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English Grammar

Some Basic Concepts

Letters and Syllables

Letters—There are 26 Letters in English. They can be classified into two groups :

  • Vowels
  • Consonants

Vowels—The Letters that can be pronounced without the help of any other Letter are called Vowels. They are five—a, e, i, o, u.

Consonants—The remaining 21 Letters are called consonants. They cannot be pronounced without the help of a Vowel.

Note—W and Y are the two Letters that can be used both as Vowels and Consonants.

Words—Any sound produced by the mouth, which has a meaning, is called a word. A word is formed by one or more Letters.

Syllables—The part of a word pronounced in one instance is called a syllable. A word can have one or more syllables.

As :

  • Words of one syllable : you, me, go, run, sit,
  • Words of two syllables : Fa-ther, Wa-ter, mon-key, beau-ty, etc.
  • Words of more than two syllables : Beau-ti-ful, de-mo-cra-cy; po-ssi-bi-li-ty, etc.

Sentence—“A combination of words that makes complete sense is called a sentence.” —(J. C. Nesfield)

“A group of words which makes complete sense is called a sentence.” —(Wren and Martin)

Phrase—“A combination of words that makes sense, but not complete sense, is called a phrase”. —(Nesfield)

“A group of words which makes sense but not complete sense, is called a phrase.” —(Wren and Martin)

As—of great courage, at the door, sands of time, etc.

Clause—“A group of words which forms part of a sentence, and contains a subject and a predicate, is called a clause.”—(Nesfield)

He said that he was not well.

Do you know the man who came here yesterday ?

Kinds of Sentences

Sentences are of Four kinds:

  1. Assertive or Declarative Sentence—A sentence that makes a statement or assertion is called an Assertive or Declarative

As—India is a great country.

He is a noble man..

  1. Interrogative Sentence—A sentence that asks a question is called an Interrogative sen

As—What is your name ?

Is he a dependable man ?

  1. Imperative Sentence—A sentence that expresses a command, a request or an entreaty is called an Imperative

As—Be quiet.

Go away from here.

Forgive us.

  1. Exclamatory Sentence—A sentence that expresses a sudden feeling of pleasure, sorrow, anger or surprise is called an Exclamatory

As—Alas ! I am ruined. What a terrible shock it was ! How shameful !

Parts of Speech

Different words used in a sentence have different functions. According to these functions, words can be classified into 8 categories. No word has any fixed category. Its category depends upon its function in a sentence.

These eight categories are called Parts of Speech—

  1. Noun—“A noun is a word used as the name of a person, place, or thing.” —(Wren and Martin)

As—Ram, table, sweetness, iron, sheep, etc.

  1. Pronoun—“A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun.”—(Wren and Martin)

As—he, she, you, I, we, it, they, etc.

  1. Adjective—“An Adjective is a word used to add something to the meaning of a noun (or a pronoun). —(Wren and Martin)

An adjective qualifies a noun or a pronoun.

As—a good boy, a fast train, much labour, five coins.

  1. Verb—“A verb is a word used to say something about some person, place, or ” —(Wren and Martin)

As—She went to school.

Kanpur is an industrial town.

He is dumb.

  1. Adverb—“An Adverb is a word used to add something to the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.” —(Wren and Martin)

As— He worked hard.

He came suddenly.

She is very slow.

She finished her work very quickly.

  1. Preposition—“A Preposition is a word used with a noun or a pronoun to show how the person or thing denoted by the noun or pronoun stands in relation to something ” —(Wren and Martin)

As—on the road, in the house, by courtesy, with him, etc.

  1. Conjunction—“A conjunction is a word which is used to join words, phrases, clauses, and sentences to one another. —(Wren and Martin)

As—Ram and Shyam, through thick and thin, He ran fast but missed the train.

  1. Interjection—“An Interjection is a word which expresses some sudden ” —(Wren and Martin)

As—Alas ! Hurrah, Oh !

Bravo, etc.

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