UNIT-4 BASIC GRAMMAR

Basic grammar refers to the fundamental rules and structures that govern the composition of sentences in a language. Here are some key elements of basic grammar in English:

PARTS OF SPEECH:

  • Noun: A word that represents a person, place, thing, or idea.
  • Verb: A word that describes an action or state of being.
  • Adjective: A word that modifies or describes a noun.
  • Adverb: A word that modifies or describes a verb, adjective, or another adverb.
  • Pronoun: A word that takes the place of a noun.
  • Conjunction: A word that connects words, phrases, or clauses.
  • Preposition: A word that shows the relationship between a noun (or pronoun) and other words in a sentence.
  • Interjection: A word or phrase used to express strong emotion.

SENTENCE STRUCTURE:

  • Subject: The part of the sentence that indicates who or what the sentence is about.
  • Predicate: The part of the sentence that includes the verb and describes the action or state.
  • Object: The receiver of the action in a sentence.

BASIC SENTENCE TYPES:

  • Declarative Sentence: Makes a statement or expresses an opinion. Example: The sun is shining.
  • Interrogative Sentence: Asks a question. Example: Are you coming to the party?
  • Imperative Sentence: Gives a command or makes a request. Example: Please pass the salt.
  • Exclamatory Sentence: Expresses strong emotion or surprise. *Example: What a beautiful day!

TENSES:

  • Past Tense: Describes actions that have already happened. Example: She completed her homework.
  • Present Tense: Describes actions happening now or general truths. Example: The cat is sleeping.
  • Future Tense: Describes actions that will happen in the future. Example: They will go to the beach tomorrow.

SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT:

  • The verb in a sentence must agree with the subject in terms of number (singular or plural). Example: The dog barks. (singular) / The dogs bark. (plural)

PUNCTUATION:

  • Proper use of punctuation marks such as periods, commas, question marks, exclamation marks, and apostrophes.

CAPITALIZATION:

  • Capitalizing the first letter of a sentence and proper nouns.

ARTICLES:

  • Use of definite (the) and indefinite (a, an) articles.

Understanding and applying these basic grammar rules can help you construct clear and effective sentences in English.

 

PRESCRIPTIVE /DESCRIPTIVE APPROACHES GRAMMATICALLY

Prescriptive and descriptive approaches represent two different perspectives on grammar:

PRESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR:

  • Definition: Prescriptive grammar involves establishing rules and guidelines for the “correct” or “proper” use of language. It is often associated with language authorities, style guides, and formal education.
  • Focus: Prescriptive grammar dictates how language should be used based on traditional norms and rules. It emphasizes adherence to established standards, often to maintain clarity, precision, and consistency.
  • Examples: Grammar rules provided in style guides, academic writing standards, and formal language instruction are examples of prescriptive grammar.
  • Criticism: Critics argue that prescriptive grammar can be overly rigid and fail to account for language’s natural evolution. It may resist changes and innovations that occur organically within a language over time.

DESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR:

  • Definition: Descriptive grammar aims to objectively analyze and describe how language is used by native speakers. It is based on observations of real language usage, rather than prescribing how language should be used.
  • Focus: Descriptive grammar examines language as a living, evolving system. It seeks to understand the patterns, structures, and variations present in everyday language use.
  • Examples: Linguists often employ descriptive grammar to study language, analyzing spoken and written communication without imposing preconceived norms. Descriptive grammar accounts for regional dialects, slang, and changes in language over time.
  • Criticism: Critics argue that a purely descriptive approach may overlook the need for communication standards in certain contexts, such as formal writing or professional communication. It may also be seen as lacking guidance for language learners seeking clarity and consistency.

 

In summary, while prescriptive grammar provides rules and guidelines for “correct” language usage, descriptive grammar seeks to understand and describe the natural patterns and variations in language as it is used by speakers. Many linguists and language experts recognize the value of both approaches, with a balanced perspective acknowledging the need for clear communication while also appreciating the dynamic nature of language.

 

PRESCRIPTIVE /DESCRIPTIVE APPROACHES GRAMMATICALLY-ACCEPTABILITY-APPROPRIATENESS-GRAMMAR IN SPOKEN & WRITTEN

Let’s explore how the prescriptive and descriptive approaches relate to grammatical acceptability, appropriateness, and usage in both spoken and written language:

PRESCRIPTIVE APPROACH:

  • Grammatical Acceptability: The prescriptive approach emphasizes adherence to established rules and standards. Prescriptive grammar often defines what is considered grammatically acceptable based on traditional norms. It provides a set of rules for correct language usage.
  • Appropriateness: Prescriptive grammar is typically associated with formal and academic writing. It aims to maintain clarity, precision, and consistency in language use. Following prescriptive rules is often seen as appropriate in formal contexts where adherence to standards is important.
  • Grammar in Spoken Language: While prescriptive rules are often more strictly applied in written language, people may consciously or subconsciously follow certain prescriptive norms in formal spoken communication. However, in casual or colloquial speech, adherence to prescriptive rules may be relaxed.
  • Grammar in Written Language: Prescriptive grammar is more rigorously applied in written language, especially in academic, professional, and formal contexts. Style guides and grammar handbooks often follow prescriptive principles.

DESCRIPTIVE APPROACH:

  • Grammatical Acceptability: Descriptive grammar aims to describe language as it is naturally used by speakers, acknowledging variations and changes over time. In a descriptive approach, grammatical acceptability is based on observed language patterns rather than pre-established rules.
  • Appropriateness: Descriptive grammar recognizes the appropriateness of language usage in different contexts, including variations in regional dialects, informal speech, and evolving language trends. What is considered appropriate may vary depending on the context and community of speakers.
  • Grammar in Spoken Language: Descriptive grammar is particularly relevant to understanding the grammar of spoken language, including colloquialisms, slang, and regional variations. It recognizes that spoken language may deviate from prescriptive norms without losing communicative effectiveness.
  • Grammar in Written Language: In written language, a descriptive approach acknowledges that language evolves, and writers may intentionally deviate from prescriptive rules for stylistic reasons or to capture a specific tone or voice. It allows for a more flexible interpretation of what is considered grammatically acceptable.

 

In practice, a balanced approach that combines elements of both prescriptive and descriptive grammar is often considered effective. Adhering to prescriptive norms can ensure clarity and consistency in formal writing, while a descriptive understanding allows for appreciation of the dynamic nature of language in various contexts, both spoken and written. Ultimately, the appropriateness of language use depends on factors such as audience, purpose, and cultural norms.

 

EXCERCISE ON DIFFERENT GRAMMATICAL CONSTRUCTIONS

Let’s go through some exercises that cover different grammatical constructions. Feel free to try solving them, and I’ll provide explanations for each afterward.

Exercise 1: Parts of Speech

Identify the parts of speech for each word in the following sentence:

“The curious cat gracefully jumped over the tall fence.”

Exercise 2: Sentence Types

Change the following declarative sentence into an interrogative sentence:

“He enjoys reading mystery novels.”

Exercise 3: Verb Tenses

Rewrite the following sentence in the past perfect tense:

“I have never visited that museum before.”

Exercise 4: Subject-Verb Agreement

Choose the correct form of the verb to complete the sentence:

“Neither the teacher nor the students ___ happy about the cancellation of the field trip.”

  1. a) is b) are

Exercise 5: Punctuation

Add the necessary punctuation to the following sentence:

“After finishing his homework Tom went to bed”

Exercise 6: Prepositions

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate prepositions:

She is allergic ___ cats, but she is fond ___ dogs.

Exercise 7: Conjunctions

Combine the following sentences using an appropriate conjunction:

  • I like coffee.
  • I also like tea.

Exercise 8: Adjective and Adverb Use

Identify whether the underlined word is an adjective or adverb:

“The extremely talented musician played a beautiful melody.”

Exercise 9: Articles

Fill in the blanks with the correct articles (a, an, the, or no article):

  • I saw ___ interesting movie last night.
  • She wants to be ___ architect.

Exercise 10: Passive Voice

Rewrite the following sentence in the passive voice:

“The chef prepared a delicious meal for the guests.”

 

IDENTIFICATION OF THE GRAMMATICAL DEVICES FROM DIFFERENT TEXTS LIKE NEWSPAPERS, POEMS, STORIES ETC.

Identifying grammatical devices in various types of texts, such as newspapers, poems, and stories, involves recognizing how writers use language structures to convey meaning and achieve specific effects. Let’s look at examples from different types of texts:

Newspaper Article:

  • Headline Structure: Identify the use of concise and impactful language in headlines, often involving ellipsis or omission of articles and auxiliary verbs. *Example: “Local Team Triumphs in Championship Upset.”
  • Inverted Pyramid Style: Observe the use of the inverted pyramid structure with the most important information presented at the beginning. *Example: The lead paragraph typically contains the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the story.
  • Quotations and Direct Speech: Newspapers often include direct quotes to provide firsthand information. *Example: “The mayor stated, ‘We are committed to improving infrastructure.'”

Poetry:

  • Rhyme and Meter: Identify patterns of rhyme and rhythm that contribute to the musicality of the poem. *Example: “The cat in the hat sat on the mat.”
  • Imagery and Metaphor: Recognize the use of vivid language to create mental images and convey deeper meanings. *Example: “Her smile was a ray of sunshine in a stormy world.”
  • Enjambment: Notice how lines run on without a pause, contributing to the flow of the poem. *Example: “The moonlight danced upon the waves, a shimmering ballet of silver and blue.”

Short Story:

  • Dialogue: Observe how dialogue is used to reveal character traits and advance the plot. *Example: “I can’t believe you said that,” she exclaimed.
  • Setting Descriptions: Identify the use of descriptive language to create a vivid setting. *Example: “The old mansion loomed on the hill, its windows dark against the fading light.”
  • Character Development: Look for how the author develops characters through actions, thoughts, and dialogue. *Example: “John hesitated, torn between loyalty to his friend and the desire to uncover the truth.”

Academic Paper:

  • Formal Language: Note the use of formal language and avoidance of contractions or colloquialisms. *Example: “The study’s findings indicate a statistically significant correlation.”
  • Citations and References: Identify the proper citation of sources using a specific style guide (APA, MLA, etc.). *Example: “Smith et al. (2018) argue that climate change is a pressing global issue.”
  • Technical Vocabulary: Recognize the presence of specialized terminology related to the subject matter. *Example: “The experiment involved the use of spectroscopy to analyze chemical compositions.”

 

By paying attention to these grammatical devices in different types of texts, you can deepen your understanding of how language is used for various purposes and audiences