A concise review of English Grammar

Table of Contents

Any talk or writing is a piece of sounds of characters with the aim of conveying a meaning. The meaning may be in the whole piece of communication and also in its parts: paragraphs and sentences. Each paragraph focus on a distinct idea and each sentence add a meaning to the composition of the paragraph.

In a paragrapg words are grouped into sentences separated by fullstop. Sentences grouped in paragraphs are separated by newline.

Words consist of verbs, nouns, adjectives or adverbs. Pronouns stand for nouns.

part function
Verbs words used to describe an action, state, or occurrence.
Nouns describe names of persons, places or objects.
Adjectives modify the meaning of nouns.
Adverbs modify the meaning of verbs.
predicate the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject


Regular Verbs: are simple and regular in their past and participles or derived nouns: for example the verb "act" gives : act, acted, acted, acting, action, active, actor, actress, activity, ..etc

Irregular Verbs: Their dervied forms can not be predicted by a rule but are known by custom. for example the verb "do": [do, did, done, doing, doer]

Auxiliary Verbs : These are helping verbs used with a main verb to help express the main verb's tense, mood, or voice. The main auxiliary verbs are verbs [to be, to have, and to do].

Modal Auxiliary Verbs express ideas such as necessity, possibility, intention, and ability. For example: [Can, Could, Shall, Should, Will, Would, may, might, must, have to, has to, ought to.]


PAST TENSE : simple, continuous(ongoing) or perfect(completed).

  • simple : started and ended in the past "I visited Egypt in 1988"
  • continuous: ongoing until certain time in the past. "They were shouting until I intervened", [until something else happened] A habit in the past: "They were always quarrelling before they separated."
  • perfect: happened and completed before another action in the past. "After he had finished work, he went home"

PRESENT : simple, continuous(ongoing) or perfect(completed) and Pefect continous.

  • simple: Habit, general fact or truth. "The plane arrives tomorrow" "I am nineteen years old"
  • continous: still going on at the time of speaking. "They are swimming in the pool. I will ask them to come out."
  • Pefect: Started in the past and is still happening: "He has worked for the bank for 5 years" [i.e. and he is still working there.] Opinion or view: "He has gone mad", "Where is Ann?", "I think she has gone shopping"
  • Pefect continous: has been going on for sometime and is still going on. "He has been living in Bangkok since he left England in 1990"

FUTURE : simple, continuous(ongoing) or perfect(completed) and Pefect continous.

  • Simple: plan to do something at sometime in the future. : "I will travel tomorrow"
  • Continous: a continous action at a particular time in the future. : "I will be missing you" Planned event in the future: "Next summer, I will be enjoying the sunshine at Costa del Sol"
  • Pefect: action will be completed before another action in the future. "I will have taken 10 tests by the time I finish this course"
  • Perect Continous: action will be going on in the future when another happens. "I will have been living in this city for 3 years when you visit me next week"


Nouns are names given to objects in the world around us or in our imagination.

  • Proper Noun: name of a person, place, organisation, states, days, months, ..etc.
  • Common Nouns: like boy, man, girl, park, phone, coffee.
  • Abstratc Nouns: not really existing in concrete form: bravery, freedom, delight.
  • Countable/Uncountables: pen, book/rice, water
  • Collective Noun: School, colony, church, group
  • Compound Nouns: boyfriend, classmate, output

Nouns may be Singular or Plural:

  • Regular Plurals: boy, boys
  • Irregular Plurals: man, men


A pronoun are words that takes the place of a noun.

Persons in pronouns are the Speaker, the one Spoken to, or referring to Someone else. Persons may be singular or plural, masculine or feminine A Person in the pronouns may be a subject (Doer) or object (done to) of the verb.

Person Speaker Spoken to Referred to
Singular I You He
Plural We You They
Masculine I/We You He
Feminine I/We You She, It
Subject I/We You He,She,It, They
Object me/Us You Him, her, it, Them
"I talk to you, he talks to them"
"He talks to me, I talk to her"

Possessive Pronoun:

These pronouns show who owns the object. My, Your, His, Her, Its, Our, Your, Their "My Books"

Independent Possessive Pronouns: Here the pronoun is the subject. Mine, Yours, His, Hers, its, Ours, Yours, Theirs. "It is hers"

Reflexive Pronouns: Here the pronoun is the object. Myself, Yourself, Himself, Herself,itself, Ourselves, Yourselves, Themselves. "Let us help oulseves first"


Articles define if a noun is specific or not. "A long day" indefinite "The long day" Definite

the article is omitted before nouns that refer to abstract ideas. "We seek freedom", "He speaks French", "He plays Baseball"

Connecting Sentences

Transition Words: Use these sparingly

1- To Add or emphasize the idea: likewise, in addition, also, as well, furthermore, again, moreover.

2- To Change to different or opposite idea: conversely, nevertheless, on the other hand, on the contrary, although, even though, but, yet, while, however, except.

3- To Conclude: thus, therefore, consequently, as a result, because, since, as, so, inasmuch as.

4- To Concede different views: admittedly, of course, naturally

5- To point out a sequence: first/second/third, a/b/c, lastly, next, then, finally, after that, until

Use of Colon or Semicolon

colons [:] should introduce a list, example, or explanation of the previous idea. Semicolons [;] should be employed when the sentences are related. "I am a cat person by nature; John, on the other hand, likes dogs."


Prepositions indicate relationships between words

  • WHERE : Location: "I am in the pool" In, Above, Below, Behind, Beside, Between, Inside, Outside,Near, On, Over, By
  • WHEN : Time: "See you after I finish the class" After, Before, During, By, From, On, Past, Since, Through, Onto, Up, Upon, Out of
  • HOW : Movement: "I am going out of the pool" Against, Along, Down, From, Into, Off, On, Out of, Toward, Up, Upon


Conjuctions are words that link other words, phrases, or clauses together.

Coordinating Conjunctions

for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so FANBOYS They connect items which are the same grammatical type, either words, phrases, or clauses.

  • Connecting words: Which do you prefer? [word] Red or [word] blue?
  • Connecting phrases : The meal was [phrase] very expensive and [phrase] not very nice.
  • Connecting clauses : [clause] There are seats outside but [clause] some people donot like sitting outdoors.

Subordination Conjunctions

These are words that connect subordinate clause to a main clause. Examples: after, (al)though, as, before, if, since, that, until, when, whereas, while, once, so, as soon as, provided that.

  • "[subordinate clause] After we had talked on the phone, [main clause] I wrote down what we had decided."
  • Although or though, As,As soon as,Before,If,Once,Since,So,That,Until,When,Whereas,While and whilst.


A clause is the basic unit of grammar. A clause must contain a verb. Typically a clause is made up of a subject, a verb phrase and, sometimes, a complement.


A sentence is a unit of grammar. It must contain at least one main clause. It can contain more than one clause. In writing, a sentence typically begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.

Correlative conjunctions

They are used in pairs to link equivalent elements in a sentence. either...or,neither...nor,not only...but also,as…so,not…but


A phrase is a group of words in a sentence without a subject or a verb. A phrase does not express a complete meaning. A phrase has a headword and multiple modifiers. The modifiers express the meaning of a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb.


Headword is a noun + modifier : "Sunday became [a quiet, sorrowful evening]"

  • GERUND PHRASE: A noun phrase starting with a gerund "[Walking in a thorny bush] can be stressful"
  • Appositive Phrase: defines and reaffirms a noun "My boyfriend, the love of my life, is also my workmate"
  • Prepositional Phrase: Noun, adjective or adverbal phrase starting with a preposition. "The screwdriver was on the table"
  • Infinitive Phrase: A noun phrase that starts with infinitive verb+complement+modifiers(adverb)

Infinitve Phrase as Noun

The infinitive phrase can function as a subject, object, adjective, adverb or complement.

  • As Subject Noun: "(To have a big dream) requires the same effort as having a small dream" "(To invent an airplane) is nothing. (To build one) is something, but (to fly) is everything."
  • As Object Noun: "He helped (to build the roof)." "I moved to the City [to work in stocks]" "Nobody wants (to hear long speeches)."
  • As Complement Noun: "The only solution was (to lower the standards)."
  • As Adjective: "Let him show you the best way (to paint the door)." "I love crime books. I need one (to read on holiday)." : one is a pronoun.
  • As Adverb: "The officer returned (to help the inspectors)"

Verb Phrase

It consists of a verb and its modifiers "She was [interested in watching horror movies]"

Participial Phrase

It starts with present or past participle and function as an adverb. "[Painted light-blue], the old car seemed new" "Cracked from top to bottom, the mirror was now ruined."

  • Present Participle: (ending in "-ing") "Rising out of the sea in front of us, the sun started to warm our faces."
  • Past Participles: (usually ending "-ed," "-d," "-t," "-en," or "-n"). "Printed on the very first press, the document was extremely valuable." "Broken by a government whistle-blower, the news is all over the media."
  • Perfect Participle : present participle ("having") and a past participle. "Having read your book, I now understand your position."

Adjective phrase

A group of words headed by an adjective that modifies a noun. "Sarah was (hostile towards me)." "My uncle dated the girl (with the tattoos)."

  • Attributive Adjective. : sits before the noun it is modifying. "The beautifully carved frames are priceless."
  • Predicative Adjective.: sits after the noun it is modifying. "The frames are beautifully carved and priceless."

Adverbial Phrase

A group of words that functions as an adverb. "Jack will sit (in silence)."

  • Adverbial Phrase of Time: when something happens or how often. "After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box."
  • Adverbial Phrase of Place: where something happens. "You couldn't park (anywhere near the place)." "A guy gets stabbed (in the back) "
  • Adverbial Phrase of Manner : how something is done. "He would always talk (with a nationalistic tone)."
  • Adverbial Phrase of Reason : why something is done. "He went to the island (to find gold)."

Format of Adverbal Phrases

  • Prepositional phrase : headed by a preposition (e.g., "in," "on," "near," "by," "with") "He was standing (in the corner)."
  • Infinitive phrase : headed by an infinitive verb ("to+ verb"). "Fill in this form (to join our club)."
  • Adverb with an intensifier: (e.g., "very," "extremely," "really") "She danced (extremely beautifully)."
  • Any other format: A group of words that is functioning as an adverb and that doesn't have a subject and a verb (it's not a adverbial clause), then it is an adverbial phrase.

Adverbal Clause

"I will sit (like a monk meditates)."