Top 5 Rules of English Grammar
Communication is effective when we follow certain rules.
These rules make the written words understood. A writer should
make the reader's job easier by communicating what he or she
wants to communicate. If you also want to write, pay respect to
your readers. Don't take them for granted. Learning and
understanding the basic rules of
English Grammar, you will surely be able
to avoid ill-formed, confusing sentences. Hence, following and
applying the rules of English Grammar and thereby
producing a good writing can help the readers save their time
from trying desperately to guess what you mean. This article covers
the top 5 rules of English Grammar.
Subject-Verb Agreement – Errors in agreement are
the most common mistakes made in writings. To avoid this, just
follow the simple rule: A singular subject requires a singular
verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb.
Wrong: Identification of these goods have been difficult.
of these goods has been difficult. (‘Identification’
is the subject here)
Wrong: The best way to keep your children happy are to give
them enough responsibilities.
Right: The best way to keep your children happy is
to give them enough responsibilities. (Use a singular verb if
the subject is a phrase or clause)
Awkward: Neither John nor I am interested in this project.
Better: John is not interested in this project; nor am I. (If
you write an awkward sentence, consider rewriting it)
Exception: Use a singular verb if a compound subject refers
to the same person or thing.
Example: Milk and breads is a typical breakfast
for many people.
Tense – Tense refers to time. It tells when an action is
happening: in the present, in the future, or in the past.
Whatever time it is, it should remain consistent throughout your
whole piece of writing. There are three main tenses - Past
Tense, Present Tense and Future Tense.
Here is an example of writing with mixed tenses:
Wrong: John wanted to know why Rebecca is sad, but she will
not tell him.
Right: John wanted to know why Rebecca was sad, but she would
not tell him.
Present tense, Past tense and Future Tense each has the
following four forms. The examples below will help you
Simple Past – I spoke
Past Continuous – I was speaking
Past Perfect – I had spoken
Past Perfect Continuous – I had been speaking
Simple Present – I speak
Present Continuous – I am speaking
Present Perfect – I have spoken
Present Perfect Continuous – I have been speaking
Simple Future– I shall/ will speak
Future Continuous –
I shall/ will be speaking
Future Perfect – I shall/will have spoken
Future Perfect Continuous – I shall/ will have been
Double Negatives – Two negative words create a
positive meaning, which may be just the opposite of what you
have intended to convey.
Wrong: I don’t have nothing to say.
Right: I don’t have anything to say.
Wrong: Tom couldn’t hardly believe what Jack said.
Right: Tom could
hardly believe what Jack said.
– Words that describe or limit other words are
called modifiers. Adjective is a word or group of words that
modifies a noun or pronoun, whereas Adverb is a group of words
that modifies a verb, adjective or other adverb. Avoid misplaced
and dangling modifiers.
Wrong: Thomas told her that he wanted to marry her
Right: Thomas frequently told her that he wanted to marry
Wrong: Nicole picked up a girl in a blue jacket named Agatha.
Right: Nicole picked up Agatha, a girl in a blue jacket.
Wrong: Walking across the busy street, a bus almost hit me.
Right: As I walked across the busy street, a bus hit me.
Usage – If you are going to use a word, you must know how
to use it. Use simple words. Many people have the tendency to
use big, difficult words while writing. Avoid fancy words and
phrases when simpler ones convey the idea. Omit unnecessary
words. A piece of writing, containing long words strung together
in complex sentences, turns out to be poorly written and not
impressive. You will have fewer chances for grammatical errors
if you can cut a word out which can be cut out.
Stuffy: I will make modifications in the document.
Simple: I will change the document.
Wordy: You should remember to consult your watch in order to
keep a person from waiting for you when you have decided to meet
him at a particular time.
Translation: Be punctual.
To conclude, the more you remember the basic rules of English
Grammar and practice good writing, the better your writings
will be. The process is simple and easy. Keeping a good
dictionary is essential in searching for the right word and
finding out the actual meanings that will help you in selecting
the right words. Usage of proper English Grammar and
selecting the right words will make it more likely that your writings
stand out from the rest. So, keep enjoying the
process and keep writing.
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