published on 28-Jan-10 15:18
Let’s get started with today’s topic…Plural Nouns! Making plural nouns is simple: 1 computer - 2 computers. Pretty straightforward, right? Wrong!
published on 02-Sep-09 15:22
Can you imagine how language would be if we always used the same words when speaking, reading and writing? If everything (person, place, object…) in the world had only one word to refer to it, the world would be a very boring place. Well, in order to make language a lot more expressive and interesting we should try to vary the words we use as often as we can (but not too often). That’s where synonyms come into the picture!
10 Tips on How to Approach Grammar Exercises
published on 01-Sep-09 10:56
This article will provide you with 10 tips on how to approach grammar exercises in English.
published on 31-Aug-09 09:14
A tag question consists of two parts: a statement and a shortened yes/no question that refers to it and asks if the first statement is true. The two parts are separated by a comma.
Verbs Grammatical Categories
published on 31-Aug-09 08:54
As there are relatively many English verb tenses, verbs in English come in many forms that provide different shades of meaning. However, English verbs comprise a much easier verb system than that of other languages that have distinct inflectional verb endings for different persons and number, or even change the verb stem with various tenses and aspects. In English only one verb ending remained, for verbs in the third person singular in the Present Simple tense.
published on 31-Aug-09 08:49
A negative sentence (or statement) states that something is not true or incorrect. A negative adverb has to be added in order to negate or “cancel” the validity of the sentence. This “negation” element is created according to the following general rule.
5 Parts of English Verbs
published on 31-Aug-09 08:47
English verbs have 5 principal parts with which other forms are derived using verb auxiliaries: base/stem, simple past/preterit, past participle, present participle and the infinitive (the “name” of the verb). Some also include the third person singular in the present tense as a principle part, as it is the only verb form that kept its inflectional ending in Modern English.
Irregular Noun Plurals
published on 31-Aug-09 08:45
While we usually add the suffix s/es/ies to turn nouns into plural, there are some exceptions to these rules. In this article, we will give examples of the rules for the irregular plural nouns.
Special Singular-Plural Cases
published on 31-Aug-09 08:44
Turning a singular noun to plural in English has very specific rules and many exceptions to these rules. This article will present you with the singular-plural rules in English.
Tense, Aspect and Mood
published on 31-Aug-09 08:41
Tense aspect and mood are basic grammatical concepts in English. Learning them is crucial and made fast and easy with the knowledge of Whitesmoke! Enter now.
Transitive vs. Intransitive Verbs
published on 31-Aug-09 08:38
Transitive verbs require at least a direct object to complete their meaning, while intransitive verbs do not require any objects. Some verbs are bi-transitive, meaning that they are followed by both a direct and indirect object. Transitive verbs followed by an indirect object usually require a preposition.
published on 31-Aug-09 08:36
Stative verbs are verbs that describe a state or situation, not an action. They are used in the Present Simple even if they describe a situation that is true at the moment of speaking or writing.
The Grammar Rules for Clauses in English
published on 31-Aug-09 08:30
A clause is a group of words that contains both a subject and a predicate but cannot always be considered as a full grammatical sentence. Clauses can be either independent clauses (also called main clauses) or dependent clauses (also called subordinate clauses).
The Grammar Rules for Phrases in English
published on 31-Aug-09 08:28
A phrase is a group of words that does not contain both a subject and a predicate and therefore cannot stand alone as a clause or sentence. There are a few kinds of phrases.
published on 31-Aug-09 08:27
Dynamic verbs convey a sense of active change. They are usually used in progressive verb tenses, which denote an on-going activity. The categories in the following tables will give you a good idea of these concepts.
Finite Verbs vs. Non-Finite Verbs
published on 31-Aug-09 08:21
Finite verb forms are namely, conjugated verbs that show person, number, tense, aspect, and voice. Finite verbs, as opposed to non-finite verbs, can function as the main verb of an independent clause. Non-finite verb forms, or verbals (infinitive, past participle, present participle, and gerunds by themselves) are not limited by the subject and serve as other parts of speech in the sentence (nouns, adjectives).
published on 31-Aug-09 08:16
Most verbs are main verbs, i.e. content words that contribute meaning to the sentence they are in (go, run, eat, prefer, ascertain). In addition, there is a closed class sub-group of auxiliary verbs that merely assist in the technical construction of other verb forms. The auxiliary verbs in English are: to be, to do, and to have. The modal verbs (can, could, shall, should, may. might, must, will, and would) can also be considered auxiliaries as they modify the meaning of the main verb they accompany.
How to Study Irregular Verbs
published on 31-Aug-09 08:12
Most verbs in English are regular verbs, meaning that they add the ed ending to form both the simple past and the past participle forms, which are identical, such as play-played-played. However, there is a considerable number of irregular verbs (about 450, but only about 200 in common use) that form their simple past and past participle forms with a vowel change, such as in see-saw-seen (see table below). Some irregular verbs do not change form at all (let-let-let). Irregular verbs originate mostly from Old English, while any new verb coined in later periods tends to be regular. Still, the ten most used verbs in English are irregular.
published on 30-Aug-09 11:52
A Yes/No question is a closed question, meaning that it has one of two answers, yes or no. It asks whether something is true or not, i.e., whether the original positive sentence is valid. A question element needs to precede the subject in order to form this question.
published on 30-Aug-09 11:47
A Wh question is an open question, meaning that it can have any number of answers. It asks about some missing information the speaker needs. This corresponds to the different sentence elements, such as the verb, objects, manner, place, time, purpose, etc. Questions about the subject have a special form (see the next section). A question element needs to precede the subject in order to form this question.
How to Recognize A Verb in A Sentence?
published on 30-Aug-09 11:27
Tests for verbs: A good way to identify a verb when a word is in doubt is to ask, Can I do it? I can succeed (do it) is correct but I can success is incorrect. This means succeed is a verb and the related part of speech success is not a verb; in this case, success is a noun.
The Grammar Rules for Basic Clause Structure in English
published on 30-Aug-09 11:23
A basic sentence is composed of at least one independent clause. A clause is composed of a minimum of a subject and a predicate. Without one of these elements, the clause is ungrammatical.
English Grammar Then & Now
published on 30-Aug-09 11:18
Nowadays, there are modern approaches to grammar, which bring it alive and relate it to our real life, outside of outdated grammar books containing endless lists of grammar rules. The older prescriptive grammar approach, used to have students theoretically analyze sentences for correctness in literary and religious texts, as if they were training to become linguists. This was based along the lines of the traditional approach to the instruction of ancient Latin and Greek, which were not even used in speech in the Middle-Ages onwards. The purpose was preserving the formal standard usage of these languages while treating grammar as a theoretically isolated area of study.
published on 30-Aug-09 10:39
Linking verbs are a sub-group of stative verbs that denote a state of being, connecting the subject with a complement, usually an adjective describing the subject (not the verb). Dynamic verbs, by contrast, are followed by adverbs modifying them, rather than by adjectives.
Understanding Who and Whom
published on 24-Aug-09 17:02
Knowing whether to use who or whom is a confusing aspect of the English language.
Good and Well
published on 24-Aug-09 17:01
Many times in verbal conversation, you can hear people use "good" as an adverb. This is an incorrect use of the word.
published on 24-Aug-09 17:00
Some adjectives are absolute and some are not. Here is a quick tip to help you understand the difference.
Imply and Infer
published on 24-Aug-09 16:47
When is something implied and when is it inferred?
Your and You're
published on 24-Aug-09 16:46
Another one of the confusing pairs in English, this tip explains the your/you're distinction.
Elude and Allude
published on 24-Aug-09 16:45
A quick tip about a common confusion between the words "elude" and "allude".
It's and Its
published on 24-Aug-09 16:45
Probably the most common error in English writing is the confusion around when to use "it's" or "its".
I and Me
published on 24-Aug-09 16:44
When should you use "I" and when should you use "me"?
Getaway and Get Away
published on 24-Aug-09 16:40
Do you need a quick "getaway" or "get away"? What is the difference? Read this tip to find out.
Incidence and Incident
published on 24-Aug-09 16:39
Did you see the incidence or the incident at the party? Read on to find out.
published on 24-Aug-09 16:27
How do you pluralize a compound noun? Using the example "brother-in-law", we'll show you how in this quick tip.
Altogether and All Together
published on 24-Aug-09 16:20
Altogether now, or, All together now? Read this quick tip to find out.
Could Of or Could Have
published on 24-Aug-09 16:16
This is a nice, simple rule. Never use could of. It is always could have.
Seen and Saw
published on 24-Aug-09 16:15
Seen or saw? Read this quick tip to find out why, and where, to use seen or saw.
Fewer and Less
published on 24-Aug-09 16:14
There is a lot of confusion around when to use "fewer" and when to use "less". Read this quick tip to help you learn the correct usage of these two terms.
published on 24-Aug-09 16:12
Here is a quick, easy-to-read overview of subject-verb agreement.
published on 24-Aug-09 16:11
What is a dangling modifier, and how do you detect one? Read this quick tip to find out.
He and She, Him and Her
published on 24-Aug-09 16:10
When should you use he, she, him or her in English? Read on to find out.
Subject-Verb Agreement - Common Errors in English
published on 24-Aug-09 14:08
The key to subject-verb agreement is matching the number of both; singular subjects take singular verb forms, as plural subjects take plural verb forms. The trick is (1) to recognize singular v. plural subjects, which is not always easy (an “s” at the end of a word is not the only sign of subject plurality), and (2) to know the difference between singular and plural verb forms.
Clauses: Independent versus Dependent
published on 24-Aug-09 14:07
The difference between dependent clauses and independent clauses must be understood in order to create properly structured English sentences. We'll help!
English Grammar - An Introduction
published on 24-Aug-09 14:01
English grammar refers to the structure of words and sentences in English, or to the description of this structure. Come and learn English grammar with WhiteSmoke.
published on 24-Aug-09 14:00
Grammar rules – although the term may evoke memories of endless memorization of dry rules with no apparent use, grammar can actually be a fascinating subject. English grammar rules are actually very useful if not vital for English usage and English writing, if one wants to get messages across confidently and effectively.
The Why and How of Grammar Exercises
published on 24-Aug-09 13:58
Learning the grammar and knowing how to apply it is an important part of mastering a language. Grammar rules in English may seem less complicated than those in other languages for some people, but we are fully aware of the difficulties encountered with English grammar, especially for beginners, when trying to apply the rules when writing in English.
3 Main Tenses - Stay Consistent!
published on 24-Aug-09 13:56
It is easy to confuse your tenses when writing, especially in long sentences. See a real example we found online, and learn how to fix your own writing.
The Passive Voice: Good or Bad?
published on 24-Aug-09 13:36
We learned in school that good writers should avoid using the passive voice. Yet this is one grammar lesson in particular that we all seemed to have forgotten . . . or never really understood in the first place.
Missing Determiners - Common Errors in English
published on 24-Aug-09 13:33
Determiners are small words that go in front of nouns (also known as “noun modifiers”). The main purpose of determiners is to “mark” a noun, or to “determine” its context. Determiners identify which person or thing a sentence is describing. Sometimes, determiners “determine” if the noun/pronoun is definite or indefinite. Determiners can also describe to whom the noun belongs, or how many of the noun there are.
Missing Auxiliaries - Common Errors in English
published on 24-Aug-09 13:25
Not every language uses auxiliary verbs. Most Indo-European languages make use of auxiliary verbs, although the characteristics and functions of auxiliary verbs differ from language to language. Other languages replace auxiliary verbs with suffixes added onto the ends of verbs. Missing auxiliaries is therefore a common mistake for non-native English speakers...
Auxiliary-Verb Agreement - Common Errors in English
published on 24-Aug-09 12:56
We already explored the importance in auxiliary verbs in English grammar. To refresh your memory, auxiliary verbs are helper verbs – they are small action words that can help to express the mood or tense of regular verbs. “Auxiliary” means “to help or support”, and that is exactly what auxiliary verbs do.
published on 24-Aug-09 11:11
Adverbs serve to modify or give more information about a verb, an adjective or another adverb. They give information on how an action (verb) is being done. Adverbs often end in ‘ly’.
Plural Forms of Nouns
published on 24-Aug-09 10:28
Especially for ESL learners, the plural forms of many English nouns can be tricky. This entry gives tips on plural nouns in English.
Using Adverbs and Adjectives Correctly
published on 23-Aug-09 16:23
Adverbs and adjectives bring spice and color to the English language, but it is important for native and non-native speakers alike to learn how to correctly use them in a sentence structure.
Understanding Subjects, Verbs, Objects, and Modifiers
published on 23-Aug-09 16:14
Every complete sentence has a subject and a verb. There may be many additional elements, such as objects and modifiers, but the subject and the verb are always there.
So What Is A Gerund Anyway? Understanding the Parts Of Speech
published on 23-Aug-09 16:11
Traditional English grammar divides words into eight parts of speech: verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. There are a few more terms also often used to define words, such as articles and gerunds.
published on 10-Aug-09 17:00
The English language can be hard to master. Even those who have been using it all their lives may have difficulty with proper grammar. The use of English grammar software can teach good grammar and punctuation.
What is Syntax?
published on 10-Aug-09 16:58
Syntax is a form of grammar, concerned primarily with word order in a sentence and with appropriate sentence structure. Perfect you syntax with WhiteSmoke.
3 Tips to Ensure Use of the Correct Tense
published on 10-Aug-09 16:56
The tense of a verb indicates when the action is carried out. For a good understanding of English grammar and writing, you need to distinguish between different verb tenses and know when to use each tense.
5 Steps for Perfect Grammar
published on 10-Aug-09 16:45
Have you ever wished that you could write or speak English using perfect grammar? Here’s good news for you: it’s possible! To achieve this, you can start with these five useful tips.
3 No-Nos in English Grammar
published on 03-Aug-09 17:34
There are mistakes that people commit quite frequently when speaking or writing in English, three of which are listed here. Watch out for these three, and you are on your way to better English grammar.
3 Tips for Correct Use of the Apostrophe
published on 03-Aug-09 12:32
The apostrophe is perhaps one of the most misused punctuation marks in the English language. If you are not sure how this punctuation mark should be used, then check out these three tips on how to use apostrophe properly.