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What is Grammar?Grammar is the system (arrangement/organization) of a language. It talks about the parts of speech (word categories according to function), syntax (the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences) and morphology (the study of the rules for forming admissible words and the admissible arrangement of sounds in words). It talks about the correct formation of phrases, clauses, and sentences. It talks about the correct usage of a language. Do we need to study grammar to learn a language? Basically, the answer is no. What is your tribes/countrys language? How did you learn to communicate using it? Did you study its grammar first before you learned how to communicate in your tribes/countrys language? Did Americans study grammar first before they learned how to communicate in English? Typically, the answer is no. Languages started by people making sounds which evolved into words (single units of languages understood by communicators), phrases (group of words standing together as a conceptual unit) and sentences (group of words that convey a complete thought). Nearly all people in the world speak their own, native language without studying its grammar. They did not start learning and using their language with the grammar in mind first. People, especially children, start to speak before they even know the word "grammar". Think of a typical 5-year-old American child. Can he speak in English? Yes. He might not be able to write but he can speak in English. He can convey a complete thought in English. Did he study grammar before learning how to speak in English? No. He learned English because first, people around him use English (i.e. he hears English and he sees [watches] English). Second, people around him use English to communicate with him. And third, he uses English to communicate with them, too. Basically, you need to do the same to learn English and be able to use it fluently. Now, what is grammars role? Why study grammar? If you are serious about learning a foreign language, grammar can help you to learn it more quickly and more efficiently." It's important to think of grammar as something that can help you, like a friend. When you understand the grammar (or system) of a language, you can understand many things yourself, without having to ask a teacher or look in a book. So think of grammar as something good, something positive, and something that you can use to find your way - like a signpost or a map. (1)
Communicating through SentencesAn Introduction to Sentences How do people communicate? Lets begin with the end in mind. We can effectively communicate through conveying complete thoughts; through writing or saying groups of words that are arranged properly (grammatically correct) which we understand fully. These groups of words are called sentences. A sentence has two essential elements:
1. The subject is the doer of the action or the one being talked about in the sentence. 2. The predicate is the information about the subject.
Sample Sentences: Apples are delicious. The student is diligent. The boys ran into the street. God created the world. The telephone rang.
Subject Apples The student The boys God The telephone
Predicate are delicious is diligent ran into the street created the world rang
Nature of Predicate being being action action action
The predicate is a word or a group of words which describe what the subject is (state of being) or what the subject does (state of action). It is composed of at least one verb (word that expresses action or being, to be discussed in detail in The Parts of Speech and in Verbs in Focus). A word or a group of words cannot be a predicate without a verb. A sentence tells a complete message because it has a subject and a predicate. It begins with a CAPITAL LETTER and ends with a punctuation mark a period (.), a question mark (?) or an exclamation point (!).1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
The tree is tall. (You) clean your room! What is your name?* Paul and Jake helped Amy. The strawberries were made as jams. The man climbed the ladder. A stone fell on the floor. Did a man approach the guard?* Where do you live?* (You) watch out!
*Questions usually have inverted structures, i.e. the predicate (verb) goes before the subjects. In many questions, the subject is in between the main verb and the helping verb (see Verbs in Focus). An English sentence can be composed of at least two words (a subject and a verb-which stand as a oneword predicate) and can still be correct. Lets examine the following sentences. 1.
2. I speak. 3. You jump! 4. He runs.
5. We communicate. 6. They listen.
In the first sentence, the actor (subject) I performs/does the action (verb) speak. It is arranged properly with the subject followed by the verb (S-V Sentence Pattern, to be discussed in a separate chapter Sentences Explored) and is fully understood. Can you identify the subjects and the verbs of the remaining sentences? In the following examples, the subject is in bold type while the predicate is in italics.1. I am intelligent. 2. Roger is a good athlete. 3. Henry Sy became the richest man in the 8. Ella and Bea are cousins. 9. John went home. 10. Bill and Joe fixed the bike. 11. The caller was my best friend. 12. A stray dog entered the kitchen. 13. The girl reads a book. 14. Carlo washed the car. 15. The boys played basketball.
Philippines. 4. Andrew and Ella were in London last month. 5. The book is on the table. 6. The flowers are lovely. 7. Japan is a very rich country.
Usually, predicates start with verbs. The predicates in the first eight examples show being. Those in the remaining seven sentences show action. The subject and the predicate are the essential elements of a sentence. If a group of words lacks a subject, a predicate, or both, then it is not a sentence.
More on Subjects and PredicatesComplete Subjects and Simple Subjects The complete subject is a noun, a pronoun or a group of words which is the doer of the action(s) or the one being talked about in the sentence. It may include modifiers. The simple subject, on the other hand, is the important noun, pronoun or group of words that cannot be taken out of the complete subject. Examples1.
My ever supportive friend provides me very good pieces of advice. Complete Subject My ever supportive friend Simple Subject friend
The new teacher taught English to foreigners. Complete Subject The new teacher Simple Subject teacher
What you told me is interesting. Complete Subject What you told me Simple Subject What you told me
Compound Subject is composed of two or more subjects that have the same verb. The subjects are joined by conjunctions and or or. Examples1. My ever supportive friends and classmates provide me very good pieces of advice.
Complete Compound Subjects My ever supportive friends and classmates Simple Compound Subjects friends, classmates2. The new teacher or the volunteer taught English to foreigners.
Complete Compound Subjects The new teacher or the volunteer Simple Compound Subjects teacher, volunteer3. Anna and her young daughter left the house early.
Complete Compound Subjects Anna and her young daughter Simple Compound Subject Anna, daughter
Other Kinds of Subjects1. Dummy Subject the subject with no concrete reference. Examples: a. It is raining hard outside. b. It is dark inside the room. c. It is not obvious. 2. Hidden Subject the subject before the verb in imperative sentences. Examples:
a.b. (You) stop! c. (You) please forgive me. d. e.
(You) keep up the good work!
(You) give me money.
Complete Predicates and Simple Predicates The complete predicate is the verb or the verb phrase, as well as any modifiers and/or complements that tell what the complete subject is or does. The simple predicate (or simply the verb), on the other hand, is the important verb or verb phrase in the sentence. It cannot be taken out of the complete predicate. Examples1.
The new teacher taught English to foreigners.
Complete Predicate taught English to foreigners (what the subject did) Simple Predicate (verb) taught2.
Karen is the smartest student in our class. Complete Predicate is the smartest student in our class (what the subject is) Simple Predicate (verb) is
My teacher gave us a quiz on grammar and reading comprehension. Complete Predicate gave us a quiz on grammar and reading comprehension Simple Predicate (verb) gave
Compound Predicate is composed of two or more verbs that have the same subject. They are also joined by a conjunction. Examples1. Anna left the house early but arrived late for work.
Complete Compound Predicates left the house early but arrived late for work Simple Compound Predicates (verbs) left, arrived2. The new teacher taught English to foreigners and advised them to practice the
language. Complete Compound Predicates taught English to foreigners and advised them to practice the language Simple Compound Predicates (verbs) taught, advised3. Bob went to the mall and ate dinner in a restaurant there.
Complete Compound Predicates went to the mall and ate dinner in a restaurant there Simple Compound Predicates (verbs) went, ate
The sentences below are skeleton sentences. That is, they are stripped down to only subjects, verbs, and connecting words. Using a pencil, go through them, encircling or writing the subjects and underlining the verbs. Then tell the nature of the verbs whether they sate being or action.1. Sarah laughed and joked. - action 2. Julia and Ben argued and fought. 3. The poet, the artist, and the teacher 6. 7. 8. 9.
spoke. 4. After the game ended, we had lunch. 5. Laughter invigorates, and love binds.
Pass your papers.