In this presentation we have a review of grammar that will be helpful to you as you conduct a language analysis. Before we get started, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the content in this presentation is directly from a packet provided by Marilyn Nippold of the University of Oregon, who was my undergraduate language professor.
Let’s begin by talking about the major parts of speech, which are often called word categories or word classes. These word classes consist of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, articles, direct objects, and indirect objects. We’ll talk about the classes of words listed here in more detail.
The traditional definition of a noun is “a person, place, or thing,” such as dog, cat, car, or book. We know, of course, that nouns can be more abstract, representing concepts that are not so tangible, such as love or transcendentalism. Proper nouns are also very common, such as University of Toledo or Dr. Hughes. Many nouns can be pluralized by adding –s or –es. They can also be preceded by a determiner such as a (a dog), the (the cat) or some (some books).
An adjective is a word that modifies or describes a noun, such as old, red, big, or happy. Some adjectives are words that can be made comparative or superlative, such as “the bigger cake” or “the biggest cake.”
An adverb is a word that modifies or describes a verb, such as “He drove slowly.” “The rain fell quietly.” or “She ran quickly.” Adverbs often end in the suffix –ly (such as nicely, quickly, hastily, or slowly) but not always. For example, in the sentence “I will work now,” now is an adverb. There are different types of adverbs such as adverbs of time, place, and manner. Adverbs of time answer the question when. For example, “when did she run?” “She ran early” in which “early” is an adverb. Adverbs of place answer the question where. For example, “where did she run?” “She ran everywhere” in which “everywhere” is an adverb. Finally, adverbs of place answer the question how. For example, “how did she run?” “She ran cautiously” in which “cautiously” is an adverb. Adverbs can modify other types of words besides verbs. For example, they can modify adjectives. In the sentence “the very pretty coat,” the word very is an adverb. Adverbs can also modify other adverbs, such as “early yesterday morning” (in which early is the adverb) or “she ran very quickly” (in which “very” is the adverb). In fact, any modifier that is not an adjective or an article is an adverb.
A preposition is a small word such as to, in, under, over, into, on, above, etc. These are words that introduce a prepositional phrase, such as “I went to the store.” “I put it on the shelf” and “The ball rolled under the bed.” A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition and its object.A particle, on the other hand, looks like a preposition but doesn’t act like one. Particles are small words such as up, down, off, in, and out that are associated with a verb, such as “He rolled up the window.” Particles, unlike prepositions, can shift their position in the sentence. A particle can shift to the right of the object noun. For example, you can say “he turned off the TV” or you can say “he turned the TV off.” Similarly “she threw out the trash” or “she threw the trash out.”
Conjunctions are small words that connect or conjoin other words. Coordinating conjunctions are words like and, but, for, or, so, and yet. Coordinating conjunctions introduce an independent clause, such as “I like strawberry but Bill likes chocolate.” Subordinating conjunctions are words like after, although, and unless. They introduce a dependent clause such as “Although it was raining, we went for a walk.” Finally, correlative conjunctions occur as pairs or groups of words within the same independent clause. They consist of words like both and and, either and or, and not only and but also. For example, “I would like both purple slippers and purple glasses.”
Determiners precede nouns. They include articles, possessive pronouns, and demonstratives. An article is a small word like a, the, or an that immediately precedes a noun or adjective. The article identifies, or “points out” the noun; it doesn’t describe it. For example, “The dog was old,” or “I want a big cookie.” The word “the” is a definite article and “a” and “an” are indefinite articles. A definite article identifies a particular object, like the dog or the girl. An indefinite article doesn’t specify any particular object. For example, you might say “I’ll take an apple.” In this case, you mean that any apple in general will do.
There are many types of pronouns. One type, possessive pronouns, was described on the last slide. Possessive pronouns are a type of determiner. Other types of pronouns include personal, demonstrative, reflexive, relative, indefinite, and interrogative.Personal pronouns refer to people or animals, and can substitute for specific names of people or animals. Examples of personal pronouns are I, you, me, he, she, we, they, them, us, it, him, her, etc.Demonstrative pronouns can refer to people or objects. This type of pronoun singles out what it refers to, such as this, that, these, and those.Reflexive pronouns refer back to the subject of the sentence, and include words like himself, herself, themselves, itself, ourselves, and yourself. For example, “Mary helped herself” or “The kids taught themselves.”Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that don’t specify the person or thing they refer to. Indefinite pronouns can include words like anybody, anyone, one, each, any, everything, everyone, some, all, something, somebody, etc. Other indefinite pronouns include what, which, who and those when they are not introducing a relative clause, such as “She knows what to do,” “I know who will win,” and “I know which cat is mine.”Interrogative pronouns initiate a question and consist of words like who, what, when, how, whose, which, etc. For example, “What time is it?” “How are you?” or “Whose dog is this?”
Verbs are words that express action, such as run, jump, or fall, or a state of being, such as think, feel, know, or believe. Verbs tell you about the subject of the sentence, and there are many types of verbs.
Let’s talk about main verbs first. Every sentence must have a main verb. The main verb is most directly related to the subject of the sentence, e.g., “Jill wants an apple” or “Bob runs fast”. Main verbs can express different tenses—that is, past, present, and future tense. There are two types of past tense verbs: past regular and past irregular. Past regular tenses add –ed to the verb. For example, “Yesterday, the boy walked”, “the boy talked”, “the boy jumped”, etc. Past irregular verbs take an unpredictable form in that you don’t add –ed, such as the verbs ran, wrote, drove, fell, ate, etc.Main verbs may be transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb such as give, take, push, or hit, take a direct object. The direct object directly receives the action of the verb. In the sentence, “She threw the ball,” threw is the transitive verb and ball is the direct object. By the way, there are also indirect objects that indirectly receive the action of the verb. Indirect objects tell you what or who receives the direct object. For example, in the sentence “She threw the ball to Bill,” threw is still the transitive verb, the ball is the direct object, and Bill is the indirect object.So on to intransitive verbs. These verbs, like fall, cope, or complain, do not take a direct object. They could instead take an indirect object preceded by a preposition. Examples are “she fell to the ground,” and “He coped with his problem.”There are also different types of main verbs. Let’s talk about uninflected verbs first. Uninflected verbs have no marking for person, place, or tense. This is how you would find the verb listed in the dictionary in its simplest form, such as like, see, or believe. Uninflected verbs are also called infinitives.Present progressive verbs indicate an ongoing action or activity that includes an auxiliary verb such as is or are. For example, “He is running,” or “they are swimming.”Past progressive verbs are the same as present progressive verbs, but they tell what happened in the past, such as “He was running, They were swimming.”Another type of verb with which you should be very familiar is the copula. This is the verb “to be” in all of its various forms, such as is, are, am, was, were, and will be.) Let’s take a closer look at the copula.
Remember from middle and high school that sentences have subjects and predicates. The copula is a linking verb because it links or joins the subject of the sentence to the predicate. The following sentences all contain the copula verb: “The boy is late,” “the children are pretty,” “the house is brown.” The copula verb is the main verb of the clause.Auxiliary verbs seem like copulas at first. They both contain the word “is” or variations of is, such as am, are, was, were, or will be. However, auxiliary verbs are “helping” verbs. They combine with other verbs and are actually part of the main verb. When the auxiliary verb is “is” or a variation of “is,” then the main verb ends with –ing. Some examples are “the girl is running,” “The dogs are eating”, and “the birds were flying.”Note that both copulas and auxiliary verbs may be uncontracted, contracted, or uncontractible . In the sentence “I am happy,” am is the copula, and it is uncontracted. You can make it contracted by saying, “I’m happy.” On the other hand, if you say “I was there,” the copula “were” is uncontratible. The same goes for auxiliary verbs. In the sentence, “I am helping,” am is the uncontracted auxiliary verb and “I’m helping” becomes the contracted version. But some auxiliary verbs cannot be contracted, such as in the sentence “He was asking”.
A modal verb is a special type of auxiliary verb. Modal verbs help express the mood or attitude of the speaker, or special conditions, such as might, should, may, shall, or must. For example, “I might like the new book” or “You should do your work.” In this case, might and should are the modal verbs. Modals can express a mood of uncertainty (such as “You might like the movie”) or of certainty (such as “You must see the movie.”)
Secondary verbs are not auxiliary verbs. They are a special type of verb found in some sentences. Not all sentences contain secondary verbs. There are three different types of secondary verbs: infinitives, gerunds, and participles.Infinitives are verbs in their unmarked form, often preceded by the word “to,” such as to go, to run, to dance, to play. In the sentence I wanted to go home,” “wanted” is the main verb, and “ to go” is the secondary verb.A gerund is a verb with –ing that acts like a noun. Examples are “swimming is good exercise” and “smoking is bad for your health.”A participle is a verb with –ing that acts like an adjective. Examples are “The swimming boy got to shore” and “the smoking car blew up.”
Let’s move on now to clauses. A clause is a group of words that expresses a subject-predicate relationship. In case you need a review, the subject is the topic of the sentence—that is, the actor, agent, or main event. The predicate is what is said about the subject, and always includes the verb and perhaps some other words as well. In the sentence “Bill caught the ball,” Bill is the subject, and “caught the ball.” Likewise, in the sentence “The party was fun,” “the party” is the subject and “was fun” is the predicate.
Clauses can be independent or dependent. An independent clause contains a main verb; it makes a complete statement and can stand alone, such as “Mary was studying,” “It was six o’clock,” or “Bill likes chess.” Every sentence must contain at least one independent clause. Two independent clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction, such as “Bill likes chess and Mary likes bridge.”
Dependent clauses are also known as subordinate clauses. A dependent clause cannot stand alone; it must be linked to an independent clause. For example, in the sentence “Mary was studying when the bell rang,” “when the bell rang” is the dependent clause. Another example is, “Although it was late, Mary kept studying.” The words “although it was late” represent a dependent clause, because they cannot stand alone. Dependent clauses are initiated by subordinate conjunctions (e.g., because, since, although, before, until, after, while, whenever, when, etc.) There are different types of dependent clauses. A relative clause, also called an adjective clause, modifies the noun that precedes it. For example, in the sentence, “The dog who has spots caught the rabbit”, “who has spots” is the relative clause. An adverb clause, on the other hand, modifies a verb. In the sentence, “The dog bit the girl when she got too close,” when she got too close is the adverb clause. Note that in this sentence, the wordwhen is a subordinate conjunction, not a pronoun.
Now that we’ve covered word classes and clauses, we can discuss phrases. A phrase is a group of words that does not express a subject-predicate relationship. Phrases are contained within clauses and are usually shorter than clauses.
A phrase is a group of words that does not express a subject-predicate relationship. Phrases are contained within clauses and are usually shorter than clauses. There are different types of phrases, but all sentences must contain a noun phrase and a verb phrase. The noun phrase is the subject of the sentence; the verb phrase is the predicate.
A noun phrase must contain a noun; it may also contain some other words, such as “the old man” “a long story” and “the publisher of this book”.A verb phrase must contain a verb; it may also contain some other words, such as “saw the sunset,” “was told by grandfather,” “is the best deal.” A verb phrase can contain a noun phrase, such as “the boy saw the dog.”A prepositional phrase always contains a preposition and its object along with any modifiers, such as “Mary went to the new school.”
A participal phrase consists of a participle and its object and/or modifiers. The participal phrase modifies the nearest noun. Sometimes, ungrammatical sentences are created in which the participal phrase has no clear subject, as in the case of this sentence: “Reading the evening paper, a dog started barking.” These sentences are unacceptable because they leave the listener or reader guessing about who preformed the main action of the sentence.A gerund phase consists of a gerund and its object, along with any modifiers, where as an infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive and its object, as well as any modifiers.
Finally, let’s talk about sentences.
A simple sentence contains one independent clause and no subordinate clause. An example is “the cup is red.” or “The boy was running.”A compound sentence consists of two independent clauses joined by a coordination conjunction. An example is “Jim plays tennis and Mark plays golf.”A complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one subordinate clause. An example is “We’ll go the picnic as soon as our cousins, who live in Astoria, arrive.”A compound-complex sentence contains two independent clauses and at least one subordinate clause. An example is “It was snowing when we drove into the parking lot, but it soon stopped.”
Nouns• Often considered to be a “person, place, or thing”• Can be more abstract• Nouns can be pluralized and can be preceded by a determiner.
Adjectives• A word that modifies or describes a noun• Sometimes (but not always) can be made comparative (-er) or s superlative (-est).
Adverbs• A word that modifies or describes a verb.• Often end in the suffix –ly (but not always).• There are different types of adverbs: – Adverbs of time answer the question “when” – Adverbs of place answer the question “when” – Adverbs of manner answer the question “how”• Any modifier that is not an adjective or an article is an adverb.
Prepositions and Particles• Prepositions are small words that introduce a prepositional phrase.• A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition and its object.• Particles look like prepositions but are associated with a verb.
Conjunctions• Small words that connect other words. – Coordinating conjunctions introduce an independent clause – Subordinating conjunctions introduce a dependent clause – Correlative conjunctions occur as pairs or groups of words within the same independent clause • Both ____ and ____ • Either ____ or _____ • Not only____, but also ______
Determiners• Article – Small word that immediately proceeds a noun or adjective; may be definite or indefinite.• Possessive pronoun – A word used in place of a noun that implies ownership• Demonstrative pronoun – Singles out what it refers to
Pronouns• Personal pronouns – refer to people or animals, and can substitute for specific names of people or animals (I, you, he, we, etc.)• Demonstrative pronouns – Can refer to people or objects; singles out what it refers to (this, that, these, those)• Reflexive pronouns – Refers back to the subject of the sentence (himself, ourselves)• Indefinite pronouns – Pronoun that doesn’t specify the person or thing it refers to (anyone, some, everything, who, which)• Interrogative pronouns – A pronoun that initiates a question (who, what, when, where, why)
Verbs• Words that express action, such as run, jump, or fall• Represent a state of being, such as think, feel, know, or believe• Verbs tell you about the subject of the sentence.
Main Verbs• Past regular (-ed) or past irregular (ran, wrote)• Transitive (takes a direct object) or intransitive (indirect object preceded by a preposition)• Different types – Uninflected (also called infinitives) – Present progressive (-ing) – Past progressive (was/were) – Copula (verb “to be” in various forms)
Copula vs. Auxiliary verbs• Copula verb – The copula is a linking verb because it links or joins the subject of the sentence to the predicate.• Auxiliary verb – Combine with other verbs and are part of the main verb. – When the auxiliary verb is “is” or a variation of “is”, then the main verb end with–ing.
Modal Verbs• A special type of auxiliary verb• Help express the mood or attitude of the speaker, or special conditions (might, should, may, shall, or must)
Secondary Verbs• Infinitive – The verb in its unmarked form – Often preceded by “to” (though not always)• Gerund – A verb with –ing that acts like a noun• Participle – A verb with –ing that acts like an adjective
Independent Clauses• Contain a main verb• Make a complete statement• Can stand alone
Dependent Clauses• Cannot stand alone• Must be linked to an independent clause• Are initiated by subordinate conjunctions (e.g., because, since, although, before, until, after, while, whenever, when, etc.)• Relative clause modifies the noun that precedes it.• Adverb clause modifies a verb that precedes it.
Phrases• A group of words that does not express a subject-predicate relationship.• Phrases are contained within clauses• Usually shorter than clauses.• All sentences must contain a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP).
Many types of phrases!• Noun phrases – “the old man,” “a long story,” “the publisher of this book”• Verb phrases – “saw the sunset,” “was told by grandfather” “is the best deal” – VP’s can include noun phrases• Prepositional phrases – Always contains a preposition and its object along with any modifiers – “Mary went to the new school”
Other phrases• Participal phrases – “Reaching the sharp turn, the Dutch cyclist took the lead.” – “Reading the evening paper, a dog started barking,” (Note that this is grammatically unacceptable—who is the subject?)• Gerund phrases – Consists of a gerund and its object, along with any modifiers – “Sending Jenny away was a big mistake.”• Infinitive phrases – Consists of an infinitive and its object, along with any modifiers – “To win the Olympic Marathon was the highlight of her running career.”
Sentences• Simple – Contains one independent clause and no subordinate clause.• Compound – Consists of two independent clauses joined by a coordination conjunction.• Complex – Contains one independent clause and at least one subordinate clause• Compound-complex – Two independent clauses and at least one subordinate clause