I went into my college-level English grammar course expecting the material to be the same as what we all study in high school, but the reality was that English grammar is a lot more difficult than I had assumed. So based on the education I received from that particular course, I created a simple guide to make the material much easier to understand. This guide will help you succeed in high school, college, and in everyday writing.
Verb Phrase : A phrase with a verb as its head and all modifiers of the verb.
- She had been running all day.
Finite and Non Finite Verbs:
Finite verbs show agreement with the subject and can be tensed.
- She coughed. They cough.
Infinitive verbs have no subject agreement, tense, or number, and they function as another part of speech.
There are three types of these verbals and they are determined by their function.
Infinitives: Begins with “to” or can be implied. It is used as an adjective, adverb, or noun.
- To understand the problem, she asked a lot of questions.
Participle : Ends in “ing”, “d”, “t”, etc and it is always used as an adjective.
- In the hospital, my routine was watching soaps.
Gerund : Always ends in “ing” and is always used as a noun.
- Shouting at your parents is disrespectful.
Direct Object: Usually comes after the transitive verb and is usually the receiver of the actions but not always.
- The girl hit the ball.
Indirect Object: Usually follows a preposition and refers to the people who are affected by the action.
*Be careful because sometimes it’s just a prepositional phrase and not a direct object.
- She gave the ball to Martin.
Subject Complement: It’s a noun phrase or adjective that describes the subject of the sentence.
- She is intelligent.
- She is a mayor.
Object Complement: It’s a noun phrase or predicate that describes the direct object of a sentence.
- They made him mayor.
- They made her smarter.
Appositive: A noun, noun phrase, or series of nouns used to identify or rename another noun, noun phrase, or pronoun.
- John, the mayor of the city, is finally here.
Embed : A clause that is embedded in another.
- The boy who came is his cousin.
Modifier : A word, phrase, or clause that functions as an adjective or adverb to limit or qualify the meaning of another word or word group.
- “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Adjective Phrase: A word group with an adjective as its head. This adjective may be accompanied by modifiers, determiners, and/or qualifiers.
- The small and cute bird was there.
Adverb Phrase: An adverb phrase can modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb, and it can appear in a number of different positions in a sentence.
- Only occasionally is there a rumble in the sky or a hint of rain.
Prepositional Phrase: A phrase that begins with a preposition and ends with the object of the preposition.
- They were sitting on the porch.
Participle Phrase: Both present and past participles can be used in phrases–called participial phrases–that modify nouns and pronouns. A participial phrase is made up of a participle and its modifiers. A participle may be followed by an object, an adverb, a prepositional phrase, an adverb clause, or any combination of these. Here, for example, the participial phrase consists of a present participle (holding), an object (the torch), and an adverb (steadily):
- Holding the torch steadily , Marine approached the monster.
Gerund Phrase: A gerund is at the head of the phrase. The gerund is a verb ending in “ing” that acts as a noun.
- Running is the best thing for your heart.
Infinitive Phrase : Begins with “to” or it can be implied and it’s used as an adjective, adverb, or noun.
- To find her purse, she switched on the light.
- She likes to dance.
Determiner: A determiner is a type of modifier that signals a noun. By function, determiners are nouns. There are three types of determiners: Central, Post, and Pre.
- The man, all the students, or the first two poems.
Intensifier: Adverbs that can modify an adjective or an adverb but never a verb.
- Very, too, most, quite, and rather.
Active Voice: Follows the pattern of Doer + Action + Receiver.
- She threw the ball to Rachel.
Passive Voice: Follows the pattern of Receiver + Action +By Doer. It always uses a transitive verb.
- The dog was treated by the vet.
Subject-Verb Agreement : A verb must agree in number with its subject, in person and number. Singular subjects take singular verbs and plural subjects take plural verbs.
- She and I are studying
- She is studying.
Auxiliary Verbs: They are helping verbs that assist the main verb and cannot exist without it. It helps the main verb in forming tense and voice. Category one’s purpose is to change the time or emphasis and they are be, have, and do.
- I have been giving the matter a lot of thought.
The second category is model auxiliaries that do not use tense marking endings and cannot function as main verbs.
- Can, may, will, shall, must, could, might, would, should.
Main Verb: It’s a single- word verb which can stand by itself. There are five forms: plain, present, past, past participle, and present participle. There are three verb types: Transitive, Intransitive, and Linking.
Transitive: Verb followed by a direct object.
- She cooked a big roast.
Intransitive: The action stops at the verb.
- She stopped at the park.
Linking Verb: Links the subject with its predicate. (Renames or describes)
- She is intelligent.
- She is mayor.
Noun: These are words that name a person, place, or thing. There are five types: Proper, Common, Collective, Abstract, and Concrete.
Pronouns : Most pronouns take the place of nouns but indefinite pronouns do not. There are seven kinds: Demonstrative, Indefinite (everybody, any, and none), Intensive, Interrogative, Personal, Reflexive, and Relative.
Antecedent: It’s the noun phrase that a pronoun stands for.
· I hate to say it, but you didn’t pass the exam.
Verb: It’s the action of the sentence.
Adjective : It describes a noun or pronoun.
Adverb : Describes an adjective, verb, or adverb.
Preposition : Indicates the relationship of one noun phrase to another.
Object of the preposition : The indirect object that follows a preposition.
Simple Present: It snows here.
Simple Past: It snowed here.
Simple Future: It will snow here.
Present Progressive: It is snowing here.
Past Progressive: It was snowing here.
Future Progressive: It will be snowing here.
Present Perfect: It has already snowed.
Past Perfect: It had already snowed by then.
Future Perfect: It will already have snowed by then.
Present Perfect Progressive: It has been snowing all day.
Past Perfect Progressive: It had been snowing all day.
Future Perfect Progressive: It will have been snowing for two hours by then.