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Basics of the English grammar

All you need to know about your own language before you start learn another language
PART 1: SENTENCE STRUCTURES

What is grammar?
The structure of a specific language Each language has different grammatical rules: some languages have tenses, others not. Some languages have masculine and feminine nouns, others not. Because differences in grammar, literal translations usually dont work.
A language is more than a random combination of words.

Two main levels


SENTENCE ANALYSIS WORD ANALYSIS

Here we split the sentence up into different parts and we analyse which function each part has within a sentence.

Here we look at the name and function of each word as such. On top of the lexical meaning of the word, there are also grammatical characteristics for each word type.

Eg. John is kind. I give John a kiss.


Twice the same word (John), but a different function within each sentence (subject vs indirect object)

Eg: play as a verb play as a noun

1. Sentence structures
a) What is a sentence?
b) Which main parts do we have in a sentence? c) How do we know which part is which?

a) What is a sentence?
A sentence is a combination of different sentence parts. A sentence starts with a capital letter and finishes with a full stop, question mark or explanation mark. A the very least, a sentence will contain

a conjugated verb
a verb that goes together with a subject, or an imperative (which has an implied subject)

Some sentences can be very simple.


I play.
Sit down!

Others can contain mini sentences within sentences (we call these clauses) and they can become very long and complicated:

The man I met yesterday at the train station, which is recently renovated, is supposed to be the father of Johns second wife.

Sentences can be a combination of two clauses who are equal in weight (importance). Eg. I like to play music and I enjoy swimming.
Equally important

Or they can contain a subclause in a main clause (a clause is something which contains a verb or doing word) Eg. I met the man you had talked about.
This subclause describes the man

Unconjugated verbs, loose words etc


are not sentences.

We must have at least one conjugated verb to have a proper sentence.

Check: Is it a proper sentence?


YES!
I have played football. We are happy. He has completed his homework. Yesterday, I watched a good film. When I grow up, I would like to become a filmstar.

NO!
Beautiful children. To play tennis. When I came home. Played. Watching tennis.

b) Which main parts do we have in a sentence?

SUBJECT

VERB DIRECT OBJECT

INDIRECT OBJECT

ADVERBIAL (of place, time etc)

c) How do we know which part is which?

The subject

SUBJECT

Conjugated VERB

To check whether something is a subject, change the I to he and see if the verb form changes

Who? What? is connected with the main verb?

I am He am
He is
Conjugated verb SUBJECT

The direct object

SUBJECT

VERB

DIRECT OBJECT

To find out which part the direct object is, ask Who/What SUBJECT VERB? WHO or WHAT?

I buy flowers.

WHAT DO I BUY? flowers

Direct object

The indirect object


SUBJECT VERB

INDIRECT OBJECT

DIRECT OBJECT To find out which part the indirect object is, as TO WHOM, SUBJECT (INDIRECT OBJECT) VERB TO WHOM?

I buy my mother flowers

To/for whom do I buy fowers?

My mother

Indirect object

The adverbial
SUBJECT VERB INDIRECT OBJECT ADVERBIAL Of place, time etc

The adverbial gives additional information about where, when etc the action took place. Sometimes it can be as a mini sentence (clause) within a sentence.

DIRECT OBJECT

Where? When? How?

I buy my mother flowers at the market near my house

Where do I buy the flowers? At the market near my house Adverbial

I love you. I met him yesterday. We played football in the park. I want to buy a new jacket.

In the future, I will become a teacher.


They are building a new house. He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you.

subject

I met him yesterday. We played football in the park. I want to buy a new jacket.

In the future, I will become a teacher.


They are building a new house. He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you.

subject direct object

I met him yesterday.

We played football in the park. I want to buy a new jacket.

In the future, I will become a teacher.


They are building a new house. He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you.

subject direct object adverbial

I met him yesterday.

We played football in the park. I want to buy a new jacket.

In the future, I will become a teacher.


They are building a new house. He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you. subject I met him yesterday.


direct object adverbial

We played football in the park.

I want to buy a new jacket. direct object

In the future, I will become a teacher.


They are building a new house. He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you. subject I met him yesterday.


direct object

We played football in the park. adverbial I want to buy a new jacket.


direct object

In the future, I will become a teacher.


They are building a new house.

subject

He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you. subject I met him yesterday. direct object We played football in the park. adverbial I want to buy a new jacket. direct object

In the future, I will become a teacher. subject


They are building a new house. subject He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you. subject I met him yesterday.


direct object

We played football in the park. adverbial I want to buy a new jacket. direct object

In the future, I will become a teacher. subject


They are building a new house. subject He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. direct object My mother has recently been promoted at work.

I love you. subject I met him yesterday.


direct object

We played football in the park. adverbial I want to buy a new jacket. direct object

In the future, I will become a teacher. subject


They are building a new house. subject He has taught her everything she needed to know to pass her exam. direct object My mother has recently been promoted at work. adverbial

RECAP
How will your understanding of sentence structures help you when learning a foreign language (tongue)?

Do you know what makes up a real sentence? Which main parts can we find in a basic sentence? How do we find the subject within a sentence? Which question do we ask to find the direct object? Which question do we ask to find the indirect object? Which question do we ask to find the adverbial(s)?