English Grammar and Composition

English Grammar and Composition

English Grammar and Composition


Grammar is a combination of structural rules that control the structure of phrases, phrases and words in any language. There are several parts of the grammar that are used today:


A noun names a person, place, thing, or idea.

Common Nouns and Proper Nouns

Common nouns refer to common, everyday things.

The dog sleeps in her own bed.
His friend is crazy about popcorn.
My cousin went to college.

A proper noun refers to specific things that are unique or have names. Proper nouns begin with capital letters.

My friend Miranda is from Wyoming.
In 2001 Halloween falls on a Wednesday.
Most Ecuadorians practice Christianity.

Concrete Nouns and Abstract Nouns

A concrete noun names something you can experience with at least one of your senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). Most nouns are concrete nouns.

My ice melted in the sun.
Darrel’s kitten tore apart the yarn.
Thunder rattled our windows.

An abstract noun names something you cannot experience with your senses. Sometimes abstract nouns are called “idea nouns.”

Sandra’s courage and curiosity made her a good explorer. It’s important to have respect in a friendship. Honesty is usually the best policy.


A pronoun is used in place of a noun or nouns. Common pronouns include he, her, him, I, it, me, she, them, they, us, and we. Here are some examples:

She is a good athlete.
They are fresh-picked.

Subjective Pronouns

A subjective pronoun acts as the subject of a sentence—it performs the action of the verb. The subjective pronouns are he, I, it, she, they, we, and you.

He spends ages looking out the window.
After lunch, she and I went to the planetarium.

Objective Pronouns

An objective pronoun acts as the object of a sentence—it receives the action of the verb. The objective pronouns are her, him, it, me, them, us, and you.

Cousin Eldred gave me a trombone.
Take a picture of him, not us!

Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun tells you who owns something. The possessive pronouns are hers, his, its, mine, ours, theirs, and yours.

The red basket is mine.
Yours is on the coffee table.

Demonstrative Pronouns

A demonstrative pronoun points out a noun. The demonstrative pronouns are that, these, this, and those.

That is a good idea.
These are hilarious cartoons.

A demonstrative pronoun may look like a demonstrative adjective, but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun, taking the place of a noun.

Interrogative Pronouns

An interrogative pronoun is used in a question. It helps to ask about something. The interrogative pronouns are what, which, who, whom, and compound words ending in “ever,” such as whatever, whichever, whoever, and whomever.

What on earth is that?
Who ate the last Fig Newton?

An interrogative pronoun may look like an interrogative adjective, but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun, taking the place of a noun.

Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun refers to an indefinite, or general, person or thing. Indefinite pronouns include all, any, both, each, everyone, few, many, neither, none, nothing, several, some, and somebody.

Something smells good.
Many like salsa with their chips.

An indefinite pronoun may look like an indefinite adjective, but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun, taking the place of a noun.

Relative Pronouns

A relative pronoun introduces a clause, or part of a sentence, that describes a noun. The relative pronouns are that, which, who, and whom.

You should bring the book that you love most.
That introduces “you love most,” which describes the book.

Hector is a photographer who does great work.
Who introduces “does great work,” which describes Hector.

Reflexive Pronouns

A reflexive pronoun refers back to the subject of a sentence. The reflexive pronouns are herself, himself, itself, myself, ourselves, themselves, and yourselves. Each of these words can also act as an intensive pronoun (see below).

I learned a lot about myself at summer camp. (Myself refers back to I.)
They should divide the berries among themselves. (Themselves refers back to they.)

Intensive Pronouns

An intensive pronoun emphasizes its antecedent (the noun that comes before it). The intensive pronouns are herself, himself, itself, myself, ourselves, themselves, and yourselves. Each of these words can also act as a reflective pronoun (see above).

I myself don’t like eggs.
The queen herself visited our class.


A verb tells about an action or a state of being. There are three types of verbs: action, linking, and auxiliary.

Action Verbs

An action verb expresses action. It tells what a person or a thing does.

Muskrats swim in marshes.
We built a fantastic sandcastle.

Linking Verbs

A linking verb links the subject of the sentence with information about it. Sometimes linking verbs are called “state-of-being verbs.”

Jeremy is tired.
This apple tastes so sweet.

In the first sentence, is links Jeremy to information about him-the fact that he is tired. That is his state of being.

In the second sentence, tastes links apple to information about it—its sweetness. Did you think taste was an action verb? Well, it is—when the subject is doing the tasting. But here, the apple isn’t doing any tasting. The apple itself tastes sweet. That is its state of being.

Auxiliary Verbs

An auxiliary verb goes with another verb. Sometimes auxiliary verbs are called “helping verbs” because they introduce or “help out” the main verb.

Ms. Sothros is reading our stories.
We should dig for buried treasure.

In the first sentence, the auxiliary verb, is, helps out the main verb, reading, by telling when the action is taking place—right now.

In the second sentence, the auxiliary verb, should, helps out the main verb, dig, by telling about its importance—digging must be important, if it is something that should happen.

Be, have, and do are the most common auxiliary verbs. Other common auxiliary verbs include can, could, should, would, may, might, and must.

Check Its Function!

In English, the same word can have different functions. For instance, paint can be a verb or a noun. Here are some examples.

Let’s paint the garage.
We brought paint to school.

In the first sentence, paint is a verb—it is something you can do. In the second sentence, paint is a noun—it is a thing.

Our rabbits live in a hutch.
Luis sang before a live audience.

In the first sentence, live is a verb—it is something you can do. In the second sentence, live is an adjective—it describes something.

Smile, dance, contact, ski, color, and research are just a few of the many other English words that can have different functions.


An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. In this case, “modifies” means “tells more about.” An adverb tells more about how the verb is being done. Many adverbs end in “-ly.”

Susan writes quickly and well.
Herbie will visit tomorrow.
Let’s go home.
That was a very funny joke.

Adverbs can answer questions like these: “How?” (quickly and well) “When?” (tomorrow) “Where?” (home) “To what extent?” (very funny)

Interrogative Adverbs

An interrogative adverb asks a question. The interrogative adverbs are how, when, where, and why.

How did you get here?
Where are you going next?

Conjunctive Adverbs

A conjunctive adverb joins two ideas. It can give emphasis to one of the ideas, or answer the question “How are they related?” Some common conjunctive adverbs are besides, however, indeed, moreover, nevertheless, otherwise, and therefore.

I am allergic to cats; nevertheless, I love them.
It might rain later; therefore, we should pack our umbrellas.

A semicolon is used before a conjunctive adverb, and a comma is used after it.


An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun. Adjectives are words that describe things.

I planted orange flowers in the round pot.
The long-eared rabbit nibbled the little carrots.

Adjectives can answer the question “What kind?” (orange flowers; little carrots)

Possessive Adjectives

A possessive adjective modifies a noun by telling whom it belongs to. It answers the question “Whose?” Possessive adjectives include his, her, its, my, our, their, and your.

You can share my rice.
Have you seen their house?

Demonstrative Adjectives

The demonstrative adjectives that, these, this, those, and what answer the question “Which?”

I’m going to open that present.
Those socks look warm.

A demonstrative adjective may look like a demonstrative pronoun, but it is used differently in the sentence: it is an adjective, used to modify a noun or pronoun.

Interrogative Adjectives

The interrogative adjectives what and which are used in a question. They help to ask about something.

What movie do you want to see?
Which leaves turn color first?

An interrogative adjective may look like an interrogative pronoun, but it is used differently in the sentence: it is an adjective, used to modify a noun or pronoun.

Indefinite Adjectives

An indefinite adjective gives indefinite, or general, information. Often, it answers the question “How much?” Some common indefinite adjectives are all, any, each, every, few, many, and some.

Many children like dinosaurs.
Did you want some bananas?

An indefinite adjective may look like an indefinite pronoun, but it is used differently in the sentence: it is an adjective, used to modify a noun or pronoun.


Conjunctions connect words or groups of words.

Coordinating Conjunctions

A coordinating conjunction is a word that connects two words or two groups of words that are used in the same way—that is, they are the same part of speech or they are grammatically alike. The coordinating conjunctions are and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet.

Do you want to play checkers or cards?

We’re going to be Calvin and Hobbes this Halloween.

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs. They connect two words or two groups of words that are used in the same way—that is, they are the same part of speech or they are grammatically alike. They include both . . . and; either . . . or; neither . . . nor; not only . . . but; and whether . . . or.

Both Andy and Rex are coming to dinner.
I would like either a red marker or an orange marker.

Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction is a word that connects two groups of words that are not used in the same way—that is, they are not the same part of speech and they are not grammatically alike. Some common subordinating conjunctions are after, because, before, how, if, since, than, though, until, when, where, and while.

Bobby played in the park until it got dark.
The movie was funnier than I had expected.

Sometimes a subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of a sentence.

Since you are here, let’s rehearse.
After Margaret had lunch, she took a nap.


An interjection expresses an emotion. It might show excitement or surprise.

Wow! That is a giant pumpkin!
Ouch, you stepped on my toe!
Yippee! We won!
Whoa! Hold your horses!
Bravo, you did a great job!

An interjection often appears at the beginning of a sentence. It is usually followed by an exclamation point or a comma.


A preposition links a noun, pronoun, or phrase to another part of a sentence. Because many prepositions show direction, some say that “a preposition is anywhere a cat can go.”

The cat walked across the couch.
The cat leaned against the couch.
The cat strolled along the couch.
The cat sneaked around the couch.
The cat leapt at the couch.
The cat crept behind the couch.
The cat hid below the couch.
The cat scampered beneath the couch.
The cat leaned beside the couch.
The cat tip-toed by the couch.
The cat crawled inside the couch.
The cat strutted near the couch.
The cat jumped off the couch.
The cat marched over the couch.
The cat rambled past the couch.
The cat plodded to the couch.
The cat stalked toward the couch.
The cat wiggled underneath the couch.
The cat settled upon the couch.
The cat snuggled within the couch.

Prepositions can help show not just where something took place, but how and when. Besides the ones listed above, some common prepositions are about, after, among, between, beyond, but, despite, during, for, of, since, through, until, and without.


A precis may b defined as a summary or shortened form of a piece of writing,in which matters of detail are left out and only the important points are retained.The student must possess the judgement to b able to seize upon the essential points in a passage and leave out what is unnecessary but he must have an adequate vocabulary not only to understand the meaning of the given passage but also to b able to express its main ideas in his own language.
Most composition books contain a number of “rules” for precis writing,followed by a large number of passages for exercise.Now,no rule can be grasped in the abstract; they can b understood only if their application is actually demonstrated to the readers. Besides,passages are often chosen at random,without regard to their suitability for the purpose.
In this hints,while “rules” have been given,it is to the actual illustration of these rules that we must pay close attention.Every passage is followed by

2. Hints to write own precis
3. A model precis

Rules of Precis writing

1. Read the given passage carefully at least three times in order to be able to grasp what the writer has said or grasp the main idea.

2. Underline the important points to be included in your precis.A point is important if it is intimately conneted with the main subject and if it is essential for a clear exposition of the theme.

3. Use your own language in the precis.While words and phrases from the original may be used in the precis,Wjole sentences should never be liften out of the original to be included in it.

4. The precis should be roughly one-third of the original passage.Always prepare a rough draft first and count the words.If you find that it is too long,Shorten it by removing what seems inessential and by condensing phraseology.If it turns out to be too shorten,Read the original to see what more can be added to the precis.

5. Examples,illustrations and comparison should be left out of the precis. Figure of speech should be removed and the ideas expressed in clear,direct language.

6. You own comments on the ideas of the precis are absolutely forbidden.Do not express any oppinion,favourale or unfavourable ,about the ideas in the original passage.

7. Be very careful about the language you write.Mistakes of grammar and spelling are penalized as much in the precis as in other forms of composition.

8. See that your precis is a piece of readable english and that its ideas can be understood even by a person who has not gone through the original.This is very important.

9. Your precis should be a connected whole.As such it should not be divided into paragraph.(this rule does not apply to very long original pieces of writing such as those set in the competitive examinations).

10. Do not use the direct form of speech in the precis.If the author has written in the first person pronound using “I” and “my”, you should write in the third person pronoun : “he” and “his”.The precis may in such cases begin thus : “the author says…………”,or”according to author……”.In case the name of the author,Chesterton or Johnson , is given at the end of the passage ,The preis should begin thus : “According to Chesterton………”,or “Macaulay says……” or “Johnson expresses the view……..”.

11. Think of a suitable title for the precis. The title should ordinarily not be a complete sentence.A title must be supplied even though it may not have been asked for.

12. Indicate the number of words in your precis at its end.


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