Sunday, February 9, 2014

51 Commas

51 Has comma lost its utility value?
Topics for discussion: punctuation, comma, English grammar, American English, Oxford English

Context


Opinion of Mr. John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. Click to go to the news: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/scholar-says-comma-should-be-abolished-punctuation-backlash-feared/story-fnb64oi6-1226821919424#mm-premium

Gist of his opinion:
Internet users, authors are becoming idiosyncratic/indifferent in use of punctuation.
Commas may have outstayed their welcome.
May not be loss of clarity, even if commas are not used in modern American texts.
A case may arise for not using commas at all.
These things (Oxford commas) are just fashions and conventions. They change over time.

This interview is very rich in its content.
An observation on Ms. Jane Austen not using many commas.
Punctuation going back to its historical role as a kind of musical notation tracking spoken language.

I suggest that the readers study the above interview to get a clear picture.

My personal views which I do not wish to impose on you


Purpose of using commas




Comma indicates a slight pause in a sentence. It separates words and phrases which when not separated may lead to an absurd/ambiguous/obnoxious interpretation.

Importance of goal of the particular communication


Legal-communications, Medical-communications, High-value business-communications, organisational both-horizontal-vertical hierarchial-communications need perfect clarity. Use of essential commas in such communications, becomes an imperative.

How the other person will view our taking liberties with punctuation


The end-users of our communications, are not going to be, we. Receivers have to decifer and interpret our messages. Such interpretations should lead to the actions we expect from them. We have to try to become user-friendly. Let us suppose that we are writing a Ph. D Thesis. We cannot expect our evaluators to work as wrestlers to interpret our thesis.

Levels of communications in an organisational hierarchy


Peer-to-peer communications (in the sense of communications among equals) may not need use of many commas, except in strategic peer-to-peer communications such as messages in air-traffic control. monitoring space-crafts and satellites.

Informal communications


We can dispense not only with commas, but also with many other punctuation marks and customs.

Probable Conclusion


Likely consequences arising from our messages, will decide the degree of punctuation marks, we have to use. No hard and fast rules can be made out. (To continue and to improve upon this).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

#050 Perfect-English

50 Question: Is there anything like 'perfect' English?

Answer: English, is originally a language native to England. If we have to go strictly by definitions, we have to accept that whatever is spoken and written in and around London-Cambridge-Oxford as perfect English.

Question: : What is the definition of 'perfect' ?



Answer: There can be no definition of the adjective 'perfect'. Perfect is an abstract adjective, intangible in character.

Oxford English?



Question: Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s official spokesman, was reported to have said: "Britain is 'just a small island … no one pays any attention to them' ". If what he said is correct, how can we take some style/version/dialect of a language which is spoken in a small island, as perfect?

Answer: For us aficionados (fans) and functional users of English language, and others like- linguists, it is immaterial whether England is a small island or a vast Siberian landmass comparable to Russia.

Errors in British English



Question: We find errors in English spoken-written even in England, the motherland of English. How can we accept that?

Answer: There can be errors even in American English, Australian English, Canadian English, European Continental English, German English, Spanish English, or some other English. Such errors may arise owing to influences of mother tongues and neighbour-hood languages. Best English teaching schools, howsoever superb may be, their self-claims, cannot avoid those influences. We have to recognise the fact that numerous variations of English current all over the Earth, have become a sort of loose twined threaded English which we may call International English. Won't it be better, if we name it, Intglish? The prefix 'Int' here can indicate the genre, either 'Internet English' or 'International English'.

Perfect International English



Question: Is there anything like perfect International English?

Answer: Who can define? We can never define the term 'perfect' and identify something as 'perfect'. Terms like excellent, mediocre can also end up as vague and disputable. We can only see the functionality of the Intglish employed by the user for getting his work done, while communicating with the other person.

Importance of functionality in communications



Question: Can you give an example of how 'to see the functionality in a communication'?

Answer: Here is an example. A person goes to a restaurant. He says something to the bearer, intending that the bearer is to bring coffee. If the bearer brings coffee without looking hither and thither or to the sky, we can say that the request has fulfilled the object of functionality.

Gestural communications



Question: Do you mean to say that even gestures will be sufficient and there will be no need of using English or Intglish?

Answer: Depending on situations, gestures can fulfil the purpose. Sometimes oral, verbal, and written communications, one or more may become necessary. Sometimes, even symbolic gestures (constructive gestures instead of active or showy gestures) can serve the purpose.

Question: Can you give an example?

Answer: Suppose, we go to a booking counter of a cinema theatre. The counter has a sign board indicating the class and the price of the tickets sold through its window. We go into the queue line and tender a currency note meeting the exact price of the ticket. The booking clerk will issue us one ticket in a routine manner. We use neither English nor Intglish.

But, we do not get ideal situations and solutions like these, always. For a person with routine daily programmes, communicating with the same boss, same customers, same employer, same vendors, same wife, same children, everyday, probably no oral-verbal-written-formal-informal communications need to be used extensively. It will be suffice, if we go on fulfilling their needs, the moment we see them, we visit them, or they approach us. Blessed, shall we be, then. No travails of misinterpretations.

Preferences




Question: Do you support gestural communications, oral communications or written communications.

Answer: Written communications will be ideal, where avoidance of disputes through clarity is the object. In Please see the comment made by Mr. Dmitry Peskov quoted above. It might have lead to unnecessary international disputes and misunderstandings. Oral communications tend to be ex-tempore and may sometimes result in a person using unintended words and phrases, inadvertently. Oral communications can serve well the needs of opportunist speakers who may later like to say that they are misquoted. It is not clear, whether Mr. Dmitry Peskov has the consent of his boss Mr. Putin for using the phrase 'small island' for England.

Question: Was what Mr. Peskov said not true?

Answer: Diplomatic communications may differ from citizen-communications. They may have some customs and protocols. Besides, every Nation on this Mother Earth, whether tiny or expansive, possesses and is entitled to some dignity and self-respect. This is a 'natural right' of every Nation, just as every human is entitled to 'human rights'. England, might have owing to its colonial past, might have forgotten this Universal truth, and might have treated poor countries of Africa, Asia and South America, rather condescendingly in an insulting manner. England, seems to be at the receiving end in the hands of Russia, now. But, this condescension is not limited only to England. It is widespread among many politicians of Western developed countries. Anyway, these deliberate or unwitting miscommunications of politicians need not provoke us for new disputes.

Should everybody learn gestural communicaton techniques



Ans: No compulsion. Yet it will be better, if schools teach 'gestural communications' as one language. Reason: Our lives can be full of numerous contingencies and emergencies, such as sudden incapacitations, accidents, being thrown on alien lands where our mother tongue may not work, being thrown into hospital ICUs where conversations are not allowed etc.

Summary


Grammar is only a tool for bringing clarity to communications and minimising disputes. We should not be enamoured with what is perfect English or Intglish, as long as imperfections do not result in embarrassing situations. Excessive obsession with grammar, spelling and style can become counter-productive and retard our job and business skills.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catch 22 Situation

Friends have asked me to write something about Catch 22 situation:-


Following email link explain the Catch 22 situation of a person:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(logic)


In simple terms:
We have to choose between two equally bad situations. We know that we cannot avoid it.
In my mother tongue Telugu, we have a proverb:

"mundu nuyyi, venuka goyyi" which approximately translates as under:

well ahead, pit behind. If we go ahead, we shall fall in the well. We cannot go back and if we go back we shall fall in the pit.


Question: Write a paragraph explaining the Catch 22 situation.

Ans:

The American voters today may be facing a similar Catch 22 situation:

If they vote for Republicans, Romney will sell the Nation to the Industrial tycoons. If they vote for the democrats, Obama will sell the Nation to the Wall Street demons. It is a Catch 22 situation, but elections are not new to the American Citizens. They will certainly overcome the difficulties which are not altogther insurmountable. Whoever comes to power, the alert citizens will prevent them from mortgaging the Nation's interest.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

#031 IS 'MIGHT' PAST TENSE OR FUTURE TENSE?

Question What 'part of speech' is 'might' ?
'Might' was originally a past tense of the auxiliary verb 'may'.
It was particularly useful in reporting speech, where the reporting verb was in past tense.
e.g. : He said that he might come.
The reporting verb 'said' is in past tense. The verb in the reported clause 'may' , became 'might'.


Question : What is the implication of 'Might' as a modal verb?
'Might' indicates 'a probability of 50% , a la its basic form 'may'.
We can use the analogy of 'a coin tossed into the sky' , to estimate the implications of 'might' or 'may'.
A coin thrown into the sky , say a 100 times, when it (coin) falls may show up 50 times heads and 50 times tails, with about a 10% deviation on either side.
He 'may come' - this sentence carries an implication that he 'may not come' . It indicates a near 50% probability on either side.




Question : Is it reasonable to say 'He might come'?
This usage is quite common and it has become acceptable.
The present tense form of 'may' seems more appropriate, because the event (of his coming) is yet to take place.

Question : Can 'might' be used in simple past tense?
This is taking place in reported speech (indirect speech).
Example : He said that he might come. (Past tense).
Example : He says that he may come (Present tense).
It is difficult to trace a stand alone usage for the 'might' past tense usage. We can see the 'present perfect tense usage' everywhere:
Example : He might have come.
This sentence augurs well with the implication of 50% probability of the event in the immediate past. The speaker is estimating/forecasting/guessing.

Question : Is it reasonable to say 'Might you try some coffee?'
We can find some current usage.
The speaker seems to intend a 50% probability.
Use of 'might' as a form of past tense , has been given a 'bye'.
We can probably use : 'May you please try some coffee?' .
But, some interpreters say that use of 'may' in seeking permissions is too formal.

Question : Doesn't 'might' mean ability and power?
We can say that there are two mights. This 'might' , we can call 'might 2'.
Example : Money is might.

Question : Is it reasonable to say 'It might rain tomorrow?'
It may be difficult for us to accept this usage, if we go by the literal interpretations that 'might' refers to past tense and 'tomorrow' refers to future tense.
The usage has come to stay.
Some grammarians say that 'It might rain tomorrow' is less positive than 'It may rain tomorrow'. Can we say that this interpretation implies: 'It may rain' refers to a 50% probability and 'it might rain' refers to a 40% probability?

Question : Is it reasonable to say 'You might pay a little attention to your weight.' ?
Some grammarians say that 'might' can be used to convey 'a degree of dissatisfaction'.
The usage has come to stay.
I, personally prefer the usage 'You may please pay....' construction.


Modal verbs are supporting verbs (also called auxiliary verbs). They indicate the manner in which the speaker intends the action of the verb used by him is to have its effect. The verb may indicate a duty, ethical obligation, possibility, impossibility, probability, necessity, compulsiveness etc.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

#030 VARIED USES OF THE MODAL VERB 'COULD'

'Could' is the past tense of the modal verb 'can'.
'Could' like its present tense 'can' should ordinarily express 'ability'
'Could' acquired a slightly distant meaning, over decades and centuries of use.
'Example #1'
Usage of 'Could' in making polite requests:
'Could I speak to Mr.....?'
This is said to be a politer form than--
'Can I speak to Mr.....'.
How? It is not clear. Usage, probably justifies the 'politeness'.
Another funny thing is : 'Could' is a verb of past tense. How it is being used in a request which refers to a future action which depends on granting of permission by the other person?
'Example #2'
'Could' represents ability, isn't it? Let us now see, how it gained a meaning of 'having ability, but not doing it' .
We could come out of the emergency exit, when the coach caught fire. (This according to interpreters, means: We had the ability to come out of the emergency window, but we did not use that ability.)

They suggest the following alternatives:
1. We 'were able to come' out of the emergency window ....etc.
2. We 'managed to come' out of the emergency window ...etc.

The interpreters are willing to accept the negative usage:
We 'could not' come out of the emergency window. Its latch was too rigid to open.

Some interpreters consider 'could' as less positive than 'can' and 'may'
'Example #3'
I could attend the wedding. (This is said to be less positive than 'I can attend the wedding'.)
'Could attend' should actually refer to a thing of past. But, it is not clear how some speakers are using it to refer to future ability/possibility/probability.

'One observation on the development of usage of 'could' to seek permission or grant permission
'Example #4'
The Manager nodded his head and said to the employee: "You can go."
The Manager nodded his head and told the employee that he could go.
We can deduce an interpretation here: The employee was earlier not enabled to go. He is now enabled by the Manager, to go. We can also justify the use of past tense 'could' here, because the verb in the reported clause is to be in line with the reporting verb 'told'.



Another example of negative connotation of 'could'
He 'could have accepted ' the job.
We get here, a negative implication that he has not accepted the job.

Monday, February 21, 2011

#029 Usage of the modal verb 'would'

What part of speech is 'would' ?
'Would' was originally a past tense of the auxiliary verb (supporting verb) 'will'.
It was particularly useful in reporting speech, where the reporting verb was in past tense.
e.g. : He said that he would come.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
'Would' is a modal verb.
'Would' indicates past habit. 'Would' here, nearly means = 'used to'.
He would, during his adolescence, go to a free library and read volumes of old newspapers for hours together.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Is it correct to say : "I would like to speak to Mr....."
The speaker, is indicating his preference here. He is expressing his desire or wish. A simple present tense usage like :
"I wish to speak to Mr....."
"I desire to speak to Mr...."
seems to be sufficient. The wish or desire is to get fulfilled at some time later, say some minutes.
"I shall like to speak to Mr....." may, perhaps, be sufficient.
But "would - the past tense form of 'will' " has entered the arena to express a wish.
------>>'Shall like to speak to Mr.', 'will like to speak to Mr.', 'would like to speak Mr. ...' etc. have some condescending tone. This may probably go well when a superior speaks to some subordinate.
------->> A more polite approach appears to be, to say : 'Please permit me to speak to Mr.....'. We can also go for other choices such as : 'May I speak to Mr.... ', 'Can I speak to Mr. ....' etc.

Compare the usage of 'would be' with the attributive adjective 'prospective'.
The attributive adjective 'prospective' has a positive connotation. It indicates the future prospects.
We can use would-be also as an attributive adjective. But, somehow, this adjective has derived a negative connotation of frustration and non-fulfillment.
e.g. 'would-be holliwood film star'. (Somebody wanted to go to holliwood and become a star; but apparently did not succeed.)

How about the usage of 'would have been' ?
'Would have been' too has a similar negative connotation. We get an indication of non-fulfillment.
e.g. Ms. Clinton would have been the President of United States, had she succeeded in getting the Democratic Nomination.


Modal verbs are supporting verbs (also called auxiliary verbs). They indicate the manner in which the speaker intends the action of the verb used by him is to have its effect. The verb may indicate a duty, ethical obligation, possibility, impossibility, probability, necessity, compulsiveness etc.

Should I use 'shall' or 'will' ?

Should I use 'shall' or 'will'?


Traditional principles
*Use 'shall' to indicate simple future intention, when the subject is in first person. e.g.: I shall come, we shall come. (There is no certainty or determination.)
*Use 'will' to indicate simple future intention, when the subject is in second or third person. e.g.: You will come, he will come, she will come, it will come, they will come.
*Use 'will' to indicate certainty or determination, when the subject is in first person. e.g.: I will come, we will come.
*Use 'shall' to indicate certainty or determination, when the subject is in second or third person. e.g.: You shall come, he shall come, she shall come, it shall come, they shall come
The degree of determination and certainty is slightly less than 'should'. 'Should' imposes a duty. When somebody says 'you shall come' , he means that he is speaking with such a degree of certainty that it becomes a near-duty for the other person to come.

Current usage
'Will' has lost its certainty in all the persons. It, nowadays indicates just simple future.

e.g. I will come. (The 'will' has lost its 'will power' in current usage.) We cannot find any definiteness or determination in today's conversations.

Suggestion
I feel that it will be better for us to adhere to the traditional principles of 'shall - will ' distinction.

Usage 'should'
'Should' was originally the past tense of 'shall'. Some people use it in the same sense even now, particularly in indirect speech (reported speech). 'Should' is gradually settling itself in the meaning of a duty.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#027 DOERS - TRANSITIVE VERBS - OBJECTS

TRANSITIVE VERB

transit = movement or transfer.
transitive= the person/thing which transfers.
transitive verb = A verb which transfers the effect of its action to an object.

Basic principles

*The object of the transitive verb should follow the verb as closely as possible. The meaning may get distorted , if the distance between the two increases.

*The transitive verb should refer to its 'doer' (performer of the action , often the subject), as directly as possible. The doer should precede the transitive verb, and they must be as close as possible.

*Short crisp sentences following the word order subject + transitive verb + object (SVO) will do this job very effectively.

This world, unfortunately, is not such a simple world. Great authors wrote lengthy sentences. Publishing houses patronise lengthy sentences. Examination-paper-setters use lengthy sentences.

The following GMAT question demonstrates it:



`Studying the fruit fly, a household nuisance but a time-honored experimental subject, has enabled the secrets of how embryos develop to begin to be unraveled by scientists.
(A) Studying the fruit fly, a household nuisance but a time-honored experimental subject, has enabled the secrets of how embryos develop to begin to be unraveled by scientists.

(B) By the study of the fruit fly, a household nuisance and also a time-honored experimental subject, it was possible for the secrets of how embryos develop to begin to be unraveled by scientists.

(C) By studying a household nuisance but a time-honored experimental subject, the fruit fly enabled scientist to begin to unravel the secrets of how embryos develop.

(D) By studying the fruit fly, a household nuisance and also a time-honored experimental subject, the secrets of how embryos develop are beginning to be unraveled by scientist.

(E) The study of the fruit fly, a household nuisance but a time-honored experimental subject, has enabled scientist to begin to unravel the secrets of how embryos develop.

Ans: E. A is incorrect because secrets cannot be the object of the transitive verb enable. Enable whom? the scientist. C and E have this combination. Who enabled? C says that the fruit fly enabled. 'Study' is the doer of the action enable.


I invite your views and corrections, if I have gone wrong anywhere.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

#000 Search from 500 Grammar rules

I summarise here some basic principles of grammar. These are not hard and fast rules. Those who are writing examinations have to exercise greater care and caution about preciseness of grammar rules. For others, we can use functional English. I plan to study and add to this blog more principles of grammar , probably raising the number to 1000.

∗ Sentences are group of words.

∗ Sentences must make complete sense.

∗ Interrogatives ask questions .

∗ Imperatives make commands .

∗ An entreaty is grammatically an imperative .

∗ Exclamatives express strong feelings .

∗ Declarative sentences make statements .

∗ Assertive sentences make assertions and statements .

∗ A subject is what we speak about in a sentence .

∗ Predicate tells something about the subject .

∗ Should every sentence start with its subject ?

∗ Imperative sentences can omit subject .

∗ Phrases need not make complete sense .

∗ A clause must have a subject and a predicate .

∗ A principal clause in a sentence must make complete sense .

∗ A subordinate clause in a sentence need not make complete sense .

∗ The designation of a word as a part of speech depends on its usage .

∗ Noun can be name of a person , place or thing .

∗ An adjective adds something to the meaning of a noun .

∗ Pronoun is a word used in place of a noun .

∗ Verb can express action or state .

∗ Adverb can add meaning to an adjective / adverb / verb .

∗ A preposition comes before a noun .

∗ Conjunctions can join sentences or words .

∗ We can use an interjection to express feelings and surprises .

∗ We can use the word hotel with the ' indefinite article ' a or an depending on how we pronounce the aspirate .

∗ Interjections express feelings .

∗ The adjective ' common ' in ' common noun ' means ' shared by all ' .

∗ The adjective ' proper ' in ' proper noun ' means ' one's own ' .

∗ A collective noun speaks of things as one whole .

∗ Many abstract nouns have their origin in adjectives .

∗ Names of arts are abstract nouns .

∗ Names of sciences are abstract nouns .

∗ Abstract nouns can express quality .

∗ Abstract nouns can express state .

∗ Abstract nouns can express action .

∗ ' Laughter ' is an abstract noun .

∗ Abstract nouns can independently speak of qualities ; the qualities may be of concrete nouns .

∗ Verbs can give rise to abstract nouns .

∗ Common nouns can give rise to abstract nouns .

∗ Every common noun need not be countable .

∗ Abstract nouns are uncountable as long as they do not become common nouns .

∗ Gold and milk are examples of uncountables .

∗ Uncountable nouns do not have plural forms .

∗ The collective noun for cattle is ' herd ' .

∗ Masculine gender denotes male sex .

∗ Feminine gender denotes female sex .

∗ Common gender can denote a male or female sex .

∗ Neuter gender suits for lifeless things .

∗ Gender in some languages does not denote a physiological sex .

∗ Some languages arbitrarily allocate gender to words .

∗ Personified objects can have a masculine or feminine gender .

∗ Sun is masculine in English .

∗ Moon is feminine in English .

∗ Summer is masculine in English grammar .

∗ Winter is masculine in English grammar .

∗ Time is male in English grammar .

∗ Some grammarians consider death as masculine ; death is to be neuter .

∗ Some grammarians treat earth as feminine ; earth is to be neuter .

∗ Some grammarians view ' spring ' as feminine; spring is to be neuter .

∗ Some grammarians feel that ' nature ' is feminine .

∗ Some grammarians feel that ' autumn ' is feminine .

∗ Is justice feminine ?

∗ Is mercy feminine ?

∗ Is peace feminine ?

∗ Is hope feminine ?

∗ Is charity feminine ?

∗ Sometimes a ship can be feminine .

∗ The feminine for ' bachelor ' is ' maid ' or ' spinster ' .

∗ The feminine for a buck is a doe .

∗ The feminine for a bullock is a heifer .

∗ The feminine for a horse is a mare .

∗ The feminine for a hart ( stag ) is a roe .

∗ The feminine for a frier is a nun .

∗ The feminine for a mouse is a doe .

∗ The feminine for a colt is a filly .

∗ The masculine for a duck is a drake .

∗ The masculine for a bee is a drone .

∗ The feminine for an earl is a countess .

∗ The feminine for a gander is a goose .

∗ The feminine for a ram is a ewe .

∗ The feminine for a red stag is a hind .

∗ A singular noun denotes only one person or thing .

∗ A plural noun denotes more than one person or thing .

∗ The grammar of Sanskrit language has three numbers .

∗ The plural for a dynamo is dynamos .

∗ The plural for a buffalo is buffaloes .

∗ The plural for a mango is mangoes ; but for a kilo , kilos .

∗ The plural for a thief is thieves , but the plural for a chief is chiefs .

∗ The plural for a knife is knives , but the plural for a safe is safes .

∗ Some nouns form their plural by changing an inside vowel .

∗ The plural for trout (a sort of riverine fish) is trout .

∗ Scissors are plural .

∗ Bellows are plural .

∗ Tongs are plural .

∗ Pincers are plural .

∗ Spectacles are plural .

∗ Trousers are plural .

∗ Drawers are plural .

∗ Breeches are plural .

∗ Jeans are plural .

∗ Tights are plural .

∗ Shorts are plural .

∗ Pyjamas are plural .

∗ Annals are plural .

∗ Thanks are plural .

∗ Proceeds of sales are plural .

∗ Tidings are plural .

∗ Environs are plural .

∗ Nuptials are plural .

∗ Obsequies are plural .

∗ Assets are often plural .

∗ Chattels are often plural .

∗ Alms are plural in current English .

∗ Riches are plural in current English .

∗ Eves ( projecting border of a roof ) , are plural .

∗ Mathematics is singular .

∗ Physics is singular .

∗ Electronics is singular .

∗ New is often singular .

∗ Measles is singular .

∗ Mumps is singular .

∗ Rickets is singular .

∗ Billiards is singular .

∗ Droughts is singular .

∗ Innings is singular .

∗ Means ( wealth ) are plural .

∗ Means can be singular or plural .

∗ Poultry are plural .

∗ Cattle are plural .

∗ Vermin are plural .

∗ People are plural .

∗ Gentry are plural .

∗ Peoples refer to people of different countries .

∗ We should add 's' to the principal word , while converting composite words into plural .

∗ Erratum is singular for errata .

∗ Indices are plural for index .

∗ Radii are plural for radius .

∗ Axes are plural for axis .

∗ Crises are plural for crisis .

∗ Bases are plural for basis .

∗ Analyses are plural for analysis .

∗ Banditti is also a plural for a bandit .

∗ Cherubim is also a plural for cherub .

∗ Seraphim is also a plural for seraph .

∗ Brethren refer to members of same society whereas brothers refer to sons of same father .

∗ Cloths refer to different kinds of fabrics .

∗ Dies refer to stamps used in coining and dice refer to gambling cubes .

∗ Indexes refer to table of contents in books .

∗ Indices refer to algebric signs .

∗ Pennies are number of coins and pence refer to amount in value .

∗ Lights in plural refer to lamps .

∗ Practices in plural refer to habits .

∗ Colors in plural may refer to flags of a regiment .

∗ Customs in plural may refer to export and import duties .

∗ Effects in plural have a meaning of property .

∗ Manners in plural may also refer to correct behavior .

∗ Pains in plural can also mean care and exertion .

∗ Premises in plural may refer to buildings .

∗ Premise in singular refers only to a proposition .

∗ Quarters in plural can also refer to lodgings .

∗ Spectacles in plural can also refer to eye glasses .

∗ Letters in plural can refer to epistles as well as literature .

∗ Dregs ( sediment ) was singular earlier , but are plural now .

∗ Airs- in plural are affected manners .

∗ Abstract Nouns have no plural .

∗ Some abstract nouns can be converted into countable nouns .

∗ Names of many substances are uncountables .

∗ A noun will be in subjective case when it is used as a subject .

∗ Subject verb agreement requires that verb should conform to the person and number of the subject .

∗ Adjective used at the end of a sentence , if it describes a subject , becomes a subject complement .

∗ A subordinate conjunction is useful in complex sentences .

∗ A subordinate conjunction does not join two equal rank clauses .

∗ A coordinating conjunction links two equal rank clauses /sentences .

∗ ' And ' is an example of a coordinate conjunction .

∗ Every common noun need not be a countable noun .

∗ All conjunctions are not coordinating .

∗ Certain adjectives like ' perfect ' do not have a comparative degree .

∗ Verbs need conjugation to indicate past tense , present tense third person singular , and progressive tense .

∗ Many verbs of emotion do not have a progressive tense .

∗ A complex sentence must have at least two clauses .

∗ A compound sentence must have at least two principal clauses .

∗ We can use coordinate conjunctions to link two words or two sentences .

∗ The correlative conjunctions come in pairs .

∗ ' Either - or ' is an example of a correlative conjunction .

∗ A clause used as a noun , becomes a noun clause .

∗ The noun clauses can be used either as subjects or objects .

∗ A phrase used as a noun , becomes a noun phrase .

∗ The noun phrases can be used either as subjects or objects .

∗ A clause used as an adjective , becomes an adjective clause or an adjectival clause .

∗ The adjectival clauses can be used to qualify subjects or objects .

∗ A phrase used as an adjective , becomes an adjective phrase or an adjectival phrase .

∗ The adjectival phrases can be used to qualify subjects or objects .

∗ A clause used as an adverb , becomes an adverb clause or an adverbial clause .

∗ The adverb clauses can be used to qualify adjectives , adverbs and verbs .

∗ A phrase used as an adverb , becomes an adverb phrase or an adverbial phrase .

∗ The adverbial phrases can be used to qualify adjectives , adverbs and verbs .

∗ The adjectival phrases are phrases used as adjectives .

∗ The adjectival phrase can describe a subject or an object .

∗ A noun used as a subject , will be in nominative case or subjective case .

∗ A noun used as an object , will be in objective case .

∗ Objective case is also called accusative case .

∗ Indirect objects stay in dative case .

∗ Prepositions have the nouns following them as their objects.

∗ Nouns following prepositions will be in accusative case .

∗ A preposition governs its objects ( words following the prepositions) .

∗ We should not use degrees of comparison for adjectives which do not admit comparison .

∗ 'The' is an example of a definite article , beside being a demonstrative adjective .

∗ 'This' and 'That' are also demonstrative adjectives .

∗ 'A , an , the ' etc. are also called determiners .

∗ 'My' is also called a determiner , beside being a possessive adjective .

∗ 'Each' is both a distributive pronoun and a distributive adjective .

∗ The distributive pronouns are usually singular .

∗ A demonstrative adjective draws attention of the listener towards its noun .

∗ The attributive adjectives are placed before their nouns .

∗ In the phrase 'Democratic Party' , 'Democratic' is an attributive adjective .

∗ Some adjectives can be used only attributively , which means that they can be placed only before their nouns .

∗ The term ' apposition ' refers to ' placing two words side by side ' .

∗ Indefinite article 'a' is to be used before words starting with consonant sounds .

∗ Indefinite article 'an' is to be used before words starting with vowel sounds .

∗ Grammars have not designated the ' articles ' as separate parts of speech; they are adjectives .

∗ The word attribute refers to some quality or characteristic; adjectives describe the attributes of their objects .

∗ A clause is a group of words with a subject and a predicate .

∗ The clauses are useful in constructing complex and compound sentences .

∗ A simple sentence can have only one clause .

∗ We can use adverbial clauses to describe adjectives , verbs and adverbs .

∗ A phrase is a group of words , with incomplete meaning .

∗ We can use phrases , when we are unable to find a single word to express the desired idea .

∗ A bare infinitive comes without the prefix of 'to' before the verb .

∗ An emphatic pronoun emphasizes or stresses the role of the subject in the verb's action .

∗ The emphatic pronouns closely remember reflexive pronouns and we should practise distinguishing between them.

∗ The gerund is a verbal noun .

∗ We get gerunds when we use verbs as nouns .

∗ We can use ' have as an independent possessive verb ' to indicate ownership or possession .

∗ We can use ' have in perfect tense ' to indicate actions just completed .

∗ We can use ' have plus to infinitive ' to indicate commitments , duties and engagements to be fulfilled .

∗ Horse and house are examples of aspirates .

∗ We pronounce an aspirate with a breathing .

∗ An interrogative does the questioning work .

∗ An interrogative adjective both questions and describes its object .

∗ We use an inflection when we change a noun to make it plural .

∗ A verb of incomplete predication needs a complement to complete the meaning of the sentence .

∗ Backchaining is a technique of pronunciation , where the last syllable is taught first .

∗ Past , present and future are the three basic tenses .

∗ The ' be , been , being , is , are , was , were ' show our condition and existence , and are referred to as - be forms .

∗ Conjunctive pronoun is another name for relative pronoun .

∗ A conjunctive pronoun does the work of a conjunction and a pronoun .

∗ The word ' hour ' starts with a vowel sound .

∗ The word ' honest ' starts with a vowel sound .

∗ The word ' heir ' starts with a vowel sound .

∗ The word ' university ' begins with a consonant sound .

∗ The word ' union ' starts with a consonant sound .

∗ The word ' one ' begins with a consonant sound 'w' .

∗ We use definite article to refer to a person or thing already spoken about .

∗ We can use the definite article before a word which represents a whole class .

∗ We can use definite article before names of seas .

∗ We can use definite article before names of oceans .

∗ We can use definite article before names of rivers .

∗ We can use definite article before names of canals .

∗ We can use definite article before names of deserts .

∗ We can use definite article before names of islands .

∗ We can use definite article before names of mountain ranges .

∗ We can use definite article before names of countries which include words like kingdom , republic .

∗ Ukraine can be prefixed with definite article .

∗ Netherlands can be prefixed with definite article .

∗ Names of some books can be prefixed with definite article .

∗ We can use the definite article before names of unique things .

∗ We can use the definite article before adjective plus proper noun .

∗ We can use 'the' before an adjective in superlative degree .

∗ We can use 'the' before ordinals .

∗ We can use 'the' before musical instruments .

∗ We can use 'the' before an adjective where the noun is understood .

∗ Use of 'the' adds a superlativ force to a word .

∗ 'The more the better' is an example of use of the definite article as an adverb .

∗ 'An Obama' is an example of use of indefinite article in a vague sense .

∗ Most names of substances are uncountable nouns .

∗ Most abstract nouns are uncountable nouns .

∗ We can normally omit articles before names of relations .

∗ We can omit articles before predicative nouns denoting a unique position .

∗ The predicative nouns speak something about the subject .

∗ We can omit articles between a transitive verb and its object .

∗ Prefixing of one article is sufficient for a combined double designation of only one incumbent .

∗ I , we , you , he , she , it and they -- are personal pronouns .

∗ The third personal pronouns are also demonstrative pronouns .

∗ Me- is an example of accusative case or objective case .

∗ My , our , your , his , her , its , their-- can also be called possessive adjectives .

∗ Pronominal adjectives are formed from pronouns .

∗ In 'It rains' , rains-- is an impersonal verb .

∗ In 'It rains' , it-- is an impersonal pronoun .

∗ In 'It rains' it is example of an indefinite nominative or impersonal pronoun.

∗ A personal pronoun should adhere to its antecedent noun .

∗ Pronoun representing a collective noun , should be in singular number .

∗ Simile is the most popular figure of speech .

∗ Poets use optimum use of figures of speech when compared to business persons .

∗ "Shall have been singing" is an example of future perfect continuous tense .

∗ Shall after second and third person pronouns , indicates determination and certainty , in future tense .

∗ The collective nouns signifying separate individuals are to be represented by plural pronouns .

∗ Two singular subjects joined by and , need plural pronouns .

∗ Two singular subjects joined by and preceded by words like 'each' and 'every' need singular pronouns .

∗ A pronoun referring to first and second person antecedents at the same time , must be in the first person plural.

∗ A pronoun referring to first and third person antecedents at the same time must be in the first person plural.

∗ A pronoun referring to second and third person antecedents at the same time , must be in the second person .

∗ The first person pronouns I , and we , trail behind pronouns of other persons , as a matter of courtesy .

∗ This- is a demonstrative pronoun .

∗ This- as a demonstrative adjective precedes its noun .

∗ Any- is an example of an indefinite pronoun .

∗ One- is an example of an indefinite pronoun as well as a numerical adjective .

∗ Some- is an example of an indefinite adjective .

∗ Somebody- is an example of an indefinite pronoun .

∗ Plural pronouns they-their-them are are preferred to avoid gender orientation .

∗ The genitive case is also called possessive case .

∗ Whose- is an example of possessive adjective , interrogative adjective and relative pronoun .

∗ Whose- is in genitive case .

∗ Interrogative words do not have gender and number .

∗ Which- has the same form both in nominative and accusative .

∗ Which- is a relative pronoun .

∗ Which- is an interrogative pronoun and a relative pronoun .

∗ That- has no genitive case .

∗ That- has no possessive case .

∗ What- can be an interrogative pronoun and a relative pronoun .

∗ What- as a relative pronoun is singular .

∗ What- can be in nominative case or in accusative case .

∗ Who- can refer only to persons and not things .

∗ Who- can be singular or plural .

∗ Whose- can speak of animals and things also .

∗ Which- can be for animals apart from things without life .

∗ Which- restricts information about the antecedent .

∗ Which- is a restrictive reflective pronoun .

∗ Which- is a defining reflective pronoun .

∗ The relative pronoun that - is preferred with reference to persons .

∗ The relative pronoun which - is preferred with reference to things .

∗ The accusative relative pronoun may be omitted .

∗ Omission of accusative relative pronoun is more common in spoken English .

∗ Omission of nominative relative pronoun occasionally takes place in colloquial English .

∗ The omission of antecedent of a relative pronoun can be found in poetry .

∗ A relative pronoun should be of the same number and person as the antecedent .

∗ The case of a relative pronoun depends on the verb in the clause in which it occurs .

∗ The relative pronoun should be very close to the antecedent .

∗ Relative pronouns placed away from their antecedents can lead to unintended meanings .

∗ Whoever - is an example of a compound relative pronoun .

∗ Whosoever - is an example of a compound relative pronoun .

∗ Whichever - is an example of a compound relative pronoun .

∗ Whatever - is an example of a compound relative pronoun .

∗ Whatsoever - is an example of a compound relative pronoun .

∗ The compound relative pronouns need not express their antecedents .

∗ What is used of things only .

∗ Which implies selection between or among the available few .

∗ Ask-group verbs can take both direct and indirect objects .

∗ Ask-fell-give-offer-promise are some verbs in the ask-group .

∗ Some reflexive verbs have only implied objects .

∗ The intransitive verbs do not have objects to pass on action .

∗ A transitive verb can pass on its action to its object .

∗ The come-go group verbs pass on their action to the subject or to nobody .

∗ A verb can be made of more than one word .

∗ The mono-transitive verbs can have only one object .

∗ The di-transitive verbs can have two objects .

∗ The complex transitive verbs can have an object and a complement .

∗ The lexical verbs are the main verbs as against auxiliary verbs which are only supporting verbs .

∗ The cognate transitive verbs take akin objects , or objects which are similar in meaning .

∗ The cognate accusative case refers to a situation where a verb takes an object which is akin in meaning to it .

∗ The verbs of incomplete predication need complements to complete the meaning .

∗ The complements usually consist of predicative nouns or predicative adjectives .

∗ No preposition need precede all- followed by a time expression .

∗ No preposition is required before any- followed by a time expression .

∗ No preposition is needed before each- followed by a time expression .

∗ No preposition need precede every- followed by a time expression .

∗ In- is the preferred preposition before a street .

∗ At- is the preferred preposition before a house number and a street .

∗ On- is a good preposition before a place treated as a surface .

∗ Prepositions normally have nouns or pronouns as their objects .

∗ Prepositions can exceptionally have time adverbs as objects (eg. by then) .

∗ The prepositional object , if it is a pronoun , should be in objective case ( accusative case ) .

∗ The object of a verb , if it is a pronoun , should be in objective case ( accusative case ) .

∗ Which often serves as a conjunction apart from as a relative pronoun , in which case an additional conjunction becomes redundant .

∗ We can use a conjunction to join two relative clauses referring to the same antecedent .

∗ A definite word will better than a relative pronoun , particularly ' which ' .

∗ The number and person of a verb in a clause which has a relative pronoun as subject, should agree with the number and person of its antecedent .

∗ The case ( nominative / accusative ) is important while choosing between who and whom (eg. Who do you think, Obama is?) .

∗ ' Either ' is a distributive pronoun ; even if it represents a collection , it should be in singular .

∗ ' Neither ' is a singular distributive pronoun .

∗ ' None ' can be singular or plural depending on context .

∗ ' One ' is an indefinite pronoun .

∗ We should use the indefinite pronoun 'one' throughout the sentence (not 'his')(eg. One has a right to choose one's relgion) .

∗ Better we change the structure of a sentence , when repeating the indefinite pronoun 'one' results in an awkward construction .

∗ Anybody , everyone etc. now-a-days accept plural pronouns them/them/their to avoid controversies of feminine discrimination .

∗ Possessive pronouns should agree with their antecedents in gender , number and person .

∗ A pronoun functioning as a complement of the verb ' to be ' should be in nominative case (old rule)(eg. It was he.)

∗ A pronoun functioning as a complement of the verb ' to be ' may be in objective form ( relaxed usage )(eg. It was him.)

∗ We have to use possessive signs (apostrophe) for all possessive nouns which qualify (work as adjectives) a noun (eg. President's and Prime Minister's guards) .

∗ We can suffix the apostrophe to the second noun , if two nouns in possessive case are in apposition (eg. Obama, the President's residence) .

∗ We should confine use of genitive case (possessive case) to names of living beings and personified objects (eg. Nature's bounty) .

∗ Use of genitive case (possessive case) is a relaxed usage in case of stereotyped phrases like 'a lion's mane' .

∗ Genitive case (possessive case) is a customary usage in case of space or time (eg. a day's time) .

∗ A singular subject joined to other words by means of 'with' needs a singular verb (eg. The Mayor, with his Corporators, is present) .

∗ A singular subject joined to other words by means of 'as well as' needs a singular verb (eg. Dollar , as well as, Euro is falling.) .

∗ Two singular subjects joined by ' or ' need a singular verb .

∗ Two singular subjects joined by ' nor ' need a singular verb .

∗ Two singular subjects joined by ' and ' need a plural verb(eg. Oil and water do not mix) .

∗ Two singular subjects joined by ' and ' , if they denote a single composite idea, we can use a singular verb (eg. Bread and butter is a daily need.) .

∗ One singular subject and another plural subject joined by 'and' need a plural verb; the plural subject should be close to the verb (eg. Neither the Prime Minister nor his Cabinet members are present.) .

∗ Subjects of different persons , connected by ' or ' or ' nor ' , need a verb which agrees with the nearest subject (eg. Neither he nor you are present.) .

∗ Indirect speech , while reporting exclamations , is introduced using some exclamatory or wish-verb .

∗ The reporting verb , in indirect speech , while asking questions , can use some inquisitive verbs like asked , enquired etc .

∗ The reporting verb , in indirect speech , while making commands and requests , will use some command-request verbs like commanded , ordered , requested, shouted and urged .

∗ Imperative sentences , when converted into Indirect speech, use to-infinitives in the indirect speech clause (eg. He asked her to come) .

∗ A verb of simple present tense in the indirect clause , gets converted into simple past tense , if the reporting verb is in simple past tense .

∗ A verb of present continuous tense in the indirect clause , gets converted into past continuous tense , if the reporting verb is in simple past tense .

∗ A verb of present perfect tense in the indirect clause , gets converted into past perfect tense , if the reporting verb is in simple past tense past tense (eg. direct: He said 'I have done my work'; indirect: He said that he had done his work.) .

∗ A verb of simple past tense in the indirect clause, gets converted into past perfect tense , if the reporting verb is in simple past tense (eg. direct: He said 'I did my work'; indirect: He said that he had done his work.) .

∗ Shall- inside the quotes of direct speech , becomes should- in the indirect clause in reporting speech , if the reporting verb is in simple past tense .

∗ Will- inside the quotes of direct speech , can become 'would or could' in the indirect clause in reporting speech, if the reporting verb is in simple past tense.

∗ Tense of the verb in indirect clause does not change, even if the reporting verb is in past tense , when the statement in indirect clause continues to be relevant i.e. the condition continues. This is a relaxation to the basic rule of conversion of tense. We can use either form. (eg. He said that she continues to be sick) .

∗ Tense of the verb in indirect clause does not change, even if the reporting verb is in past tense , when the statement in indirect clause is a universal truth (eg. Copernicus argued that Earth is spherical.) .

∗ Tenses within the quotes of direct speech do not change in indirect clause of reporting speech , when the reporting verb is in present tense (eg. He says 'I was sick'; indirect: He says that he was sick.) .

∗ Pronouns in the indirect clause of reporting speech , should relate to the hearer of the new sentence rather than the original speaker (eg. direct: She said to you 'He does not like me'. indirect: She told you that he did not like her.) .

∗ Words of nearness within the quotes of direct speech , become words of remoteness in the indirect clause of reporting speech. This conversion takes place only when the actual place of speaking has changed (eg. He says 'We shall solve the problem here. Indirect: He says that we shall solve the problem here.) .

∗ Words of proximity of time within the quotes of direct speech , become words of remoteness in the indirect clause of reporting speech. This conversion takes place only when the actual time of speaking has changed (eg. He says 'We shall, now, solve the problem' indirect: He says that we shall now solve the problem) .

∗ Past tense in the principal clause of a complex sentence need not be followed by a past tense in the subordinate clause if it reflects a universal truth (eg. Galileo argued that Earth is spherical.) .

∗ A subordinate clause introduced by 'than' , need not be in past tense , even if the principal verb is in past tense .

∗ The tense of subordinate clause can be in any tense , if the principal verb is in future tense .

∗ The tense of subordinate clause can be in any tense depending on sense , if the principal verb is in present tense (eg. She thinks that she is right -or- She thinks that she was right -or- She thinks that she will be right.) .

∗ Sequential relationship of tense between the principal verb and the subordinate verb in complex sentences , is important in case of adverb clause of purpose (eg. She eats so that she may live) .

∗ Sequential relationship of tense between the principal verb and the subordinate verb in complex sentences , is important in case of noun clauses .

∗ Illative conjunctions express an inference (eg. for , so , therefore , yet) .

∗ Alternative conjunctions express a choice (eg. either - or ) .

∗ Adversative conjunctions express contrasts (eg. but) .

∗ Cumulative conjunctions or copulative conjunctions just "couple" the sentences (eg. and) .

∗ We can use a participle to synthesize sentences (eg. The constable, chasing the thief, caught him). Chasing- is the participle here .

∗ We can use nouns in apposition to synthesize sentences (eg. Obama, the American President lives in the White House.). Obama is the first noun. American President is the second noun. Placing side by side, is called apposition.

∗ Participle is a 'verbal adjective'. We get a participle when we use a verb as an adjective. 'Running' is the participle in the phrase 'running train'. Running is adjective (verbal noun) because it describes the noun 'train'.

∗ A present participle is a verbal adjective used in present tense . The action of the verb does not come to an end. (eg. 'running train'. The train is still running.) The present participle will usually be in active voice .

∗ A past participle is a verbal adjective used in past tense . The action of the verb should have been completed. The past participle will usually be in passive voice. (eg. the arrested criminal. The criminal was arrested by the police. ) .

∗ We can convert a complex sentence into a simple sentence by converting the subordinate clause into a phrase (eg. He has a car which is five-year old; simple: He has a five-year old car) .

∗ We can convert a simple sentence into a compound sentence by enlarging a word or phrase into a coordinate clause (Simple: Corruption is rampant in India. Compound: India has corruption and it is rampant.) .

∗ Sentences with intransitive verbs do not have a passive voice (eg. Obama is taller than Ms. Hillary Clinton.) .

∗ We can sometimes presume the subject of a sentence while converting from passive voice to active voice (eg. passive: My purse has been stolen. Active: Somebody has stolen my purse.) .

∗ We can prefer active voice when the doer is more important than the bearer of verb's action .

∗ We can prefer passive voice when the doer is not important or where it will be hurtful to think of the doer. (eg. She was made pregnant (by somebody, is omitted.)) .

∗ We can replace the phrase 'too + adjective' with 'so + adjective + that' structure (eg. The problem is too difficult to solve. change: The problem is so difficult that we cannot solve.) .

∗ Alternative conjunctions are also called disjunctive conjunctions (eg. either-or) .

∗ Compound conjunctions are phrases used as conjunctions (eg. even if , in order that , as if , as soon as , as well as, inasmuch as) .

∗ Correlative conjunctions are conjunctions used in pairs (eg. either-or, not only-but also) .

∗ Correlative conjunctions are also called correlatives .

∗ Conjunctions just join two words or sentences whereas prepositions have their objects and govern them .

∗ Conjunctions just join two words or sentences whereas relative pronouns refer to their antecedents , apart from joining two clauses or phrases (I know the Bank that Benjamin Franklin founded.) .

∗ Conjunctions just join two words or sentences whereas relative adverbs modify their verbs , apart from joining two clauses or phrases (eg. I do not know where he lives.) .

∗ Transitive verbs like discuss , order , stress need no prepositions after them (eg. We have discussed the matter.) .

∗ Idiomatic usage of some verb sets like addicted, assisted , believe, needs verb + preposition + gerund; we cannot use to-infinitive (eg. believe in bribing (not believe to bribe)) .

∗ Some verbs admit usage of both verb + preposition + gerund, and verb + to-infinitive constructions (eg. She is afraid of talking to me ; She is afraid to talk to me.) .

∗ Some verbs admit only verb + to-infinitive construction and not verb + preposition + gerund construction (eg. I refuse to say anything (not I refuse saying anything)).

∗ The phrase 'by + type of transport' is used when the reference is to a general means of transport (eg. We came by train) .

∗ Prepositions like ' on , in ' are used when referring to particular means of transport (eg. We came in the morning train (not by morning train)) .

∗ Idiomatic expression 'On foot' is used when a person comes walking (eg. We came on foot (not by foot)) .

∗ ' In an hour ' indicates at the end of one hour; ' within an hour ' indicates anytime before the end of one hour .

∗ Phrasal verbs can be formed by joining verbs and adverbs (eg. laze around , peel off) .

∗ ' Around , away , here , off , there ' etc. are place/space adverbs .

∗ Phrasal verbs may have a changed meaning , different from their original verb (eg. passed away -- died , look after --take care of) .

∗ Certain adjectives , nouns and verbs may have gerunds and to-infinitives following them (eg. ready to join) .

∗ Nouns used as attributive adjectives usually take a singular form (eg. computer keys) ; a few nouns take plural form also .

∗ Collocations are special associations between two or more words; substitution of one word with another word of similar meaning is not possible (eg. red wine is a collocation ; rose wine is not a collocation because it is not in use) .

∗ Some adjectives have specific nouns of collocation ; that means we cannot use the adjective before all the nouns (eg. hack branches of a tree, but not hack hair) .

∗ Some idioms use imaginative expressions consisting of proverbs and sayings (eg. kicked the bucket -- died (in a derogative sense) .

∗ Idioms can be short expressions used for a particular purpose (eg. Go to hell; damn it!) .

∗ Some idioms have fixed form and we cannot substitute words , leaving some exceptions (eg. damn it! ; bury the hatchet) .

∗ We can substitute some words in some idioms, with other words (eg. vanish into thin air, disappear into thin air).

∗ We can use many transitive phrasal verbs in passive voice (eg. They called off the agitation - The agitation was called off by them) .

∗ We cannot , in case of inseparable phrasal verbs , alienate the preposition/adverb of a phrasal verb from its verb (eg. eat out; We cannot say 'eat the dinner out). If such separation is possible, we cannot consider the verb as a phrasal verb. It is just a verb + preposition .

∗ We can, in case of separable phrasal verbs , place some words such as objects between two words in a phrasal verb.

∗ Phrasal verbs can also be called multi word verbs .

∗ Objects of separable transitive phrasal verbs , if the objects are pronouns like it , are to be placed between the verb and its particle (eg. He sent her away) .

∗ Objects of phrasal verbs , if the objects are long phrases , should be placed after the particles (He sent away all the consignments which have been returned by the buyers) .

∗ Phrasal verbs can have idiomatic meanings i.e. meanings which differ from the apparent meanings (eg. hang around) .

∗ We should distinguish between the words used in informal style of Spoken English and the words used in formal style, though their meanings may be same .

∗ The verb and its particle are compulsorily separable by the verb's object , in case of some separable phrasal verbs. (mess somebody/something around) .

∗ Some linking verbs can be used with either an adjective or a noun phrase as complements (eg. She became the Prime Minister. It became clear) .

∗ Some transitive linking verbs take objects as well as adjectives as complements (Americans elected Obama their President) .

∗ Most intransitively used verbs are followed by prepositions (He left to New York.) .

∗ Some transitive verbs need prepositions or adverbs, after the objects .

∗ Adverbs intensify adjectives. Collocational linkages (special relationships) between the adverbs and adjectives are to be taken into account .

∗ Determiners give an indication about the inflections to be made to nouns and conjugations to be made to verbs (eg. Each person gets a toffee. Each indicates that the noun 'person' should be in singular form and that the verb 'get' should be in third person singular form) .

∗ Uncountable nouns are also called uncount nouns or mass nouns (eg. milk, rice) .

∗ Countable nouns when in singular form , need a determiner such as 'a' before them (eg. She bought a book. 'a' is the determiner.) .

∗ Nouns can have countable meanings and uncountable meanings. Nouns with uncountable meanings will not have plurals (eg. She leave irregular spaces between words. We do not have space to keep the PC.) .

∗ We can use uncountable nouns also with determiners such as 'much' which indicate uncountable nature of the noun ( I spent much time reading.) .

∗ Uncountable nouns when used as subjects make their verbs singular (Wheat is cheap in Australia) .

∗ Some uncountable nouns like furniture may have constituent individual units which can be indicated by using partitives such as 'three pieces of furniture' .

∗ Things having two parts joined together such as 'scissors' always have a plural form .

∗ Some plural nouns refer to groups of animals/people and they look 'singular' , but are really plural (eg. cattle, police) .

∗ Some ever singular nouns need determiners before , and prepositions after , the words (eg. a boost to ...) .

∗ American English prefers singular form of nouns which refer to groups (eg. The Government is). The British English allows both forms (eg. The Government is / The Government are) .

∗ Some uncountable nouns , particularly those which refer to groups , have both singular and plural forms (eg. The staff is ... / The staff are ...). This is in British English. American English prefers only the singular form .

∗ Some adjectives invariably follow their nouns (eg. gallore) .

∗ Many intransitive verbs have prepositional phrases or adverbial phrases following them (eg. come + (to me) ) .

∗ Some transitive verbs have noun phrases following them (She teaches working women , how to write short stories.) .

∗ Some verbs allow -ing phrases to follow (eg. He never stops drinking.) .

∗ Some verbs have pronouns as objects followed by an -ing phrase (eg. First model: I like him singing. Here 'him' is the object. I like him when he is singing. Second model : I like his singing. Here 'singing' is the object. 'His' is the possessive pronoun-cum-possessive adjective.) .

∗ 'Her' is both a possessive pronoun-cum-adjective and an objective pronoun. (eg. Use of comma clarifies the position. First model: I like her , singing. 'Her' is the object. Meaning: I like her when she sings. Second model: I like, her singing. 'Singing' is the object. What type of singing or whose singing? Her singing. 'Her' is an attributive adjective .

∗ Some verbs have twin uses i.e. both in direct speech before quotes and as a reporting verb before 'that' (eg. 'Mother is not at home', she told him.) .

∗ Some verbs allow four patterns : verb + bare infinitive ; verb + ing phrase (gerund) ; verb + wh clause; verb + a noun or noun phrase .

∗ Verbs like 'suspect' do not have progressive tense (continuous tense). We have to keep in mind that -ing forms of these verbs can be used as participles (verbal adjectives).

∗ A predicative adjective completes the predicate. It is said to have been used predicatively (eg. The house is in ruins.) .

∗ The word 'it' becomes a provisional subject when the real subject follows or used as a complement (eg. It is easy to blame the Government. The real subject is "To blame / Blaming the Government".) .

∗ The subordinate conjunction 'that' is useful in introducing noun clauses (eg. He is afraid that he will be bitten by a dog. -- He is afraid of being bitten by a dog. Afraid of what? "being bitten by a dog" or "be bitten by a dog". Alternatively, we can say that "that he will be bitten by a dog" describes the adjective afraid, and hence the clause is an adverbial clause) .

∗ Extension of a verb is its 'adverbial qualification' (eg. He spoke in an inaudible tone. How did he speak? "in an inaudible tone" describes or qualifies the verb) .

∗ Enlargement of a subject is its attributive adjective (eg. The British Prime Minister spoke briefly. Prime Minister is the subject-word. 'The' and 'British' are enlargements or attributes and form a part of the complete subject.) .

Thursday, June 3, 2010

#026 - Principles of Grammar starting with 'A'

I am not deliberately using the phrase 'Grammar rules' , because grammar rules are not Government made statutes .

We do not have a grammar administrative body in the world just as we do not have an internet administrative body.

The principles of grammar have evolved over centuries.

Native English speakers, sometimes , deviated / skipped from the logical grammar.

Errors may become customary and traditional and sentences with illogical grammar may become grammatical principles in the name of 'idioms' and Idiomatic English .

Languages are living things. Hence, we cannot say that something is correct English and something else is bad English.

Here is a small quiz based on the principles / terms of grammar starting with 'A'. This quiz is not exhaustive, but I have tried to make it somewhat representative of different facets.

I shall try to correct my errors , if you will please bring them to my notice .

apposition , attributive adjective , attributive adjectives , abstract noun , adjective , adverb , article , articles , attribute , attributively , adjective clause , adjective clauses , adverbial clause , adverbial clauses , adjective phrase , adjectival phrase , adjective phrases , adjectival phrases , adverb phrases , adverbial phrases , adverb phrase , adverbial phrases.


Fill up the blanks choosing appropriate words from the above list:


1: = The term ' ____ ' refers to placing two words side by side ' .,
2: = In the phrase 'Democratic Party' , 'Democratic' is an ____ .,
3: = The ____ are placed before their nouns .,
4: = ' Laughter ' is an ____ .,
5: = An ____ adds something to the meaning of a noun .,
6: = Adverb can add meaning to an adjective / ____ / verb .,
7: = We can use the word hotel with the ' indefinite ____ ' a or an depending on how we pronounce the aspirate .,
8: = Grammars have not designated the ' ____ ' as separate parts of speech; they are adjectives .,
9: = The word ____ refers to some quality or characteristic; adjectives describe the attributes of their objects .,
10: = Some adjectives can be used only ____ , which means that they can be placed only before their nouns .,


11: = A clause used as an adjective , becomes an ____ or an adjectival clause .,
12: = A clause used as an adverb , becomes an adverb clause or an ____ .,
13: = We can use ____ to describe adjectives , verbs and adverbs .,
14: = A phrase used as an adjective , becomes an ____ or an adjectival phrase .,
15: = The ____ can describe a subject or an object .,
16: = The ____ can be used to qualify subjects or objects .,
17: = The ____ can be used to qualify adjectives , adverbs and verbs .,
18: = A phrase used as an adverb , becomes an ____ or an adverbial phrase .

Hover your mouse here to see the suggested answers

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#025 USE OF PLURAL-PAST-SUPPORTINGVERB 'WERE' IN SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD

Subjunctive mood expresses the mood of a verb.

*A verb in subjunctive mood can express a wish.
Example: God bless you.
Long live the Queen.

Observation: Note the use of simple PRESENT tense without any conjugations, here.

*A verb in subjunctive mood makes statements of impossibilities and improbabilities.

Example:
If I were the President of U.S., I would have stopped the attacks on civilian targets.

ObservationMy becoming the President of U.S. is an impossibility.
Note the use of the plural-past-supporting-verb "were" for the first person I.

Blogger's comment: It is not clear, who first started the use of plural-past-supporting-verb "were".

"I shall stop the attacks on civilian targets, if I am the President of U.S."
"I would have stopped the attacks on civilian targets, if I was the President of U.S."

The above sentences would have also been correct, had English been a logical language. English occasionally throws away logic into garbage dump.

See the following statement:

I shall donate one dollar, if I get ten dollars.

The mood is not subjunctive here. Reason: I have a probability or possibility of getting ten dollars. It is not impossible. I have, hence, used the right tense i.e. the future tense "I shall donate". "If" when used in conditions, is normally followed by a verb in simple present tense.


SOME QUOTES OF IMPOSSIBILITIES
I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old. ? Charles Baudelaire.

If I were a girl , I'd despair. The supply of good women far exceeds that of the men who deserve them. ? Robert Graves.

If I were a grave-digger or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment ? Douglas Jerrold.

If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is
dead? Don Delillo.

If music be the food of love, play on.
Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. Rem: Music can never be the food of love. Impossibility.

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
Lincoln. REM: How can Lincoln have two faces?

If I were a man I wouldn't bother to change while there are women like that around. ? Ann Oakley.
If I were a man I would always be laughing at myself. ? Yoko Ono.

If I were a side dish , he hadn't ordered. ? Ring Lardner.

If I were a woman I would kiss as many of you as had beards that
pleased me, complexions that liked me and breaths that I defied not ?
William Shakespeare.

I would want him to do everything for me and wait on me as
if I were a princess. But that is not the way at all. ?

If I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved. ? Soren Kierkegaard.

Monday, February 15, 2010

#024 HOW TO CONSTRUCT THE SUBJECT OF A SENTENCE?

CONSTRUCTING THE 'SUBJECT' OF A SENTENCE

A sentence consists of a subject and a predicate.

The part about which the sentence speaks - somebody/something/topic - is the subject. What is spoken about the subject is the predicate.

The subject of the sentence defines the boundary for the predicate. The predicate has to speak about the subject-- its state/action.

Sentences opening with "subject" draw the attention of the listener/reader to the subject. Subject is the face and head of the sentence. Predicate is the body of the sentence. We get drawn to the face of a person first and later we move to the other body-parts later normally, unless the body-parts are conspicuous and extra-ordinary enough to pull us away from face. Skillful construction of subject of a sentence is, hence, very important.

The simplest way to build a subject in a sentence is to straight-away use a noun and start the sentence with it.

Some examples:

I like tea.
REM: The speaker is telling about himself/herself and affirming his/her own likes. 'I' is, hence, the subject. 'Like' is the transitive verb. Like what? Ans. 'tea'. Tea is the object. The sentence structure used is 'SVO' (subject, verb, object).

Please take tea.
REM: The subject here is 'You'. Imperative sentences (commands, entreaties, requests etc.) have their subjects in second person i.e. 'you'.
We have to infer the existence of 'you'; hence the full sentence becomes:
You, please, take tea..
REM: 'You' is the subject. 'Please' is a courtesy adverb, describing the verb 'take'. The sentence 'Please take tea' is the predicate part.

Adding attributes to subject.
A subject, need not be a bare noun. It can have some attributes (special characteristics, embellishments). We can place the attributes before the subject. We can also place embellishments after the subjects, depending on convenience.

Examples
The tall girl drew everybody's attention.
REM: 'Girl' is the subject. 'The' is a demonstrative adjective, an attribute of the girl, meaning 'that girl'. 'Tall' is another attribute of the girl, which describes the height of the girl.

Elizabeth, the tallest girl in the party, drew everybody's attention.
REM: 'Elizabeth' is the subject here. 'The tallest girl in the party' is her embellishment. The phrase is placed after the subject.
Another observation: Elizabeth is one noun. 'The tallest girl in the party' is another noun (noun-phrase used as noun). These two are placed side by side. We can call this side-by-side position of two nouns as juxtaposition.

Example of a sentence, which does not start with 'subject'
Sweet are the uses of adversity.
REM: We can get a better picture by rewriting the sentence as:
The uses of adversity, are sweet.
'The uses of adversity' is the subject here. 'Sweet' is the adjective complement for the subject. 'Are' is the verb of incomplete predication.

Example, where the subject is embellished with an adjective clause.
Uneasy lies the head, that wears the crown..
REM: We can get a better picture by rewriting the sentence as:
The head that wears the crown, lies, uneasy.. 'That wears the crown' is the clause used as adjective (adjective clause) to embellish the subject 'head'.

EXAMPLE WHERE A 'NOUN CLAUSE' IS USED AS SUBJECT
'Whether US will invade Iran' is a hypothetical question.
REM: 'Is' the verb of incomplete predication. 'A hypothetical question' is the adjective complement which describes the subject: "Whether US will invade Iran".
To identify the subject, we can use the following question:
What is a hypothetical question?
Ans: "Whether US will invade Iran".

Sunday, January 24, 2010

#023 USE OF 'MIGHT' TO CONVEY REPROACH, HOW FAR CORRECT?

Modal Verb 'Might'

*'May' and 'might' both are modal verbs.
* Modal verbs indicate 'mode' of the action.
* Probability, possibility, certainty, duty and obligation, intensity of duty are some modes.
*'Might' is the past tense of 'may'.
*'May' indicates probability.
*'Might' should indicate 'probabilities' in past tense.

E.g.: The murder might have taken place at 12.00 noon yesterday.

'Might' here clearly indicates a probability.

Please, now see, the following sentence:

You might pay a little greater attention to your dress.

It is difficult to find probabilities, here. The speaker, probably, is giving freedom to the receiver either to pay or not to pay more attention to dress.

We may revise the sentence as under, if we want to be puritan about correctness of tense:

You, may please, pay a little greater ....

We can even communicate directly, though the meaning changes a little:

Please, if you do not mind, pay a little greater ....

I propose the use of two terms here:

1. Active grammar: Grammar which we use in our outward communications.

English has approximately 100 pure grammar rules. Following these rules, improves the clarity of our communication. We can write, reasonably correct English, following these rules.

2. Passive grammar: Grammar which we use in deciphering and interpreting our inbox messages.

English has approximately 500 grammar usages. Some of these usages, are against traditional grammar rules. The usages have become acceptable, owing to their continuous usage or popularity, and when others use them we have to accept them in their popular sense, leaving aside the pure grammar rules.

E.g.: 'If I were the Prime Minister of Britain....' . .

'Were' is a supporting verb of 'past tense'. Speakers are using it today to indicate 'impossibilities' and 'subjunctive mood'.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#022 What should be the sequence of multiple attributive adjectives?

Order of adjectives placed before nouns

Adjectives describe nouns (and noun-phrases).
Attributive adjectives precede the nouns.
We can use any number of attributive adjectives before the nouns; hence the term 'multiple attributive adjectives'.

What should be the order or sequence of multiple attributives adjectives?

Formula: OSQ ShAC NMTP.

O = Opinion (adjectives which express opinions e.g. good, bad, etc.).
S = Size (big, small etc.).
Q = Quantity (physical quantity).
Sh = Shape.
A = Age.
C = Color.
N = Number.
M = Material.
T = Type.
P = Purpose.

E.g. Accordion is a portable musical instrument.

This sentence follows the sequence of 'TP'.
Portable - an adjective of type.
Musical - is the adjective of purpose.

Let us rewrite the sentence:

Accordion is a musical portable instrument.

This cannot be wrong, theoretically, but the order looks awkward, because it is not in use.

*I am unable to trace the authority for this principle/practice.
*I shall try to quote the authority here, as soon as I am able to trace.
*Using this principle improves clarity of the sentence.
*Dividing line between different types of adjectives, can sometimes be, thin.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

#021 Active grammar - passive grammar classification

Changes in use of grammar

We have, in vocabulary, the classification of active vocabulary and passive vocabulary. Active vocabulary refers to the words we use in our communications. Passive vocabulary refers to the words we use in interpreting and understanding the communications received from others.

Grammar also needs a similar classification. I am not sure, whether others have started making such classification.

Active Grammar
Grammar which we use in our conversations and written communications.

Passive Grammar
Grammar which we use in interpreting and understanding the communications from others.

Why this active grammar - passive grammar classification is important?
The grammar used by the traditional grammarians remains static. The current and contemporary grammar is dynamic. It changes with changes in usage habits.

E.g. : The traditional grammar indicates the 'first person, simple future' using:
I shall come

and the 'first person, certainty/determination' using:

I will come.

Vice versa, is the case in respect of second and third person pronouns 'you, he, she, it and they'.

This distinction has vanished in the modern usage.

We cannot deduce true meaning of an inbox message using the traditional grammar, if the other person has employed 'the modern usage'.

We have to determine from the context whether the speaker/writer has employed the traditional grammar or the modern grammar and then narrow down the meaning.

We cannot, therefore, find fault with somebody's communication, if it says 'I will come tomorrow' and the sender fails to turn up the next day.

What should our active grammar be?

Active grammar, is the grammar we employ in our communications.

We have to choose traditional grammar if our listeners/readers are going to be scholars and modern grammar if our listeners/readers are going to be the general population, may be netizens, customers, suppliers etc.

E.g. : 'I will come tomorrow' of the traditional grammar, in the modern usage, does not any longer indicate the determination.

We may have to use 'I will come tomorrow certainly/without fail.' to indicate certainty, keeping in mind the needs of the modern users of 'will'.

Monday, January 4, 2010

#020 Does 'simple past tense' compulsorily need use of an adverb of 'past tense'?

'simple past tense'

Simple past tense indicates an action completed in the past.
Time adverbs are content words which add meaningful content to a sentence.
Context, sometimes, gives us the meaning.

E.g.: I didn't sleep.
Presumption: yesterday night.
Clearer: I did not sleep last night.
Clearer: I did not sleep during duty hours, through out my service.


Acceptable: We fought for our independence.
Presumption: Can't presume when the fight took place.
Clearer: We fought for our independence in 1776.
Alternate: We can, probably, use a past perfect form, if the time is not important.
We had fought for our independence.

We can use a manner adverb, if the manner is more impotant:

We had (valiantly) fought (valiantly) for our independence (valiantly).

We can add m-adverb and t-adverb, if both are important:

We (valiantly) fought (valiantly) for our independence (valiantly) in 1776.

#019 VERBS NOT USED IN A CONTINOUS FORM

Are there verbs which do not have 'progressives'?

Some grammarians do not favor use of some verbs in continuous forms. The meaning of the verb is important, in choosing whether to use it in a continuous sense or not. The verbs can be used in a continuous form, if we intend a tangible meaning, instead of some abstract idea. The dividing line is very thin in this respect. The current tendency is to use continuous forms at user's discretion.

Verbs of 'appearance'
appear, look, seem etc.

Verbs of 'emotion'
desire, feel, like, love, hate, hope, prefer, refuse.

Verbs of 'perception'
hear, notice, recognise, see, smell.

Verbs of 'possession'
belong to, contain, consist of, have.

Verbs of 'thought'
agree, believe, consider, forget, imagine, know, mean, mind, remember, suppose, trust, understand.

E.g.:
Not preferred: The President is wanting to see you.
Preferred: The President wants to see you.


Not preferred: She is smelling something obnoxious and odious. She is wanting to clean the house.

Preferred: She smells something obnoxious and odious. She wants to clean the house.

Not preferred: He is having a flat.
Preferred: He has a flat.
Reason: A verb of possession cannot have a continous form.

See the difference below:

Acceptable: My wife is having lunch.
Reason: The intention here, does not appear to express possession of lunch.

Acceptable: I bought a house belonging to Smiths.
Reason: 'Belonging' here is a present participle i.e. adjective. It describes the house. 'Belonging' = 'which belongs to' here.

Example from Paradise Lost 5:

And all the sea, from one entire globose
Stretched into longitude; which having passed ,( PL- 5 ) .


Explanation: Here, 'having passed' does not indicate possession. The form is also not continuous. Hence, this is acceptable.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

#018 CAN WE USE PHRASES AS PREPOSITONS?

I have added some search tools on the twelve books of John Milton's Paradise Lost. You may like to have a look at it. Click.




PHRASAL PREPOSITIONS

A phrase is a group of words.
Phrases can be used as prepositions.
We can call such phrases as 'phrasal prepositions' or 'phrase prepositions'.

Here is a small quiz based on phrasal prepositions.


Choice Box
According to
agreeably to
along with
away from
because of
by dint of
by means of
by reason of
by virtue of
by way of
conformity to
for the sake of
in accordance with
in addition to
in behalf of
on behalf of
in case of
in comparison to
in compliance with
in consequence of
in course of
in favor of
in front of
in lieu of
in order to
in place of
in reference to
in regard to
in spite of
instead of
in the event of
on account of
owing to
with a view to
with an eye to
with reference to
with regard to
Note: Some of these phrasal prepositions have become slightly obsolete. The sentence box below has only commonly used phrase prepositions.




PHRASE/CLAUSE/SENTENCE BOX
1. A mistake ____ the name does nothing, when we are certain of the person .
2. Cut your coat ___ to your cloth.
3. The wisdom of many doctors ___ the healing art is poor.
4. A patient should combat his disease, ____ the doctors.
5. A low land can become a marsh ____ poor drainage.
6. I shall ever try to drive all evils ____ my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart . (Gitanjali) .
7. A modest person does not seek publicity ____ his dignity.
8. Governors and Presidents can face impeachment ___ their lasciviousness.
9. Police have to use force ___ violence.
10. Did Obama become President ___ his merit?
11. A Government can borrow from its people ___ , printing new notes. The first step does not increase money supply and inflation.
12. The Company distributed free drinks ___ introduction.
13. We do not, sometimes, succeed ___ our best efforts.
14. The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, ____ strengthen his character thereby. (Milton) .
15. The Government may offer an unemployment allowance ___ a job.

HOVER YOUR MOUSE HERE TO SEE ANSWERs.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

#017 PARTICIPLES WHICH HAVE BECOME PREPOSITIONS OWING TO CONTINUOUS USE

PARTICIPLES WHICH HAVE BECOME PREPOSITIONS OWING TO CONTINUOUS USE

Present participles end with '-ing'.
They are adjectives.
They should have a noun following them.

E.g. 'Travelling salesman'. Meaning: A salesman who travels.

Some participles have, owing to continuous use, in a fixed sense of prepositions, have nearly become prepositions.

Choice Box
Barring = except;
concerning = about;
considering = taking into account.
during = at the time of, while;
notwithstanding = in spite of;
pending = in the meantime, meanwhile, awaiting something to complete;
regarding = about;
respecting = with regard to, about;
touching = with regard to, about;



Phrase/Clause/Sentence Box
1. What did Bush do ____ his tenure?
2. Every State, ____ Alabama, is supporting gay marriages.
3. ____ this matter, the Government has not yet made any decision.
4. A disputation is a verbal contest ____ the truth of some fact. (Webster's Unabridged Dictionary).
5. Obama is silent ____ corruption.
6. ____ the Banking Sector reforms, the Obama went ahead releasing funds to sick banks.
7. _____ their criminal connections and records, many unscrupulous persons get elected to Congress and Senate.
8. ____ his age, the Court gave him a mild punishment.
9. A question is made ____ the laws, not concerning persons .
10. Except ____ the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does. (Shaw) .


Answers. Hover your mouse here.


Word of the week
Vibrissa = hair in the nostrils of a person.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

#017 CLAUSE - PHRASE DIFFERENCE

CLAUSE - PHRASE DIFFERENCE - discussion-cum-quiz

How to distinguish a clause from a phrase?

Ans: Phrase is just a group of words. Clause has two additional components. 1. A subject; 2. a predicate, particularly a verb.

EXAMPLES
Phrase: They stopped the battle at Sunset.

Clause: They stopped the battle when evening came.
'Evening' is the subject in the clause. 'Came' is the verb in the clause. These two are in addition to the main subject 'they' and the main verb 'stopped'.

Is this sentence a complex sentence?

Ans: You are right. We have a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses in a complex sentence.
'They stopped the battle' is the main clause, because it has a completed meaning. 'When the evening came' is the subordinate clause, because the meaning is incomplete.

QUIZ

Identify whether the following are phrases/clauses and if so what type.


1. Money lenders thrive wherever they go. ANSWER.

2. Where you start is not as important as where you finish . ANSWER.

3. Govern a family as you would cook a small fish; very gently ANSWER.

4. Those who stand in the middle of the road , may be run over. ANSWER.

5. Nothing can survive on the Venus . ANSWER.

6. The court is like a palace built of marble . ANSWER.

7. A stitch in time saves nine. ANSWER.

8. Bill Clinton enjoyed playing saxophone. ANSWER.

9. I know that I can no longer smoke. ANSWER.

10. Do whatever you can. ANSWER.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

016 NOUN PHRASES

Noun Phrases

1. What are noun phrases?Phrases which do the work of a noun are 'noun phrases'.

2. How to recognise a noun phrase in a sentence?We use nouns either as subjects or objects in a sentence. Noun phrases also do the work of a 'subject' or an 'object'.

3. How to recognise a subject?a) The thing about which / person about whom the sentence is speaking is the subject.
b) Most sentences start with subjects.
c) Subjects tend to be doers of actions.

4. How to recognise an object?a) The objects follow transitive verbs.
b) We can ask a question like 'what, whom, which etc.' on a transitive verb.

E.g. : An entangled fish has to die.
PARSING
'An entangled fish' is the subject.
'Has' is the verb.
Has what?
'To die' is the object. It is a noun.
'To' + verb is called 'to infinitive'. 'To infinitives' can be used as nouns. There are two words in a 'to-infinitive'. Hence, we can treat a to-infinitive as a noun phrase.

Another example:

It is lawful for women and children to discharge offices by proxy.
We, now, question: What is lawful? "To discharge offices by proxy" is lawful. Thus, "To discharge offices by proxy" is a Noun-phrase.

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