English Grammar

The Morphology

1. Parts of Speech

      According to meanings and forms of the words and their functions in sentences, English words can be divided into ten sorts: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, numerals, verbs, adverbs, articles, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections.
      These ten sorts of words belongs to two bigger categories:
      Notional Words: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, numerals, verbs, adverbs
      Form Words: articles, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections
      As the terms imply, notional words have certain terminal meanings and serve as members of sentences, e.g. subjects, attributes, adverbials; whereas form words play structural roles and show the relationship between words or between other parts of the sentences, or help to build various tenses, voices and moods, etc.

2. Functions of words and their grammatical functions

      The following table show the functions of words and their grammatical functions:
  Parts of Speech Abbreviation Functions Examples Syntactical Functions
Notional Words Nouns n. represent the names of people or things school, worker serve as subjects, objects, predicatives, etc.
Pronouns pron. replace nouns or numerals I, some serve as subjects, objects, predicatives, etc.
Adjectives adj. indicate the quality and characteristics of people or things new, good serve as attributes, predicatives, etc.
Numerals num. indicate quantity or order one, first serve as subjects, objects, predicatives, attributes, adverbials
Verbs v. indicate actions or situations study, see, be serve as predicates
Adverbs adv. explain verbs, adjectives or other adverbs very, quickly serve as adverbials
Form Words Articles art. indicate whether a noun refers to a general sense or special sense a, an, the  
Prepositions prep. indicate the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and other words of, in, from  
Conjunctions conj. connect words, phrases, or sentences and, or, but  
Interjections interj. express the feelings on speaking oh, hello  

3. Changes of word forms

      Unlike Chinese, nearly all English words (except prepositions, conjunctions and interjections) have certain changes in forms. e.g.
        single and plural forms of nouns: map---maps, man---men
        nominative case, objective case, and possessive case of pronouns: I, me, my
        original, comparative degree and superlative degree of adjectives: hard, harder, hardest
        infinitive, past form, past participle and present participle of verbs: do, did, done, doing
        cardinal and ordinal forms of numerals: one, first
        indefinite articles (a, an), definite article (the) and zero article (i.e. the situations where no articles are used)

The Syntax

1. Members of the Sentence
      In English, there are seven members of the sentence:

  1. the Subject: a member of sentence which describe 'who' or 'what', and is usually undertaken by nouns, pronouns or their equavilents. E.g.

  2.         The Sun rises from the east.
  3. the Predicate: it describes the action or situation of the subject, and usually undertaken by verbs or verb phrases, e.g.

  4.         They study very hard.
  5. the Predicative: it describes the quality, feature, state or identity, and form compound predicate with linking verbs. It is usually undertaken by nouns, pronouns and adjectives or their equivalents, e.g.

  6.         That river is very deep.
  7. the Object: it shows the object or content of the action of a transitive verb, or is put after a preposition to form a prepositional phrase. It is usually undertaken by a noun or pronoun or their equivalents, e.g.

  8.         We all like him.
  9. the Complement: it is a supplement of the subject or the object, and is usually undertaken by an adjective or a noun or other proper structures, e.g.

  10.         We consider this task very important.
  11. the Attribute: it modifies or restricts nouns, and is usually undertaken by adjectives or their equivalent structures, e.g.

  12.         This is a difficult problem.
  13. the Adverbial: it modifies verbs, adjectives, adverbs or the whole sentence, and is usually undertaken by a adverb or its equivalent structures, e.g.

  14.         He runs fast.
2. Five basic patterns of simple sentences
  1. S+V e.g.

  2.         He studies very hard.
  3. S+V+O e.g.

  4.         He studies English.
  5. S+V+P e.g.

  6.         He is a student.
  7. S+V+O+C e.g.

  8.         His father will make him a doctor.
  9. S+V+Oi+Od e.g.

  10.         He gave me some books.

          Note: S = Subject
                  V = Verb
                  P = Predicative
                  O = Object
                  Oi = Indirect Object
                  Od = Direct Object
                  C = Complement

3. Categories of Sentences --- according to use
  1. the Statement: it states a thing or an opinion, e.g.

  2.         The earth revolves round the Sun,
            He is a very nice person.
  3. the Question: it inquires a situation. There are four sorts of questions:

  4.         general question: Do you like this picture?
            special question: Who is that gentleman?
            optional question: Shall we go home or stay here?
            tag-question: She is a scientist, isn't she?
  5. the Imperative: it puts forward demands or give orders, e.g.

  6.         Come in, please.         Don't be naughty.
  7. the exclamation: exclaim about the quality, degree or content of things, e.g.

  8.         What lovely weather!
            How interesting the film is!
4. Categories of Sentences --- according to structure
  1. Simple Sentence: includes only subject-pedicate sentence, e.g.

  2.         The man knocked at the door.
  3. Compound Sentence: it is connected by coordinate conjunctions and includes two or more subject-predicate sentences, e.g.

  4.         The man knocked at the door and no one answered.
  5. Complex Sentence: it is formed with a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses, e.g.

  6.         As soon as he arrived at the house, the man knocked at the door.
5. Phrases
        Phrases are made up of two or more words and their meanings are relatively complete, but they are not sentences themselves. There are six common phrases:
  1. the Noun Phrase:

  2.         The books on the shelves belong to Professor wang.
  3. the Verb Phrase:

  4.         They put forward many proposals.
  5. the Infinitive Phrase

  6.         She will teach me to sing the song.
  7. the Gerundial Phrase

  8.         I always enjoy going to concerts.
  9. the Participle Phrase

  10.         Hearing the good news, she jumped with joy.
  11. the Prepositional Phrase

  12.         There is a village at the foot of the mountain.

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