English grammar is a blend of basic rules of noun, pronouns, prepositions, adjectives, verb etc. In a sentence, all the grammatical rules are combined together and placed in a manner to give meaning to the sentence. In order to frame a sentence correctly, it is essential to have knowledge of the basic principles of English grammar.
Rules of Noun
A noun is the name of a person, place or a thing apart from intangible things. Following are the rules used with nouns:
- Articles are not used before materials nouns.
Eg. Leather is used in making shoes.
- Material nouns are abstract nouns are not used in the plural.
Eg. Care of the old is necessary
- Proper nouns are sometimes used as common nouns.
Eg. Samudragupta is the Napoleon of India.
Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India.
In these two sentences, the proper nouns Napolean and Shakespeare are used as common nouns.
- Collective noun usually takes a singular verb and is substituted by a singular pronoun.
Eg. The jury has given its verdict.
- A collective noun takes a plural verb and is substituted by plural pronoun when the group members do not behave as a whole but take a different direction.
Eg. The Ministry are much divided in-their opinion regarding the foreign policy.
- Collective nouns, even when they denote living being are considered to be of neuter gender.
Eg. India has a big army and it is divided into three major divisions.
- Young children and lower animals are also referred to as neutral gender.
Eg. The baby started crying when it was hungry.
- When objects without life are personified, they are considered of either masculine or feminine gender.
Masculine Gender is used for strength, violence, anger and vengeance. It is used with sun, death, summer, winter.
Eg. Nature has taken his vengeance by claiming the lives of 100 persons.
The sun, with his brilliance, came out of the clouds. The sentence emphasize the string masculine traits of nature and the sun, vengeance and brilliance, so the masculine gender (his) is used.
Feminine Gender is used for beauty, gentleness and gracefulness. It is used with earth, moon, spring, nature and even for sun
Eg. The sun with her warmth provided relief from the bitter cold.
The gender feminine traits of nature and the sun are revealed so the feminine gender (her) is used.
- Units of counting i.e., pair, dozen, score, hundred, thousands, etc., when used after numbers retain their singular form.
Ten pair, Five dozen, Ten scores, Five hundred, ten thousand, five lakh, ten crores, five million, ten billion, etc.
Eg. My friend bought two dozen eggs from the market.
Here, the quantity is mentioned before the dozen, so we have its singular form.
- In a compound noun, a compound word is not used in plural of a noun does the work of an adjective.
Eg. He ran a five-mile race.
- The following nouns are used only in the plural.
Eg. Scissors are used to cut.
My pair of spectacle is very expensive.
Here we use the singular form ‘is’ as the word ‘pair’ is added before the word ‘Spectacle’.
- Some plural forms are commonly used in singular like Mathematics, statistics, physics, Economic (All subjects), Gymnastics, New innings, Series, Measles, Rabies, Mumps, Rickets, Summons, Names or books, etc.
- Uncountable nouns are used in the singular forms only. Indefinite articles (a, an) is not used before them, nor are they (a, an) used with plural verbs.
‘Much ‘is used in place of ‘Many’ for denoting plurality.
Some of the important nouns of this category are “Advice, information, hair, luggage, business, work, word (promise), mischief, bread, scenery, abuse, vacation, evidence, employment, alphabet, poetry, furniture, baggage, trouble, fuel, wheat, rice, stationery , material nouns”
Eg. He gave me information.
Rules of Conjunctions
Conjunctions are the words that join together sentences or words. Following are the rules for using conjunctions in sentences:
- Scarcely and Hardly should be followed by when and not by Eg. Hardly had he arrived, when he had to leave again.
- No sooner is followed by than and not by Eg. No sooner had I started than the rain started.
- Seldom or never and seldom if ever both are correct but seldom or ever is incorrect. Eg. He seldom or never goes to see a movie in the theatre.
- Unless means ‘if not’ and therefore, it should not be used in a sentence which is already negative. Eg. Unless you do not work hard, you will fail (incorrect). Unless you work hard, you will fail (correct).
- Lest expresses a negative sense and therefore cannot be used with not. Should is always used with Eg. Walk steadily, lest you should fall.
- From is used after the adjective ‘different’ instead of Eg. He took a different role from the ones he has been doing for long.
- Nothing else should be followed by but, not by Eg. it is nothing else but your carelessness, that you have failed in the exam.
- The use of present tense after as if and as though should be avoided. Eg. He looks as if he suspected something.
- When ‘suppose’ is used at the beginning of a sentence to denote a command or a request, it is not followed by Eg. Suppose you are caught, what will happen to your parents?
- That is not used in ‘direct narration’ and ‘indirect speech if the sentence is interrogative’. Eg. He asked who he was?
Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement
Following are the rules to be kept in mind while dealing with the sentences of subject-verb agreement.
- If two subjects together express one idea, one being added to the other for the sake of emphasis or clarification, the verb is singular. Eg. slow and steady wins the race.
- When the plural noun denotes some specific quantity, distance, time or amount considered as a whole, the verb is generally singular. Eg. six miles is not a long-distance for me.
- Two or more singular subjects connected by either-or, neither-nor, take a verb in the singular. Eg. either harsh or darsh is absent today.
- When the subjects joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’ are of different numbers, the verb must be plural and the plural subject must be placed next to the verb. Eg. Either Ashna or her parents are coming to the party.
- When two nouns or pronouns are joined by ‘not only-but also’, the verb agrees with the second noun or pronoun. Eg. Not only the officer but also the soldiers were awarded.
- ‘a great many’ is always followed by a plural verb and a plural noun. Eg. A great many students have qualified this year.
- A noun qualified by ‘each’ or ‘every’ is followed by a singular verb. Even if two nouns so qualified are connected by and, the verb must still be singular. Eg. Every day and each hour teaches us something.
- A singular or plural verb is used with such nouns as pains, a lot of, means, variety, plenty, rest, wages according to the sense in which they are used. Eg. A variety of pens are available in the shop.
- A verb should agree with its subject and not with the predicate. But if the sentence begins with ‘the’ then the word is according to the predicate. Eg. The starts were our only guide. Our only guide was the stars.
- ‘Many a’ is always followed by a singular verb and a singular noun. Eg. Many a soldier has got a medal this year.