If you can put the word ‘the’ in front of a word and
it sounds like a unit, the word is a noun.
Concrete nouns refer to things we can perceive
with one of our senses. Abstract nouns cannot be
perceived by our senses.
If you can put his in front of a word and it sounds
like a unit, the word is a noun.
Animate nouns refer to things that are alive;
inanimate nouns refer to things that are not alive.
If you can pluralize a noun in a sentence, it is
functioning as a count noun.
If you can use many with a noun (when it is
pluralized), it’s a count noun. If you can use much
with a noun, it’s a non count noun.
If you can use fewer with a noun (when it is
pluralized), it’s a count noun. If you can use less
with a noun, it’s a non count noun.
Nouns that are actual names, for example Mary,
Ram are called proper nouns. Nouns that are not
names are called common nouns, e.g. girl.
One way to identify a proper noun is to ask
yourself: is this a noun I would capitalize, no
matter where it is in a sentence? If so, it’s a proper
If a word can have should in front of it and the
phrase sounds complete, the word is a verb.
Examples: should leave, should sail, should
discover, should complain.
Leave, sail, discover, and complain are all verbs.
If a word can have to in front of it and the phrase
sounds complete, it’s a verb. Examples: to leave, to
sail, to discover, to complain. Leave, sail, discover,
and complain are all verbs. (Note that we’re not
talking here about two, too, or the to that indicates
direction, as in Let’s go to the park.)
The forms of the irregular verb be are: am, are, is,
was, were, be, been, being.
If you can substitute a form of be for a verb and the
meaning of the sentence is basically the same, the
verb is probably being used as a linking verb. The
verb be and its forms are also linking verbs.
If you can substitute a form of seem for a verb and
the meaning of the sentence is basically the same,
the verb is probably being used as a linking verb.
There are only three articles in English: the, a and
There are only four demonstratives in English: this,
that, these, and those.
The determiner possessive pronouns are: my, your,
his, her, its, our, their.
Words of quantity, quantifiers, can act as
determiners and precede a noun. Some examples
are: all, some, several, and much.
If you can put a word between the and a noun (for
example, the _____boy), then that word is an
Prepositions are words, usually small, that
typically indicate information about direction,
location, or time.
There is only a small number of prepositions in
Some commonly used prepositions are : at, from,
in, on, and to.
There are three common coordinating
conjunctions in English. They are: and, or, and but.
Four less common ones are for, so, yet, and nor.
A commonly used way to remember the
coordinating conjunctions is to think of
FANBOYS: F (for), A (and), N (nor), B (but), O
(or), Y (yet), S (so).
The subordinating conjunction is always the first
word of the dependent clause. Correlative
conjunctions are two part conjunctions. Common
correlative conjunctions are: both /and, either /or,
if /then, neither /nor.
Subordinating conjunctions connect a sentence
with another sentence, which is a subpart of it. The
subpart sentence is called a dependent clause (or
The subject pronouns are: I, you, he, she, it, we,
The object pronouns are: me, you, her, him, it, us
The reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself,
himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves,
There are only four demonstrative pronouns: this,
that, these, and those Interrogative pronouns are
The interrogative pronouns are: how, what, when,
where, which, who, whom, whose, why.
The common relative pronouns are: that, which,
who, whom, whose. They refer back to a noun in
All the reflexive pronouns end in self (singular) or
Adverbs generally indicate information about
location, time, degree, and manner. They provide
extra information about the action in a sentence,
about adjectives and about other adverbs.
If you don’t know what else a word is (and you’ve
eliminated the other parts of speech), it’s probably
If the main verb of the sentence is an action verb,
the subject of the sentence is the doer of the action
and generally comes before the verb. It can be
found by answering the question: ‘‘Who or what is
doing the action?’’.
If the main verb of the sentence is a linking verb,
the subject is who or what the sentence is about;
the subject is found before the verb.
The direct object of a sentence is receiving the
action. It can usually be found by answering the
question: ‘‘Who or what is being acted upon or
receiving the action?’’ The direct object typically
occurs immediately after the verb.
An indirect object can occur:
(a) after the direct object (which follows the verb),
with to or for introducing it, or
(b) before the direct object (and after the verb),
without to or for. For example: Joan gave a present
to Bill or Joan gave Bill a present. (Bill is the
indirect object in both sentences.)
A subject pronoun is used when it is functioning as
the subject of the sentence. An object pronoun is
used when it is functioning as:
(a) the direct object of the sentence;
(b) the indirect object of the sentence;
(c) the object of a preposition.
The subject of commands is an understood or
Sentences that make a statement are called
declaratives; sentences that ask a question are
called interrogatives; sentences that give a
command are called imperatives; sentences that
express strong emotion are called exclamations.
A yes/no question is one that can be answered by
‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no.’’
A “wh” question begins with one of the following
“wh” words (question words): when, where, what,
why, which, who, whom, how. Example: Where is
(Source: “English Grammar : Understanding Basics, Cambridge university Press)
Lecturer in English