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English Grammar 201

 English Language Verb Tenses, Verbals and Conditionals

English Language Verb Tenses


Simple Present

(describes an action that is happening usually or regularly)
examples: I write books. She writes a letter every day. I study English everyday.

Present Continuous [am / is / are] + [verb + ing]

(describes an action that is happening now and may continue)
examples: I am writing a book. She is writing a letter. We are studying English now.

Present Perfect [has /have] + [past participle]

(describes a completed action or an action that began in the past and continued until the present)
examples: I have written a book. She has written a letter. I have studied English in several Canadian cities.

Present Perfect Continuous [has/have] + [been] + [verb + ing]

(describes an ongoing action that began in the past)
examples: I have been writing books. She has been writing letters for 2 hours. I have been studying English for two years.


Simple Past [verb + ed]

(describes an action that occurred in the past)
examples: I wrote a book. She wrote a letter. I studied English in Canada.

Past Continuous [was /were] + [verb + ing]

(describes a continuing action that began in the past)
examples: I was writing a book. She was writing a letter. I was studying English when you called this morning.

Past Perfect [had] + [past participle]

(describes an action that was completed before some point in the past)
examples: I had read the book before seeing the movie. She had written the letter by the time he called. I had studied English before I moved to Canada.

Past Perfect Continuous [had been] + [verb + ing]

(describes an action that was completed over a period of time before some point in the past)
examples: I had been writing my book for months before my vacation. She had been writing letters for 2 hours before he called. I had been studying English for two years before I moved to Canada.


Simple Future

1. [am/is/are] + [going to] + [verb]
2. [will] + [verb]
(describes an action that will begin and be completed in the future)
I am going to study English next year in Canada.
I will help you study English tomorrow.

Future Continuous

1. [will be] + [verb + ing]
2. [am /is /are] + [going to be] + [verb + ing]
(describes an action that will begin in the future and continue)
I will be studying English when you arrive today.
We are going to be studying English next year in Canada.

Future Perfect

1. [will have] + [past participle]
2. [am/is/are] + [going to have] + [past participle]
(describes an action that will be completed before some point in the future)
I will have studied all the verb tenses by the end of today.
We are going to have studied all the chapters by five o'clock.

Future Perfect Continuous

1. [will have been] + [verb + ing]
2. [am/is/are] + [going to have been] + [verb + ing]
(describes an action that will continue until some point in the future)
I will have been studying English for one hour by the time you arrive.
We are going to have been studying for three hours by supper time.

Introduction to English Language Verbals

Participle or verbal adjectives are words with a value of an adjective and a verb.

Gerunds or verbal nouns have the value of a noun and a verb. They usually end with the "ing" ending.

Infinitives act like gerunds . They have the value of a noun and a verb. Verb forms "to see, to study" are infinitives, can be a subject of a verb, object of a verb, or a subjective completion, take an object or have an adverbial modifier.

Modal Verbs are irregular verbs which behave very differently from normal verbs.
Here are some important differences:
1. Modal Verbs do not take "-s" in the third person.
2. You use "not" to make Modal Verbs negative, even in Simple Present and Simple Past.
3. Many Modal Verbs cannot be used in the past or future tenses.

Introduction to English Language Conditionals
Formats for Specific Purposes

A conditional format is used when the writer expresses an action or an idea that is dependent on a condition, on something that is only imagined in the present, in the past or the future.

Present Real Conditional
If I have money, I travel. (Sometimes I have money.)

Present Unreal Conditional
If I had money, I would travel. (I don't have money.)

Past Real Conditional
If I had money, I traveled. (Sometimes I had money.)

Past Unreal Conditional
If I had had money, I would have traveled . (I didn't have money.)

Future Real Conditional
If I have money, I will travel.

Future Unreal Conditional
If I have money, I am going to travel. (I don't know if I will have money or not.)
If I had money, I would travel. (I won't have money.)

Introduction to English Phrases & Clauses
Clause and Phrase Types, Explanations and Examples

Introduction to Phrases

Phrases are considered as the second level of classification as they tend to be larger than individual words, but are smaller than sentences. We refer to the central element in a phrase as the head of the phrase. If the head is a noun then the phrase is called a noun phrase.

There are nine generally accepted classifications for phrases. These classifications are generally based on the headword or construction of the phrase. The headword can usually stand alone as a one-word phrase. It is the only part that cannot be omitted from the phrase.

1. Noun phrases

Noun phrases may serve as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, or objects of prepositions. Most noun phrases are constructed using determiners, adjectives and a head noun.

Examples: My coach is happy. (noun phrase as subject)

2. Verb phrases

Verb phrases are composed of the verbs of the sentence and any modifiers of the verbs, including adverbs, prepositional phrases or objects. Most verb phrases function as predicates of sentences.

Example: Henry made my coach very proud. (verb phrase as predicate)

3. Adjectival phrases

Adjectival phrases are composed of the adjectives that modify a noun and any adverbs or other elements that modify those adjectives. Adjectival phrases always occur inside noun phrases or as predicate adjectives.

Example: Dad bought [(a blue and green) sweater]

4. Adverbial phrases

Adverbial phrases are composed of the adverbs that modify verbs, adjectives, or clauses. Adverbial phrases may occur with more than one word. The extra adverb is called an intensifier.

Example: He scored the goal very quickly.

5. Prepositional phrases

Prepositional phrases are composed of the preposition and a following noun phrase. Prepositional phrases are used either adjectivally to modify nouns or adverbially to modify verbs, adjectives, or clauses.

The man in the house rented it. (prepositional phrase modifies a noun adjectivally)
He went in the yard. (prepositional phrase modifies a verb adverbially)
Dad was happy about the goal. (prepositional phrase modifies an adjective adverbially)
On reflection, I believe that she was correct. (prepositional phrase modifies a clause adverbially)

6. Gerundive phrases

Gerundive phrases may function in any way in which nouns may function: as subjects, objects, objects of a preposition, or even nouns functioning as adjectives Gerundive phrases may contain gerunds, adjectives, objects, adverbs or other main verb elements.

Example: Dad talked about winning the game.

7. Participial phrases

Participles are root verbs with an "ed, en or ing" suffix. In the case of the past participial, the form may be irregular. Participial phrases may contain objects and other elements that might occur with main verbs. Participial phrases always function as adjectives.

Example: Racing around the corner, he slipped and fell.

8. Absolute phrases

Absolute phrases are composed of a subject noun phrase and a participial phrase. The absolute phrase is formally independent of the main clause. The subject of the absolute phrase does not have to appear in the main clause--because the absolute phrase has its own subject!

Example: [(My chores) (completed for the week)], I went on a walk.

9. Infinitive phrases

Infinitive phrases are composed of an infinitive verb (the base form of the verb preceded by to) and any modifying adverbs or prepositional phrases. The infinitive phrase has three functions: noun, adjective, adverb.

My duty as a coach is to teach skills. (infinitive phrase functions as a noun)
My sister wanted a cat to love. (infinitive phrase functions as an adjective)
Bill is eager to work on his skating. (infinitive phrase functions adverbially, modifying an adjective)

Introduction to Clauses

All clauses have a subject and a verb.

1. Independent clause

This clause is a sentence and can act as a sentence.

Example: I wanted a new ball.

2. Subordinate clauses

A subordinate clause has a subordinator.

Examples: Fred knew that I wanted a new ball.

3. Adverbial clauses

Adverbial clauses modify the entire independent clause or another subordinate clause to which they might be attached. Some adverbial subordinators:" because, while, as, if, when, although, as if, after, since, unless, before, until". Adverbial clauses signal common adverbial meanings such as time of the event, place of the event, manner of the event, cause of the event or condition for the event.

I haven't been skating since we all went up to Banff last winter.
He stood there as if he was frozen to the very spot.
Fred jogs where there is no traffic because he likes it.

4. Relative clauses

Relative clauses modify nouns and sometimes indefinite pronouns. Relative clauses occur with the relative pronouns "that, who, which, whom, whose" Relative clauses may also begin with the following relative adverbs "when, where, why".

I saw the player [who hit you].
I saw the player [that hit you].
I like the park [where I jog].
I would like to know the reason [why you didn't eat the vegetables].

5. Nominal clauses

Nominal clauses function as nouns and are subordinated by one of the following subordinating conjunctions 'how that what when where whether which who why". Nominal clauses may be replaced with a pronoun

[How you did it] is not my concern. (That is not my concern)
[That I wanted a ball] was irrelevant in the discussion. ( It was irrelevant )

Sentence Constructions

Compound sentences

Compound sentences are constructed using two independent clauses.

a. Fred hit the ball well, but he only walked to first base.
b. Computer technologies are more sophisticated and today's technicians are better trained.

Complex sentences

Complex sentences are constructed using an independent sentence and a dependent or subordinate clause.

Example: The motion, which the commons narrowly passed, was defeated by the senate.
(Adjective clause introduced by relative pronoun)

Compound - Complex sentences

Compound - Complex sentences are constructed using two independent sentences or clauses and a dependent clause.

Example: When the jets fly by, the windows rattle noisily and the whole house shakes.

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