Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Verbs are the words in a sentence that describe the action of a sentence or that introduce the condition or state of someone or something in the sentence.
            Action: Anna throws the ball.
            Introduction of a condition: Trent is very sick.

There are many action verbs. Those that can have a direct object are often called transitive verbs. Here is a list of some commonly used transitive verbs. Note that they can be used with a direct object.

Transitive Verbs                                 Used in a Sentence
buy                                                       He buys a newspaper.
carry                                                     I am carrying the child.
find                                                      Can you find the book?
help                                                      She helps us.
like                                                       I don’t like cabbage.
lose                                                       Don’t lose your money.
read                                                      She is reading a book.
pull                                                       The dentist pulled the tooth.
push                                                      The boy pushes the cart.
sell                                                        I am selling my car.
speak                                                    Father speaks Spanish.
write                                                     We are writing some postcards.
understand                                            Do you understand me?

Intransitive verbs are not followed by a direct object. They often show a movement to a place and are sometimes followed by a prepositional phrase. Following is a list of some commonly used intransitive verbs:

Intransitive Verbs                              Used in a Sentence
come                                                    Can you come to the party?
crawl                                                    The baby crawls on the floor.
drive                                                    We are driving fast.
fly                                                        I flew here from Paris.
go                                                        Are you going home?
hurry                                                    We hurry to the window.
jump                                                    Peter jumps from the roof.
ride                                                      I am riding in his car.
run                                                       The girls run past the school.
sail                                                       We are sailing to Europe.
travel                                                   Do you want to travel with us?
walk                                                     I walk out of the theater.

Still other verbs introduce the condition or state of someone or something. They do not take a direct object and are most often followed by an adjective. These verbs are usually called linking verbs. Here are some commonly used linking verbs:

Linking Verbs                                                 Used in a Sentence
appear                                                               The boy appears quite well.
be                                                                      I am hungry.
become                                                             The weather becomes bad.
feel                                                                    It feels hot.
grow                                                                 The dog is growing weak.
look                                                                  She looks unhappy.
seem                                                                 The coat seems too small for you.
smell                                                                 The pizza smells good.
sound                                                                The music sounds awful.
taste                                                                  The popcorn tastes salty.

Careful! Some of the linking verbs have a second usage. They can be used as transitive verbs. Look at these examples:

            Linking Verb: His skin feels hot. (hot = adjective)
            Transitive Verb: He feels a sharp pain. (a sharp pain = direct object)

            Linking Verb: The sky grows cloudy. (adjective)
            Transitive Verb: We grow vegetables. (direct object)

            Linking Verb: That smells beautiful. (adjective)
            Transitive Verb: She smells the flowers. (direct object)

            Linking Verb: My coffee tastes bitter. (adjective)
            Transitive Verb: Raisa tasted the ice cream. (direct object)

You can identify linking verbs by substituting am, is, or are for the verb. If the sentence makes sense with the substitution, it is a linking verb. If it does not make sense, it is a transitive verb. Some examples:

            It feels cold. (It is cold.) This makes sense. = Linking Verb
            He feels her pulse. (He is her pulse.) This makes no sense. = Transitive Verb
            They smell nice. (They are nice.) This makes sense. = Linking Verb
            We smell coffee. (We are coffee.) This makes no sense. = Transitive Verb

Personal Pronouns

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. The English personal pronouns are:

                                    Singular                      Plural
First Person                I                                   we
Second Person            you                              you
Third Person               he, she, it                     they

Notice that you is both singular and plural. When speaking to one person, say you. When speaking to two or more persons, say you:
  •              Tim, you are a very good student.
  •          Bruno and Rene, you have to study more.

Just as nouns have gender, pronouns also do. I, we, and you can be used by males or females. He is always masculine, she is always feminine, and it is always neuter. The plural of the third-person pronouns is always they, whether masculine, feminine, or neuter. And just like nouns, pronouns can be used as:
  1. the subject of a sentence
  2. a direct object
  3. an indirect object

But when used as a direct object or indirect object, some of the pronouns change:

Subject                        Direct Object              Indirect Object
I                                   me                               me
you                              you                              you
he                                him                              him
she                               her                               her
it                                  it                                  it
we                                us                                 us
you (plural)                  you                              you
they                             them                            them

If a pronoun replaces a noun in the sentence, it must have the same characteristics as the noun: the same number (singular or plural), the same gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter), and the same use in the sentence (subject, direct object, or indirect object). Look at these examples where the pronoun replaces the italicized noun:

Joseph is a hard worker.                             >>       He is a hard worker.
(singular masculine noun/subject)                        (singular masculine pronoun/subject)
Do you know the girls?                               >>        Do you know them?
(plural noun/direct object)                                       (plural pronoun/direct object)
We gave Mrs. Jones some flowers.             >>       We gave her some flowers.
(singular feminine noun/ indirect object)               (singular feminine pronoun/indirect object)

Notice that the nouns and pronouns are in the third person. This is true when a pronoun replaces a  noun. But when a noun or pronoun is combined with the first-person singular pronoun

I, it is replaced by the first-person plural pronoun we :
  •          You and I have work to do.  >>  We have work to do.
  •         He helps the girls and me.   >>   He helps us.

When you change a direct object noun to a direct object pronoun, you must add to or for before the indirect object noun or pronoun. The indirect object becomes the object of the preposition to or for. Place the prepositional phrase after the direct object. For example:
  •              I gave Jay a book.    >>  I gave it to Jay.
  •              We buy her flowers. >>  We buy them for her.

Nouns or pronouns can be used to complete a prepositional phrase. That is a phrase made up of a preposition and a noun or a pronoun. Here are some of the most commonly used prepositions:
            after, behind, between, for, from, in, near, on, of, through, to, with, without

Look at these sample prepositional phrases:

after the concert                       behind me
between the girls                      for you
from a friend                           in him
near the city                             on it
of a book                                 through her
to a student                              with us
without the money                   without them

In a prepositional phrase, use the same form of the pronoun that is used as a direct or indirect object:

Subject Pronoun                     Direct or Indirect Object                   Prepositional Phrase
I                                                 me                                                         after me
you                                            you                                                        behind you
he                                              him                                                        for him
she                                            her                                                         from her
it                                               it                                                            in it
we                                            us                                                           between us

they                                          them                                                       near them

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Adjectives are words that describe nouns. They tell the size, color, or quality of something: a big room, the red car, four interesting books. Here are some commonly used adjectives:

               beautiful                fast                          loud                tall
               big                         funny                      old                   terrible
               black                      handsome               quiet                thirsty
               boring                    interesting               right                ugly
               careful                    late                         sad                   young
               careless                  little                        short                white
               early                       long                        slow                 wrong

Just like nouns, adjectives can follow the predicate. They most often come after forms of the verbs to be and to become :

  • My sister was very sad.
  • The horse suddenly became thirsty.
  • My grandfather is old.

Definite and Indefinite Articles

The English definite article is the. It is used to identify a particular person or thing. If you are speaking about someone or something you are already familiar with, you use the with the noun. Look at these examples:
  • I already know the man.
  • She met the women who won the lottery.
  • This is the book that I told you about.

The indefinite article is used to describe someone or something that is unfamiliar to you or about which you are speaking in general. There are two forms: a and an. Use a before a word beginning with a consonant. Use an before a word beginning with a vowel. Look at these examples:
  • He sees a stranger on the corner.
  • Did you buy an apple or an orange?
  • Is the woman a good lawyer?
  • She has an idea.

Compare the difference between the definite and indefinite article by using these sentences:
  • I want an apple. (I do not see an apple. But I feel hungry for one.)
  • I want the apple. (I am choosing between the apple and the orange that I see before me.)

The definite article for plural nouns is also the. But there is no indefinite article for plural nouns. The plural articles are used in the same way as the singular articles.

Singular Definite           Singular Indefinite           Plural Definite           Plural Indefinite
the boy                            a boy                                   the boys                       boys
the house                         a house                               the houses                    houses
the idea                            an idea                               the ideas                       ideas


Nouns can be either proper or common. Proper nouns are those that refer to a particular person, place, thing, or idea. Such nouns are capitalized: America, George Washington, Mr. Neruda, October.

Nouns that do not refer to a particular person, place, thing, or idea are common nouns. They are not capitalized: land, girls, money, test.

Compare the following list of proper and common nouns:

Proper Nouns             Common Nouns
Mexico                         country
Ms. Finch                     woman
English                         language
McGraw-Hill                publisher
American Airlines        company
December                      month

Nouns can be used as the subject of a sentence. The subject is the word that is performing the action in the sentence. The subject can be a proper noun or a common noun, and it can be singular or plural:

  • Juanita is a friend of mine.
  • The boys like to play soccer.
  • Where is the school?

Nouns can also be used as direct objects. The direct object in a sentence is the noun that receives the action of the verb. To find the direct object in a sentence do three things:

  1. Find the subject of the sentence.
  2. Find the verb in the sentence.
  3. Ask whom or what with the subject and the verb.

Look at these sample sentences:

“Sara likes my brother.”                                   “The girls find a book.”
1. subject = Sara                                                  1. subject = girls
2. verb = likes                                                      2. verb = find
3. ask whom = Whom does Sara Like                 3. ask what = What do the girls find?
The direct object is my brother                           The direct object is book.

Nouns are sometimes indirect objects. They stand before the direct object in the sentence. It is the
person to whom or for whom something is provided. To find the indirect object in a sentence do three things:

  1. Find the subject of the sentence.
  2. Find the verb in the sentence.
  3. Ask to whom or for whom with the subject and the verb.

Look at these sample sentences:
“Justin buys the girl a magazine.”                  “Mother gives Nate five dollars.”
1. subject = Justin                                                1. subject = Mother
2. verb = buys                                                      2. verb = gives
3. ask to whom or for whom For                        3. ask to whom or for whom To whom
    whom does Justin buy a magazine?                    does Mother give five dollars?
The indirect object is girl.                                    The indirect object is Nate.

Note: It is rare that something inanimate is used as an indirect object.

When a noun is used as a predicate noun, it follows the predicate in the sentence. The predicate can be a single verb or a verb phrase:

  • Verb as the predicate: Maria helps us.
  • Verb phrase as the predicate: Maria usually helps with the gardening.

Predicate nouns most often follow the verbs to be and to become:

  • My mother wants to be a doctor.
  • Celine became an actress.
  • Are you the manager of this building?