General English

Parts of Speech

The words that form sentences are categorized into classes according to the function that they perform. These classes of words are known as Parts of Speech.In English, we have eight parts of speech: noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection.



A noun is generally the name of a person, place or thing, e.g. Shruti, boy, aluminum, happiness, etc.


A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence e.g.: He, you, it, me, your, his, her, our, himself.


An adjective is a word that qualifies (describes or determines) a noun or pronoun e.g. an Indian scientist, a tall boy, the blue sky, some milk, much trouble, two huts, many birds, my book, his house etc.


A verb is a word that expresses action or being (a state) e.g: Ram went to the laboratory.

It is dark outside.

Verbs are chief vehicles of our actions, thoughts and feelings. Without verbs, there can be no real communication.


An adverb is a word that qualifies adverb, an adjective or another adverb e.g.Mohan runs fast(Here the word ’fast’ qualifies the verb„run?.) Sir Jag dish Chandra Bose was a very great scientist. (In this sentence the world ’very’ qualifies the adjective „great?.)She sings really well. (Here the word really qualifies the adverb„well?.) Adverbs are generally formed by adding “–Ly” toan adjective, e.g. absolutely, clearly.


A preposition is a word that shows the relation of a noun or pronoun to some other wording the sentence. Given below are few examples:

He lives in Delhi.

There is a small temple on the top of the mountain.

He travels by air.

We have not met for a week.

We have not met for a week.

Certain words are followed by particular prepositions. It is, therefore, necessary to familiar yourself with the right use of prepositions after nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.


A conjunction is a word that joins words, clauses or sentences together as shown below

Ram and Rattan are brothers.

He is intelligent but not careful.

Sunny took medicine so he recovered faster.


An interjection is that part of the sentence that expresses intense emotions.e.g.

Wow! We have won the game.

Some Important Aspects


Types of nouns are:

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are nouns that refer to specific entities. Proper nouns are capitalized like China, Jaya and Nagpur to show their distinction from common nouns.

Common Nouns

Common nouns refer to general, unspecific categories of things, whereas Nebraska is a proper noun because it indicates a specific country. The word country itself is a common noun because it can refer to any country in the world.

Countable Nouns

These nouns include names of people, places-things that we can count as one, two, three and so on. They can occur in both single and plural forms. We can add determiners like many, most, more, several before these nouns.

For example, the noun bike is countable noun. Consider the following sentence

There is a bike in that garage.

In this example, the word bike is singular as it refers to one bike that is now in a particular garage.

However, bike can also occur in the plural form. There are six broken bikes in that garage.

Uncountable Nouns or Mass Nouns:

Conversely, some nouns are not countable and are called uncountable nouns or mass nouns. For example, the word water is an uncountable noun.

That lake is full of water.

Other examples include wood, sand, milk, air, freedom and intelligence.

Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns: They are names of collections. They are not the names of the individuals in a collection. The collections may be of people, animals or other living things, placesor things. Examples of countable nouns include: bunch, herd,flock.

Concrete Nouns

Concrete nouns are names of things that can be touched, smelled, seen, felt or tasted. Perfume, table, dog, Maria, salt and wool are all examples of concrete nouns.

Abstract Nouns

More intangible, theoretical concepts and ideas are described with abstract nouns. Concepts like freedom, love, power and patriotism are all examples of abstract nouns.


Types of Pronouns


These pronouns function as noun equivalents within the structure of a sentence (subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object of a preposition). Either singular or plural, they distinguish between the individual speaking (first person- I, me, we, us), the individual spoken to (second person- you) and the individual spoken about (third person- he,she, it, her, him, they, and them). Note: Personal pronouns can also be possessive, meaning they show ownership.


These identify specific individuals and/or things and may also serve as the subject of the verb/ verbs. There are four demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these and those.


These do not indicate specific individuals or things and there are quite a few indefinite pronouns, including but not limited to anybody, something, anything, someone, none, each, more,most.


These are used to emphasize a particular noun or another pronoun, e.g. you, himself, themselves, itself etc.


These are used to introduce questions and include who, what, whose, whom and which.


These introduce dependent (subordinate) clauses and include who, whose, which and that.


Types of Adjectives

Descriptive Adjective

These show the kind or quality of a person or thing. Examples:

  1. New York is a large city
  2. He is a dishonest man.

Adjectives of Quantity

These show how much of a thing is meant.


  1. I ate some rice.

  2. He has little intelligence.

  3. Take great care of your health.

Numeral Adjective

These show how many people or things are meant or in what order a person-or thing stands.


  1. The hand has five fingers.

  2. Most boys like cricket.

  3. Sunday is the first day of the week.

  4. There are no pictures in this book.

  5. Here are some ripe mangoes.

    Adjectives of Number answer the question: How many?

Demonstrative Adjective

These point out which person or thing is meant


That boy is clever.

These mangoes are sour. I hate such things.

It will be noticed that this and that are used with singular nouns, while

these and those are used with plural nouns.

Interrogative Adjective

What, which and whose are interrogative adjectives when they are used with nouns to ask questions.


What type of a man is he? Whose book is this?

Which way shall we go?

Essentials of Grammar

Grammar Basics.


Types of verbs

Regular Verbs

A verb is said to be regular when it forms the past tense by adding ‘ed’ to the present or ‘d’ if the verb ends in ‘e’. Examples: talk, inform, study.

Irregular Verbs

A verb is said to be irregular when its past tense does not end in ‘ed’. Examples: speak, go, come

Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb is one, the action of which passes over to some object, as “I struck the table.” Here the action of striking affected the object able, hence struck is a transitive verb. Examples: learn, read, and write.

Intransitive Verbs

An intransitive verb is one in which the action remains with the subject, as “I walk,” “I sit” or “I run”.Many intransitive verbs, however, can be used transitively; thus, in “I walk the horse”, walk is transitive. Examples: laugh, run, speak


Types of adverbs
Adverb of Manner

These adverbs answer the question how? This adverb usually comes after the direct object or if there is no direct object, after the verb.


  • She speaks Italian very well.

  • He works hard.

  • You must drive your car cautious

Adverb of Place

These adverbs answer the question where? This adverb usually comes after the object, otherwise after the verb.


  • We saw you there.

  • We were sitting here.

  • We looked everywhere.

Note: somewhere, anywhere follow the same rules as some and any: Have you seen my glasses anywhere?

I’m sure I left them somewhere.

I can’t find the many where.

Adverb of Time

These answer the question when? This adverb usually comes either at the very beginning or at the end of the sentence.Examples: Afterwards we decided to go by car. I’ve done that journey before.

Note : Yet and still: yet should be placed at the end of the sentence. Still should be placed before the verb, except with the verb ‘to be’ when it comes after.

  • We haven’t started yet.

  • He still wears old-fashioned clothes.

  • She is still a student.

Adverb of Frequency

These answer the question how many times? This adverb comes after the verb ‘to be’.


  • She is never dishonest.

  • It sometimes comes before simple tenses of all other verbs. Example:

  • They sometimes spend the whole of Sunday fishing.

  • It sometimes comes after the first auxiliary in a tense consisting of more

  • than one verb.

  • I have always wondered how they did that.

  • I can never go without food for days.

Note : With ‘used to’ and ‘have’, the frequency adverb is usually placed in front:

Whenever used to look forward to the school holidays.

He always has trouble with his old car.

Adverb of Degree

  • These answer the question to what extent?

  • This adverb can modify an adverb or an adjective and comes before the word it modifies.

  • The bottle is almost full, nearly empty.

  • They should be able to pass their exams quite easily.

  • The following adverbs of degree can also modify verbs: almost, nearly, quite, hardly, scarcely, barely adjust.

  • They follow the same pattern as frequency adverbs in terms of where they are placed.|

  • I generally understand.


Preposition of place

  • Preposition of place: These prepositions indicate relationships with regard to place and use location related terms such as around, at and between.

  • Preposition of direction:These prepositions indicate relationships with regard to direction. They show where a subject is headed, such as under, along and to wards.

  • Preposition of time: These prepositions indicate relationships with regard to time. Examples are after, until and during.


Types of conjunctions

  • Coordinate conjunctions: These join similar words, phrases or clauses to each other. In English the main coordinate conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so(FANBOYS).
  • Sub-ordination conjunctions: These join a sub-ordinate clause to a main clause. Examples include since, because,although.

Use of Articles

What is an article? An article is an adjective. Like adjectives, the function of articles is to modify nouns.

English has two articles: “the” and a/an. “The” refers to specific or particular nouns; a/an is used to modify non-specific or non-particular nouns. We call the the definite article and a/an the indefinite article.

the = definite article a/an = indefinite article

For example, if we say, “Let’s read the novel,” we mean a specific novel.. If we say, “Let’s read a novel,” we mean any novel rather than a specific novel. Here “The” is used to refer to a specific member of a group. For example, “I just saw the most popular film of the year.” There are many films running in the theaters, but only one particular movie is the most popular. Therefore, we use the.

A/an is used to refer to a non-specific or non-particular member of the group. For example: I would like to have an ice- cream. . Here, we are not talking about a specific ice- cream. We are talking about any ice-cream. I do not have a specific one in mind.

Let us look at each kind of article a little more closely.

Indefinite Articles: a and an

“A” and “an” signal that the noun modified is indefinite, referring to any member of a group.

Fore example

  • My daughter wants a Barbie for Christmas: This refers to any Barbie. We do not know which Barbie because the child hasn’t selected the Barbie yet.

  • Can someone please call a cop: This refers to any cop. We do not need a specific cop; we need the one available.

  • When I was at the wildlife sanctuary, I saw a tiger! Here, we are talking about a single, non-specific thing, in this case a tiger. There are probably several tigers at the wildlife sanctuary, but there is only one tiger that we are talking about here.

    Remember, using a or an depends on the sound that the next word begins with.So,

  • a + singular noun beginning with a
    consonant: a girl; a pen; a flute; a guitar; a dog

  • an + singular noun beginning with a
    vowel: an estate; an eagle; an orange; an idiot; an ostrich

    a user (sounds like ‘yew-zer,’ i.e. begins with a consonant ‘y’ sound, so ‘a’ is used); a universe.

  • In some cases where “h” is pronounced, such as “historical”, use an: An historic incident is worth recording.

  • In writing, “a historic incident” is more commonly used. Remember that this rule also applies when you use acronyms.

    The Reserve Bank of India is the chief monetary organization in India. Another case where this rule applies is when acronyms start with consonant letters but have vowel sounds.

    An SP CC plan (spill prevention control and counter measures plan) will help us prepare for the best and worst.

  • Remember, that in English, the indefinite articles are used to indicate membership in a group:

  • I am a doctor. (I am a member of a large group known as doctors.)

  • Brian is an Eng Brian is an Englishman. (Brian is a member of the people known as English/ British.)

  • Thich Naht Hanh is a practicing Buddhist.(Thich Naht Hanh is a member of the group of people known as Buddhists.)

Definite Article

The definite article is used before both singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular. This signals that the noun is definite, that it refers to a particular member of a group. For example: The dog that bit me ran away. Here, we are talking about a specific dog, the dog that bit me.

I was happy to see the policeman who saved my cat!
Here, we are talking about a particular policeman. Even if we do not know the policeman’s name, it’s still a particular policeman because it is the one who saved the cat.
I saw the elephant at the zoo.
Here,we are talking about a specific noun. Probably, there is only one elephant at the zoo or the listener knows which particular elephant we are referring to (e.g. the elephant that participated in the national day parade).
The can be used with non-count nouns; alternatively, the article can be omitted entirely.

  • I love to sail in the Pacific. . (This indicates a specific body of water) OR I love to sail over water. (any water).
  • He spilled the water all over the floor.Or He spilled water all over the floor. (any water)

A/an can be used only with count nouns.

  • I need a bottle of juice.

  • I need a new glass of buttermilk

Most of the time, you cannot say, “She wants a milk,” unless you’re implying, say, a bottle of milk.
Geographical use of the?

There are some specific rules for using the with geographical nouns. 33 Do not use the before:

There are some specific rules for using the with geographical nouns.

Do not use the before

Names of mostcountriesFor exampleItaly, Mexico, Bolivia
however, the UnitedKingdomthe Dominica

Republic, the Philippines, the United States of America, the Netherlands etc.

  • Names of cities, towns or states: Pune, Las Vegas,London

  • Names of streets: Main Street

  • Names of lakes and bays: Lake Victoria, Lake Erie except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes

  • Names of mountains: Mount Everest, Mount Fuji, Mount Titlis except with ranges of mountains like the Himalayas or unusual names like the Matter horn.

  • Names of continents America,Australia

  • Names of islands (Easter Island,) except with island chains like the Aleutians, the Carri beans or the Canary Islands.

Do use the before

  • Names of rivers, oceans and seas: the Ganges, the Pacific

  • Points on the globe: the Equator, the South Pole

  • Geographical areas: the Far East, the West

  • Deserts, forests, gulfs and penin sulas: the Sahara desert, the Gulf of Mexico, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula.

Omission of Articles

Some common types of nouns that do not take an article are:

  • Names of languages and nationalities: French, Chinese, Russian, English, Spanish, (unless you are referring to the population of the nation: The Spanish are known for their warm hospitality.)

  • Names of sports:football, volleyball, hockey Names of academic subjects: geography, history, chemistry.

What is Parts of Speech?

The words that form sentences are categorized into classes according to the function that they perform. These classes of words are known as Parts of Speech.In English, we have eight parts of speech: noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection.

Types of Pronouns?

These pronouns function as noun equivalents within the structure of a sentence (subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object of a preposition). Either singular or plural, they distinguish between the individual speaking (first person- I, me, we, us), the individual spoken to (second person- you) and the individual spoken about (third person- he,she, it, her, him, they, and them). Note: Personal pronouns can also be possessive, meaning they show ownership.

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