20 Rules Of Grammar

Making mistakes in English is not new and if you want to avoid these mistakes, the following easy rules will allow you to do just that.

  • Every sentence’s first letter is capital and there is a full stop or a period at its end. If the sentence is a question then it will end with a question mark and with an exclamation mark depending on the nature of the sentence. 

    • My name is James.
    • How are you feeling today?
    • That was an awesome hit!

  • Every basic positive sentence will have this order.

Subject-Verb-Objective

(A negative sentence or a question sentence can have a different order.)

    • James drives a car.
    • They were watching a movie in the theater.

  • Every sentence has a verb and a subject. The object in a sentence is optional. It is important to understand that a sentence that is imperative can only have a verb, however, the subject (the meaning of the sentence) is understood.

    • James teaches.
    • James teaches English.
    • Listen! (i.e You listen!)

  • A singular subject will need to have a singular verb and plural subjects will need to have a plural verb. 

    • James teaches in Dublin.
    • The sun rises once a day.
    • James and Wilma live in Manchester.
    • Most people drink 4 glasses of water a day.

  •  Use a singular verb whenever two singular objects get connected by or, nor, either, and neither.

    • James or Wilma is singing tonight.
    • Either tea or coffee is fine.
    • Neither James nor Wilma was late.

  • If a verb is not separating the adjective from a noun, then adjectives will usually come before the noun in a sentence.

    • I have a small cat.
    • He killed a beautiful dog.
    • His wife is dead.

  • If more than one adjective are used together in a sentence then follow this order.

Opinion-Adjective + (Fact-Adjective) + Noun

    • I saw a scary Italian movie.
    • That was a lovely French cuisine.

  • Collective Nouns can be treated as singular or plural, based on the type of English you are using.

British English treats collective nouns as plural with a plural pronoun and verb.

American English treats collective nouns as singular with a singular pronoun and verb.

(Board of directors, company, committee. These are examples of collective nouns)

    British English

    • The committee are planning a visit today. Then they might leave for London.
    • The BMW have decided to stay with their logo.

    American English

    • My family is going for a picnic.
    • GM motors is going to compete with Tesla.

  • The word “Its” has a different meaning than “It’s

    • The silly cat broke its foot.
    • He believes it’s raining outside.

  • The word “Your” has a different meaning than “You’re”.

    • I like your car. (something belonging to you)
    • You’re looking very handsome in that coat. (It means “You are”)

  • There is a different meaning for “There”, “They’re”, and “Their”.

    • There is a lot of noise in the room. (mentioning a place)
    • He is in their new office. (something belonging to them)
    • I think they’re not returning today. (It means “they are”)

  • She’s” is a contraction that can mean “she is” and it can also mean “she has”. This rule applies to “He’s”, “it’s” and “James’s” as well.

    • He is finished.

      She’s finished.

      James has finished.

  • He’d” is a contraction that can mean “he had” and it can also mean “he would”. This rule applies to “They’d” as well.

    • He had done his job.

      She’d done his job.

      They would do their job.

  • Every proper noun starts with a capital letter. It can be the name of anything, for example, James, France, Austin Martin, etc.

    • Can you find India on the map?
    • Sometimes I like to speak French.
    • I wonder where James went.

  • Every proper adjective will also start with a capital letter every time. Proper adjectives are can be made out of proper nouns. For example, from the proper noun of China, you get Chinese. 

    • Are the Pakistani players in the field?
    • I like to travel on French trains.
    • Germans are famous for their technology.

  • Indefinite articles (“a” and “an”) are used for nouns that can be counted in general. Uncountable nouns and specific countable nouns get the definite article of “The”.

    • I saw the American flag. A bird was sitting on its pole. 
    • All the water entered my room last night.
    • Is there a Chinese restaurant nearby?

  • Words starting with a vowel sound use the article of “an” and other words that start with a consonant sound use the article of “a”.

    • A dog, a game of football, a big achievement, a Frenchman.
    • An element, an orange, an unexpected guest, an ant, an inkpot.

  • Uncountable nouns use “little, a lot, or much”. Using “Many or few” for countable nouns is appropriate.

    • How many dollars does it cost?
    • You are asking too much money for this car.
    • There were only a few people boys left in the hall.
    • There was a little traffic near my office.

  • To express the possession of a singular subject, make use of an apostrophe before “s”.

To express the possession of a plural subject, make use of an apostrophe after “s”.

    • The girl’s bag was pink. (single girl)
    • The dogs’ tails were brown. (more than one dog)

  • Prefer using the active voice in general (Dogs drink water) over the use of passive voice in general (Water is drunk by dogs).

    • We eat apples at lunch.

       Apples
      are eaten by us at lunch. 

    • He drives a car.

       a car
      is driven by him.

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