careful you don’t let the cat out.
  • There were only a few people 

Adverbials of distance

We use prepositions to show how far things are:

  • Birmingham is 250 kilometres from 
  • Birmingham is 250 kilometres away from 
  • It is 250 kilometres from Birmingham to 

Sometimes we use an adverbial of distance at the end of a clause:

  • We were in London. Birmingham was 250 kilometres away.
  • Birmingham was 250 kilometres off.
  • London and Birmingham are 250 kilometres apart.

Adverbials of time

We use adverbials of time to describe:

 

  • whensomething happens:

 

  • I saw Mary yesterday.
  • She was born in 1978.
  • I will see you later.
  • There was a storm during the night.

 

  • We waited all day.
  • They have lived here since 2004.
  • We will be on holiday from 1 July until 3 August.
  • how often(frequency):
  • They usually watched television in the evening.
  • We sometimes went to work by car.

 

When (time and dates)

We use phrases with prepositions as time adverbials:

 

We use at with:

clock times: at seven o’clock at nine thirty at fifteen hundred hours
mealtimes: at breakfast at lunchtime at teatime
these phrases: at night at the weekend at Christmas at Easter

 

  • We usein with:
seasons of the year: in (the) spring/summer/autumn/winter
years, centuries, decades: in 2009 in 1998 in the 20th century in the 60s in the 1980s
months: in January/February/March etc.
parts of the day: in the morning in the afternoon in the evening
  • We useon with:
days: on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday etc. on Christmas day on my birthday
dates: on the thirty-first of July on June the fifteenth

 

Be Careful

 

We say at night when we are talking about all of the night:

 

·          When there is no moon, it is very dark at night.

·          He sleeps during the day and works at night.

 

but we say in the night when we are talking about a specific time during the night:

 

·          He woke up twice in the night.

·          I heard a funny noise in the night.

 

We often use a noun phrase as a time adverbial:

yesterday today tomorrow
last week/month/year this week/month/year next week/month/year
last Saturday this Tuesday next Friday
the day before yesterday the day after tomorrow
one day/week/month
the other day/week/month

We can put time phrases together:

  • We will meet next weekat six o’clock on Monday.
  • I heard a funny noise at about eleven o’clocklast night.
  • It happened last week at seven o’clock on Monday night.

We use ago with the past simple to say how long before the time of speaking something happened:

  • I saw Jim aboutthree weeks ago.
  • We arrived a few minutes ago.

We use in with a future form to say how long after the time of speaking something will happen:

  • I’ll see youin a month.
  • Our train’s leaving in five minutes.

How long

We use for to say how long:

  • We have been waiting for twenty minutes.
  • They lived in Manchester for fifteen years.

We can also use a noun phrase without for:

  • Let’s go. We’ve been waiting nearly an hour.
  • I’ve worked here twenty years.

We use since with the present perfect or the past perfect to say when something started:

  • I have worked here since December.
  • They had been watching since seven o’clock in the morning.

We use from … to/until to say when something starts and finishes:

  • They stayed with us from Monday to Friday.
  • We will be on holiday from the sixteenth until the twentieth.

 

                                                                Be Careful

 

We can use to or until with a noun phrase:

 

·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 to her death.

·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 until her death.

 

But we can only use until with a clause:

 

·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 to she died.

·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 until she died.

How often

The commonest adverbials of frequency are:

always never normally
rarely seldom sometimes
occasionally often usually

We usually put these one-word adverbials of frequency in front of the main verb:

  • We often spendChristmas with friends.
  • I have never enjoyedmyself so much.

 

but they usually come after the verb be:

  • He wasalways tired in the evening.
  • We are never late for work.

Sometimes these adverbials have an intensifier or mitigator:

  • He is veryrarely late for work.
  • We nearlyalways spend Christmas with friends.

We use the adverbial a lot to mean often or frequently. It comes at the end of the clause:

  • We go to the cinema a lot.

We can also use a lot with another time adverbial:

  • We go to the cinema a lotat the weekend.

We use much/a lot with a negative to mean not often:

  • We don’tgo out much/a lot. (= We don’t go out often.)

We often use phrases with every as adverbials of frequency. We use every with words like minute, hour, day, week, month and year:

  • There is a big celebration every year.
  • We have a meeting twice every week.
  • I usually go home once every two months.
  • There is a leap year every four years.

We also use every with days of the week and months of the year:

  • We have a meeting every Monday.
  • We go on holiday every August.

We use the phrase every other:

  • We will email you every other day(= on alternate days)
  • We go to see my mother every other week(= in alternate weeks)

We use phrases with once, twice, three times, four times, etc. and a period of time:

  • I go swimming twice a week.
  • I see my old school friends four or five times a year.

 

We use how often and ever to ask questions about frequencyhow often comes at the beginning of the clause:

  • How oftendo you go to the cinema?
  • How oftenhave you been here?

ever comes before the main verb:

  • Do you evergo to the cinema at the weekend?
  • Have you everbeen there?

 

 

 

‘still’ and ‘no longer’, ‘already’ and ‘yet’

still

We use still to show that something continues up to a time in the past, present or future. It goes in front of the main verb:

  • Even when my father was 65, he still enjoyedplaying tennis.
  • It’s past midnight but she’s still doingher homework.
  • I won’t be at work next week. We’ll still beon holiday.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • Her grandfather has been very ill, but he isstill
  • We tried to help them, but they werestill

 

no longer

We use no longer to show the idea of something stopping in the past, present or future. It goes in front of the main verb:

  • At that moment, I realised that I no longerloved
  • We no longerlive in England. We’ve moved to France.
  • From midnight tonight, Mr Jones will no longer bethe president.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • Sadly, Andrew and Bradley areno longer  They had an argument.
  • It wasno longer safe to stay in the country. We had to leave immediately.

In a negative sentence, we use any longer or any more. It goes at the end of the sentence:

  • We don’t live in England any longer.
  • It wasn’tsafe to stay in the country any more.

already

We use already to show that something has happened sooner than it was expected to happen. It goes in front of the main verb:

  • The car is OK. I’ve alreadyfixed
  • It was early but they were alreadysleeping.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • It was early but we werealready
  • We arealready

Sometimes already comes at the end of the sentence for emphasis:

  • It’s very early but they are sleeping already.
  • It was early but we were tired already.
  • When we got there, most people had arrived already.

 

yet

We use yet in a negative or interrogative clause, usually with perfective aspect (especially in British English), to show that something has not happened by a particular timeyet comes at the end of a sentence:

  • It was late, but they hadn’t arrived yet.
  • Have you fixed the car yet?
  • She won’t have sent the email yet.

Adverbials of probability

We use adverbials of probability to show how certain we are about something. The commonest adverbials of probability are:

certainly definitely maybe possibly
clearly obviously  perhaps probably

maybe and perhaps usually come at the beginning of the clause:

  • Perhaps the weather will be fine.
  • Maybe it won’t rain.

Other adverbs of possibility usually come in front of the main verb:

  • He is certainly comingto the party.
  • Will they definitelybe there?
  • We will possiblycome to England next year.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • They aredefinitely at home.
  • She wasobviously very surprised.

But these adverbs sometimes come at the beginning of a clause for emphasis:

  • Obviously,she was very surprised.
  • Possibly we will come to England next year.

 

Comparative and superlative adverbs

Comparative adverbs

 

We can use comparative adverbs to show change or make comparisons:

 

  • I forget things more often
  • She began to speak more quickly.
  • They are working harder 

We often use than with comparative adverbs:

  • I forget things more often than I used to.
  • Girls usually work harder than 

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with comparatives:

much far a lot quite a lot
a great deal a good deal a good bit a fair bit

I forget things much more often nowadays.

We use these words and phrases as mitigators:

a bit  slightly rather
a little a little bit just a little bit

She began to speak a bit more quickly.

Superlative adverbs

 

We can use superlative adverbs to make comparisons:

  • His ankles hurt badly, but his knees hurt worst.
  • It rainsmost often at the beginning of the year.

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with superlatives:

easily by far much

When we intensify a superlative adverb, we often put the in front of the adverb:

  • In our office, Jill worksby far the hardest.
  • Of the three brothers, Brianeasily runs the fastest.

 

How to form comparative and superlative adverbs

We make comparative and superlative adverbs using the same rules as for comparative and superlative adjectives. For example:

One syllable: Jill works fast. > faster > fastest
One syllable ending in –e: They arrived late. > later > latest
Two or more syllables: Alan finished the test quickly. > more quickly > most quickly
wellShe speaks English well. > better > best
badlyShe speaks German badly. > worse > worst
farHe’ll go far. > farther/further > farthest/furthest

Definition

A preposition connects the relationship between a noun, pronoun and phrase to other parts of the sentence. Whatever object or phrase the preposition is introducing is called the object of the preposition.

Each bold word in the following sentences are examples of prepositions:

 

  • The box is on the desk.
  • The box is under the desk.
  • The box is beside the desk.
  • He held the box over the desk.
  • He looked at the box during
  • The box is leaning against the desk.

In each sentence a preposition is used to locate the box in time or space. People use prepositions every day without even realizing it. Think of a preposition as a way to relate the object to the rest of the sentence.

Some Commonly Used Prepositions

about before down of throughout
above behind during off to
across below except on toward
after beneath for onto under
against beside from out underneath
along between in outside until
among beyond inside over up
around but into past upon
as by like since with
at despite near through Without

Compound Prepositions

according to except for in response to
as well as in accordance with in spite of
because of in addition to inside of
by means of in place of instead of
by way of in relation to on account of

Object of the Preposition

The object of the preposition is always a noun, a pronoun or a noun equivalent.

 

Examples

 

  1. With poise, Gwyneth Paltrow walked to the stage and accepted her Academy Award. (The noun poise is the object of the preposition with.)

 

  1. The Palace welcomed the Prince of Monaco and scheduled a sightseeing tour for him. (The pronoun him is the object of the preposition for.)

 

  1. The director asked about proposing the summer programs for the University. (Proposing the summer programs for the University is a group of words functioning as noun or is a noun equivalent. It is the object of the preposition about.)

Prepositions Indicating Time

  • Use during to refer to a period of time.
  • Use since to refer to a period of time from the past to the present.
  • Use for to refer to a period of time stating the number of hours, days or weeks.
  • Use in to indicate year, before months not followed by the day or before the month and year without the day.
  • Use on before days of the week, before months followed by the day or before the time indicating the day, month and year.

Prepositions – Time

English Usage Example
•                   on •                     days of the week •                     on Monday
•                   in •                      months / seasons

•                      time of day

•                      year

•                      after a certain period of time (when?)

•                     in August / in winter

•                     in the morning

•                     in 2006

•                     in an hour

•                   at •                      For night   

•                      for weekend

•                      a certain point of time (when?)

•                     at night

•                     at the weekend

•                     at half past nine

•                   since •                     from a certain point of time (past till now) •                     since 1980
•                   for •                     over a certain period of time (past till now) •                     for 2 years
•                   ago •                     a certain time in the past •                     2 years ago
•                   before •                     earlier than a certain point of time •                     before 2004
•                   to •                     telling the time •                     ten to six (5:50)
•                   past •                     telling the time •                     ten past six (6:10)
•            To / till / until •                 marking the beginning and end of a period of time •                    from Monday to/till Friday
•              Till / until •                  in the sense of how long something is going to last •                     He is on holiday until Friday.
•                   by •                      in the sense of at the latest

•                      up to a certain time

•                  I will be back by 6 o’clock.

•                     By 11 o’clock, I had read five pages.

Prepositions Indicating Place or Position

  • Use in when something is already inside.
  • Use in when the given location is more specific.
  • Use on in an address with only the name of the street.
  • Use between when you speak of two persons, places or things.
  • Use at when referring to places which indicate the general location.
  • Use among when you speak of three or more persons, places or things.
  • Use into when there is movement involved in the placement of something.

Prepositions – Place (Position and Direction)

English Usage Example
•                   in •                     room, building, street, town, country

•                     book, paper etc.

•                     car, taxi

•                     picture, world

•                     in the kitchen, in London

•                     in the book

•                     in the car, in a taxi

•                     in the picture, in the world

•                   at •                      Meaning next to, by an object

•                      for table

•                      for events

•                   place where you are to do something typical

(watch a film, study, work)

•                     at the door, at the station

•                     at the table

•                     at a concert, at the party

•                     at the cinema, at school,

at work

•                   on •                      attached

•                      for a place with a river

•                      being on a surface

•                      for a certain side (left, right)

•                      for a floor in a house

•                      for public transport

•                      for television, radio

•                     the picture on the wall

•                     London lies on the Thames.

•                     on the table

•                     on the left

•                     on the first floor

•                     on the bus, on a plane

•                     on TV, on the radio

• by, next   to, beside •                     left or right of somebody or something •               Jane is standing by / next to /

beside the car.

under •                     on the ground, lower than (or covered by) something else •                        the bag is under the table
below •                     lower than something else but above ground •                  the fish are below the surface
over •                      covered by something else

•                      meaning more than

•                      getting to the other side (also across)

•                      overcoming an obstacle

•                     put a jacket over your shirt

•                     over 16 years of age

•                     walk over the bridge

•                     climb over the wall

above •                        higher than something else, but not directly over it •                     a path above the lake
across •                      getting to the other side (also over)

•                      getting to the other side

•                     walk across the bridge

•                     swim across the lake

through •                  something with limits on top, bottom and the sides •                     drive through the tunnel
  through •                  something with limits on top, bottom and the sides •      drive through the tunnel
•                   to •              movement to person or building

•              movement to a place or country

•              for bed

•                      go to the cinema

•                      go to London / Ireland

•                      go to bed

•                   into •             enter a room / a building •                     go into the kitchen / the house
•                   towards •             movement in the direction of something

(but not directly to it)

•                go 5 steps towards the house
•                   onto •             movement to the top of something •                   jump onto the table
•                   from •              in the sense of where from •            a flower from the garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other important Prepositions

English Usage Example
•                   from •                 who gave it •                     a present from Jane
•                   of •                 who/what does it belong to

•                 what does it show

•                     a page of the book

•                     the picture of a palace

•                   by •                 who made it •                     a book by Mark Twain
•                   on •                 walking or riding on horseback

•                 entering a public transport vehicle

•                     on foot, on horseback

•                     get on the bus

•                   in •                 entering a car / Taxi •                     get in the car
•                   off •                 leaving a public transport vehicle •                     get off the train
•                   out of •                 leaving a car / Taxi •                     get out of the taxi
•                   by •                 rise or fall of something

•                 travelling (other than walking or horse-riding)

•                     prices have risen by 10 percent

•                     by car, by bus

•                   at •                 For age •                     she learned Russian at 45
•                   about •                 for topics, meaning what about •                     we were talking about you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This part of a speech basically refers to words that specify location or a location in time.

Examples of Prepositions: above, below, throughout, outside, before, near, and since

 

Sample Sentences:

 

  • Micah is hiding under the bed.

The italicized preposition introduces the prepositional phrase “under the bed,” and tells where Micah is hiding.

 

  • During the game, the audience never stopped cheering for their team.

The italicized preposition introduces the prepositional phrase “during the game,” and tells when the audience cheered.

Sentence correction: prepositions

 

  • Incorrect: He married with an Indian woman.
  • Correct: He married an Indian woman.

 

  • Incorrect: He accompanied with his friends.
    Correct:    He accompanied his friends.

 

  • Incorrect: We discussed on the matter.
    Correct:    We discussed the matter.

 

  • Incorrect: I pitied on him.
    Correct:    I pitied him.

 

  • Incorrect: He is clever, but he lacks of experience.
    Correct:    He is clever, but lacks experience.

 

Some verbs are normally followed by direct objects without prepositions. Examples are: discuss, enter, marry, lack, resemble, approach, accompany, pity etc.

 

  • Incorrect:This is a comfortable house to live.
  • Correct:This is a comfortable house to live in.

 

  • Incorrect:This is the road to go.
  • Correct:This is the road to go by.

 

  • Incorrect:He gave me a gun to shoot.
  • Correct:He gave me a gun to shoot with.

 

  • Incorrect:He gave me a chair to sit.
  • Correct:He gave me a chair to sit on.

 

Some infinitive complements take prepositions with them.

 

  • She needs other children to play with.

(NOT She needs other children to play.)

 

  • Incorrect: He asked a holiday.
  • Correct: He asked for a holiday.

 

  • Incorrect: Don’t ask me money.
  • Correct: Don’t ask me for

We use ask for to ask somebody to give something.

 

Ask without for is used to ask somebody to tell something.

 

  • Ask him his name. (NOT Ask him for his name.)
  • Ask for the menu. (NOT Ask the menu.)

Definition

Conjunctions are used to join clauses, phrases, and words together for constructing sentences. Conjunctions make a link between/among words or groups of words to other parts of the sentence and show a relationship between/among them.

Example:

  • Alex and Robin are playing together.
  • Alex plays well, but Robin plays better than him.
  • I play cricket, and Robin plays football.
  • When he was sick, I went to see him.

Types of Conjunctions

 

•            Coordinating Conjunctions

•            Correlative Conjunctions

•            Subordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions:

The job of a coordinating conjunction is to join two words, phrases, or independent clauses, which are parallel in structure. There are seven coordinating conjunctions which are by far the most common conjunctions: and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet.

Example:

  • We went to the stadium and enjoyed the cricket match.
  • Do you want an ice cream or chocolate?
  • Go away and never come back.

Correlative Conjunctions:

A correlative conjunction uses a set of words in a parallel sentence structure to show a contrast or to compare the equal parts of a sentence. The words of correlative conjunctions have a special connection between them.

The correlative conjunctions are not only – but also, either- or, neither – nor, both – and, not – but, whethe -or.

 

Example:

  • Neither Alex norRobin can play baseball.
  • I want both ice cream and
  • He ate not only the ice cream but also the chocolate.

Subordinating Conjunctions:

A subordinating conjunction joins elements of an unparallel sentence structure. These elements are usually a dependent clause and an independent clause.

 

 

 

Most commonly used subordinating conjunctions are:

After, how, than, when, although, if, that, where, as, in order that, though, which, as much as, inasmuch as, unless, while, because, provided, until, who/whom, before, since, what, whoever/whomever.

 

Example:

  • Before we left home, I had had my breakfast.
  • Provided they come, we can start class Tuesday.
  • When he was washing my car, I went to the store.
  • Even though the weather was horrible, they still went outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conjunction is a part of a speech which joins words, phrases, or clauses together.

 

Examples of Conjunctions:  and, yet, but, for, nor, or, and so

 

Sample Sentences:

 

  • This cup of tea is delicious and very soothing.
  • Marry has to start all over again because she didn’t follow the professor’s instructions.
  • Jason always wanted to join the play, but he didn’t have the guts to audition.

 

The italicized words in the sentences above are some examples of conjunctions.

 

Common mistakes with conjunctions

 

One conjunction for two clauses In English, we use just one conjunction to connect two clauses.

 

  • Incorrect: Because he is intelligent so he gets good marks.
  • Correct: Because he is intelligent, he gets good marks.

   OR                He is intelligent so he gets good marks.

 

Because is a conjunction and English does not require a second conjunction.

 

  • Incorrect: Since he was angry therefore I said nothing.
  • Correct: Since he was angry, I said nothing. OR He was angry; therefore, I said nothing.

 

Since is a conjunction and it is enough to join the two clauses: He was angry and I said nothing.

 

Therefore, is not a conjunction. It cannot connect two clauses. It is a transitional adverb. A transitional adverb should be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

 

  • Incorrect: He did not come to work. Because he was ill.
  • Correct: He did not come to work because he was ill.

 

A subordinate clause cannot stand alone. It must be attached to an independent clause.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In natural spoken English, because clauses can stand alone.

 

  • ‘Why are you laughing?’ ‘Because you look funny.’ (More natural than ‘I am laughing because you look funny’.)

 

Sentences beginning with a negative word

 

  • Incorrect: Neither he comes nor he writes.
  • Correct: Neither does he come nor does he write. (Formal)
  • Correct: He neither comes nor (Informal)

When a negative word (e.g. neither, hardly, seldom, never, scarcely etc.) comes at the beginning of a sentence, the main verb must be inverted, as in a direct question. As you know, the verb comes before the subject in direct questions.

 

If there is no auxiliary verb, we use a form of do.

 

Another example is given below.

 

  • Incorrect: Neither he smokes nor he drinks.
  • Correct: Neither does he smoke nor does he drink.
  • Correct: He neither smokes nor

 

Here is a list of mistakes people often commit in the use of conjunctions.

 

  • Incorrect: The teacher asked that why I was late.
  • Correct: The teacher asked why I was late.

 

Not all verbs can be followed by a that-clause. Ask is one of them. What’s more, one conjunction is enough to join two clauses – we do not use two.

 

  • Incorrect: When I reached there then it was raining.
  • Correct: When I reached there, it was raining.

 

We need just one conjunction to join two clauses.

 

  • Incorrect: No sooner we reached the station, the train left.
  • Correct: No sooner did we reach the station, than the train left.

 

  • Incorrect: Not only he abused me but also beat me.
  • Correct: Not only did he abuse me but he also beat me.

 

When a negative expression comes at the beginning of a sentence, we use an inverted word order. That means the auxiliary verb comes before the subject. Note that only the auxiliary verb is inverted. The rest of the verb goes after the subject.

  • Incorrect: Unless you do not try, you will never succeed.
  • Correct: Unless you try, you will never succeed.
  • Correct: If you do not try, you will never succeed.

 

Unless means if…not. Therefore, it is wrong to use another not in a sentence with unless.

 

  • Incorrect: There is no such novel which you mention.
  • Correct: There is no such novel as you mention.

 

  • Incorrect: The doctor asked me to avoid fatty foods such that cakes or hamburgers.
  • Correct:The doctor asked me to avoid fatty foods such as cakes or hamburgers.

Such as can be used with a noun to introduce examples.

 

 

 

Let’s look at some common mistakes in the use of conjunctions.

 

  • Incorrect: As soon as he got the telegram, at once he started.
  • Correct: As soon as he got the telegram, he started.
  • Correct: He got the telegram and started at once.

 

            Explanation

 

We need just one conjunction to join two clauses.

 

  • Incorrect: Neither Sam is intelligent nor ambitious.
  • Correct: Sam is neither intelligent nor

 

  • Incorrect: Neither he is a thief nor a rogue.
  • Correct: He is neither a thief nor a rogue.

 

When we use a correlative conjunction, the same kind of word should go after the two parts of the conjunction.

So, for example, if you use a noun after neither, you have to use a noun after nor. If you use an adjective after neither, you have to use an adjective after nor.

In the sentence,

 

  • Neither Sam is intelligent nor ambitious.

 

The word neither is followed by a noun (Sam) and the word nor is followed by an adjective (ambitious). This makes the construction wrong.

 

  • Incorrect: Hardly the sun had risen when we set out.
  • Correct: The sun had hardly risen when we set out.
  • Correct: Hardly had the sun risen when we set out.

 

            Explanation

 

When a negative word goes at the beginning of a sentence, we use an inverted word order. That    means the auxiliary verb goes before the subject.

 

  • Incorrect: Hardly had he left than his friend came.
  • Correct: Hardly had he left when his friend came.

 

            Explanation

 

Than is a word used in comparative structures. It should be used in the construction no sooner …than.

Hardly is used in the structure hardly when / before.

Definition

An interjection is a kind of exclamation inserted into regular speech. Actually, it is a brief and abrupt pause in speech for expressing emotions.

Interjections are unique and have some interesting features:

 

  • They are highly context-sensitive.
  • They usually cannot be modified or inflected.
  • They do not have to have a relation to the other parts of the sentence.
  • Interjections don’t have a grammatical function in the sentence construction.

 

In spoken language, interjections are the words we instantly use to show our reaction to something which influences our emotion. They are the initial reaction and sometimes do not even make sense. However, for formal speech or writing, using interjections is not appropriate.

 

Interjections mainly have four roles:

 

Rule 1: Interjections express sudden mood, emotions, and feeling with emphasis. There are also many taboo words that are usually used in everyday conversation but not in formal aspects. These words fall into the category of interjections.

 

  • Aw, I did not want him to come.
  • What? You never told me that!
  • Wow! That’s an amazing scene.

 

Rule 2: Some interjections interrupt a conversation or a thought or hold someone’s attention for a moment. These are just sounds, not words because these sounds do not make any sense.

Example:

 

  • Your, um, shirt has a stain on the back.
  • I want to, uh, ask you out on a date.

 

Rule 3: Some interjections express only yes or no.

 

 

Example:

 

  • Yes! I will most definitely do it.
  • Nah, we are not going.

Rule 4: Some interjections are used to get someone’s attention.

 

 

Example:

 

  • Yo, Alex! Get in the car!
  • Hey! Will you give me that ball?
  • Yoo-hoo! Is there anyone?

Interjection

 

This part of a speech refers to words which express emotions. Since interjections are commonly used to convey strong emotions, they are usually followed by an exclamation point.

Examples of Interjections:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Sentences

→ Ouch! That must have hurt.

                                  → Hurray, we won!

→ Hey! I said enough!

 

The bold words attached to the main sentences above are some examples of interjections.

 

  • Oh! I didn’t know that!”
  • Er, that is just aggravating.”
  • Mmm, that smells so good.”
  • Holy guano, Batman! The Joker is back in Gotham!”
  • Hey! I’m over here!”

 

Anytime you are writing dialog you can throw in interjections to help express what that character is feeling at that moment.

  • Wow! Holy guano! Hey! Oh., Good grief! No way! Well.
  • Mmmmmm, Ah, Er, Indeed, Yes, No.

 

Common Interjections

            A:        Hey! Have you ever seen the cartoon, The Simpsons?

            B:        Duh! Everyone has seen The Simpsons!

            A:        What does Homer Simpson say when he makes a mistake?

            B          He says “d’oh“!

D’oh is an example of an interjection. Homer says d’oh when he commits a mistake or something does not happen in the way he had planned.

Hey and Duh are also interjections. Hey is commonly used to attract attention:

  • Hey you! Be careful, there’s a car coming!

Duh is used in response to someone you think has made a foolish or stupid statement:

  • Where are glasses?
    Duh – you are already wearing them!

Brrr

Used to show you are feeling cold!

  • Brrr! It’s freezing in here. Turn the heater on.

Eek

Used to express fear or shock.

  • Eek! There’s a mouse in the kitchen!

            Geez

Used to show dissatisfaction, annoyance, mild surprise.

  • Geez! There’s no need to get angry with me, I was only asking a question.

Huh?

We say huh when we are confused or did not understand something.

  • Huh? What did he say? I didn’t understand anything he said.

Ouch

Ouch is used for something painful. We either hurt ourselves or we see someone get hurt.

  • Ouch! I just closed the door on my finger.

Oops

When you make a mistake or are clumsy, we say oops.

  • Oops! I just spilled coffee on the floor.

Phew

Phew is used most commonly used to express relief.

  • Phew! We managed to get on the train just before it left. I’m glad me didn’t miss it.

Well

Well like er, um and hmm can all be used when we are thinking about something.

  • Um…well, I think we should paint the wall red instead of purple.

Wow

Wow shows our surprise, amazement or great pleasure.

  • Wow! This cake tastes amazing.

Yuck

When we are disgusted by something, we say yuck.

  • Yuck! There’s hair in my soup!

Definition

An article is a word used to modify a noun, which is a person, place, object, or idea. Technically, an article is an adjective, which is any word that modifies a noun. Usually adjectives modify nouns through description, but articles are used instead to point out or refer to nouns. There are two different types of articles that we use in writing and conversation to point out or refer to a noun or group of nouns: definite and indefinite articles.

 

Definite Article

 

Let’s begin by looking at the definite article. This article is the word ‘the,’ and it refers directly to a specific noun or groups of nouns.

 

Examples:

 

  • the freckles on my face
  • the alligator in the pond
  • the breakfast burrito on my plate

 

Each noun or group of nouns being referred to – in these cases freckles, alligator, and breakfast burrito – is direct and specific.

 

Indefinite Articles

 

Indefinite articles are the words ‘a’ and ‘an.’ Each of these articles is used to refer to a noun, but the noun being referred to is not a specific person, place, object, or idea. It can be any noun from a group of nouns.

 

Examples:

 

  • a Mercedes from the car lot
  • an event in history

 

In each case, the noun is not specific. The Mercedes could be any Mercedes car available for purchase, and the event could be any event in the history of the world.

 

Article Usage with Examples

 

Properly using a definite article is fairly straightforward, but it can be tricky when you are trying to figure out which indefinite article to use. The article choice depends on the sound at the beginning of the noun that is being modified. There is a quick and easy way to remember this.

 

 

If the noun that comes after the article begins with a vowel sound, the appropriate indefinite article to use is ‘an.’ A vowel sound is a sound that is created by any vowel in the English language: ‘a,’ ‘e,’ ‘i,’ ‘o,’ ‘u,’ and sometimes ‘y’ if it makes an ‘e’ or ‘i’ sound.

 

Examples:

 

  • an advertisement on the radio (this noun begins with ‘a,’ which is a vowel)
  • an element on the periodic table (this noun begins with ‘e,’ which is also a vowel)

 

If the noun that comes after the article begins with a consonant sound, the appropriate indefinite article to use is ‘a.’ A consonant sound is a sound that comes from the letters that are not the vowels in the English language.

 

  • a tire on my car (the noun the article modifies begins with ‘t,’ which is a consonant)
  • a baboon at the zoo (the noun the article modifies begins with ‘b,’ which is also a consonant)

 

There are only three articles in the English language: a, an and the. Articles can be difficult for English learners to use correctly because many languages don’t have them (or don’t use them in the same way).

 

Although articles are their own part of speech, they’re technically also adjectives! Articles are used to describe which noun you’re referring to. Maybe thinking of them as adjectives will help you learn which one to use:

 

  • A —    A singular, general item.
  • An — A singular, general item. Use this before words that start with a vowel.
  • The — A singular or plural, specific item.

 

Simply put, when you’re talking about something general, use a and an. When you’re speaking about something specific, use the. “A cat” can be used to refer to any cat in the world. “The cat” is used to refer to the cat that just walked by.

 

Here’s a quick tip that can sometimes help you decide which article to use: Try using a demonstrative adjective before the noun. If it makes sense, use the word the. If it changes the meaning of what you’re trying to say, use a or an.

 

Examples:

 

  • “The elephants left huge footprints in the sand.”
  • “An elephant can weigh over 6,000 pounds!”

 

COUNT NOUNS NON-COUNT NOUNS
Rule #1
Specific identity not known
 

a, an

 

 

(no article)

Rule #2
Specific identity known
 

the

 

the

Rule #3
All things or things in general
 

(no article)

 

(no article)

 

Rule #1 – Specific identity not known:

Use the indefinite article a or an only with a singular count noun whose specific identity is not known to the reader. Use a before nouns that begin with a consonant sound, and use an before nouns that begin with a vowel sound.

 

  • Use the article a or an to indicate any non-specified member of a group or category.
    • I think an animal is in the garage
      That man is
      a

 

There are only three articles in the English language: a, an and the. Articles can be difficult for English learners to use correctly because many languages don’t have them (or don’t use them in the same way).

 

Although articles are their own part of speech, they’re technically also adjectives! Articles are used to describe which noun you’re referring to. Maybe thinking of them as adjectives will help you learn which one to use:

 

  • A —    A singular, general item.
  • An — A singular, general item. Use this before words that start with a vowel.
  • The — A singular or plural, specific item.

 

Simply put, when you’re talking about something general, use a and an. When you’re speaking about something specific, use the. “A cat” can be used to refer to any cat in the world. “The cat” is used to refer to the cat that just walked by.

 

Here’s a quick tip that can sometimes help you decide which article to use: Try using a demonstrative adjective before the noun. If it makes sense, use the word the. If it changes the meaning of what you’re trying to say, use a or an.

 

Examples:

 

  • “The elephants left huge footprints in the sand.”
  • “An elephant can weigh over 6,000 pounds!”

 

COUNT NOUNS NON-COUNT NOUNS
Rule #1
Specific identity not known
 

a, an

 

 

(no article)

Rule #2
Specific identity known
 

the

 

the

Rule #3
All things or things in general
 

(no article)

 

(no article)

 

Rule #1 – Specific identity not known:

 

Use the indefinite article a or an only with a singular count noun whose specific identity is not known to the reader. Use a before nouns that begin with a consonant sound, and use an before nouns that begin with a vowel sound.

 

 

 

  • Use the article a or an to indicate any non-specified member of a group or category.
    • I think an animal is in the garage
      That man is
      a
    • We are looking for an
  • Use the article a or an to indicate one in number (as opposed to more than one).
    • A boy, an apple

                                    ◊ Sometimes an adjective comes between the article and noun:

  • an unhappy boy, a red apple
  • The plural form of a or an is some. Use some to indicate an unspecified, limited amount (but more than one).
    • An apple, some apples

Rule #2 – Specific identity known:

Use the definite article the with any noun (whether singular or plural, count or noncount) when the specific identity of the noun is known to the reader, as in the following situations:

 

  • Use the article the when a particular noun has already been mentioned previously.
    • I ate an apple yesterday. The apple was juicy and delicious.
  • Use the article the when an adjective, phrase, or clause describing the noun clarifies or restricts its identity.

       . The boy sitting next to me raised his hand.                                           . Thank you for the advice you gave me.

Rule #3 – All things or things in general:

Use no article with plural count nouns or any noncount nouns used to mean all or in general.

  • Trees are beautiful in the fall. (All trees are beautiful in the fall.)
  • He was asking for advice. (He was asking for advice in general.)
  • I do not like coffee. (I do not like all coffee in general.)

Additional Information Regarding the Use of Articles

 

  • When indicating an unspecified, limited amount of a count or noncount noun, use some.
    • My cousin was seeking some advice from a counsellor (not advice in general or advice about everything, but a limited amount of advice).
    • I would love some coffee right now (not coffee in general, but a limited amount of coffee).
    • We might get rain tomorrow. Some rain would be good for the crops (a certain amount of rain, as opposed to rain in general).
    • There are some drops of water on the table (a limited number, but more than one drop).
  • Noncount nouns are those which usually cannot be counted. Following are some common examples:

 

  • Certain food and drink items: bacon, beef, bread, broccoli, butter, cabbage, candy, cauliflower, celery, cereal, cheese, chicken, chocolate, coffee, corn, cream, fish, flour, fruit, ice cream, lettuce, meat, milk, oil, pasta, rice, salt, spinach, sugar, tea, water, wine, yogurt
  • Certain non-food substances: air, cement, coal, dirt, gasoline, gold, paper, petroleum, plastic, rain, silver, snow, soap, steel, wood, wool
  • Most abstract nouns: advice, anger, beauty, confidence, courage, employment, fun, happiness, health, honesty, information, intelligence, knowledge, love, poverty, satisfaction, truth, wealth
  • Areas of study: history, math, biology, etc.
  • Sports: soccer, football, baseball, hockey, etc.
  • Languages: Chinese, Spanish, Russian, English, etc.
  • Other: clothing, equipment, furniture, homework, jewellery, luggage, lumber, machinery, mail, money, news, poetry, pollution, research, scenery, traffic, transportation, violence, weather, work

 

  • Geographical names are confusing because some require the and some do not.
    • Use the with: united countries, large regions, deserts, peninsulas, oceans, seas, gulfs, canals, rivers, mountain ranges, groups of islands
    • the Gobi Desert
      the United Arab Emirates
      the Sacramento River
      the Aleutians
    • Do not use the with: streets, parks, cities, states, counties, most countries, continents, bays, single lakes, single mountains, islands
    • Japan
      Chico
      Everest
      San Francisco Bay

 

 

 

 

Use of articles

English language has two articles, “the and a/an”. An article is used for a noun. An article like an adjective modifies a noun.
For example, a book, the book, a cup, the cup, an umbrella, the umbrella
The article “the” is called definite article and the article “a/an” is called indefinite article.

 

Types of article: –

There are two articles in English language.
Indefinite article: a/an
Definite article: the

 

An article is used before a noun or an adjective modifying a noun.

Definite Article: (the)

he definite article “the” is used for a definite, specific or particular noun.
Example:

  • He bought the shirt.
    The article “the” before the noun “shirt” in above sentence means that the shirt, he bought, is a specific or particular shirt and not any shirt.

Indefinite Article: (a/an)

The definite article “a/an” is used for indefinite, non- specific or non-particular (common) noun.
Example:

  • He bought a

The article “a” before shirt in above sentence means that the shirt he bought is any shirt and not a specific shirt.

Rules for using Indefinite Article (a/an)

 

The article form “a” is used before a word (singular) beginning with a consonant, or a vowel with a consonant sound.
Example:

a book, a cat, a camera, a university, a European

The article form “an” is used before a word (singular) beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or consonant with vowel sound (or beginning with mute h ).
Example:

an apple, an elephant, an umbrella, an hour,

  • Before a singular noun which is countable

            He bought a book

 

  • Before a singular noun which refers to a class of things.

She is eating an apple.

 

  • Before a name of a profession

She wants to be a doctor
He is an engineer.

  • For certain expressions of quantity

            a lot of, a few, a couple, a dozen

 

  • For certain numbers.

        a hundred, a thousand, a million

 

  • Before a singular, countable noun in exclamation.

What a beautiful flower!
What a nice shirt!

 

Article a/an is not used before uncountable nouns

water, milk, sand etc

Rules for using definite Article (the):-

 

The article “the” can be used both before a singular and plural noun according to the following grammatical rules.

 

  • the book, the books

 

  • Before the place, object or group of object which is unique or considered to be unique and geographical region and points on globe.

the earth, the moon, the sky, the stars, the north pole, the equator

 

  • For a noun which becomes definite or particular because it is already mentioned and is being mentioned a second time.

The teacher helped a student and the student became happy.

 

  • For a noun made specific or definite in a clause or a phrase.

→ The old lady, The girl with blue eyes, The boy that I saw, The nice red shirt

 

  • Before superlatives, and first, second, etc, and only

→ The best day, The only method, the second month,

 

  • Before a phrase composed of a proper and common noun

→ The New York city, The river Nile, The library of Congress

 

  • Before the names of organizations

→ The Association of Chartered Accountants, The World Health Organization

 

  • Before names of scientific principles, theories, laws etc.

→ the Pythagorean theorem, the laws of Newton, The Fahrenheit Scale.

But no article will be used for these names if written in forms like,

 

→Newton’s Law, Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures, Hook’s Law of Elasticity.

 

 Article “the” is not used for names of universities if written in forms like Oxford University, Yale University, Columbia University. But article “the” is used if names of university are written in forms like The University of Oxford, The University of Yale, The University of Toronto

 

  • Article “the” is not used for names of countries of places.

New York, America, Mexico, Japan, London.

 

 But article “the” is used for a name, if it expresses a group of place, states, or land.

→ The United States, The Philippines, The Netherlands.

 

  • Incorrect I have a good news for you.
  • Correct I have good news for you

 

  • Incorrect The men are national beings.
  • Correct Men are national beings.

 

  • Incorrect The boys leave the school at four o’clock.
  • Correct The boys leave school at four o’clock.

 

  • Incorrect He sent a word that he would come soon.
  • Correct          He sent word that he would come soon.

 

  • Incorrect I have read the Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
  • Correct I have read Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

 

  • Incorrect You cannot set a foot in this house.
  • Correct You cannot set foot in this house.

 

  • Incorrect The envy is an evil passion.
  • Correct Envy is an evil passion.

 

  • Incorrect He has not yet gone to the bed.
  • Correct He has not yet gone to bed.

 

  • Incorrect He is Daniel in judgment.
  • Correct He is a Daniel in judgment.

 

  • Incorrect He made very wise decision.
  • Correct He made a very wise decision.

 

  • Incorrect Fire broke out in our village.
  • Correct A fire broke out in our village.

 

  • Incorrect Andamans are a group of islands.
  • Correct The Andamans are a group of islands.

 

Use of Indefinite / Definite Articles (the, a, an)

 

The correct use of the articles is one of the most difficult points in English grammar. Fortunately, most article mistakes aren’t serious. Nonetheless, learning the correct usage of articles is essential because they show your mastery over the language.

Here are the most important rules.

A singular countable noun always takes an article or another determiner with it.

 For example, we can say a dog, the dog, that dog or my dog, but not dog.

Use the indefinite article (a, an) when introducing a person or thing.

  • I saw a girl in the toy store.

 

Use the definite article (the) in subsequent references to that person or thing.

 

  • The girl was crying. (NOT A girl was crying.)

 

Use the indefinite article (a, an) to refer to a person or thing not known to the reader or the writer.

 

  • She is going out with a French guy.

 

Use the definite article to refer to a person or thing known to the reader and the writer.

 

  • I have been to the doctor.

(In this case, both the listener and the speaker know the doctor in question.)

 

  • You must consult a doctor. (Any doctor)

Use no articles with uncountable or plural nouns to talk about things in general.

 

  • Computers are useful. (NOT The computers are useful.)

 

  • Life is beautiful. (NOT The life is beautiful.) (NOT (A life is beautiful.)

 

Exceptions

Sometimes we talk about things in general by using ‘the’ with a singular countable noun. This is common with the names of scientific and musical instruments.

 

  • Who is playing the piano?

 

Exercise

 Complete the following sentences.

 

  • . ……………. teacher must have patience. (a / the)
  • Who invented ……………telephone? (a / the)
  • She is ……………………engineer. (an / the)
  • We hired …………………car to go to Scotland. (a / the)

 

Answers

  • A teacher must have patience.
  • Who invented the telephone?
  • She is an
  • We hired a car to go to Scotland.

 

Correct the mistakes

 Correct the following sentences.

 

  • The car either dashed against a goat or a donkey.
  • Neither he would eat nor allow us to eat.
  • He enquired that where was the office.
  • He asked that what was my name.
  • Alice is as tall if not taller than Mary.
  • Though he was poor but he was happy.
  • Hardly I had reached the station when the train steamed out.

 

Answer

 

  • The car dashed against either a goat or a donkey.
  • He would neither eat nor allow us to eat.
  • He enquired where the office was.
  • He asked what my name was.
  • Alice is as tall as Mary, if not taller.
  • Though he was poor, he was happy. OR He was poor but he was happy.
  • Hardly had I reached the station when the train steamed out.

 

Important

 

The correlatives either…or, neither…nor, both…and, not only…but also should go immediately before the words they relate to.

 

The relative pronoun that cannot be used before interrogatives like what, where, when, whether and why.

 

Sentences beginning with negative words like hardly, scarcely and no sooner follow the inverted word order. That means the auxiliary verb comes before the subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The indefinite article: ‘a’ and ‘an’

We use the indefinite article, a/an, with singular nouns when the listener/reader does not know exactly which one we are referring to:

  • Police are searching for a14-year-old girl.

We also use it to show that the person or thing is one of a group:

  • She is apupil at London Road School.
  • Police have been looking for a 14-year-old girlwho has been missing since Friday.
  • Jenny Brown is a pupil at London Road School. She is 1.6 metres tall, with short, blonde hair. When she left home, she was wearing a blue jacket,a blue and white blouse, dark blue jeans and blue shoes. 
  • Anyone who has information should contact the local police on 0800 349 781.

We do not use an indefinite article with plural nouns or uncount nouns:

  • She was wearing blue shoes.(plural noun)
  • She has short, blonde hair(uncount noun)

We use a before a consonant sound:

a banana (starts with /b/) a university (starts with /j/)

and an before a vowel sound:

an orange (starts with /o/) an hour (starts with /au/)

Note that the choice of a or an depends on sound, not spelling.

 

The definite article: ‘the’

The definite article the is the most frequent word in English.

We use the definite article in front of a noun when we believe the listener/reader knows exactly what we are referring to:

  • because there is only one:
  • The Popeis visiting Russia.
  • The moonis very bright tonight.
  • Who is the president of France?

This is why we use the definite article with a superlative adjective:

  • He is the tallest boyin the class.
  • It is the oldest buildingin the town.

 

  • because there is only one in that context:

We live in a small house next to the church. (= the church in our village)
Dad, can I borrow the car? (= the car that belongs to our family)
When we stayed at my grandmother’s house, we went to the beach every day. (= the beach near my grandmother’s house)
Look at the boy over there. (= the boy I am pointing at)

  • because we have already mentioned it:

A young man got a nasty shock when he tried to rob a jewellery shop in Richmond. The man used a heavy hammer to smash the windows in the shop.

We also use the definite article:

  • to say something about all the thingsreferred to by a noun:
  • The wolfis not really a dangerous animal. (= Wolves are not really dangerous animals.)
  • The kangaroois found only in Australia. (= Kangaroos are found only in Australia.)
  • The heartpumps blood around the body. (= Hearts pump blood around bodies.)

We use the definite article in this way to talk about musical instruments:

  • Joe plays the pianoreally well.
  • She is learning the guitar.
  • to refer to a system or service:
  • How long does it take on the train?
  • I heard it on the radio.
  • You should tell the police.

We can also use the definite article with adjectives like rich, poor, elderly and unemployed to talk about groups of people:

  • Life can be very hard for the poor.
  • I think the rich should pay more taxes.
  • She works for a group to help the disabled.

The definite article with names

We do not normally use the definite article with names:

  • William Shakespearewrote Hamlet.
  • Parisis the capital of France.
  • Iranis in Asia.

But we do use the definite article with:

  • countries whose names include words likekingdomstates or republic:
the United Kingdom the Kingdom of Bhutan
the United States the People’s Republic of China

 

  • countries which have plural nounsas their names:
the Netherlands the Philippines
  • geographical features, such as mountain ranges, groups of islands, rivers, seas, oceans and canals:
the Himalayas the Canaries the Atlantic (Ocean) the Amazon the Panama Canal
  • newspapers:
The Times The Washington Post
  • well-known buildingsor works of art:
the Empire State Building the Taj Mahal the Mona Lisa
  • organisations:
the United Nations the Seamen’s Union
  • hotels,pubs and restaurants:
the Ritz the Ritz Hotel the King’s Head the Déjà Vu

But note that we do not use the definite article if the name of the hotel or restaurant is the name of the owner:

Brown’s Brown’s Hotel Morel’s Morel’s Restaurant
  • families:
the Obamas the Jacksons

 

Do you know when you need to use the in common phrases and place names?

 

Look at these examples to see when the is and isn’t used.

 

  • I’m going to bed.
  • I walk to work.
  • My children are going to start school.
  • I visited the school yesterday.
  • Mount Everest is in the Himalayas.

 

Here are some ways we use articles in common phrases and place names.

 

Common phrases

 

We don’t usually use an article in expressions with bedwork and home.

  • go to bed / be in bed
  • go to work / be at work / start work / finish work
  • go home / be at home / get home / stay at home

We also don’t normally use an article in expressions with schooluniversityprison and hospital.

  • start school / go to school / be at school
  • go to university / be at university
  • be sent to prison / go to prison / be in prison
  • go to hospital / be in hospital

But we usually use the if someone is just visiting the place, and not there as a student/prisoner/patient, etc.

  • My son has started school now. I went to the school to meet his teacher.
  • I went to the prison a lot when I was a social worker.
  • I’m at the hospital. My sister has just had a baby.

 

Place names

 

We don’t normally use an article for continents, most countries, cities, towns, lakes, mountains or universities. So, we say:

 

  • Africa, Asia, Europe
  • India, Ghana, Peru, Denmark
  • Addis Ababa, Hanoi, New York, Moscow
  • Lake Victoria, Lake Superior, Lake Tanganyika
  • Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus
  • Cardiff University, Harvard University, Manchester University

Some countries are different. Country names with United have the. There are other countries which are exceptions too. So, we say:

  • the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America
  • the Bahamas, the Gambia

Seas and oceans, mountain ranges and rivers have the:

  • the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean
  • the Andes, the Himalayas, the Alps
  • the Nile, the Amazon, the Yangtze

Universities with of in the title also have the:

the University of Cape Town, the University of Delhi, the University of Tokyo

Definition

Tense in English Grammar is a form of verb that defines or indicates the actual occurrence of the verb i.e. when the verb/incident actually happened. Tenses are very important for they help us identify whether the incident occurred in past, present or future. There are three types of tenses in Grammar- past tense, present tense and future tense. Let us understand with help of a simple example.

Read the below given sentences-

  • I am going to school.

In the given sentence the speaker is talking about the present moment i.e. he is going to school right now. Now consider the sentence-

 

  • I went to the school.

 

In this the speaker is talking about some time in the past when he went to the school. Similarly, the sentence-

 

  • I will go to the school.

 

Talk about the future when the speaker has planned to go to the school.

 

Identify the verb ‘go’ and its tenses i.e. ‘go’ for the future, ‘went’ for the past and ‘going’ for the present. All are different form of verb that determine the time of occurrence.

 

Types of Tenses

 

Apart from the three main types of tenses- present, past and future; there are different subtypes also which we will understand further.

Present Tense

Present tense is that form of verb which speaks of the action which is currently going on at the moment or is being performed continuously. Like- She is singing, it is raining, the theatre is showing a Hindi movie etc are some examples of sentences using present tense. i.e. – singing, raining and showing. Present Tense is further divided into four types as given below.

 

1) Simple Present Tense

A Simple Present Tense is the simplest way to say something about an incident, people or yourself at the moment happening in real time or around the time. The basic Formula of Simple Present Tense is- (subject + verb) for Ex- I work for the Bank of America, Tom eats bread every day, you look tired etc.

 

  • Subject + verb1st form + object (with plural -> I, we, you, They.)
  • Subject + verb1st form + s/es + object (with singular -> He, She, It.)

2) Present Continuous or Present Progressive Tense

Present Continuous or Present Progressive Tense is used to describe incidents those are happening at the moment in real time. Simple Formula of Present continuous Tense is (subject +verb to be in ‘ing’ pattern) usually the verbs in the present continuous ends with –ing. E.g. – singing, writing, laughing etc.

 

  • Subject + is/am/are + verb ing form + object

3) Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Tense is used to share something which happened in the past but is still relevant in the present scenario. The Formula of Present Perfect Tense is (subject+have/has+main verb past form) For Ex- I have worked there for five years, I have eaten burger, but never chicken.

 

  • Subject + Has / Have + verb3rd form + object

4) Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Present Perfect continuous Tense expresses the events that we have been doing and are still going on at the moment. The Formula of Present Perfect Tense is (subject + have/has been + ing verb form) ex- I have been doing this for whole day, he has been sleeping since morning.

 

  • Subject + Has / Have + Been + verb ing form + object + Since/For + Time.

 

Past Tense

 

Past tense is that form of verb which speaks about the incident which had already occurred in the past. For ex-

 

  • I had gone to the doctor.
  • I ate a burger yesterday.
  • Sally wrote a letter to the Chairman.

 

All the sentences talk about the incidents of the past using past tenses of the verbs i.e. ate, wrote and gone. Past tense has great flexibility with regard to time and can talk about something which happened just five minutes back or even five years back.

 

1) Simple Past Tense

A simple Past Tense is the simplest way to share something about a past incident which has happened anytime in the past. The basic Formula of Simple Past Tense is (subject + past verb). For Ex-

 

  • He sang really well
  • I ate a pizza yesterday.
  • Sally went to the doctor

 

2) Past Continuous or Past Progressive Tense

Pats Continuous or Past Progressive Tense is used to specify the events those

have happened continuously in the past. The basic Formula of Past continuous is

(subject + was/were +verb with ‘ing’) For Ex-

 

  • They were singing
  • Sally was writing a letter.
  • I was dancing, Rony was swimming

 

3) Past Perfect Tense

The Past Perfect Tense is used to describe something which happened in the past but is also relevant in the present. Formula of Past Perfect Tense is

(subject + had + past form of main verb) For Ex-

 

  • He had done well and was confident.
  • I had eaten a lot and went to bed immediately etc.

 

 

Past Perfect Continuous Tense expresses events which have been going on in the past but are not going on anymore. Basic Formula of Past Perfect Continuous is

(subject + had been + ing form of verb). For Ex

 

  • I had been singing for a long time.
  • Jane had been dancing when the lights went out

 

Future Tense

 

Future Tense speaks about the incidents that have not happened yet but could happen any time in the future. It could refer to any point of time in the future- from the next second to the next decade. For Ex

 

  • I will swim. . Jane will meet Sally.
  • Jane will be meeting Sally

 

1) Simple Future Tense

 

Simple Future Tense is the simplest way of expressing future incidents. The very basic Formula of simple Future Tense is –

(Subject + auxiliary verb or modal + verb) A modal is a word which expresses the probability of occurrence of the event. Some modals (auxiliary verbs)

are – will, might, may etc. For Ex

 

  • Jane might go to New York.
  • Ricky might go to college tomorrow

 

2) Future Continuous or Future Progressive Tense

 

Future Continuous Tense talks about the incidents those will be happening in the future continuously. Formula of Future continuous Tense is –

(subject + modal or auxiliary verbs with be + ing form of verb) For Ex

 

  • I will be dancing.
  • Sally will be singing

 

3) Future Perfect Tense

 

Future Perfect Tense talks about an incident that will have happened up to a particular time or incident in the future. Formula of Future Perfect Tense is –

(subject + will + have + main verb past form) For Ex-

 

  • By the time you reach I will have gone already,
  • She will have worked for ten years from coming Saturday etc.

4) Future Perfect continuous Tense

 

Future Perfect Continuous tense describe an event which will be occurring up to a certain point of time in the future. Basic Formula of Future Perfect Continuous Tense is – (subject + modal + have been + ing form of verb) For Ex-

 

  • I will have been driving for 15 hours so I don’t think that I will like to work.
  • She will have been working for almost a year from next week.

 

 

Tenses Tables

Positive Forms

Tense Subject Helping Verb Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place
Present Simple I eat breakfast at 8 in the morning.
You eat breakfast at 8 in the morning.
He eats breakfast at 8 in the morning.
She eats breakfast at 8 in the morning.
It eats breakfast at 8 in the morning.
We eat breakfast at 8 in the morning.
You eat breakfast at 8 in the morning.
They eat breakfast at 8 in the morning.
Present Continuous I am learning English in Bsl right now.
You are learning English in Bsl right now.
He is learning English in Bsl right now.
She is learning English in Bsl right now.
It is learning English in Bsl right now.
We are learning English in Bsl right now.
You are learning English in Bsl right now.
They are learning English in Bsl right now.
Past Simple I went to the store yesterday.
You went to the store yesterday.
He went to the store yesterday.
She went to the store yesterday.
It went to the store yesterday.
We went to the store yesterday.
You went to the store yesterday.
They went to the store yesterday.
Past Continuous I was cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
You were cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
He was cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
She was cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
It was cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
We were cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
You were cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
They were cooking Dinner, when you came home yesterday.
Future with Will I will come to class tomorrow
You will come to class tomorrow
He will come to class tomorrow
She will come to class tomorrow
It will come to class tomorrow
We will come to class tomorrow
You will come to class tomorrow
They will come to class tomorrow
Future with Going I am going to fly to New York next week.
to You are going to fly to New York next week.
He is going to fly to New York next week.
She is going to fly to New York next week.
It is going to fly to New York next week.
We are going to fly to New York next week.
You are going to fly to New York next week.
They are going to fly to New York next week.
Future Continuous I will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
You will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
He will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
She will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
It will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
We will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
You will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
Past Simple I went to the store yesterday.
They will be working at 5 pm tomorrow evening.
Present Perfect I have taught English for many years.
You have taught English for many years.
He has taught English for many years.
She has taught English for many years.
It has taught English for many years.
We have taught English for many years.
You have taught English for many years.
They have taught English for many years.
Present Perfect I have been watching TV for three hours.
Continuous You have been watching TV for three hours.
He has been watching TV for three hours.
She has been watching TV for three hours.
It has been watching TV for three hours.
We have been watching TV for three hours.
You have been watching TV for three hours.
They have been watching TV for three hours.
Past Perfect I had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
You had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
He had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
She had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
It had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
We had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
You had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
They had eaten lunch before you came home yesterday.
Past Perfect I had been working for three hours before he arrived.
Continuous You had been working for three hours before he arrived.
He had been working for three hours before he arrived.
She had been working for three hours before he arrived.
It had been working for three hours before he arrived.
We had been working for three hours before he arrived.
You had been working for three hours before he arrived.
They had been working for three hours before he arrived.
Future Perfect I will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
You will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
Past Simple I went to the store yesterday.
He will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
She will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
It will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
We will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
You will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
They will have finished the report by three o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
Future Perfect I will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.
Continuous You will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.
He will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.
She will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.
It will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.
We will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.
You will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.
They will have been studying English for five hours by four o’clock this afternoon.

Negative Forms

Tense Subject Helping Verb + Not Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place
Present Simple I don’t visit my friends every day.
You don’t visit my friends every day.
He doesn’t visit my friends every day.
She doesn’t visit my friends every day.
It doesn’t visit my friends every day.
We don’t visit my friends every day.
You don’t visit my friends every day.
They don’t visit my friends every day.
Tense Subject Helping Verb + Not Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place
Present Continuous I am not studying math at the moment.
You aren’t studying math at the moment.
He isn’t studying math at the moment.
She isn’t studying math at the moment.
It isn’t studying math at the moment.
We aren’t studying math at the moment.
You aren’t studying math at the moment.
They aren’t studying math at the moment.
Past Simple I didn’t play soccer last week.
You didn’t play soccer last week.
He didn’t play soccer last week.
She didn’t play soccer last week.
It didn’t play soccer last week.
We didn’t play soccer last week.
You didn’t play soccer last week.
They didn’t play soccer last week.
Future with I won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
Will You won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
He won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
She won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
It won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
We won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
You won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
They won’t cook dinner tomorrow.
Future with I am not going to fly to Chicago next week.
Going to You aren’t going to fly to Chicago next week.
He isn’t going to fly to Chicago next week.
She isn’t going to fly to Chicago next week.
It isn’t going to fly to Chicago next week.
We aren’t going to fly to Chicago next week.
You aren’t going to fly to Chicago next week.
They aren’t going to fly to Chicago next week.
Future I won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
Continuous You won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
He won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
Tense Subject Helping Verb + Not Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place
She won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
It won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
We won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
You won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
They won’t be sitting at a computer next week at this time.
Present Perfect I haven’t seen Tom since 2008.
You haven’t seen Tom since 2008.
He hasn’t seen Tom since 2008.
She hasn’t seen Tom since 2008.
It hasn’t seen Tom since 2008.
We haven’t seen Tom since 2008.
You haven’t seen Tom since 2008.
They haven’t seen Tom since 2008.
Present Perfect Continuous I haven’t been studying for very long.
You haven’t been studying for very long.
He hasn’t been studying for very long.
She hasn’t been studying for very long.
It hasn’t been studying for very long.
We haven’t been studying for very long.
You haven’t been studying for very long.
They haven’t been studying for very long.
Past Perfect I hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
You hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
He hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
She hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
It hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
We hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
You hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
They hadn’t eaten lunch before I arrived.
Past Perfect Continuous I hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
You hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
He hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
Tense Subject Helping Verb + Not Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place
She hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
It hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
We hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
You hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
They hadn’t been sleeping very long when I woke him.
Future Perfect I won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
You won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
He won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
She won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
It won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
We won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
You won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
They won’t have prepared the report by Friday.
Future Perfect I won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.
Continuous You won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.
He won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.
She won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.
It won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.
We won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.
You won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.
They won’t have been driving for very long tomorrow.

Question Forms

Tense Question Word Helping Verb Subject Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place?
Present Simple How often do I eat dinner in a restaurant?
How often do you eat dinner in a restaurant?
How often does he eat dinner in a restaurant?
How often does she eat dinner in a restaurant?
How often does it eat dinner in a restaurant?
How often do we eat dinner in a restaurant?
How often do you eat dinner in a restaurant?
Tense Question Word Helping Verb Subject Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place?
How often do they eat dinner in a restaurant?
Present Continuous What am I doing right now?
What are you doing right now?
What is he doing right now?
What is she doing right now?
What is it doing right now?
What are we doing right now?
What are you doing right now?
What are they doing right now?
Past Simple Where did I go last week?
Where did you go last week?
Where did he go last week?
Where did she go last week?
Where did it go last week?
Where did we go last week?
Where did you go last week?
Where did they go last week?
Future with Will When will I help me with my homework tomorrow?
When will you help me with my homework tomorrow?
When will he help me with my homework tomorrow?
When will she help me with my homework tomorrow?
When will it help me with my homework tomorrow?
When will we help me with my homework tomorrow?
When will you help me with my homework tomorrow?
When will they help me with my homework tomorrow?
Future with Where am I going to stay in New York next week?
Going to Where are you going to stay in New York next week?
Where is he going to stay in New York next week?
Tense Question Word Helping Verb Subject Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place?
Where is she going to stay in New York next week?
Where is it going to stay in New York next week?
Where are we going to stay in New York next week?
Where are you going to stay in New York next week?
Where are they going to stay in New York next week?
Future Continuous Where will I be staying tomorrow night?
Where will you be staying tomorrow night?
Where will he be staying tomorrow night?
Where will she be staying tomorrow night?
Where will it be staying tomorrow night?
Where will we be staying tomorrow night?
Where will you be staying tomorrow night?
Where will they be staying tomorrow night?
Present Perfect How long have I lived in your current house?
How long have you lived in your current house?
How long has he lived in your current house?
How long has she lived in your current house?
How long has it lived in your current house?
How long have we lived in your current house?
How long have you lived in your current house?
How long have they lived in your current house?
Present Perfect Continuous How long have I been studying today?
How long have you been studying today?
How long has he been studying today?
How long has she been studying today?
How long has it been studying today?
How long have we been studying today?
How long have you been studying today?
How long have they been studying today?
Past Perfect Where had I eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Where had you eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Tense Question Word Helping Verb Subject Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place?
Where had he eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Where had she eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Where had it eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Where had we eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Where had you eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Where had they eaten lunch before I arrived this afternoon?
Past Perfect Continuous How long had I been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
How long had you been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
How long had he been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
How long had she been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
How long had it been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
How long had we been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
How long had you been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
How long had they been working before Tom telephoned yesterday?
Future Perfect How many books will I have finished by the end of next year?
How many books will you have finished by the end of next year?
How many books will he have finished by the end of next year?
How many books will she have finished by the end of next year?
How many books will it have finished by the end of next year?
How many books will we have finished by the end of next year?
Tense Question Word Helping Verb Subject Main Verb (String) Objects / Time / Place?
How many books will you have finished by the end of next year?
How many books will they have finished by the end of next year?
Future Perfect Continuous How long will I have been working by the end of the day?
How long will you have been working by the end of the day?
How long will he have been working by the end of the day?
How long will she have been working by the end of the day?
How long will it have been working by the end of the day?
How long will we have been working by the end of the day?
How long will you have been working by the end of the day?
How long will they have been working by the end of the day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common errors in the use of tenses

 

  • Incorrect: It is raining for two days.
  • Correct: It has been raining for two days.

 

  • Incorrect: The baby is sleeping for three hours now.
  • Correct: The baby has been sleeping for three hours now.

 

Here the error lies in using the present continuous instead of the present perfect continuous. We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about an action which started in the past, has gone on till the present and is still continuing.

 

  • Incorrect: I have seen him yesterday.
  • Correct: I saw him yesterday.

 

  • Incorrect: He has returned from London last week.
  • Correct: He returned from London last week.

 

Here the error lies in using the present perfect tense instead of the simple past tense. The present perfect is a present tense. It can’t be used with adverbs of past time.

 

  • Incorrect: See that you will not do any damage.
  • Correct: See that you do not do any damage.

 

It is wrong to use the future tense in the subordinate clause when the verb in the main clause is in the imperative mood.

 

  • Incorrect: I will call you when the dinner will be ready.
  • Correct: I will call you when the dinner is

 

  • Incorrect: He will help if you will ask him.
  • Correct: He will help if you ask

 

When the verb in the main clause is in the future tense, the verb in the subordinate clause should be in the present and not in the future.

Here are some mistakes people commonly commit:

  • Incorrect: Myself I am Harry.
  • Correct: I am Harry or My name is Harry

 

While introducing oneself, it is usually observed that the users mix up both the possessive pronoun ‘myself’ and the subject pronoun ‘I’.

 

  • Incorrect: I am having four brothers and three sisters.
  • Correct: I have four brothers and three sisters.

 

 

 

 

Present continuous tense cannot be used for pragmatic situations such as this. Simple present tense should be used.

 

  • Incorrect: He do not have a laptop.
  • Correct: He does not have a laptop.

 

Do not should not be used after the subject pronoun (He, She, It).

 

  • Incorrect: Does she has a car?
  • Correct: Does she have a car?

 

The helping verb does is used at the beginning and the main verb have denotes possession or ownership.

 

  • Incorrect: (Question) “Today office is there?” (Answer) “No office is not there. Today is Bharat bandh.”
  • Correct: (Question) “Is today a working day?” OR “Are we working today?” (Answer) “Yes we are working today or no we are not working today.”
  • Incorrect: That only, she is very arrogant.
  • Correct: That was what I said. She is very arrogant.

 

Saying “That only” was the wrong way to emphasize what the speaker has already said.

 

  • Incorrect: Last before year she got very good marks.
  • Correct: Year before last she got good marks.

 

Phrases that can be used: Month before last, Day before last, Week before last.

 

  • Incorrect: He did not wrote the test last week.
  • Correct: He did not write the test last week.

 

The helping verb ‘did’ is followed by the present tense of the verb and not the past tense form.

 

  • Incorrect: I cannot cope up with this pressure.
  • Correct: I cannot cope with this pressure.

 

The meaning of the verb cope is to manage. ‘Cope’ is followed by the preposition ‘with‘, and never followed by ‘up‘. Even professionals commit this error.

 

Read: Placing prepositions: 20 ways you have been linking words wrong

 

  • Incorrect: I came to office by walk.
  • Correct: I came to office on foot.

 

We can say “by car“, “by bike“, “by bus“, “by train” and “by flight“. However, we cannot say “by walk“, as it is the “foot” which is being used to travel and not “walk”.

 

  • Incorrect: What is the time in your watch?
  • Correct: What is the time by your watch?

 

  • Incorrect: Our classroom is in the 2nd floor.
  • Correct: Our classroom is on the 2nd floor.

 

  • Incorrect: The price of this mobile phone is higher than yours.
  • Correct: The price of this mobile phone is higher than that of yours.

 

While comparing two individuals/things than is followed by the pronoun that.

 

  • Incorrect: His son-in-laws have come home.
  • Correct: His sons-in-law have come home.

 

In plural form, it is always mothers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law.

 

  • Incorrect: He has white hairs.
  • Correct: He has grey hair.

 

All the hair on one’s head is considered uncountable and so, “hairs” is almost always incorrect.

 

  • Incorrect: I prefer coffee than tea.
  • Correct: I prefer coffee to tea.

 

‘Prefer’ is always followed by the preposition ‘to’.

 

Correct the following sentences

  1. I have seen him yesterday.
  2. We had gone to the movies last night.
  3. I had spoken to them about my holiday.
  4. You must attend your teacher’s instructions.
  5. The hen has lain six eggs.
  6. I have seen him a moment ago.
  7. They discussed about the whole matter.
  8. We are playing tennis every day.
  9. He is sleeping for two hours.
  10. Neither of the boys have returned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers

 

  1. I saw him yesterday.

(We do not use the present perfect tense with past time expressions.)

 

  1. We went to the movies last night.

 

  1. I spoke to them about my holiday.

(The past perfect tense is not used to say that something happened in the past. It is used to indicate the earlier of the   two past actions.)

 

  1. You must listen to your teacher’s instructions.

 

  1. The hen has laid six eggs.

 

  1. I saw him a moment ago.

 

  1. They discussed the whole matter.

(The verb discuss does not take a preposition.)

 

  1. We play tennis every day.

(We use the simple present tense to talk about our habits and general facts.)

 

  1. He has been sleeping for two hours.

(We use the present perfect continuous tense to show duration.)

 

  1. Neither of the boys has returned.

(After ‘either’ and ‘neither’ we use a singular verb.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Tense

 

There are two tenses in English: past and present.

 

The present tense is used to talk about the present and to talk about the future.

 

There are four present tense forms:

Present simple I work
Present continuous I am working
Present perfect I have worked
Present perfect continuous I have been working

We can use all these forms:

  • to talk about the present:

London is the capital of Britain.
He works at McDonald’s.
He is working at McDonald’s.
He has worked there for three months now.
He has been working there for three months now.

  • to talk about the future:

The next train leaves this evening at 17.00.
I’ll phone you when I get home.
He is meeting Peter in town this afternoon.
I’ll come home as soon as I have finished work.
You will be tired out after you have been working all night.

 

We can use present forms to talk about the past:

  • when we are telling a story:

Well, it‘s a lovely day and I‘m just walking down the street when I see this funny guy walking towards me. Obviously, he‘s been drinking, because he‘s moving from side to side …

  • when we are summarisingsomething we have read, heard or seen:

I love Ian Rankin’s novels. He writes about this detective called Rebus. Rebus lives in Edinburgh and he‘s a brilliant detective, but he‘s always getting into trouble. In one book, he gets suspended and they tell him to stop working on this case. But he takes no notice …

Present Simple

 

The present tense is the base form of the verb:

work in London. 

But with the third person singular (she/he/it), we add an –s:

She works in London.

Present simple questions

 

Look at these questions:

 

  • Doyou play the piano?
  • Where doyou live?
  • DoesJack play football?
  • Where doeshe come from?
  • DoRita and Angela live in Manchester?
  • Where dothey work?

We use do and does to make questions with the present simple. We use does for the third person singular (she/he/it) and do for the others.

We use do and does with question words like wherewhat and when:

  • Where doAngela and Rita live?
  • What doesAngela do?
  • When doesRita usually get up?

But questions with who often don’t use do or does:

  • Who livesin London?
  • Who playsfootball at the weekend?
  • Who worksat Liverpool City Hospital?

Here are some useful questions. Try to remember them:

Where do you come from?
Do you come from …?
Where do you live?
Do you live in …?
What work do you do?
Do you like …?
Do you know …?

 

Present simple negatives

Look at these sentences:

  • I like tennis but I don’t like(don’t = do not)
  • don’t livein London now.
  • don’t playthe piano but I play the guitar.
  • They don’t workat the weekend.
  • John doesn’t livein Manchester. (doesn’t = does not)
  • Angela doesn’t drive to work. She goes by bus.

We use do and does to make negatives with the present simple. We use doesn’t for the third person singular (she/he/it) and don’t for the others.

Present simple and present time

 

We use the present simple to talk about:

 

  • something that is truein the present:

I‘m nineteen years old.
I
‘m a student.
He 
lives in London.

  • something that happens regularlyin the present:

play football every weekend.

  • something that is always true:

The human body contains 206 bones.
Light 
travels at almost 300,000 kilometres per second.

We often use adverbs of frequency like sometimesalways and never with the present simple:

sometimes go to the cinema.
She 
never plays football.

Here are some useful sentences. Complete them so that they are true for you and try to remember them:

My name is … .
I’m … years old.
I come from … .
I live in … .
I’m a(n) … .
I … at the weekend.
I often … .
I never … .

Complete these sentences so that they are true for a friend and try to remember them:

Her/His name is … .
She’s/He’s … years old.
She/He comes from … .
She/He lives in … .
She’s/He’s a(n) … .
She/He … at the weekend.
She/He often … .
She/He never … .

 

Present simple and future time

We also use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is fixedin the future:

The school term starts next week.
The train 
leaves at 19.45 this evening.
We 
fly to Paris next week.

  • something in the future after time wordslike whenafter and before and after if and unless:

I’ll talk to John when I see him.
You must finish your work 
before you go home.
If it rains, we’ll get wet.
He won’t come 
unless you ask him.

We sometimes use the present simple to talk about the past when we are: 

  • telling a story:

I was walking down the street the other day when suddenly this man comes up to me and tells me he has lost his wallet and asks me to lend him some money. Well, he looks a bit dangerous so I‘m not sure what to do and while we are standing there 

  • summarising a book, film or play:

Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts School. He has two close friends, Hermione and …

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark. One night he sees his father’s ghost. The ghost tells him he has been murdered 

 

Present Continuous

 

The present continuous is made from the present tense of the verb be and the –ing form of a verb:

am working
You are playing
He is talking
She is living
It is eating
We are staying
They are sleeping

We use the present continuous to talk about:

  • activities at the moment of speaking:
  • I‘mjust leaving I’ll be home in an hour.
  • Please be quiet. The children are sleeping.

 

Present continuous questions

 

We make questions by putting amis or are in front of the subject:

 

  • Are youlistening?
  • Are theycoming to your party?
  • When isshe going home?
  • What amI doing here?

 

Present continuous negatives

We make negatives by putting not (or n’t) after amis or are:

  • I‘m notdoing that.
  • You aren’t(or You‘re not listening.)
  • They aren’tcoming to the party. (or They‘re not coming to the party.)
  • She isn’tgoing home until Monday. (or She‘s not going home until Monday.)

 

Stative verbs

 

We do not normally use the continuous with stative verbs. Stative verbs include:

  • verbs of thinking and feeling:
believe
dislike
know
like
love
hate
prefer
realise
recognise
remember
suppose
think (= believe)
understand
want
wish
  • verbs of the senses:
appear
feel
look
seem
smell
sound
taste
  • others:
agree
be
belong
disagree
need
owe
own
possess

We normally use the simple instead:

→ I understand you. (NOT I am understanding you.)
This cake tastes wonderful. (NOT This cake is tasting wonderful.)

We also use the present continuous to talk about:

  • something which is happening beforeand after a specific time:

At eight o’clock we are usually having breakfast.
When I get home the children are doing their homework.

  • something whichwe think is temporary:

Michael is at university. He‘s studying history.
I‘m working in London for the next two weeks.

  • something which is newand contrasts with a previous state:

These days most people are using email instead of writing letters.
What sort of clothes are teenagers wearing nowadays?
What sort of music are they listening to?

  • something which is changing, growing or developing:

The children are growing up quickly.
The climate is changing rapidly.
Your English is improving.

  • something which happens again and again:

It‘s always raining in London.
They are always arguing.
George is great. He‘s always laughing.

 

We can use the present continuous to talk about the past when we are:

  • telling a story:

The other day I‘m just walking down the street when suddenly this man comes up to me and asks me to lend him some money. Well, he‘s carrying a big stick and he looks a bit dangerous, so I‘m wondering what to do …

  • summarisinga book, film or play:

Harry Potter is a pupil at Hogwarts school. One day when he is playing Quidditch he sees a strange object in the sky. He wonders what is happening

Present Perfect

 

The present perfect is formed from the present tense of the verb have and the past participle of a verb.

 

We use the present perfect:

  • for something that started in the past and continues in the present:

They‘ve been married for nearly fifty years.
She has lived in Liverpool all her life.

  • when we are talking about our experience up to the present:

I‘ve seen that film before.
I‘ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.

We often use the adverb ever to talk about experience up to the present:

My last birthday was the worst day I have ever had.

and we use never for the negative form:

Have you ever met George?
Yes, but I‘ve never met his wife.

  • for something that happened in the pastbut is important in the present:

I can’t get in the house. I‘ve lost my keys.
Teresa isn’t at home. I think she has gone shopping.

 

have been and have gone

We use have/has been when someone has gone to a place and returned:

A: Where have you been?
B: I
‘ve just been out to the supermarket.

A: Have you ever been to San Francisco?
B: No, but I
‘ve been to Los Angeles.

But when someone has not returned, we use have/has gone:

A: Where’s Maria? I haven’t seen her for weeks.
B: She
‘s gone to Paris for a week. She’ll be back tomorrow.

Present perfect with time adverbials 

 

We often use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to the recent past:

 

recently just only just

Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey.
We have just got back from our holidays.

 

or adverbials which include the present:

so far     until now     up to now
ever (in questions)
yet (in questions and negatives)

Have you ever seen a ghost?
Where have you been up to now?
A: 
Have you finished your homework yet?
B: No, 
so far I‘ve only done my history.

After a clause with the present perfect we often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

I‘ve worked here since I left school.
I‘ve been watching that programme every week since it started.

Be Careful!

We do not use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a finished past time:
yesterday last week/month/year in 2017 when I was younger etc.

have seen that film yesterday.
We have just bought a new car last week.
When we were children we have been to California.

but we can use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a time which is not yet finished:
today this week/month/year now that I am 18 etc.

Have you seen Helen today?
We have bought a new car this week.

 

Present perfect continuous

The present perfect continuous is formed with have/has been and the -ing form of the verb.

We normally use the present perfect continuous to emphasise that something is still continuing in the present:

She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
It‘s been raining for hours.
I’m tired out. I‘ve been working all day.
They have been staying with us since last week.

We do not normally use the present perfect continuous with stative verbs. We use the present perfect simple instead:

I‘ve always been liking liked John.

 

 

Present perfect for future

We normally use the present simple to talk about the future in clauses with before, after, until, etc.:

I’ll keep looking until I find my book.
We’ll begin when everyone arrives.

but we can also use the present perfect:

I’ll keep looking until I have found my book.
We’ll begin when everyone has arrived.

Past tense

 

There are two tenses in English – past and present.

 

The past tense in English is used:

  • to talk about the past
  • to talk about hypotheses (when we imagine something)
  • for politeness.

There are four past tense forms in English:

Past simple:

Past continuous:

I worked

I was working

Past perfect: I had worked
Past perfect continuous: I had been working

We use these forms:

  • to talk about the past:

He worked at McDonald’s. He had worked there since July.
He was working at McDonald’s. He had been working there since July.

  • to refer to the present or future in hypotheses:

It might be dangerous. Suppose they got lost.

This use is very common in wishes:

I wish it wasn’t so cold.

and in conditions with if:

He could get a new job if he really tried.
If Jack was playing, they would probably win.

For hypotheses, wishes and conditions in the past, we use the past perfect:

It was very dangerous. What if you had got lost?
I wish I hadn’t spent so much money last month.
I would have helped him if he had asked.

and also, to talk about the present in a few polite expressions:

Excuse me, I was wondering if this was the train for York.
I just hoped you would be able to help me.

With most verbs, the past tense is formed by adding –ed:

called liked wanted worked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there are a lot of irregular past tense forms in English. Here are the most common irregular verbs in English, with their past tense forms:

      Base Form                                                             Past tense

be
begin
break
bring
buy
build
choose
come
cost
cut
do
draw
drive
eat
feel
find
get
give
go
have
hear
hold
keep
know
leave
lead
let
lie
lose
make
mean
meet
pay
put
run
say
sell
send
set
sit
speak
spend
stand
take
teach
tell
think
understand
wear
win
write
was/were
began
broke
brought
bought
built
chose
came
cost
cut
did
drew
drove
ate
felt
found
got
gave
went
had
heard
held
kept
knew
left
led
let
lay
lost
made
meant
met
paid
put
ran
said
sold
sent
set
sat
spoke
spent
stood
took
taught
told
thought
understood
wore
won
wrote

 

We use the past tense to talk about:

  • something that happened once in the past:

met my wife in 1983.
We went to Spain for our holidays.
They got home very late last night.

  • something that happened several times in the past:

When I was a boy, I walked a mile to school every day.
We swam a lot while we were on holiday.
They always enjoyed visiting their friends.

  • something that was true for some time in the past:

lived abroad for ten years.
He enjoyed being a student.
She played a lot of tennis when she was younger.

  • we often use expressions with ago with the past simple:

met my wife a long time ago.

Past simple questions and negatives

We use did to make questions with the past simple:

Did she play tennis when she was younger?
Did you live abroad?
When did you meet your wife?
Where did you go for your holidays?

But questions with who often don’t use did:

Who discovered penicillin?
Who wrote Don Quixote?

We use didn’t (did not) to make negatives with the past simple:

They didn’t go to Spain this year.
We didn’t get home until very late last night.
didn’t see you yesterday.

 

 

 

Past Continuous

The past continuous is made from the past tense of the verb be and the –ing form of a verb:

was
You were
He was
She was
It was
We were
You were
They were
working
playing
living
talkingetc.

We use the past continuous to talk about the past:

  • for something which happened before and afteranother action:

The children were doing their homework when I got home.

 

Compare: The children did their homework when (= after) I got home.

 

This use of the past continuous is very common at the beginning of a story:

 

The other day I was waiting for a bus when …
Last week, as I was driving to work, … 

  • for something that happened before and aftera specific time:

It was eight o’clock. I was writing a letter.

 

Compare: At eight o’clock I wrote (= started writing) some letters.

  • to show that something continued for some time:

My head was aching.
Everyone was shouting.

  • for something that happened again and again:

was practising every day, three times a day.
They were meeting secretly after school.
They were always quarrelling.

  • with verbs which show change or growth:

The children were growing up quickly.
Her English was improving.
My hair was going grey.
The town was changing quickly.

We do not normally use the past continuous with stative verbs. We use the past simple instead:

When I got home, I really needed (NOT was needinga shower.

 

Past Perfect

The past perfect is made from the verb had and the past participle of a verb:

had finished the work.
She had gone.

The past perfect continuous is made from had been and the ing form of a verb:

had been working there for a year.
They had been painting the bedroom.

The past perfect is used in the same way as the present perfect, but it refers to a time in the past, not the present. We use the past perfect:

  • for something that started in the pastand continued up to a given time in the past:

When George died, he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years.
She didn’t want to move. She had lived in Liverpool all her life.

For this use, we often use the past perfect continuous:

She didn’t want to move. She had been living in Liverpool all her life.
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.

  • for something that happened several times before a point in the pastand continued after that point:

He was a wonderful guitarist. He had been playing ever since he was a teenager.
He had written three books and he was working on another one.

  • when we arereporting our experience up to a point in the past:

My eighteenth birthday was the worst day I had ever had.
I was pleased to meet George. I hadn’t met him before, even though I had met his wife several times.

  • for something that happened in the pastand is important at a later time in the past:

I couldn’t get into the house. I had lost my keys.
Teresa wasn’t at home. She had gone shopping.

We often use expressions with for and since with the past perfect:

I was sorry when the factory closed. I had worked there for ten years
had been watching that programme every week since it started, but I missed the last episode.

We do not normally use the past perfect continuous with stative verbs. We use the past perfect simple instead:

Up until that moment, I’d never believed (NOT been believingin astrology.

Perfect Aspect

We use perfect aspect to look back from a specific time and talk about things up to that time or about things that are important at that time.

We use the present perfect to look back from the present:

have always enjoyed working in Italy. [and I still do]
She has left home, so she cannot answer the phone.

We use the past perfect to look back from a time in the past:

It was 2006. I had enjoyed working in Italy for the past five years.
She had left home, so she could not answer the phone.

We use will with the perfect to look back from a time in the future:

By next year I will have worked in Italy for 15 years.
She will have left home by 8.30, so she will not be able to answer the phone.

Present perfect

 

We use the present perfect:

  • for something that started in the pastand continues in the present:

They’ve been married for nearly 50 years.
She has lived in Liverpool all her life.

  • when we are talking about our experience up to the present:

I‘ve seen that film before.
I‘ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.

  • for something thathappened in the past but is important in the present:

I can’t get in the house. I‘ve lost my keys.
Teresa isn’t at home. I think she has gone shopping.

We normally use the present perfect continuous to emphasise that something is still continuing in the present:

It‘s been raining for hours.
I’m tired out. I‘ve been working all day.

Past perfect

 

We use the past perfect:

  • for something that started in the pastand continued up to a later time in the past:

When George died, he and Anne had been married for nearly 50 years.
She didn’t want to move. She had lived in Liverpool all her life.

  • when we are reporting our experience up to a point in the past:

My eighteenth birthday was the worst day I had ever had.
I was pleased to meet George. I hadn’t met him before, even though I had met his wife several times.

  • for something that happened in the past and is important at a later time in the past:

I couldn’t get into the house. I had lost my keys.
Teresa wasn’t at home. She had gone shopping.

We use the past perfect continuous to show that something started in the past and continued up to a time in the past or was important at that time in the past:

Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.
He was a wonderful guitarist. He had been playing ever since he was a teenager.

Modals with the perfect

We use will with the perfect to show that something will be complete at or before sometime in the future:

In a few years they will have discovered a cure for the common cold.
I can come out tonight. I‘ll have finished my homework by then.

We use would with the perfect to refer to something that did not happen in the past:

If you had asked me, I would have helped you.
would have helped you, but you didn’t ask me.
You didn’t ask me or I would have helped you.

We use other modals with the perfect when we are looking back from a point in time. The point of time may be in the future:

We’ll meet again next week. We might have finished the work by then.
I will phone at six o’clock. He should have got home by then.

or the present:

It’s getting late. They should have arrived by now.
He’s still not here. He must have missed his train.

or the past:

I wasn’t feeling well. I must have eaten something bad.
I checked my mobile phone. She could have left a message.

Continuous aspect:

 

We use continuous aspect:

 

  • for something happening before and after a specific time:

 

He‘s getting on the train. (before and after the moment of speaking)
It was a quarter past ten. We were watching the news on television.

  • for something happening before and after another action:

Mother will be cooking the dinner when we get home.
We were waiting for the bus when it started to rain.

  • for something continuing for some time:

Everybody will be waiting for us.
They had been working hard all day.

  • for something happening again and again:

They‘ve been doing that every day this week.
The children were always shouting.
He will be practicing the piano every night.

  • for something temporary:

We are renting an apartment until our house is ready.
He was working in a garage during the vacation.

  • for something new:

We have moved from Birmingham. We‘re living in Manchester now.
He had left university and was working in his father’s business.

  • to describe something changingor developing:

Everything has been getting more difficult.
He was growing more bad-tempered every day. 

 

We can use continuous aspect:

 

 

How long have you been sitting there?
I don’t know how long she had been learning Spanish.

Your friends will be looking for you.
They might be playing tennis.

You should have been driving more carefully.
Soon we will have been living here for 25 years.

We do not normally use the continuous aspect with stative verbs. We use the simple instead:

don’t understand you. (NOT am not understanding)
When I got home, I really needed a shower. (NOT was needing)
I’ve always liked John. (NOT been liking)

Definition
Sentences written in the active voice are easier to understand than sentences written in the passive voice. Switching the passive voice into the active voice is straightforward, but it requires a bit of practice. In the equivalency table below, notice that the tense of the verb to be in the passive voice is always the same as the tense of the main verb in the active voice. In order to use the active voice, you will have to make the subject of the action explicit.
TO KEEP, ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICES

Tense Active voice Passive voice Active sentence Passive equivalent
Simple present keep is kept I keep the butter in the fridge. The butter is kept in the fridge.
Present continuous is keeping is being kept John is keeping my house tidy. My house is being kept tidy.
Simple past kept was kept Mary kept her schedule meticulously. Mary’s schedule was kept meticulously.
Past continuous was keeping was being kept The theater was keeping a seat for you. A seat was being kept for you.
Present perfect have kept have been kept I have kept all your old letters. All your old letters have been kept.
Past perfect had kept had been kept He had kept up his training regimen for a month. His training regimen had been kept up for a month.
Simple Future will keep will be kept Mark will keep the ficus. The ficus will be kept.
Conditional Present would keep would be kept If you told me, I would keep your secret. If you told me, your secret would be kept.
Conditional Past would have kept would have been kept I would have kept your bicycle here if you had left it with me. Your bicycle would have been kept here if you had left it with me.
Present Infinitive to keep to be kept She wants to keep the book. The book wants to be kept.
Perfect Infinitive to have kept to have been kept Judy was happy to have kept the puppy. The puppy was happy to have been kept.
Present Participle & Gerund keeping being kept I have a feeling that you may be keeping a secret. I have a feeling that a secret may be being kept.
Perfect Participle having kept having been kept Having kept the bird in a cage for so long, Jade wasn’t sure it could survive in the wild. The bird, having been kept in a cage for so long, might not survive in the wild.

Present Tense Passive Voice

Example:

→ Mai movie dekhta hun…

In this sentence

Subject – Mai (I) hai…. Verb – Dekhna (watching) hai…. Object – Movie hai….

Based on verb + ta hai sound present indefinite —-

→ Direct Subject + verb 1st + object

in English → I watch movie…. Active voice….

→ Movie dekhi jaati hai…

In this sentence

There is no Subject – …. Verb – Dekhna (watching) hai…. Object – Movie hai….

Based on verb + ta hai sound present indefinite —-

→ Indirect Subject (Object) +is/am/are+ verb 3rd

in English → Movie is watched → Passive voice….

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) + is/am/are+not+verb3rd form

→ Movie is not watched

In Interrogative 1st type → When your answer is either yes or no….

→ is/am/are + Indirect Subject (Object) + Verb 3rd form…????

→ Is movie watched…????

In Interrogative 2nd type → When your answer is in explanation….

→Question world + is/am/are + Indirect Subject (Object) object + Verb 3rd form…????

→ Why Is movie watched…????

Present Continuous Passive

→ Movie dekhi ja rahi hai

Identification Sound → verb + rahi + hai

Based on → Indirect Subject (Object) + is/am/are + being + verb 3rdform….

In English → Movie is being watched

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) + is/am/are + Not+ being + Verb 3rd from

→ Movie is not being watched

In 1st type Interrogative → Is/am/are + Indirect Subject (Object) + being + Verb 3rd from…????

→ Is movie being watched…????

In 2nd type Interrogative → Question world + is/am/are + Indirect Subject (Object) + being + Verb 3rd from…????

→ Why is movie being watched…????

Present Perfect Passive

→ Movie dekhni gayi hai

Identification Sound → Verb + ee + hai

Based on → Indirect Subject (Object) + has/have +been+ Verb 3rd from

In English → Movie has been watched

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) + has/have + Not + Been+ Verb 3rd from….

→ Movie has not been watched

In 1st type Interrogative → Has/Have + Indirect Subject (Object) + been+ Verb 3rd from

→ Has movie been watched…????

In 2nd type Interrogative → Question world + has/have + Indirect Subject (Object) + been + Verb 3rd from…????

→ Why has movie been watched…????

Past Tense Passive Voice

Example:

→ Maine movie dekhi (I watched movie) Active voice….

In this sentence

Subject – Main (I) hai…. Verb – Dekhna (watching) hai…. Object – Movie hai….

Based on verb + aa, ee, a sound past indefinite —-

→ Subject + verb 2nd form + object

in English → I watched movie…. Active voice….

→ Movie dekhi gayi

In this sentence

There is no Subject – …. Verb – Dekhna (watching) hai…. Object – Movie hai….

Based on verb + aa, ee, a sound past indefinite —-

→ Indirect Subject (Object) + was/were + verb3rd

In English → Movie was watched…. Passive voice

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) + was/were + not + verb3rd form

→ Movie was not watched

In Interrogative 1st type → When your answer is either yes or no….

→ was/were + Indirect Subject (Object) + Verb 3rd form…????

→ Was movie watched…????

In Interrogative 2nd type → When your answer is in explanation….

→ Question world + was/were + Indirect Subject (Object) + Verb 3rd form…????

→ Why was movie watched…????

Past Continuous Passive

→ Movie dekhi ja rahi thi

Identification Sound → verb + rahi + thi

Based on → Indirect Subject (Object) + was/were + being + verb 3rdform….

In English → Movie was being watched

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) +was/were +Not+ being + Verb 3rd from

→ Movie was not being watched

In 1st type Interrogative → Was/were + Indirect Subject (Object) + being + Verb 3rd from

→ Was movie being watched…????

In 2nd type Interrogative → Question world +was/were + Indirect Subject (Object) + being + Verb 3rd from…????

→ Why was movie being watched…????

Past Perfect Passive

→ Movie dekhni gayi thi

Identification Sound → Verb + ee + thi

Based on → Indirect Subject (Object) + had + been+ Verb 3rd from

In English → Movie had been watched

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) + Had+Not + Been+ Verb 3rd from….

→ Movie had not been watched

In 1st type Interrogative → Had + Indirect Subject (Object) + been+ Verb 3rd from

→ Had movie been watched…????

In 2nd type Interrogative → Question world +Had + Indirect Subject (Object) + been + Verb 3rd from…????

→ Why had movie been watched…????

Future Tense Passive Voice

→ Example

→ Mai movie dekhunga

In this sentence

→ Subject – Mai (I) hai…. Verb – Dekhna (watching) hai…. Object – Movie hai….

→ Based on verb + ga sound future indefinite —-

→ Subject + will + verb 1st form + object

→ in English → I will watch movie…. Active voice….

→ Movie dekhi jayegi

In this sentence
There is no Subject. Verb – Dekhna (watching) hai…. Object – Movie hai….

→ Based on verb + gi sound future indefinite —-

→ Indirect Subject (Object) + will + be + verb 3rd

in English → Movie will be watched…. Passive

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) + will +not+ be + verb 3rd form

→ Movie will not be watched

In Interrogative 1st type

→ When your answer is either yes or no….

→ will + Indirect Subject (Object) + be + Verb 3rd form…????

→ Will movie be watched…????

In Interrogative 2nd type

When your answer is in explanation….

→ Question world + will + Indirect Subject (Object) + be + Verb 3rd form…????

Q. Why will movie be watched…????

Future Perfect Passive

→ Movie dekhi gayi hogi

Identification Sound → Verb + ee + hogi

Based on → Indirect Subject (Object) + will + have +been+ Verb 3rd from

In English → Movie will have been watched

In Negative → Indirect Subject (Object) + will +Not + have + Been+ Verb 3rd from….

→ Movie will not have been watched

In Interrogative → Will + Indirect Subject (Object) + have +been+ Verb 3rd from

→ Will movie have been watched…????_1st type_

In Interrogative 2nd type → Question world + will + Indirect Subject (Object) + have + been + Verb 3rd from…

→ Why will movie have been watched…????

→ Everybody drinks water. (Active)
→ Water is drunk by everybody. (Passive)

“Voice” is a grammatical category that applies to verbs. Voice in English expresses the relationship of the subject to the action. Voice has two values:

→ Active: The subject does the action
→ Passive: The subject receives the action
Shakespeare wrote Hamlet

Hamlet
was written
by
Shakespeare.

The active voice is the “normal” voice – the one that we use most of the time. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb:

Active voice Subject Verb Object

Cats Eat Mice.

The passive voice is less common. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:

Passive voice Subject Verb Object

Mice are eaten by cats.

See how the Object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb and Noun / Pronoun that serves as Object in Active voice often becomes the Subject
in Passive voice:
👉 Important – Sometimes execptions can be also concedered .

Subject Verb Object
Active voice Everybody drinks water
Passive voice Water is drunk by everybody

Passive Voice of Miscellaneous

We have covered almost all types of Passive Voice sentences. It is observed that Passive Voice sentence emphasize more on action and subject is normally not there. Where subject comes, it is written that the action is done by the subject.
e.g.
• Room has been cleaned.

When subject is added , it becomes – Room has been cleaned by her.
Importance is on action.
Sometimes at the time of making passive voice of sentences which contains words -someone / somebody / one’s etc, these words are removed
e.g. Active voice :
• Someone has stolen our cycle.
Passive voice :
• Our cycle has been stolen.

When such Passive voice sentence is to be converted in Active voice sentence, such words are added again with the Active voice sentence.
‘By’ is not used with these Verbs
In Passive Voice, ‘By’ is not used with these Verbs. Instead of ‘By’ appropriate Prepositions of the Verbs are used.

Verb Preposition Verb Preposition
Alarmed At Married With (a girl)
Amazed At Married To ( a boy)
Annoyed At Offended With (a person)
Contained In Offended At (Behaviour)
Displeased With (a person) Pleased With (a person)
Displeased At (Behaviour) Pleased At (Behaviour)
Distinguished With Satisfied With
Known To Shocked At
Lined With Surprised At

Examples
Active Voice Active Voice Passive Voice Passive Voice
Khabar ne use chounkaa diyaa. The news alarmed him. He was alarmed at the news. Vah khabar se chounk gayaa.
Vah mujhe jaanatee hai. She knows me. I am known to her. MaiN usake dwaaraa jaanaa jaataa hoon.
Is bottle meiN ink bharee hai. This bottle contains ink. Ink is contained in this bottle. Ink is bottle meiN bharee hui hai.
Usakee safalataa sabako chakit kar rahee hai. His victory is surprising all. All are being surprised at his victory. Sabhee usakee safalataa se chakit ho rahe hai.
Uss kee achaanak mulaakaat ne hame achambhit kar diyaa hai. His sudden visit has amazed us. We have been amazed at his sudden visit. Ham uss kee achaanak mulaakaat se achambhit ho gaye hain.
Radha ne Krishan ko pareshaan nahee kiyaa. Radha did not annoy Krishan. Krishan was not annoyed with Radha. Krishan Radha dwaaraa pareshaan nahee huay.
Usake vyavahaar ne Swati ko sadmaa pahunchayaa. His behaviour shocked Swati. Swati was shocked at his behaviour. Swati ko usake vyavahaar se sadmaa pahunchaa thaa.
Maine apane parivaar ko santushT kiyaa. I satisfied my family. My family was satisfied with me. Meraa parivaar mere se santushT thaa.
Ramesh ne Suman ko naaraaj kiya. Ramesh offended Suman. Suman was offended with Ramesh. Suman Ramesh se naaraaj hui thee.
Madhur ne Bhavin se shaadee kee. Madhur got married to Bhavin. Bhavin was married with Madhur. Madhur se Bhavin kee shaadee kee gai.
Usake transfer kee khabar ne use aprasann kar diyaa hai. The news of his transfer has displeased her. She has been displeased at the news of his transfer. Vah usake transfer kee khabar se aprasann ho gai hai.
Neha ne Swati ko khush kiyaa. Neha pleased Swati. Swati was pleased with Neha. Swati Neha se khush hui.
Examples of Miscellaneous Sentences
Active Voice Active Voice Passive Voice Passive Voice
BaiTh jaao. Sit down Be seated. BaiThe raho.
Mahilaanye pasand karatee hai kee aadamee unakee jhooThee taareef kareN. Women like men to flatter them. Women like to be flattered by men. Mahilaanye aadmiyoN dwaaraa jhooThee taareef karwaanaa pasand karatee hai.
Apanaa vaada pooraa kareN. One should keep one’s promise. Promise should be kept. Vaada pooraa kiyaa jaanaa chaahiye.

Active Voice Active Voice Passive Voice Passive Voice
Yah samay hai dukaan band karane kaa. It is time to close the shop. It is time for the shop to be closed. Yah samay hai dukaan band kee jaaye.
Kisee ne hamaaree table toDee hai. Someone has broken our table. Our table has been broken. Hamaaree table toDee gai hai.
Kisee ne hame buree tarah thag liyaa hai. Somebody has deceived us badly. We have been deceived badly. Ham buree tarah thage gaye hai.
Log bhikhaariyo par hanse. People laughed at beggars. Beggars were laughed at by people. Bhikhaareeyo par logo dwaaraa hansaa gayaa thaa.
Maine usase gaanaa ganwaayaa. I made him sing a song. He was made to sing a song. Usase gaanaa ganwaayaa gayaa.

Active Voice Active Voice Passive Voice Passive Voice
Log kahate hai kee vah imaandaar mantree hai. People say that he is an honest minister. It is said that he is an honest minister. Yah kahaa jaataa hai kee vah imaandaar mantree hai.
Log kahate hai kee vah imaandaar mantree hai. People say that he is an honest minister. He is said to be an honest minister. Vah imaandaar mantree kahaa jaataa hai.
Meree patnee ne mujhase poochhaa maiN kab use phone karungaa. My wife asked me when I would ring her. I was asked by me wife when I would ring her. mujhase meree patnee dwaaraa poochhaa gayaa kab maiN use phone karungaa.
Varsha shuru hone se pahale hee kisaan kheto meiN hal chalaa chuke thay. The farmers had ploughed the fields before the rains set in. The fields had been ploughed by the farmers before the rains set in. Varsha shuru hone se pahale hee kisaano dwaaraa kheto meiN hal chalaayaa jaa chukaa thaa.
Andheraa hone se purva hee ham apane nirdishT sthaan pahunch chuke thay. We had reached our destination before it got dark. Our destination had been reached by us before it got dark. Andheraa hone se purva hee nirdishT sthaan par hamaare dwaaraa pahunchaa jaa chukaa thaa.
Train aane se purva hee maiN akhbaar paDh chukaa hoonga. I shall have read the newspaper before the arrival of the train. The newspaper will have been read by me before the arrival of the train. Train aane se purva hee akhbaar mere dwaaraa paDhaa jaa chukaa hogaa.
Barf padane se purva ve report banaa chuke honge. They will have prepared reports before snowfall. Reports will have been prepared by them before snowfall. Barf paDane se purva unake dwaaraa report banaa lee gai hogee.
Yah samay hai hari jhanDee dene kaa. It is time to give the green signal. It is time for the green signal to be given. Yah samay hai hari jhanDee dee jaaye.

Common error – Active and passive voice
Incorrect: Nurses must be trust and accept patients’ reports of pain.
Correct: Nurses must trust and accept patients’ reports of pain.
Explanation: Redundant auxiliary with active voice. The Present Simple does not use an auxiliary (‘be’ or ‘have’).

Incorrect: The company should consider how much profit can gain by introducing this new product.
Correct: The company should consider how much profit can be gained by introducing this new product.

Explanation: Incorrect form of the main verb. ‘Profit’ is rarely the subject of an active verb. Profit cannot ‘gain’ something.

Incorrect: Only 24% of respondents were correctly answered this question.
Correct: Only 24% of respondents correctly answered this question
Explanation: Redundant auxiliary with active voice. The Present Simple does not use an auxiliary (‘be’ or ‘have’).

Incorrect: As the policy comes from rational analysis and base on experience, it is grounded in fact.
Correct; As the policy comes from rational analysis and is based on experience, it is grounded in fact.
Explanation: Incorrect form of the main verb. This verb is usually used in the passive.

Incorrect: Nurses’ experience in caring for cancer patients in pain may be influenced their attitudes toward pain management.
Correct: Nurses’ experience in caring for cancer patients in pain may influence their attitudes toward pain management.
OR
Nurses’ experience in caring for cancer patients in pain may be influenced by their attitudes toward pain management.
Explanation: These two ‘corrections’ have quite different meanings. Can you recognise in which one the attitude is the
cause, and in which the effect?

→ In the first ‘correction’ the experience the nurses have may cause a change in their attitudes – the attitudes will be an ‘effect’ resulting from their experience – while in the second ‘correction’ the way the nurses experience their caring duties may be changed by the attitudes they began with – the attitudes will be a ’cause’ of the type of experience they have.

Incorrect: This breaks the cell wall, so the proteins release to the lysis buffer.
Correct: This breaks the cell wall, so the proteins are released to the lysis buffer.
Explanation: Incorrect form of the main verb. The action releases the proteins; the proteins are (passively) released.

Incorrect: The amplified light wave divide into two parts by the coupler.
Correct: The amplified light wave is divided into two parts by the coupler.
Explanation: Incorrect form of the main verb. Like the proteins in the sentence above, the light is not active in this situation – it is the coupler which actively divides.)
Incorrect: The collected data have coded and checked by comparison with the results of other researchers.
Correct: The collected data was coded and checked by comparison with the results of other researchers.
Explanation: Incorrect form of the main verb. The passive is required here, not the Present Perfect, so the ‘be’ auxiliary is used, not ‘have’.

Incorrect: Surprisingly, only 12.4% of the nurses had been attended a course in pain management.
Correct: Surprisingly, only 12.4% of the nurses had attended a course in pain management.
Explanation: Incorrect use of the passive with intransitive verbs. It is not possible to use the passive with intransitive verbs (i.e those with a direct object).

Change the following sentences into the passive voice.
• He likes coffee.
• I received a parcel.
• You will never forget this lesson.
• They have brought a gift for you.
• He can do this work.
• She will have taken the test.
• She is doing the cooking.
• They were giving a performance.
• They should hire professionals.
• She was taking him to the hospital.
• They had prepared the dinner before we arrived.
• Government must notice the condition of the country.
ANSWERS
• Coffee is liked by him. (Present Indefinite)
• A parcel was received by me. (Past Indefinite)
• This lesson will never be forgotten by you. (Future Indefinite)
• A gift has been brought to you by them. (Present Perfect)
• This work can be done by him. (Modals)
• The test will have been taken by her. (Future Perfect)
• The cooking is being done by her. (Present Continuous)
• A performance was being given by them. (Past Continuous)
• Professionals should be hired by them. (Modals)
• He was being taken to the hospital by her. (Past Continuous)
• The dinner had been prepared before we arrived. (Past Perfect)
• The condition of the country must be noticed by the Government. (Modals)

Transitive verbs have both active and passive forms:
Active
The hunter killed the lion. > Passive
The lion was killed by the hunter.
Someone has cleaned the windows. > The windows have been cleaned.

Passive forms are made up of the verb be with a past participle:
Be past participle
English is spoken all over the world.
The windows have been cleaned.
Lunch was being served.
The work will be finished soon.
They might have been invited to the party.

If we want to show the person or thing doing the action, we use by:

• She was attacked by a dangerous dog.
• The money was stolen by her husband.

The passive infinitive is made up of to be with a past participle:

• The doors are going to be locked at ten o’clock.
• You shouldn’t have done that. You ought to be punished.

We sometimes use the verb get with a past participle to form the passive:

• Be careful with that glass. It might get broken.
• Peter got hurt in a crash.

We can use the indirect object as the subject of a passive verb:

Active
I gave him a book for his birthday. > Passive
He was given a book for his birthday.
Someone sent her a cheque for a thousand euros. > She was sent a cheque for a thousand euros.

We can use phrasal verbs in the passive:

Active
They called off the meeting. > Passive
The meeting was called off.
His grandmother looked after him. > He was looked after by his grandmother.
They will send him away to school. > He will be sent away to school.

Some verbs which are very frequently used in the passive are followed by the to-infinitive:

be supposed to be expected to be asked to be told to
be scheduled to be allowed to be invited to be ordered to

• John has been asked to make a speech at the meeting.
• You are supposed to wear a uniform.
• The meeting is scheduled to start at seven.

The passive with modals, future and infinitive forms

This is an example of a passive form. We use the passive when it is not so important to know who the agent of the action is. Here we are not so interested in knowing who nominated Sofia Coppola for best director. Our attention is focused on the object, the person who has been nominated. So instead of saying:

The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated Sofia Coppola for best director.

we say:

Sofia Coppola has been nominated for best director.

Note that the object of an active verb becomes the subject of a passive verb:

• The People is published on Sundays

• My curtains are being dry-cleaned

• My passport has been stolen

• The vase was sold for £5,000

With modals and with infinitive forms, the passive is formed with be + past participle or have been + past participle. With future forms it is constructed with be + past participle or being + past participle.

Future forms: will be / is going to be / is being / is to be + past participle

The prisoner will be held indefinitely in a maximum-security jail.

• He will never be released.

• The Council House Tower Blocks in Manchester are to be knocked down.

• The tenants are being offered alternative accommodation.

• The cinema in the High Street is going to be converted into a dance hall.

Modals: can be / could be + past participle

We use these forms to talk about present and past ability or possibility in the passive voice:

• My professor has told me that I may be invited to give the keynote speech at the conference this year.

• The road over the mountains might be closed if this rain turns to snow.

• If you’re all keen to make an early start, the meeting could be brought forward to nine o’ clock.

Modals: must be / ought to be / should be + past participle

We use these forms to talk about necessity and advisability in the passive voice:

• You can’t expect her to work if she’s not well. She must be given time off.

• You’re not supposed to walk on that type of floor in high heels. It should not be allowed.

• He ought to be rewarded for handing in all the money to the police.

Modals: must’ve been / should’ve been / could’ve been + past participle<

Note that when we are using modals to talk about most past situations in the passive voice, be + past participle becomes have been + past participle:

• The car was clearly defective and should never have been rented out.

• That necklace is no longer in the shop window so it must have been sold.

• He insisted on playing American football wearing only a T-shirt and shorts and could have been seriously injured.

Infinitives: to be / to have been + past participle

There is sometimes little difference in meaning whether be or have been passive forms are used. On other occasions, be is more clearly associated with present time and have been is more clearly associated with past time:

• Sofia Coppola is only the third woman to be nominated for best director.

• Sofia Coppola is only the third woman to have been nominated for best director.

• The prisoners are expected to be released today.

• He is to be congratulated on passing his exam.

• He was to have been rewarded for handing in the stolen goods until it was discovered that he was involved with the criminal gang.

Idiomatic Modal Verbs – Passive Voice
How to use “be going to,” “be able to,” “have to,” and “ought to” in the passive voice?
Examples:

• I am going to be finished in an hour.
• “be able to” is similar to “can”
• “have to” is similar to “must”
• “ought to” is similar to “should”

• This work is going to be finished soon.
• She’s able to be trained for a new job.
• The chicken has to be cooked for an hour.

Negative

• The work is not going to be finished.

Question

• Are you going to be driven to the airport?
• Is it able to be fixed?
• Does it have to be done now?

Definition

Helping verbs or auxiliary verbs such as will, shall, may, might, can, could, must, ought to, should, would, used to, need are used in conjunction with main verbs to express shades of time and mood. The combination of helping verbs with main verbs creates what are called verb phrases or verb strings. In the following sentence, “will have been” are helping or auxiliary verbs and “studying” is the main verb; the whole verb string is underlined:

 

  • As of next August, I will have been studying chemistry for ten years.

People should remember that adverbs and contracted forms are not, technically, part of the verb. In the sentence, “He has already started.” the adverb already modifies the verb, but it is not really part of the verb. The same is true of the ‘nt in “He hasn’t started yet” (the adverb not, represented by the contracted n’t, is not part of the verb, has started).

Shall, will and forms of have, do and be combine with main verbs to indicate time and voice. As auxiliaries, the verbs be, have and do can change form to indicate changes in subject and time.

  • I shall go now.
  • I am going now.
  • He had won the election.
  • He was winning the election.
  • They did write that novel together.
  • They have been writing that novel for a long time.

Uses of Shall and Will and Should

In England, shall is used to express the simple future for first person I and we, as in “Shall we meet by the river?” Will would be used in the simple future for all other persons. Using will in the first person would express determination on the part of the speaker, as in “We will finish this project by tonight, by golly!” Using shall in second and third persons would indicate some kind of promise about the subject, as in “This shall be revealed to you in good time.” This usage is certainly acceptable in the U.S., although shallis used far less frequently. The distinction between the two is often obscured by the contraction ‘ll, which is the same for both verbs.

In the United States, we seldom use shall for anything other than polite questions (suggesting an element of permission) in the first-person:

  • Shall we go now?”
  • Shall I call a doctor for you?”

(In the second sentence, many writers would use should instead, although should is somewhat more tentative than shall.) In the U.S., to express the future tense, the verb will] is used in all other cases.

Shall is often used in formal situations (legal or legalistic documents, minutes to meetings, etc.) to express obligation, even with third-person and second-person constructions:

  • The board of directors shall be responsible for payment to stockholders.
  • The college president shall report financial shortfalls to the executive director each semester.”

Should is usually replaced, nowadays, by would. It is still used, however, to mean “ought to” as in

  • You really should not do
  • If you think that was amazing, you should have seen it last night.

In British English and very formal American English, one is apt to hear or read should with the first-person pronouns in expressions of liking such as “I should   prefer iced tea” and in tentative expressions of opinion such as

  • I should imagine they’ll vote Conservative.
  • I should have thought so.

 Uses of Do, Does and Did

In the simple present tense, do will function as an auxiliary to express the negative and to ask questions. (Does, however, is substituted for third-person, singular subjects in the present tense. The past tense did works with all persons, singular and plural.)

  • I don’t study at night.
  • She doesn’t work here anymore.
  • Do you attend this school?
  • Does he work here?

These verbs also work as “short answers,” with the main verb omitted.

  • Does she work here? No, she doesn’t work here.

With “yes-no” questions, the form of do goes in front of the subject and the main verb comes after the subject:

  • Did your grandmother know Truman?
  • Do wildflowers grow in your back yard?

Forms of do are useful in expressing similarity and differences in conjunction with so and neither.

  • My wife hates spinach and so does my son.
  • My wife doesn’t like spinach; neither do I.

Do is also helpful because it means you don’t have to repeat the verb:

  • Larry excelled in language studies; so did his brother.
  • Raoul studies as hard as his sister does.

The so-called emphatic do has many uses in English.

  1. To add emphasis to an entire sentence: “He does like spinach. He really does!”
  2. To add emphasis to an imperative: “Do come in.” (actually softens the command)
  3. To add emphasis to a frequency adverb: “He never did understand his father.” “She always does      manage to hurt her mother’s feelings.”
  4. To contradict a negative statement: “You didn’t do your homework, did you?” “Oh, but I did finish it.”
  5. To ask a clarifying question about a previous negative statement: “Ridwell didn’t take the tools.” “Then who did take the tools?”
  6. To indicate a strong concession: “Although the Clintons denied any wrong-doing, they did return some of the gifts.”

In the absence of other modal auxiliaries, a form of do is used in question and negative constructions known as the get passive:

  • Did Rinaldo get selected by the committee?
  • The audience didn’t get riled up by the politician.

Uses of Have, Has and Had

Forms of the verb to have are used to create tenses known as the present perfect   and past perfect. The perfect tenses indicate that something has happened   in the past; the present perfect indicating that something happened and might be continuing to happen, the past perfect indicating that something happened prior to something else happening. (That sounds worse than it really is!) See the section on Verb Tenses in the Active Voice for further explanation; also review material in the Directory of English Tenses.

To have is also in combination with other modal verbs to express probability and possibility in the past.

  • As an affirmative statement, to have can express how certain you are that something happened (when combined with an appropriate modal + have + a past participle):

 

They may have voted already.”

    “Merry must have left already.”

    “James might have known about the gifts.”

 

  • As a negative statement, a modal is combined with not + have + a past participle to express how certain you are that something did not happen:
  • “Clinton might not have known about the gifts.”
  • I may not have been there at the time of the crime.”

 

To ask about possibility or probability in the past, a modal is combined with the subject + have + past participle:

 

  • Could James have known about the gifts?”

 

For short answers, a modal is combined with have:

Did He know about this?”

“I don’t know. He may have.”

“The evidence is pretty positive. He must have.”

To have (sometimes combined with to get) is used to express a logical inference:

  • It’s been raining all week; the basement has to be flooded by now.
  • He hit his head on the doorway. He has got to be over seven feet tall!

 

Have is often combined with an infinitive to form an auxiliary whose meaning is similar to “must.” ( Is used as Have to , Has to , Had to )

  • I have to have a car like that!
  • You had to go somewhere yesterday.
  • I had to complet that work at any cost.
  • She has to pay her own tuition at college.
  • He has to have been the first student to try that.

There is also a separate section on the Modal Auxiliaries, which divides these verbs into their various meanings of necessity, advice, ability, expectation, permission, possibility, etc., and provides sample sentences in various tenses

Uses of Can and Could

The modal auxiliary can is used

  • To express ability

 (in the sense of being able to do something or knowing how to do something)       

 

  • He can speak Spanish but he can’t write it very well.

 

  • To expression permission

(in the sense of being allowed or permitted to do something):

 

  • Could I talk to my friends in the library waiting room?

(Note that can is less formal than may. Also, some writers will object to the use of can in this context.)

 

  • To express theoretical possibility:
  • American automobile makers can make better cars if they think there’s a profit in it.

The modal auxiliary could is used

  • To express an ability in the past:
    I could always beat you at tennis when we were kids.
  • To express past or future permission:
    Could I bury my cat in your back yard?
  • To express present possibility:
    We could always spend the afternoon just sitting around talking.
  • To express possibility or ability in contingent circumstances:
      If he studied harder, he could pass this course.

In expressing ability, can and could frequently also imply willingness: Can you help me with my homework?

 

 

 

 

 

Uses of May and Might

Two of the more troublesome modal auxiliaries are may and might. When used in the context of granting or seeking permission, might is the past tense of May. Might is considerably more tentative than may.

  • May I leave class early…?
  • If I’ve finished all my work and I’m really quiet, might I leave early…?

In the context of expressing possibility, may and might are interchangeable present and future forms and might + have + past participle is the past form:

  • She might be my advisor next semester.
  • She may be my advisor next semester.
  • She might have advised me not to take biology.

Avoid confusing the sense of possibility in May with the implication of might, that a hypothetical situation has not in fact occurred. For instance, let’s say there’s been a helicopter crash at the airport. In his initial report, before all the facts are gathered, a newscaster could say that the pilot “may have been injured.” After we discover that the pilot is in fact all right, the newscaster can now say that the pilot “might have been injured” because it is a hypothetical situation that has not occurred. Another example: a body had been identified after much work by a detective. It was reported that “without this painstaking work, the body may have remained unidentified.” Since the body was, in fact, identified, might is clearly called for.

Uses of Will and Would

In certain contexts, will and would are virtually interchangeable, but there are differences. Notice that the contracted form ‘ll is very frequently used for will.

Will can be used to express willingness:

  • I’ll wash the dishes, if you dry.
  • We’re going to the movies. Will you join us…?

It can also express intention (especially in the first person):

  • I’ll do my exercises later on.

and prediction:

  • specific: The meeting will be over soon.
  • timeless: Humidity will ruin my hairdo.
  • habitual: The river will overflow its banks every spring.

Would can also be used to express willingness:

  • Would you please take off your hat…?

It can also express insistence (rather rare, and with a strong stress on the word “would”):

  • Now you’ve ruined everything. You would act that way.

 

 

and characteristic activity:

  • customary: After work, he would walk to his home in West Hartford.
  • typical (casual): She would cause the whole family to be late, every time.

In a main clause, would can express a hypothetical meaning:

  • My cocker spaniel would weigh a ton, if I let her eat what she wants.

Finally, would can express a sense of probability:

  • I hear a whistle. That would be the five o’clock train.

Would in conditional sentences

Would is used again for unreal or hypothetical situations in the 2nd and 3rd conditionals:

  • 2nd Conditional: ‘If I won the lottery, I would travel the world.’
  • 3rd Conditional: ‘If I had worked harder, I would have passed the test.’

Would for past actions

Would can be used to talk about actions that repeated in the past. It is used in the same context as used to:

  • ‘In the summer we would always go camping.’ 
  • ‘When I was young, I would do my homework every evening.’

Uses of Used to

The auxiliary verb construction used to is used to express an action that took place in the past, perhaps customarily, but now that action no longer customarily takes place:

  • We used to take long vacation trips with the whole family.

The spelling of this verb is a problem for some people because the “-ed” ending quite naturally disappears in speaking: “We used to take long trips.” But it ought not to disappear in writing. There are exceptions, though. When the auxiliary is combined with another auxiliary, did, the past tense is carried by the new auxiliary and the “-ed” ending is dropped. This will often happen in the interrogative:

  • Didn’t you use to go jogging every morning before breakfast?
  • It didn’t use to be that way.

Used to can also be used to convey the sense of being accustomed to or familiar with something:

  • The tire factory down the road really stinks, but we’re used to it by now.
  • I like these old sneakers; I’m used to

Used to is best reserved for colloquial usage; it has no place in formal or academic text.

Modal Verb Expressing Example
 

Must

Strong obligation You must stop when the traffic lights turn red.
logical conclusion / Certainty He must be very tired. He’s been working all day long.
Must not prohibition You must not smoke in the hospital.
 

Can

ability I can swim.
permission Can I use your phone please?
possibility Smoking can cause cancer.
 

Could

ability in the past When I was younger, I could run fast.
polite permission Excuse me, could I just say something?
possibility It could rain tomorrow!
 

May

permission May I use your phone please?
possibility, probability It may rain tomorrow!
 

Might

polite permission Might I suggest an idea?
possibility, probability I might go on holiday to Australia next year.
Need not lack of necessity/absence of obligation I need not buy tomatoes. There are plenty of tomatoes in the fridge.
 

Should / Ought to

to50 % obligation I should / ought to see a doctor. I have a terrible headache.
advice You should / ought to revise your lessons
logical conclusion He should / ought to be very tired. He’s been working all day long.
Had Better advice You ‘d better revise your lessons

Uses of be able to / unable to

Although we look at be able to here, it is not a modal verb. It is simply the verb be plus an adjective (able) followed by the infinitive. We look at be able to here because we sometimes use it instead of can and could.

We use be able to:

 

  • to talk about ability

Structure of be able to

 

The basic structure for be able to is:

  • subject + be + able + to-infinitive
 

Subject

Main verb

be

Adjective

able

to-infinitive
+ I am able to understand
 

 

She

is not  

able

 

to understand

isn’t
? Are you able to understand?

 

Important that be able to is possible in all tenses, for example:

  • I was able to ..                          . I was not able to drive.
  • I will be able to ..                     . I will not be able to drive.
  • I have been able to ..               . I have been unable to drive…

Important too that be able to has an infinitive form:

  • I would like to be able to speak English

Common error – in Modal Verbs

 

  • Incorrect:       She can working tomorrow.
  • Correct:       She can work tomorrow.
  • Incorrect:      I will going there later.
  • Correct:       I will go there later.
  • Incorrect:      She can drove.
  • Correct:       She can drive.
  • Incorrect: They no can be here.
  • Correct:       They can’t be here.
  • Incorrect:      Who can helping me?
  • Correct:       Who can help me?
  • Incorrect:      Where they can get some gas?
  • Correct:       Where can they get some gas?
  • Incorrect:      You should not in the library talk.
  • Correct:       You should not talk in the library.
  • Incorrect:      If he drinks too much, no should driving.
  • Correct:       If he drinks too much, he shouldn’t drive.
  • Incorrect:      We can no stay very long time.
  • Correct:       We can’t stay very long.
  • Incorrect:      This will a good movie.
  • Correct:       This will be a good movie.
  • Incorrect:      You really must to go to bed now.
  • Correct:       You really must go to bed now.
  • Incorrect:      She had to pay a fine for driving over the speed limit.
  • Correct:       She must pay a fine for driving over the speed limit.
  • Incorrect:      You should always keep your PIN in a safe place.
  • Correct:       You always should keep your PIN in a safe place.