Grammar is the system that structures a language. However, grammar isn’t so much about rules as it is the conventions that determine how we speak and write. Grammar includes things like spelling, inflecting words for different purposes, and the way words are arranged to form sentences.

Languages are living things that constantly change.

Proper grammar is still a necessary prerequisite for communication. Luckily, there are plenty of resources and style guides available to help people who want to improve their grammar. Superprof has compiled one such awesome resource for learning English grammar.

Master the Harvard referencing style guide.

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Basics of English Grammar

how to speak english easily
Grammar lays the foundation for the English language. | Image Source: Freepik

Parts of Speech

  • Nouns are the elements that usually perform the action in a sentence, such as a person, place, thing, idea, emotion, animal, or event.
  • Adjectives modify nouns and describe aspects or characteristics of nouns.
  • Pronouns take the place of nouns. There are personal subject pronouns (such as I, she, and they), personal object pronouns (such as us, you, it, and them), personal possessive pronouns (such as mine, yours, his, hers, and theirs), and relative pronouns (such as who, which, that, and whose).
  • Verbs indicate actions or states of being and tell what the noun is doing.
  • Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, and other adverbs. These words often end in –ly.
  • Prepositions indicate relationships in time, space, or direction.
  • Conjunctions join nouns, clauses, phrases, and sentences. Coordinating conjunctions link independent clauses, and they are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. Subordinating conjunctions link dependent clauses, and they include because, if, since, while, and although.
  • Interjections are words that indicate emotions. They are often followed by exclamation points.
  • Articles are used to modify and define nouns.

Points of View

In terms of grammatical person, English has three points of view, and each of those can be either singular or plural. The points of view are singular or plural first-person, singular or plural second-person, and singular or plural third-person.

Verb Conjugation

English technically only conjugates the present ("I like") and past tenses ("I liked"), meaning that English verbs are only inflected (have different forms or endings) for these tenses. However, other verb tenses, such as the future ("I will like"), are created with the help of mood, words that denote time (such as "tomorrow"), and auxiliary (helping) words and verbs.

Punctuation

Punctuation is an important part of the language because it indicates starts, stops, pauses, and relationships. Capitalise the first letter of every sentence, and the first letter of all proper nouns (the names of people and places). The main punctuation marks in English—and their basic uses—are:

  • Commas separate thoughts, ideas, elements, and independent clauses.
  • Periods indicate the end of a sentence.
  • Semicolons join independent clauses in a single sentence or separate elements in a list.
  • Colons introduce items in a list, explanations, or definitions.
  • Question marks indicate that a question was posed.
  • Exclamation points show emphasis, imperatives, or declarations.
  • Apostrophes demonstrate possession or create contractions.
  • Quotation marks indicate that you are directly quoting someone else’s words.
  • Hyphens join separate words into compound words, modifiers, and numbers.
  • Dashes create a pause, interrupt a sentence, or add parenthetical information.
  • Parenthesis add additional information, references, or citations.

Practice Tips for English Grammar

Grammar is the base of any language
Reading is a good habit to cultivate if you want to improve in every aspect of English grammar. | Image Source: ghheadlines.com

Explore a Variety of Material

Improve your grasp of grammar by learning how other authors use language. Focus on reading different genres and styles of writing, such as classic literature, textbooks, science-fiction, science books, biographies, blogs, essays, and articles. Pay attention to how sentences are structured, word order, spelling, and creative variations the authors use.

Word and Grammar Games

There are many online games and applications you can download on your computer or phone that will test your grammar skills in a fun way. Since these games are educational, they’ll often provide explanations for wrong answers so you can learn from your mistakes.

Practice Writing Daily

Improve your grammar by writing and practising any new rules or words you've learned. Maintain a grammar journal for the same. Concentrate on improving any problem areas you might have or mistakes you often repeat.

Learn English Step by Step

Mind the Apostrophes.

The apostrophe is used to form contractions as well as the possessive case. If you omit the apostrophe, you can easily change the meaning of words: its–it’s, their–they’re.

Use a comma after introductory phrases or prepositional phrases.

The prepositional phrase is a word combination, the main element of which is a preposition. Usually, the prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun.

Check out the best ways to improve essay writing skills.

Memorise heteronyms (homophones) and suffixes.

Words such as too–two, your–you’re, accept–except are homophones. Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but are spelt differently. It is very important to know how to form new words in English and which suffixes to use.

Understand the articles.

In English, there are two kinds of articles, definite (the) and indefinite (a/an). Remember that a/an is used when referring to something in general. The is used when referring to something specific.

Understand appositive.

An appositive is a noun or pronoun set beside another noun or pronoun to explain or identify it. It’s a convenient way to add details to a sentence. The term “appositive” is derived from a Latin word that means “placing near,” and an appositive usually appears immediately after the word or phrase that it identifies.

Use a comma to separate that, who, and which.

Do this only if the phrase contains nonessential information that could be omitted from the sentence without the sentence losing its basic meaning.

Remember what a semicolon is meant for.

A semicolon can separate two sentences or independent clauses within a complex sentence. Semicolons are often found in fiction writing in English.

Distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns.

The English word many is used with countable nouns, for example, dress, house, car, etc. The word much is used with uncountable nouns, for example, money, snow, time, etc. The phrase 'a lot of' can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.

Use these top 20 words to sound smarter in your essay!

Expand your vocabulary.

In order to enlarge your English vocabulary, read more books, magazines, and newspapers. You may also want to consider taking one of many online English classes to strengthen a wide range of skills.

Check spellings and edit what you write in English.

You can use an online spell-checker program to check your spelling. There are plenty of efficient grammar checkers as well, such as Grammarly, that can improve your written English by leaps and bounds.

Top Online English Classes

Learning a new language can unlock a wealth of opportunities. However, choosing the right online learning course can prove daunting due to the overwhelming number of options. Here are our top picks!

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Online English lessons are one of the first tips to learn English grammar. | Image Source: fliplearn.com

Udemy | English for Beginners: Intensive Spoken English Course

This 77-hour course ranks among the bestselling courses at Udemy. The on-demand format makes it convenient to fit into even the busiest schedules. Open to students with no prior knowledge of the language, the course adds 1,000 words, expressions, and idioms to a beginner’s English vocabulary. Learners also become fluent enough to speak clearly and confidently, read at an intermediate level, and understand the language well enough to follow movies and TV. The course can even serve as preparation for a variety of English-language tests, including TOEFL, IELTS, and GMAT.

Perfectly Spoken | Everyday English

Taught from a British perspective, this brief course helps non-natives with the kinds of English used on the street and on vacation. It covers common expressions, what to say when meeting and greeting people, and how to express feelings. The program consists of 5 video lessons, each of which is followed by a ten-question test and five downloadable practice activities.

Check out the top tips on how to improve your coursework!

The Hindu Group | STEP

With STEP you’ll find yourself speaking, writing and interacting confidently. STEP determines your current level and helps you improve your English through free daily content, 300+ video lessons, live classes, and personalised coach calls.

British Council | Learn English Online

Designed by English experts, the online English classes and courses from British Council provide a safe, inclusive learning community. The highly qualified teachers help learners, adults, as well as children, improve their English speaking, listening, reading and writing skills online, build their confidence and achieve their goals.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.