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Grammar: all the interesting bits you’ve probably forgotten

Grammar police

Grammar police (Photo credit: the_munificent_sasquatch)

Here’s a brief run down of a number of grammatical terms (that I think at least) we should be aware of. I’ve included examples so that they make more sense.

If you want a far better, more professional and trustworthy account please see the brilliant Grammar Monster site – www.grammar-monster.com. The creator of this site is behind the highly enjoyable ‘Grammar for Grown-ups‘  book, which lists a number of brilliant quotes and quips to help highlight the below. I’ve used several of these quotes below – which I hope they don’t mind!

You’ll also notice that the below list is a real mish-mash. There’s no real thought behind it other than the bits of grammar that I find interesting! Enjoy!

Adjectives

An adjective is simply a describing word i,e squishy, excitingblue etc.

i.e:

‘This post about grammar is simply fascinating‘. – Fascinating being the adjective.

“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” – William Shakespeare

On a similar nature a Compound Adjective is an adjective made up of two words, for example:

Three-storey house’ or ‘Best-known Director within the company’.

Adverbs

An adverb is similar to an adjective, but it instead modifies the verb in the sentence.

Adverbs tell us when, where, how, in what manner, or to what extent an action is performed.

They are often -ly words e.g. poorly or helpfully.

For example:

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves”  – Thich Nhat Hanh. Drink is the verb (a doing word) whereas slowly is the adverb.

Or, ‘She sang beautifully‘. – Sang is the verb, beautifully is the adverb.

Conjunctions

These join words together. The most  common are: and, or, but, because and so.

“This man is either dead or my watch has stopped.” – Groucho Marx

“I failed to make the chess team because of my height.” – Woody Allen

Interjections

Interjections are words used to express strong feeling or sudden emotion. They are included in a sentence – usually at the start – to express a sentiment such as surprise, disgust, joy, excitement or enthusiasm.

Hey! Over here.’ or ‘Blimey, that was a close one’. – Where Hey and Blimey are the interjections.

Ah coffee. The sweet balm by which we shall accomplish today’s tasks.” – Holly Black

Nouns

Is the term for anything with a name, be it:

  • people (e.g., man, worker)
  • animals (e.g., dog, giraffe)
  • places (e.g., city, road)
  • objects (e.g., table, car)
  • substances (e.g., water, rock)
  • qualities (e.g., heroism, sorrow)
  • actions (e.g., talking, eating)
  • measures (e.g., inch, stone).

‘The best thing about this pen, is that you write almost anything with it’ – Unknown

www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/nouns.htm goes into good detail regarding nouns.

Prepositions

A preposition is a word that precedes a noun or pronoun to describe its relationship to something else within the sentence.

Examples are the words in, under, toward and before.

“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.” – Mae West

Pronouns

A pronoum replaces the noun in a sentence, to prevent you from having to repeat it again.

He, she, we, they, it are all pronouns.

“I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.” – Robert Orben. Where ‘they’ is the pronoun, rather than having to say ‘my children’ again.

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Tmesis

Where a word or phrase is separated into two parts, with other words interrupting between them.

Abso-bloody-lutely‘ is such an example.

As is ‘Wel-diddly-elcome‘, a signature phrase of fictional character Ned Flanders from The Simpsons.

Verbs

Verbs are doing words. They convey actions (bringreadwalkrunlearn), an occurrence (happenbecome), or a state of being (beexiststand).

“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” – Mark Twain

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” – Roger Miller

“Sometimes I think we’re alone. Sometimes I think we’re not. In either case, the thought is staggering.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

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