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AMERICAN ENGLISH GRAMMAR PDF

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every week by e-mail, as well as the Free English Grammar E-Book Level 1. Please Share .. Spoken American English often uses the simple past with already. The result is a great demand for learning American English conversa- tional skills . . Learn correct English grammar as evidenced by their ability to. The Oxford Guide to English Grammaris a systematic account of grammatical contributions to the chapter on American English and to Rod Bolitho, Sheila.

It sounds over-the-top formal and even snooty self-important in the U. On the other hand, a British English speaker might find your statement perfectly normal. The simple answer is that there are many important differences between British and American English grammar.

The actors on the show have a variety of American accents, and the characters greatly differ in age. Want to be sure that you understand any American English video or audio clip? FluentU was created to make authentic English material accessible for language learners. For example, every video comes with interactive subtitles. You can click any word in the subtitles for an instant definition, grammar info and American pronunciation.

There are thousands of videos including many American English options, from this famous, hilarious TV commercial to this speech by former U. President Barack Obama. You can explore all the videos and learning features for free with a FluentU trial.

It features loads of practical lessons on American English and includes quizzes, so you can track your progress. In Sentence 11 , it is the subject of will be walking. Learners of English who have begun their study of the language in their home countries are often more aware of the difference in use between who and whom because their instruction has been more prescriptive.

Also, since their exposure is frequently limited to classroom instruction, they may have had less exposure to more informal forms of English. There are several factors to consider in answering this question.

For example, are the students preparing to take certain exams that test knowledge of prescriptive rules? Additionally, how much does not observing this distinction between who and whom interfere with understanding? Since native speakers routinely do not observe this distinction, the answer is very little. Prescriptive versus Descriptive Grammar 13 Descriptive Grammar Descriptive grammar rules, in contrast to prescriptive rules, describe how adult native speakers actually use their language.

From this perspective, grammar is what organizes language into meaningful, systematic patterns. These rules are inherent to each language and are generally not conscious rules. However, they are readily observable for those interested in looking.

What we must consider is the purpose for which a speaker is using language. If a person is at a white-collar job interview or sending in a college application, using stigmatized language forms is inappropriate. On the other hand, if the person is among a group of peers, using a different variety of language is part of in-group acceptance and identity. This is not to say that there should be no grammar rulebooks, manuals of style, or standards of usage; on the contrary, there is a need for standards, especially in formal language contexts and when we are teaching English to non-native speakers.

The needs of these learners are very different from those of native speakers. Native speakers and textbooks geared to them focus on prescriptive grammar. Why do I need to know grammar?

Teachers need to be able to talk about how sentences are constructed, about the types of words and word groups that make up sentences, and about the functions of these words and word groups within sentences and in larger contexts. With this knowledge, teachers can help their students understand the language and know what their students need to learn in order to acquire it.

Verbs Look at the following sentences. Find the verbs and underline them. How would you explain these verbs in these sentences to a learner of English? Do you drive to New York? The flight is leaving in the next 20 minutes. After you have checked your answers to Discovery Activity 4, try Discovery Activity 5. Discuss your answers with your classmates; then compare your responses with those found in the Answer Key.

This will then conclude our introduction to grammar. Discovery Activity 5: Other Parts of Speech Look at the following sentences. How would you explain the italicized words in these sentences to a learner of English? The child painted a big, beautiful, wooden box. The child painted a wooden beautiful big box.

That is a stone fence. Mary drove fast but stopped quickly at the red light. These rules are learned as part r determine what word, phrase or construction of the process of growing up as a native is or is not correct according to a particular speaker of a given language.

These rules often exist on a con- i. Some grammarians are slower to accept change than others. Examples of this are Latin and Sanskrit. Practice Activities Activity 1: New Words Many new words have entered the English language in the last decade. Can you find at least 5 and discuss how they entered the language and whether they are considered standard or slang words.

For example, Internet and to boot up have recently entered the English language to describe computer use. As another example, the popular Harry Potter series by J. Rowlings has made muggle a commonly accepted term designating ordinary people without special magical powers. Although there was such a word in the English language prior to the publication of the first Harry Potter book, it was an obscure term with very different meanings.

The new and popular meaning of muggle has come about through literary means. Activity 2: Language Intuition 1. Look at the following list of nonsense words and English words. On a separate sheet of paper, create 5 original sentences using only these words but all of these words in each sentence. Ask at least 2 other people to make up 1—2 sentences using these words. Compare your sentences with those you collected from your informants.

Why or why not? Bring your sentences, the sentences your informants wrote, and their comments to class. Compare these with those other classmates gathered. Practice Activities 17 5. Nouns Look at the following sentence. Some mishiffen gwisers were stoshly drinking a frionized keg. Which two words refer to things nouns?

What clues are there to help you decide which words refer to things nouns? Which words do you think are describing the things nouns in this sentence?

Activity 4: Prescriptive Grammar 1. Share this list with at least 3 other native or near-native speakers of English. Ask them to tell you which sentences they find incorrect and why. Compare your list and those of your classmates. She no like pancakes. She go when? She move to farm last year. Activity 5: Gender and Pronoun References Write a reflective essay on the following situation. Use the questions below to guide your thoughts.

As a teacher you have conscientiously taught the use of the singular male pos- sessive pronoun in such sentences as Everyone needs to bring his book to class tomorrow or Anyone who wants his grades can come to my office on Friday. Several students come to you with the situations below: The student notices that everyone in the movie said such phrases as Someone has to share their room or no one goes out without paying their parents and asks you why they are using these forms.

In one part the author has written If each and every person had his way, there would be chaos. In another part the same author has written: How do you explain the differences to them?

Consider the differences between prescriptive and descriptive grammar. Take into consideration any standardized testing these students might be taking.

How might you deal with issues related to prescriptive versus descriptive gram- mar? What changes if any would you make in your teaching? Justify your decision. Answer Key: Chapter 1 Discovery Activities Discussion: Discovery Activity 4 1. In English, to form a present tense negative sentence, we need to use what is commonly called an auxiliary or helping verb, or do.

See Chapter 5. In many languages, in contrast, the negative is formed by simply adding a negative word: You do not walk. German Ich laufe. I walk Ich laufe nicht. I do not walk. Chinese Ni xi huan. You like it Ni bu xi huan. You do not like it. In English, to form a question in present tense, we need to use what is commonly called an auxiliary or helping verb or do.

In many languages questions are formed by inverting the subject and the verb: You walk. Do you walk? German Du sitzt. You sit. Sitzt du?

Grammar for English Language Teachers

Do you sit? In other languages, a word is added at the end of a sentence to indicate that it is a question: You like it. Ni xi huan ma? Do you like it? This is a verb form that refers to indefinite time or time in the recent past. We will see exactly what this means in Chapter 6 when we examine time, tense, and aspect. The time referred to in the two sentences is different because of the phrase about to.

This phrase changes the time of present tense am to indicate that an immediate future action is taking place.

FREE Online English Usage Rules

Normally we would say that is leaving refers to something happening now. How- ever, as in Sentence 4 , the addition of a phrase, in the next 20 minutes, changes the time reference to the immediate future. See Chapter 6. Discovery Activity 5 1.

Adjectives descriptive words follow a certain order when there is more than one. Saying The child painted a wooden, beautiful, big box sounds awkward to native and highly proficient native speakers because it does not follow normal English word order for multiple adjectives.

See Chapter 4. The and an are used before nouns. The refers to a specific object; an refers to an unspecified object and is used before a vowel sound as in eraser, orange, ink, apple.

British English and American English words with spelling tips

In English we often use two nouns together. The first noun describes something about the second noun. We can say stone fence, wooden fence, iron fence, garden fence and each time describe a different type of fence. See Chapter 3. Mary stopped quickly at the red light. Quickly describes the action word verb in the sentence.

Such words are gen- erally labeled adverbs See Chapter 4. They often, but not always, end in —ly: Fast is also an example of a word that has the same form as an adjective and as an adverb See Chapter 4. Section 1 focuses on word classes and includes a brief introduction to some of the basic parts of speech to aid in our dis- cussion of the next section. Section 2 focuses on morphology, which is the structure and form of words. Section 1: Word Classes For many people, words are the center of language.

This comes as no surprise if we consider that the most obvious, concrete and recognizable parts of any language are its words or its lexicon. In any given language there are tens of thousands of words, although most speakers will know and use only a relatively small number of them. A primary concern of grammarians is the classification of words into groups or categories.

Traditional English grammar, based on Latin, adopted terminology and classification systems that often do not reflect the actual grammar of English. However, in order to discuss the different elements and structures of English, we need to employ some sort of terminology, so we continue to use the traditional labels and classification systems which have their usefulness in that they provide a common vocabulary for discussing the words of language.

For example, you have probably learned that different words are classified into parts of speech and many grammar texts still use this classification. However, many grammar texts prefer to think of parts of speech in terms of form and structure classes. The form classes are composed of the major parts of speech: These are the words that carry the content or meaning of a sentence. The structure class words are composed of the minor parts of speech: These structure words generally accompany specific form classes.

Introduction to Parts of Speech Look at the following words. On a separate sheet of paper, make 4 columns. Without using a dictionary or any other reference tool, try to place the different words that you think belong together in the different columns.

The first four words have already been done for you as a sample. After you have categorized as many words together as you can, explain why you grouped them as you did. Now take your paper and make two new columns, Group A and Group B. Using the new list of words below, try to place the different words that you think belong together in the different columns.

There are just two groups this time. Try to explain why or why not. Discovery Activity 1 Your grouping of the words in the first list probably looks like this: Group A Group B Group C Group D system in big communicate confidentiality between relevant obey rebellion under weary shatter blizzard beside happy warn Each of these four groups represents a word class.

Even without knowing the labels for each group, you should have been able to place the words in the list together with other words performing the same function. Context and Function 23 Your grouping of the words in the second list should look like this: Group A Group B harm harm remind cancer cup cup scream scream date date struggle struggle queen poison poison announce style style write Here Groups A and B again represent different word classes.

Group A represents words that are verbs and Group B words that are nouns. Some of the words fit into both groups; for example harm can be either a verb or a noun. You can harm verb someone or you can suffer harm noun. While you may recognize that a word can fit into more than one group, you may not be able to do so without thinking of a sentence or context for that particular word. In English, the group or class to which a word belongs is not always obvious without context, as you were most likely aware of when doing Discovery Activity 1.

Unlike many other languages, English does not always rely on word endings or word forms to determine part of speech. The form of a word in English does not necessarily tell us the function of that word. However, context and sentence position are key to clarifying the function of a word or phrase in English because word order is highly fixed. As we saw in Chapter 1, words need to be placed in a certain order.

This helps us to understand their function and meaning. These are two central themes we will revisit throughout this text: Form in English does not necessarily equal function; and, word order is fixed, meaning that words in English have to occur in a particular sequence.

Context and Function How are the sentence position of a word and its function related? As the Jabberwocky activities and discussion in Chapter 1 illustrated, the sentence position of some of the nonsense words told you their function. The context let you guess what word class some of these words belonged to.

In both sentences you can see that the same word appearing in different contexts has a different function: In subsequent chapters we will be analyzing the clues that help us decide which function words have in different contexts. Word Plays and Context: An Additional Illustration Newspaper headlines are famous for using short, catchy phrases with words that have different meanings depending on context. The actual mean- ings only become clear after reading the articles themselves.

News Headlines r Look at the newspaper headlines. City Fires Director for New Look 2. Kidnapped Child Found by Tree 3. British Left Waffles on Gibraltar 4. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks Discussion: Discovery Activity 2 In order to see the double meanings implied by the headlines, consider the questions below: How you answer determines what words you might want to insert to clarify the exact meaning.

The director or some thing or place in the city? Can a tree find a child or is the reference to the place where the child was found? Kidnapped Child Found Sitting by Tree. Did the British leave an edible food item or are the leftists indecisive? Context and Function 25 4.

Did EMT personnel help the raccoon or the victim? You might like to re-write the headline this way: Are the kids the snack or do they prepare them? Kids Prepare Nutritious Snacks. The writers of these headlines have deliberately played on the different meanings of the words to create humorous, attention-getting titles by omitting important words. The actual meanings are within the articles, which provide the context for the correct meanings.

Teachers need to be aware of what learners need to know about a language and why they need to know it. As Discovery Activity 2 highlighted, context is critical in determining meaning.

Words without context can be difficult to understand. Isolated grammar rules with isolated sentences may be necessary at very low levels of English proficiency to introduce learners to a particular form. The next Discovery Activity highlights again the importance of context in under- standing meaning and function. Context Look at the following pairs of sentences. Use the questions below to help you. Are the two words, practice and talk, the same in sentences a and b?

What differences and similarities are there between practice and talk in sentences a and b r How are they similar? Do they have the same function in both sentences? How do practice and talk differ in the two sentences? What differences and similarities are there between present in Sentences c , d and e? Discovery Activity 3 The purpose of this activity is to highlight the importance of context in understand- ing the meanings and functions of individual words. Words that look the same may have different meanings and functions depending upon where they occur in a sentence.

Talk is an action word verb referring to what I the subject is doing. It is being used as an adjective. In spoken English, there is a difference between present in Sentence c. The action word present in Sentence c is accented on the second syllable: Present in Sentences d and e is accented on the first syllable: The next part of the chapter will introduce the parts of speech.

Different chapters will explore these parts of speech or word classes in greater depth. Parts of Speech or Lexical Categories As we mentioned earlier, English words fall into two main categories: The major category is the larger of the two categories. This category consists of the word classes commonly labeled nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs although not all linguists agree that adverbs belong in the major category.

These major word classes are comprised of the words that carry the content or essential meaning of an utterance. They are often referred to as content or form words. The minor category includes the minor word classes generally known as prepo- sitions, pronouns, conjunctions, and determiners. These words serve primarily to indicate grammatical relationships and are frequently referred to as structure words.

Take a look at the following sentence: This sentence consists of seven words: The three structure words, a, at, and the show the grammatical relationships of the content words; a before banana tells us Victoria ate one thing, at tells us where Victoria ate the banana, and the specifies the thing, namely a specific table. The minor category includes fewer words than the major category, as we will see in the next section.

Open Word Classes The major category is vast. It is so large because we frequently create new English words. Thus, the major word or form classes are called open classes because new words enter the language constantly.

English is a language that readily borrows and invents new words, which generally enter the language as nouns, verbs, or adjectives. Often new words enter via informal language slang or jargon and with increased use become accepted into standard English. The verb dis or diss , meaning to make fun of, show disrespect to, or disobey, is used primarily in informal speech.

Emoticons refer to the icons used to display emo- tions in computer communications. The original emoticons consisted of keyboard characters such as: It is an invented word that combines the emot of emotion with the word icon.

Technology is a common source of new vocabulary. Words such as mouse, surf, e-mail, and blog are other examples of words that have taken on new meanings or been invented in relation to the computer.

Discovery Activity 4: To Word is Human There are many new words that have entered the English language. Look at the list below of words that have entered English in the last 50 years or so. How many of these words do you recognize? How comfortable do you feel using each word?

Discovery Activity 4 a blading: The phrase originated in the s when there were several instances of disgruntled United States postal workers shooting fellow employ- ees. It has taken on the meaning of becoming violent or going berserk, the latter itself a borrowed expression first entering standard English in the early s.

Originally a proprietary name registered by Geo. First used in the early s to refer to a small flat closed case with two reels and a length of magnetic tape. In the late s a new search engine, Google, was developed and quickly became one of the largest and most popular search engines on the web. Closed Word Classes The second category, which consists of the minor or structure word class words, are referred to as closed word classes.

First, they consist of small numbers of words that change very little over long periods of time and have been in the English language for centuries. Despite the fixed number of structure words, it is these words, along with the inflectional morphemes, that cause the most learner difficulties. Structure words are among the most common and frequently used English words. They include: There is only one form for the preposition in. In con- trast, a noun, which is an open class word, can be plural or singular e.

Third, these words occur only in a narrow range of possible positions within a sentence and they must always accompany content words. There is no flexibility in word order. The must always precede a noun. It cannot follow a noun. We cannot choose to say dog the but must say the dog. Finally, closed word classes have little lexical or semantic function. The job of these words is to establish logical relationships between the different parts of sentences.

For example, if we say, I went to the store this sentence has a different meaning than if we say, I went by the store. The only difference between the two sentences is the change of prepositions from to to by, but it is these words which indicate a difference in the relationship between I went and the store. Because English depends on word order to show grammatical relationships, these structure words are essential sentence elements.

Discovery Activity 5 further illus- trates how prepositions function to signal grammatical relationships. Prepositions and Grammatical Relationships The following pairs of headlines have different meanings.

Explain how the inclusion or omission of a preposition changes the mean- ing of each pair of sentences. Discuss what this tells us about prepositions and grammatical relation- ships. Political Headlines: Major Parts of Speech 31 Headline News: Discovery Activity 5 1a One part of a body in search of other body parts! A quick reading could also lead one to read the headline as the bull having the axe. As you saw in Discovery Activity 5, the addition or deletion of a preposition in the headlines in alters the meaning.

The activity illustrates the importance of the role of structure words in establishing grammatical relationships. This role grows even more important as the complexity of the discourse increases. We will now continue with a look at the traditional parts of speech that make up the major word category.

Major Parts of Speech The next section is a brief overview of the major parts of speech comprising the major word category and provides the basis for our discussion on morphology. Nouns The traditional or standard definition of a noun is a word that refers to a person, place, or thing. On the surface, this definition has merit. We can easily come up with words that fit this definition of a noun: Tangible Intangible car philosophy wood adolescence water justice horse anger medicine suggestion We can also differentiate another subcategory, that of proper nouns.

Proper nouns are those nouns that name a person, place, or thing, and that are typically written with a capital letter: Person Place Thing Dr. Peters Everglades The Sphinx Spaniard Pyrenees Spanish The basic definition of nouns works well to a certain point, and will provide a starting point in determining which words are nouns. However, as we will see in Chapter 3, it will be necessary to revise this definition to account for nouns that do not fit neatly into this initial definition.

Adjectives Adjectives are usually characterized as descriptive or modifying words because of their function in a sentence. Words such as beautiful, hard, happy, and tall come readily to mind. These are the content words that function to create descriptive images or add color and flavor.

Multiple adjectives can be found in a sentence: Major Parts of Speech 33 The adjectives harsh, boring, beautiful, and magical all describe the noun land- scape.

Other types of adjectives and words used as adjectives will be examined more closely in Chapter 4. Verbs also refer to the state of something, as in be am, is, are , or feel.

English verbs may also indicate time. We eat sandwiches and We ate sandwiches refer to different times. A sentence must always contain a verb. A verb and a noun are enough to form a complete sentence: They walk. We listen. A sentence can be long and complex, and yet still contain only one verb: English verbs can be difficult for ESL learners to identify since they often have noun forms that are exactly the same, as we saw in Discovery Activity 1.

Learners might also think scrambling is a verb, and while it is a verb form, it is not a verb here see Chapter Context and structural clues help determine whether the verb or noun form is being used. The forms, functions, and structural characteristics of verbs will be examined in Chapters 5 and 6. Adverbs The common definition of an adverb is a word that describes or modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. However, as we will see in Chapter 4, adverbs are difficult to characterize because the label adverb refers to many different kinds of words that perform a variety of functions.

Essentially, adverbs can modify anything in a sentence. Adverbs are generally grouped into subcategories, according to their function, as for example we see in the following table. The fact that the line or division between adjectives and adverbs is not always clear-cut also clouds the issue. Some adjectives end in —ly, the common adverb suffix e. Compare for instance: Judy is a fast walker. Jason rises early. Jason is an early riser.

See Chapter 4 for further discussion. At this point we will end our overview of the parts of speech comprising the major word categories and turn to look at morphology, the structure and form of words. Section 2: In Section 2, we examine the parts that make up the words of English. Many words that users think of as being a single word are actually more than that. The smallest unit of meaning is called a morpheme. A morpheme can be a single word or other independently meaningful units.

It is a single morpheme. Now consider these words: The other two words may be more difficult to recognize as actually consisting of two parts. Most language users would probably not consider —ish and —s meaningful units.

They change the meaning and sometimes the class of a word. Both book and bookworm are nouns. Adding —s to certain words nouns indicates that there is more than one, as in books, computers, days, shoes, pens, and geraniums.

This plural —s can also be added to bookworm to form bookworms. Storms Although the sea can be beautiful, this beach is sometimes a dangerous place to be. When the weather is bad there are often storms with strong winds. When this happens the waves can get up to metres high — definitely not weather for swimming. Every year some of the boats anchored on the beach are lost because the sea is so rough. I remember holding down our tent to stop the wind blowing it away on many occasions!

An interesting hobby Sailing is a very serious activity in the UK, and this beach is no different. There are large racing boats for three or more people, smaller boats such as the Topper for just one or two people, fishing boats and windsurfers.

In fact people on this beach are willing to try any type of water-sport; water skiing, speed boating, even the recent sport of sail surfing is becoming popular.Inflectional morphemes change the form of a word without changing either the word category it belongs to or its meaning: Chapter 4 Discovery Activities.

Different chapters will explore these parts of speech or word classes in greater depth. How you answer determines what words you might want to insert to clarify the exact meaning.

Prescriptive Grammar 1. The noncount noun, e.

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