Object Pronouns vs. Subject Pronouns

Using pronouns seems simple enough, but they cause confusion because it’s easy to mix up nominative, or subject, pronouns and object pronouns. Here’s a review of the difference between the two categories of pronoun: A nominative pronoun is one that takes the place of a noun phrase used as a sentence’s subject. Instead of writing, … Read more

Linking Verbs and Action Verbs

Verbs are divided into two functional categories: copular verbs and action verbs. This post discusses their differences. Copular, or linking, verbs, which express a situation or a state rather than an action or a process (and thus are among the class of verbs called stative verbs), consist of several types of verbs. The basic ones … Read more

3 Types of Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are constructions consisting of a verb and either a preposition, a particle, or both. 1. Prepositional Phrasal Verb This construction consists of a verb and a preposition, as in “I take after him,” “We’re looking into that,” and “Please stand by.” 2. Particle Phrasal Verb This construction consists of a verb and a … Read more

What Is an Expletive?

What’s an expletive, and is it bad? There are several types of expletives, and though some may be considered offensive, others merely signal passive sentence construction or a perhaps desirable vagueness. Readers of a certain age may recall, during the Watergate scandal, references to “expletive deleted” in discussions of audiotape recordings of conversations between Richard … Read more

What Is a Subordinate Clause?

A subordinate clause, also called a dependent clause, consists of information to be combined with a main clause to form a single sentence. It resembles a main clause except for the presence of a subordinate conjunction or a relative pronoun, either of which renders it subordinate. Here are some guidelines about its use. To convey … Read more

What Is a Clause?

A clause is a statement or a question that generally consists of a subject and a verb phrase and constitutes a complete thought. Sentences can consist of a single clause, but they often include two: a main, or independent, clause and a subordinate, or dependent, clause. A main clause can form a complete sentence. (The … Read more

What Is a Sentence?

Multiple definitions exist for sentence, and various sources differ in their interpretation of what constitutes a valid sentence and which forms are incorrect. Here’s a brief survey of what a sentence is. A sentence is generally understood to be a unit of one or more words distinct from preceding and following text. Sentences are categorized … Read more

The Basic English Grammar Rules eBook (PDF)

Last year we had a series called “English Grammar 101,” where the basic grammar rules were covered. Many readers asked if it was possible to transform that series into an ebook. We thought that the idea was good indeed, and started working on it. Maeve edited the whole thing, adding examples and formating the sections. … Read more

English Grammar 101: All You Need to Know

Just ask a friend what is the role of prepositions within sentences, or what are the four moods of verbs, and I am sure that you will see a puzzled look on his face. Understanding the basic grammar rules is essential for communicating efficiently, but most of us have forgotten those concepts years ago. In … Read more

English Grammar 101: Parts of Speech

A word is a “part of speech” only when it is used in a sentence. The function the word serves in a sentence is what makes it whatever part of speech it is. For example, the word “run” can be used as more than one part of speech:
 Sammy hit a home run. (run is … Read more

English Grammar 101: Interjections

Interjection comes from from a Latin word that means “throw between.” It’s a word or phrase that is thrown into a sentence to express an emotion: Goodness, how you’ve grown! Darn, I forgot my lunch! Alas, will he never return? All the impolite expressions that we call expletives are interjections. According to Wikipedia: In linguistics, … Read more

English Grammar 101: Conjunctions

A conjunction joins words and groups of words. There are two classes of conjunction: co-ordinate or coordinating and subordinate or subordinating. Co-ordinate conjunctions: and, but, either…or, neither…nor. Subordinate conjunctions: that, as, after, before, since, when, where, unless, if. Mother and Father are driving me to New Orleans. (and is a coordinate conjunction joining words of … Read more