The English language is not the easiest language to learn if you’re new to the game. Additionally, murdering the English language with poor grammar can just put you in a black hole. To stay on top of things, learning the basics is the first step. If English is your first language and you just failed to pay attention in grade school, it’s never too late. The wonderful thing about learning English is that there is help right around every corner. However, if you’re approaching English as a second language then kudos to you for doing the research and seeking help. One of our many English courses here at Udemy, 8 Secrets to English Success, can help your understanding of the English language no matter where you’re at in your journey. The course is taught by renowned Teacher Trainer and Author, Nina Weinstein, whose work has been utilized in textbooks at acclaimed universities from MIT to Oxford University and she also held the position of teaching fellow at Harvard University. Developing a great foundation is essential and easy at Udemy!
For now, let’s dig into some of the most fundamental grammar components commanding the English language.
Nouns are Fun
Starting perhaps with the most basic of the basics, the beginning of any English grammar book begins with the study of nouns along with other English grammar and writing basics. A noun names a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns give names of concrete or abstract things in our lives. As babies learn “mom,” “dad,” or “milk” as their first word, nouns should be the first topic when you study any language.
For the plural form of most nouns, add s.
- bottle – bottles
- cup – cups
- pencil – pencils
- desk – desks
- sticker – stickers
- window – windows
For nouns that end in ch, x, s, or s sounds, add es.
- box – boxes
- watch – watches
- moss – mosses
- bus – buses
For nouns ending in f or fe, change f to v and add es.
- wolf – wolves
- wife – wives
- leaf – leaves
- life – lives
Some nouns are just different. These kinds don’t require you to try to find a pattern, just accept them and memorize!
- child – children
- woman – women
- man – men
- mouse – mice
- goose – geese
Nouns ending in vowels like y or o are in the same boat. Just memorize:
- baby – babies
- toy – toys
- kidney – kidneys
- potato – potatoes
- memo – memos
- stereo – stereos
And last but not least are the nouns that don’t change between singular and plural forms.
- sheep – sheep
- deer – deer
- series – series
- species – species
Pronouns Cut to the Chase
A pronoun takes the place of a noun.
Personal pronouns refer to a person:
- I go to school.
- You are a student.
- They are Koreans.
- He works here.
- We gave her food.
The word ‘it’ refers to an object:
- I drank it.
- It is big.
- They cut it into halves.
Progressive Tense Verbs to Make Things More Difficult
The progressive tense involves action that is, was, or will be in progress at a certain time. In the progressive tense, verbs are formed with a “be” verb + ing. For help with advanced English grammar, our course of the same name gives you all the tools you need!
- I am running a marathon right now. (present progressive)
- I was running a marathon at this time last year. (past progressive)
- I will be running a marathon next Sunday. (future progressive)
- I am eating lunch now.
- I was eating lunch when you saw me.
- I will be eating lunch in the meeting.
- I am learning English at my desk.
- I was learning English the last two years.
- I will be learning English then.
- I am cooking my supper now.
- I was cooking our dinner when you called me.
- I will be cooking breakfast by the time you come home.
Perfect Tense – Past, Present, and Future
The present perfect tense describes an action that started in the past and continues to the present time. Use has/have + the past participle form of the verb.
The past perfect tense describes an action that started and ended in the past. Use had + the past participle form of the verb.
The future perfect tense describes future actions that will occur before some other action. Use will have + the past participle form of the verb.
- I have run several marathons this year. (present perfect)
- I had run many marathons in the past. (past perfect)
- I will have run a marathon by the time I turn 30. (future perfect)
- I have learned a lot about English grammar this semester.
- I had learned the basics of English grammar in elementary school.
- I will have learned a lot about English grammar when I finish college.
- I have known her since I was young.
- I had known her until she passed away.
- I will have known her for 20 years next month.
- I have cooked supper every night this week.
- I had cooked supper every night until the stove broke.
- I will have cooked supper every night by the time this diet ends.
Gerunds – Now Let’s Give You a Weird Word to Confuse You Even More
A gerund (verb + ing) acts like a noun in a sentence.
- Seeing is believing.
- Running a marathon is not an easy thing to do.
- Watching TV is sometimes harmful.
- Eating is always fun.
- My hobby is painting.
- She loves babysitting her sister.
- I like listening to music.
- I wasted all my afternoon by taking a nap.
- I am afraid of singing a song on a stage.
- Often, a possessive noun or pronoun comes before a gerund.
- I hope that you don’t mind my using your pen.
- Don’t be mad about my leaving early.
- I don’t want you misunderstanding.
- You will be amazed by my writing.
My Favorite: The Passive Voice Strikes Again
Verbs are either active or passive in voice. In the active voice, the subject and verb relationship is straightforward: the subject is a do-er. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is not a do-er. It is shown with by + do-er or is not shown in the sentence.
Passive voice is used when the action is the focus, not the subject. It is not important (or not known) who does the action.
- The window is broken. (It is not known who broke the window, or it is not important to know who broke the window.)
- The class has been canceled. (The focus is on the class being canceled. It is not important to know who canceled it.)
- The passive voice is often used. (The focus is on the passive voice. It is not important to explain who the writer is.)
Passive voice should be avoided when you want more clarity in writing. However, in some cases, you need to use passive voice to stress the action, not the actor. Also, passive voice can be considered more polite, as it sounds less aggressive or dramatic.
- That building was built in 1990.
- The car was invented about a hundred years ago.
- I was told that Mary moved to a different country.
- Your business is appreciated.
- She was elected to city council.
- It was rumored that the company would lay off a few people soon.
- It is recommended that the billing process be shortened.
- You can easily rewrite an active sentence to a passive sentence. The object in the active sentence becomes a subject in the passive sentence. The verb is changed to a “be” verb + past participle. The subject of the active sentence follows by or is omitted.
- Sam wrote a letter to Jamie.
- A letter was written to Jamie by Sam.
- The government built a new bridge.
- A new bridge was built by the government.
- I recommend that you apply for this position.
- It is recommended that you apply for this position.