There are two very different conceptions of grammar . There is one school of thought that views grammar as a collection of rules that must be learned in order to use language “correctly.” The correct rules must often be learned and practiced, and may at times be contrary to what even educated native speakers use in formal language contexts. This is the prescriptive school of grammar.
Prescriptive grammar is the grammar taught in school, discussed in newspaper and magazine columns on language, or mandated by language academies. It attempts to tell people how they should say something, what words they should use, when they need to make a specific choice, and why they should do so—even if the rule itself goes against speakers’ natural inclinations.
Descriptive grammar rules, in contrast to prescriptive rules, describe how adult native speakers actually use their language. From this perspective, grammar is what organizes language into meaningful, systematic patterns. These rules are inherent to each language and are generally not conscious rules . Descriptive grammar, unlike prescriptive grammar, does not say, “this is right” or “this is wrong.”
This is not to say that there should be no grammar rulebooks, manuals of style, or standards of usage; on the contrary, there is a need for standards, especially in formal language contexts and when we are learning English as non-native speakers.
Grammar is the structural system of a language. The grammar of English is organized into five ranks: the sentence , the clause , the phrase , the word and the morpheme . Each rank is composed of one or more than one grammatical unit of the immediate lower unit. A full sentence can generally be segmented rank by rank down to its smallest constituents--- the morphemes .
bound morphemes （粘附词素） are mostly affixes. They are also meaningful, but the meaning is not complete in itself unless it is attached to some other form. Therefore, a bound morpheme cannot stand by itself: it only exists as an inflectional( 曲折变化的 ) or derivational( 派生的 ) affix.
-refer to those sets of words whose items are “closed” or limited in number and are only exceptionally extended by the creation of additional members, such as prepositions, pronouns, determiners, conjunctions, auxiliaries, etc.
-refer to those sets of words whose items are indefinitely extendable. New items are constantly being created and old items are giving place to new ones, such as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, main verbs( 主动词 ).
The phrase is composed of one or more than one word. Generally, the phrase is a group of words organized in a specific way with a key word as its head( 中心词 ). The word class of the head determines the class of the phrase and the way in which the words are organized.
1) The noun phrase 名词词组
The noun phrase is a phrase with a noun as its head. The general pattern of a noun phrase is: (determiner +) (premodifier +) noun(+postmodifier)
1) Independent and dependent/subordinate clause 独立分句和从属分句
In terms of grammatical function, a clause can be independent or dependent. An independent clause is a clause that can stand by itself and act as a complete utterance, as distinguished from dependent clause that forms only part of another clause or of a phrase.
A clause can be finite or nonfinite. A finite clause is one with a finite verb phrase as its predicate verb or predicator; a nonfinite clause is a clause with a nonfinite verb phrase as its predicator.
The sentence is the highest rank of grammatical unit. Based on one or more than one clause, the sentence is also the basic linguistic unit of connected discourse; it can stand alone and perform a function in social communication. Thus, a sentence can be defined as a grammatical unit that can stand by itself and perform a communicative function .
A full sentence is a sentence with an expressed subject and predicate. This kind of sentence is mostly used in formal speech and writing.
e.g. I signed the paper to get the license.
A minor sentence is only a sentence fragment which in specific contexts and situations can stand by itself and perform a communicative function. Minor sentences are extensively used in informational discourses.
(a) The “ZIP” in zip code stands for “zone improvement plan.”
(b) Lyndon Johnson loved the soda Fresca so much he had a fountain installed in the Oval Office that dispensed the beverage, which the president could operate by pushing a button on his desk chair.
(c) There was some question as to whether Barry Goldwater could legally serve as president because the Constitution requires presidents to be born in the United States and Goldwater was born in Arizona before it was a state.
(d) Despite being only five stories high, the Pentagon is one of the biggest office buildings in the world.
7. Which of the following is a compound sentence ?
(a) Sirimauo Bandranaike of Sri Lanka became the world’s first popularly elected female head of state in 1960.
(b) Andrew Jackson was the only U.S. president who believed that the world was flat.
(c) Six-time Socialist party candidate for President of the United States Norman Thomas never polled more than 884,000 popular votes in one election, but his influence on American political and social thought was very effective.
(d) The first U.S. president to ride in an automobile was William McKinley.