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An Introduction to Grammar

What is Grammar?

Grammar is the set of rules that determine how sentences are properly constructed. It also provides both the definition of parts of speech (i.e. nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) and the method by which they are combined (syntax).

Here are some useful grammar terms that can help you write a well constructed paper:

  • Clause – The most basic unit of writing that contains meaning. Must include at least a noun and a verb.
    • Independent Clause – A clause that can stand on its own without loosing meaning. (i.e. The teachers do not complain).
    • Dependent Clause – A clause that requires an independent clause to provide meaning. (i.e. when it rains).
  • Nouns – People, places, or tangible/intangible things.
    • Common nouns – generic names for things ( car, book)
    • Proper nouns – specific names for things (Ford, Harry Potter)
    • Count nouns – name things that can be counted or have multiples (car, cars)
    • Mass nouns – also referred to as collective nouns. Name things that cannot be counted because they are abstract (i.e. pride) or are aggregates by nature (i.e. the middle class)
  • Pronouns – Words that subsitute for nouns (he, it, you, this)
  • Adjectives – Words that describe or modify nouns (big, small, tall, short, etc.)
  • Verbs – Words that describe action in a sentence, or show motion or state of being (fly, write, exist)
  • Adverbs – Words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Tend to end in -ly (fluently, slowly)
  • Prepositions – Words that describe relationships between two objects (in, of, on, to)
  • Conjunctions – Words that connect two words, sentences, or clauses (or, but, and, however)