Rhetoric and Composition/Parts of Speech

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Nouns[edit | edit source]

A noun is the part of speech that can fit into specific morphological and syntactic frames: A noun takes inflection suffixes for plural, singular possessive and plural possessive cases (-s;-'s;-s'). A noun appears after a determiner. Nouns refer to persons, places, things, states, or qualities.

Nouns appear: after adjectives, after articles, as a subject of a sentence, as an object of a preposition, as a direct object of a transitive verb, and as an indirect object of transitive verb.

There are different kinds of nouns in terms of their grammatical function. These can be classified into different categories:

Count nouns refers to discrete number of things that are countable. They can take the plural forms and can be preceded by articles. Examples: book, house, car.

Non count also known as mass noun and refers to things and objects that are indiscreet. Examples: rice, oil, weather.

Common nouns are any person, place, or thing. Common nouns are not capitalized. Examples: a city, the policeman, that desk.

Proper nouns are the name of a specific person, place or thing. Proper nouns are capitalized. Personal names are the best examples of proper nouns. Examples: Nicolas, Idaho, Daily News.

Collective nouns are used to name groups. Even when a collective noun is in the singular form, it can be used to refer to a group. Example: team, herd, jury

Concrete nouns words that represent objects one can see, hear, touch, smell or taste. Abstract nouns are anything one cannot see, hear touch, smell or taste.

Some examples of nouns are: Tom, table, classroom, desk, bottle, door, conscience.

Determiners[edit | edit source]

Determiners are used as modifiers of a noun phrase or words that occur before a noun. Determiners can be classified as articles, demonstratives, quantifiers, possessive noun, and possessive pronouns.

Determiners form a closed class of words that number (exclusive of ordinals) about 50 in English and include: the teacher, a college, a bit of honey, that person, those people, whatever purpose, either way, your choice.

Articles: a, an, the.

Demonstratives: this, that, these, those, which, etc. (when used with noun phrases).

Possessives: my, our, your, her, his, its, their, whose, and possessive nouns (John's, the teacher's).

Quantifiers: all, few, many, several, some, every, each, any, no etc.

Cardinal Numbers: one, two, fifty, etc.

Ordinals: first, second, last, next, etc.

Articles[edit | edit source]

There is also a special class of determiners called articles. These are the words a, an, and the and sometimes proceed nouns or other words that come before a noun.

A Definite Article (English the) is used before singular and plural nouns that refer to a particular member of a group. (The cat on the mat is black.)

An Indefinite Article (English a, an) is used before singular nouns that refer to any member of a group. (A cat is a mammal.)

A Partitive Article indicates an indefinite quantity of a mass noun; there is no partitive article in English, though the words some or any often have that function. An example is French du / de la / des, as in Voulez-vous du café ? ("Do you want some coffee?" or "Do you want coffee?")

A Zero Article is the absence of an article (e.g. English indefinite plural), used in some languages in contrast with the presence of one. Linguists hypothesize the absence as a zero article based on the X-bar theory.

The words a and an are called indefinite articles, because they do not identify a particular person, place, or thing. The is called a definite article, because it does specify a particular person, place, or thing.

Using a and an[edit | edit source]

Determining which word to use, either a or an, is based on the first sound of the word that follows it. When a word starts with a consonant sound, use a before it. When the word begins with a vowel sound, use an before it. Be careful, sometimes the first letter of the word is not the first sound of the word (see hour and unicorn below).

  • a show
    • an amazing show
  • an octopus
    • a huge octopus
  • an hour
    • a house
  • an apple
    • a red apple
  • a unicorn
    • an angry unicorn

Singular and Plural[edit | edit source]

In order to show whether a noun is singular or plural, change the noun's spelling. A noun will take the plural inflection '-s' for most words in English. But, there might be irregular plural nouns as well. Some of the examples of irregular nouns are given below:

  • boy/boys
  • child/children
  • woman/women
  • man/men
  • syllabus/syllabi
  • ox/oxen
  • deer/deer

If you are unsure how to change a word into the plural form, check your dictionary.

Possession[edit | edit source]

Nouns also undergo a morphological change to express possession (ownership) by using an apostrophe followed by the letter "s" ('s). This can denote 'singular' or 'plural' possessive. Possession is having some degree of control over something else. Generally, to possess something, a person must have an intention to possess it. A person may be in possession of some property (although possession does not always imply ownership). Like ownership, the possession of things is commonly regulated by states under property law. Languages have several means to indicate possession.


  • girl/girl's (singular)
  • children/children's (plural)
  • man/man's (singular)
  • woman/woman's (singular)

---If a singular noun does not end in s, add 's

The delivery boy's truck was blocking the driveway.

Bob Dole's concession speech was stoic and dignified.

The student's attempts to solve the problem were rewarded.

---If a singular common noun ends in s, add 's—unless the next word begins with s. If the next word begins with s, add an apostrophe only. (This includes words with s and sh sounds.)

The boss's temper was legendary among his employees.

The boss' sister was even meaner.

The witness's version of the story has several inconsistencies.

The witness' story did not match the events recorded on tape.

---If a singular proper noun ends in s, add an apostrophe.

Chris' exam scores were higher than any other students. --Usually singular proper nouns will be names like Chris, and Alyssa.

Pronouns[edit | edit source]

A pronoun is a word that often replaces a noun phrase, other pronouns, or other words functioning as a noun in a sentence. The word or group of words that a pronoun replaces or refers to is called the antecedent of the pronoun

Example #1 The dog is old. It walks slowly. In this sentence, the word it replaces the dog.

Example #2 Wow, that boy can throw a football. He must have thrown it 60 yards. In this sentence, the word he replaces that boy.

There are several types of pronouns: personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, intensive and reflexive pronouns, relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, demonstrative pronouns and indefinite pronouns.

Personal Pronouns are those that refer to specific people or things. Examples: I, he, she, we, us, they.

 After they finished shopping they put the groceries in the trunk. 

Possessive Pronouns indicate ownership. Examples: My, mine, your, our, theirs.

  My brother bought his car.

Intensive and Reflexive Pronouns Intensive pronouns emphasize a noun or another pronoun.

 The President himself called to congratulate me.

Reflexive pronouns look the same as intensive pronouns but serve a different function. They name a receiver of an action.

 We shopped ourselves to death.

Relative Pronouns introduce subordinate clauses and function as adjectives.

 The man who yelled at us to get off his lawn did not even own the property!

Interrogative Pronouns introduce questions.

Who was that? Who will help me? Which do you prefer?) 

Demonstrative Pronouns point out specific persons, places, things or ideas such as that, those, this, these.

This is my dog.

Indefinite Pronouns refer to non-specific people or things. Examples: All, both, any, few, everyone, each, nobody, some, several, neither.

 Several people cheered after the solo. 

Pronouns most often replace a noun but can sometimes function as a determiner. These are called pronoun/determiners because they are in the form of a pronoun but function as an determiner.

This material was new to me.  This functions as a pronoun/adjective.

Pronoun Problems

Pronouns can cause many problems for writers. Here are some tips to help you.

- Make sure the pronoun and its antecedent (the noun or pronoun to which the pronoun refers) agree. They must both be singular or plural.

Examples: My dog finished her food. (Both are singular) The dogs fought for their food. (Both are plural)

-Collective nouns should be used as singular unless they are obviously plural.

Example: The jury gave its verdict.

-Compound antecedents connected by and should be used as plural.

Example: Jack and Jill are getting married.

-Some antecedents that are indefinite and morphologically singular (anyone, each, everyone, nobody, somebody) can take they.

Examples: And everyone to rest themselves betake - Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece, 1549 I would have everybody marry if they can do it properly - Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814 ... the detachment and sympathy of someone approaching their own death - Alan Moorehead, The Blue Nile, 1962

-Make sure the antecedent is clear.

Example: When she set the picture on the glass table, it broke.

By using it after two nouns, the reference is unclear. Which item broke? The picture or the table? When reading your writing, ask yourself these questions. If you are unclear as to which noun is the antecedent, it will be unclear for the reader as well.

-Deciding whether to use we or us

If you are unsure as to which pronoun to use, try omitting the antecedent.

Example: We/Us workers would like to have more breaks. It makes much mores sense to say We would instead of Us would.

Verbs[edit | edit source]

A verb is the main word in the predicate of a sentence. It expresses an action, describes an occurrence, or establishes a state of being. Depending on the language, a verb may vary in form according to many factors, possibly including its tense, aspect, mood and voice. It may also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments (subject object, etc.)

an action would be: Josh threw the ball.
Jason kicked the football.

an occurrence would be: a hush descended on the crowd.
a feeling warmed his heart.

a state of being would be: Jill was serious.
The house is on the hill.

Principal Parts[edit | edit source]

The principal parts of verbs are the different forms that verbs take depending on how they are used in a sentence. For example, take the verb escape.

base form: to escape
past tense: escaped
present participle: am escaping
past participle: escaped

Subject-Verb Agreement[edit | edit source]

Verbs need to agree with their subjects in number (singular or plural) and in person (first, second, or third). Find the verb and ask "who or what" is doing the action of that verb.

To make verbs agree with compound subjects, follow this example:

A pencil, a backpack, and a notebook was issued to each student.

   This sentence should be edited to say:

A pencil, a backpack, and a notebook were issued to each student.

Verbs will never agree with nouns that are in prepositional phrases. To make verbs agree with their subjects, follow this example:

The direction of the three plays are the topic of my talk.

   This sentence should be edited to say:

The direction of the three plays is the topic of my talk.

The subject of my talk is direction, not plays.

In the English language, verbs usually follow subjects. But when this order is reversed, the writer must make the verb agree with the subject, not with a noun that happens to precede it. For example:

Beside the house stands sheds filled with tools.

   This sentence should be edited to say:

Beside the house stand sheds filled with tools.

Because the subject is sheds; it is plural, so the verb must be stand.

===Verb Tenses===

Tenses in a verb help to show when the action expressed by a verb takes place. The three simple tenses are the present tense, past tense, and future tense. Verbs also take aspect. Aspect refers to progression or completion of an action. The 'aspect' affixes are denoted by '-en' and '-ing,'which forms non finite participle forms. ---Present Tense Present tense expresses an unchanging, repeated, or reoccurring action or situation that exists only now. It can also represent a widespread truth.

 Examples: The mountains are tall and white. Unchanging action 
 Every year, the school council elects new members.  Recurring action 
 Pb is the chemical symbol for lead.  Widespread truth 

---Past Tense Past tense expresses an action or situation that was started and finished in the past. Most past tense verbs end in -ed. The irregular verbs have special past tense forms which must be memorized.

 Examples: W.W.II ended in 1945.  Regular -ed past 
 Ernest Hemingway wrote "The Old Man and the Sea." Irregular form 

---Future Tense Future tense expresses an action or situation that will occur in the future. This tense is formed by using will/shall with the simple form of the verb.

 Examples: The speaker of the House will finish her term in May of 2012.
 The future tense can also be expressed by using am, is, or are with going to.
 The surgeon is going to perform the first bypass in Minnesota.
 We can also use the present tense form with an adverb or adverbial phrase to show future time.
 The president speaks tomorrow. (Tomorrow is a future time adverb.)

---Aspect: Refers to the nature of the action described by the verb. There are three aspects: indefinite (or simple), complete (or perfect), continuing (or progressive).

The three indefinite tenses, or simple tenses, describe an action but do not state whether the action is finished:

the simple past ("I went") the simple present ("I go") the simple future ("I will go")

            Progressive: He is reading a book
            Perfect    : Mary has taken her work seriously

The simple tenses locate an action only within the three basic time frames that we've recognized, present, past, and future. There are also three complex aspects of time that can be expressed:

   Progressive forms: express continuing actions. 
   Perfect forms: express actions completed before 
       another action or time in the present, past, or future
   Perfect progressive forms: express actions that 
       continue up to some point in the present, past or future.

===Transitive and Intransitive Verbs=== Transitive verbs help to carry out the action of a specific subject, and are followed by a noun phrase. A transitive verb must be followed by a direct object.

     For Example:
           He          ran              to school.
         (Subject) (did something)    (object-where?)
           She cuts her hair every month.
           The dog runs around the tree.

Intransitive verbs do not take any object, but they do express the actions that don't require the subject to do something to something else. The intransitive verbs can stand alone in a sentence.

    For Example:
           Katie ran.
             -The intransitive verb ran is a complete
              action by itself and doesn't need an object
              to complete the action.
           Jack fell on the steps in the entryway.

===Linking Verbs=== Linking Verbs link the relationship between the subject and the rest of the sentence. This type of verb explains the connection between the subject and it's complement.

The most common linking verb is "to be." The linking verb forms the main verb in a sentence and is also known as the copula.

 Example: The tea is hot.
          There are many books on the shelf.

In the above sentences, is and are serve as the linking verbs as well as the main verbs in the sentences.

            Common Linking Verbs:
               appear            become
               seem              taste 
               continue          remain

A true linking verbs are any form of be {am, is, as, were, are being, might, etc.} The true linking verbs act as the main verb in a sentence.

example: The work was very tiring.

In this sentence, was function as the linking verb which is also the main verb in the sentence. This type of sentences cannot be transformed into passive sentences because the verbs do not have a direct object (non-transitive verbs).

In your writing you can also input verbs with multiple personalities. such as appear, feel, remain, smell.

Adjectives[edit | edit source]

Adjectives modify or limit the meaning of nouns or pronouns, usually by describing, quantifying, or identifying those words and is often described as determiners. An adjective answers the question what kind, which one, how many or how much.

A describing adjective would be... Josh threw the yellow ball.
A quantifying adjective would be... We caught several sunfish last weekend.
A identifying adjective would be... Carol tried hard to win that race.

The most widely recognized adjectives are those words, such as big, old, and tired that actually describe people, places, or things. These words can themselves be modified with adverbs, as in the phrase very big.

Besides being used to modify a meaning, adjectives can be used to compare items.

a comparative adjective would be: This year's graduating class was smaller than last year's class.
another comparative adjective would be: This year's offensive line was the smallest in the past few decades.

Finally, adjectives can be pronouns. Pronouns used as adjectives usually show ownership.

A pronoun used as an adjective would be: Shelia bought her first car yesterday. Another pronoun used as an adjective would be: The Smith's saw their dreams crumble when they were denied a mortgage.

Adjectival Phrase[edit | edit source]

An adjectival phrase is a phrase with an adjective as its head (e.g. full of toys). In English, an adjectival phrase may occur as a post-modifier to a noun (a bin full of toys), or as a predicate to a verb (the bin is full of toys and clothes).

Adverbs[edit | edit source]

Adverbs are modifiers or descriptive words, phrases, or clauses that bring detail to your sentences. An adverb answers the question where, when, how or to what extent. They modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or entire clauses. Once you figure out what word you want to modify, you are able to choose which modifier you need. Many adverbs end in -ly except for always, never, very and well. The most commonly used adverb is not.

Difference between adverbs and adjectives[edit | edit source]

Adjectives and adverbs answer different questions. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and answers these questions:

  • Which: the latest magazine arrived.
  • What kind: a huge difference remained.
  • How many: the three books were different.

An adverb modifies a verb an answers these questions:

  • When: tomorrow, the storm will quit.
  • How often: students change majors frequently.
  • Where: the class is held here today.

When choosing between an adjective and adverb, determine the word being modified and then figure out its part of speech.

Forming adverbs[edit | edit source]

Often adverbs are formed from adjectives, but some are not derived from other words such as again, almost, always, never, here, there, now, often, seldom, well. The adverbs that are derived from adjectives can be formed by adding the suffix -ly to the ending.

  • beautifully
  • strangely
  • cleverly
  • respectfully

Remember that an -ly does not make the word an adverb. Some adjectives also end in -ly such as friendly and lovely.

Placement[edit | edit source]

The location of the adverb in a sentence can change the rhythm and emphasis dramatically.

  • Formerly, Star Wars was just three movies.
  • Star Wars was formerly just three movies.

Conjunctions[edit | edit source]

con‧junc‧tion Pronunciation Key -[kuhn-juhngk-shuhn]

Conjunctions join words, phrases or clauses within a sentence. They illustrate a relationship between the elements that are being joined.

Coordinating Conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so are coordinating conjunctions. These are conjunctions of two grammatically equal elements such as two nouns or two clauses. This can also be remembered through the acronym FANBOYS.

Example: I like apples and oranges.

Correlative Conjunctions come in pairs such as either...or, neither...nor, not only...but also. These conjunctions also connect two equal grammatical elements.

Example: I will have either pasta or pizza for dinner.

Subordinating Conjunctions After, although, as if, because, even though, once, in order that, and rather than are some common subordinating conjunctions. These are conjunctions that introduce a subordinate clause and illustrate a relationship with the rest of the sentence.

Example: Although I would rather party tonight, I will go to the library instead.

Conjunctive Adverbs are used to show a relationship between two independent clauses (complete sentences). Some examples are accordingly, furthermore, therefore, however.

Example: I always brush my teeth; therefore, I have no cavities.

Prepositions[edit | edit source]

Prepositions are words that come before a noun or pronoun that form a phrase that modifies another phrase within the sentence. This phrase, the prepositional phrase, usually functions as an adjective or adverb and often indicates a position or place.

Some examples of prepositions:

about, above, after, along, among, as, before, behind, below, beside, between, by, despite, during, for, in, into, like, of, onto, opposite, over, past, regarding, since, and with.

Example: He brought his furniture into the apartment.

Some common compound prepositions:

according to, except for, in front of, next to, as well as, instead of, due to, in spite of, because of, and with regard to

Prepositional Phrases begin with a preposition and most often end with a noun. The noun is known as the object of the preposition. There are several different types of prepositional phrases classified by the type of word it modifies.

Adjective prepositional phrases most often modify the noun directly before the prepositional phrase. These usually answer the questions which one? or what kind of?.

Example: The thoughts of the professor were closed minded. of the professor is the prepositional phrase which modifies thoughts. What kind of thoughts? Those of the professor.

Adverbial prepositional phrases modify a verb within the sentence. These usually answer the questions When? Where? How? Why? Under what conditions? and To what degree?

Example: You cannot judge a book by its cover. The prepositional phrase, by its cover, modifies the verb judge. How can you not judge a book? By its cover.

Interjections[edit | edit source]

inter·jection ---The word "interjection" literally means "thrown in between" from the Latin inter ("between") and iacere ("throw").

The part of speech that usually expresses emotion and is capable of standing alone. This uses an exclamation marker (!), also known as the exclamation point. Even when interjections are a part of a sentence, they don't directly relate to the grammar of that sentence. Interjections take on more than one of the following usages:

-sudden outburst -a form of salutation -to emphasize in the imperative mood

Words belonging to this part of speech, such as:

           Ugh! or Wow! Oh! Hey! Ow!

Active vs. Passive Voice[edit | edit source]

A shift between active voice and passive voice is confusing to readers and should be avoided at all times. If you do shift voice, justify it and have a reason for it.

Voice refers to the verb's ability to show whether a subject receives or acts the action received by the verb. When using the active voice, the subject performs the action.

 For Example:
    The boy ran straight home at dinner time
       <The boy---the subject, did the action----he ran.

In writing, active voice is more dramatic and often users fewer words than passive voice in English. There will be introduced more in the "active and passive" section later.

Types of Sentences[edit | edit source]

In English there are three main types of sentences. They function according to the usage and pragmatics. They are also referred to as moods, in English. The fourth type of sentence might be termed as interrogative.

Indicative The indicative mood is used in factual statements. All intentions in speaking that a particular language does not put into another mood use the indicative. It is the most commonly used mood and is found in all languages. Example: "Paul is reading books." or "Paul reads books."

Imperative The imperative mood expresses commands, direct requests, and prohibitions. In many circumstances, directly using the imperative mood seems blunt or even rude, so it is often used with care. Example: "Read that book, Paul!"

Subjunctive The subjunctive mood has several uses in independent clauses. Examples include discussing hypothetical or unlikely events, expressing opinions or emotions, or making polite requests (the exact scope is language-specific). Example: " God bless America."

Tag Question[edit | edit source]

A type of question where a pronoun is attached to the end of the declarative clause, where the pronoun agrees with number and gender of the subject in the declarative clause. 

Tag questions are used for the purpose of emphasis.

When using tag questions there are four things to watch for:

1. What kind of verb is it?

2. What tense is the verb?

3. Is the sentence affirmative or negative?

4. Do you change the pronoun?

Some additional things to look for when using tag verbs are:

~Copy the auxiliary after the end of the declarative clause

~Insert a "do" support where the auxiliary is missing (Note that the "do" support agrees in number and tense.)

~If the declarative clause is negative, then the tag should be positive.

~If the declarative clause is positive, then the tag should be negative.

  For Example:
     ~   We are meeting at 7 o'clock, aren't we?         
        The tag question would be "aren't we" to make an emphasis on the first part of the sentence.
     ~   He won't drive in the storm, will he? 
        The tag question in this example is "will he"

Wh-Question[edit | edit source]

There can be nine types of Wh questions based on the sentence structure.The "Wh" words that forms the questions are:

Who (or Whom) ?-----Person



Which?-------------Specific subject





The Wh word can function as the subject, object or possessive determiner of the interrogative clause.

 For example: 
  Who gave John permission to watch movies? (subject) 
  From whom did John get permission to watch movies? (object)
  Whose book did John read yesterday? (possessive determiner)

There are few generalizations which can be noted here:

  1. If the 'Wh' is the subject then the structure of the sentence remains intact
  2. If the 'Wh' is not the subject then auxiliary inversion is required to form the question

To form questions with 'Wh' word?

  1. Begin with the 'Wh' word
  2. If the 'Wh' word is the subject then no change in the structure is required
  3. If 'Wh' word is not the subject then subject-auxiliary inversion is required
  4. If the auxiliary is missing, then appropriate "do" support is to be added to form the question
  5. The "do" support should match in tense and number and it will change the verb to bare infinitive.

The grammar used with 'Wh' questions depends on if the topic being asked about is the subject or predicate of a sentence. When using the subject pattern, you will need to input the person or thing being asked about with the appropriate 'Wh' word for that sentence.

 For example:
Jack is playing with Jill
a. Who is playing with Jill? ('Wh' word is the subject -- somebody is doing the action of playing)
b. To whom is Jack playing music? ('Wh' word is the object -- somebody is receiving the action of Jack's playing)

Clauses[edit | edit source]

A clause is a group of words with a subject and a predicate. A sentence containing a single clause is called uniclausal and a sentence with more than one clause is called multiclausal. Clauses having one finite verb, as in uniclausal or minimum of one finite verb construction in a multiclausal structure is called finite clauses. A clause having a non-finite verb is called a non finite clause.

An independent clause is part of sentence that can function as a stand-alone structure. A dependent clause on the other hand cannot function by itself and needs an independent clause to complete its meaning.

A third type of clause is known as matrix clause, which function as an independent clause but requires a complement clause to complete the meaning.

Subordinate Clause

Subordinate clauses are sometimes called dependent clauses. They begin with a subordinate conjunction or a relative pronoun and contain both a subject and a verb. Some common subordinate conjunctions are: although, since, before, because, after, if, whenever, which, and when. example: Although it was dark outside, Jill went to play basketball.

Relative Clause

A relative clause functions as a modifier and works as an adjective. It has four main features:

 1. contains a subject and a verb
 2. begins with a relative pronoun-who, whom, that, 
    which, whose or a relative adverb-why, when, where
 3. functions as an adjective
 4. can be restrictive or non-restrictive

Example of a restrictive relative clause: Participants in this marathon who are high school students need to bring permission slips signed by their parents.

Example of non-restrictive relative clause: Participants in this marathon, who come from all over the city, must sign in by 8AM.

1.A restrictive relative clause would change the meaning if deleted, so commas aren't needed. (In the example above, the clause restricts the people who need to bring permission slips to only the high school students.)

2.A non-restrictive relative clause is just extra information about the subject and may be omitted without changing the meaning.

Complement Clause

A complement clause is a notional sentence or predication that's an argument of a predicate

example: I know that it is raining hard.

There are three types of complement clauses: ordinary, noun, and adjective

Noun Clauses

Noun clauses can function as a subject, subject complements, objects of prepositions, or direct objects. So a noun clause cannot stand apart but is always contained within a clause. A few examples of noun clauses that usually will begin with a relative pronoun are: that, whomever, whose, which, and whoever. Here the construction of the clause occurs directly after the noun phrase.

   For Example:
 He asked when she went to the library.
 The italicized section is an example of a direct object function.
 He was looking for whichever car was the best find. 
 In this example, the section in italics is an object of a preposition.

For instance, in the first example for the independent clause isn't just he asked but he asked when she went to the library.

Adjective Clauses

Adjective clauses modify nouns and pronouns in other clauses.

A adjective clause always begins with a relative pronoun (that, who, whom, whose, which) or a relative adverb (where, when, why).

    For Example:
  The test, which took an hour, earned me an A for the class. 
  Have you seen the desk where Kelsi sat?
  -The parts in italics are the adjective clauses for the nouns test and desk.

Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses modify a verb, an adjective or an adverb.

Adverb clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions: when, because, than, where, before, after

    For Example:
  Hitchcock paved the way for directors when he created a new filmmaking style.
 (when... modifies the verb)   
  Hitchcock was important because he proved that horror doesn't need gore. 
 (because...  modifies the adjective)

Ordinary Clauses

An ordinary clause functions like a complement clause using that as the most common word to form the structure. For example: That the earth is flat was a common misperception.

The italicized portion suggests an ordinary complement clause in the subject position.

Partitive[edit | edit source]

Partitive construction helps to modify count and non-count nouns.It denotes a part of a whole. The partitive noun phrase agrees in number and tense according to its appearance in the subject place.It takes the following structure:

NP (count)+of+ NP.

example: A pair of shoes is what I need. (the partitive is in italics)

         A lot of work is required before this project is over. (the partitive is in

Collective[edit | edit source]

This is a usage which is based on the semantic and pragmatic use of the language. A variation could be noted in Standard American English (SAE) and British English (BE).

examples: The home team has routed the visitors. (SAE)

         The home team have routed the visitors. (BE)

Phrasal Verb[edit | edit source]

A phrasal verb is a phrase construction which is made up of a verb and an adverbial particle or a preposition. It is also understood as an idiomatic construction where the meaning is different from the sum of its parts. It can be either prepositional (non separable) or particle verbs (separable).

prepositional: The parents called on the teacher.

particle verb: He looked the number up.