How to Learn English Grammar: 06 Simple Steps

Last Updated on November 21, 2023

Are you struggling with English grammar and its seemingly complicated rules? Just because nobody taught you English and grammar in school at whatever learning level, it does not mean there is not much you can do to solve the problem. Here are some steps to learning this language and its grammar rules on your own. With these steps, you can easily rival the language and grammar skills experienced users of this language have.

How to Learn English Grammar

9 parts of speech in English grammar

9 parts of speech in English grammarPin

Learn Parts of Speech

Each English word can be categorized into one part of speech. Therefore, understanding parts of speech is one of the key steps to learning grammar. The good thing about learning parts of speech is that you will be in a position to describe how each word in the English language can be used.

Here are different parts of speech.

  1. Noun – a word that describes a place, thing, or person, for instance, “bank”.
  2. Article – they precede nouns in a sentence. They are “a”, “the”, and “an”.
  3. Verb – a word that describes an action, for instance, “write”.
  4. Pronoun – a word that can take the place of a noun, for instance, “she”.
  5. Adjective – modifies/describes a noun/pronoun, for instance, “black”.
  6. Adverb – modifies a verb or an adjective, for instance, “clearly”.
  7. Conjunction – joins to parts of a sentence, for example “and”.
  8. Preposition – used with noun/pronoun to create a phrase that modifies other parts of speech, for example, “down”.
  9. Interjection – words that illustrate an emotional state, for instance, “ouch”.

Learn Verb Tenses

There are three kinds of tenses – past, present, and future. The past tenses describe things that happened before the time of reporting, while the present tenses describe what is happening as the thing is happening. Finally, the future tense describes what will happen after the time the statement is being made.

Learn all (12) tenses in English with useful grammar rules, examples and ESL worksheets below.

Sentences, Phrases, and Clauses

Sentences

While studying English words is great, you have to learn how to put these words together into sentences. Sentences express your complete thoughts. In general, a sentence shows someone/something doing/being something, and it consists of a subject and a verb at its most basic level. Without one of these two parts, that sentence is considered improper.

For instance, “Dogs can bite.” is a complete sentence, while “The excited children.” is not a proper sentence.

After learning basic sentences, you can go on to learn more complex sentences, for instance, compound sentences. With compound sentences, you join what would have been two sentences into one sentence using a conjunction.

For instance, instead of having two sentences, “The doctor entered the room.” and “The doctor took the file.”, you can write, “The doctor entered the room and took the file.”

Phrases

You can think of phrases as units of language. They are a group of words, but usually not enough to form a complete sentence. There are different kinds of phrases, each of which is described based on what part of speech it helps to describe.

Gives more information about a noun, for instance, “the tall building”.

Provides more information about an adjective, for instance, “very intelligent”.

Offers additional information about a verb. These phrases are very complex. For instance, in the sentence “She will eventually have her own car”, “will have” is the verb phrase.

Functions as an adverb in a sentence, for instance, “quite differently”.

Provides additional information about a preposition, for instance, “behind the bar”.

Clauses

Like phrases, clauses are also units of language. All clauses have a subject and a verb, and some are independent while others are dependent.

Dependent clauses act like parts of speech, as phrases do, and they cannot stand on their own as complete sentences.

For instance, “Although the package came, he could not open the door.” The part “he could not open the door” is an independent clause, but “although the package came’ cannot stand as a sentence and is, therefore, a dependent clause.

Generally, clauses are used when forming compound sentences.

Conditionals, Reported speech, Passive Voice, Quantifiers and Determiners

Conditionals

Conditionals are sentence structures used to discuss possible situations and their outcomes. There are several types of conditionals including zero, first, second, third, and mixed, each conveying different meanings based on the likelihood or time frame of the situation.

  • Zero conditional: Used for universal truths or habitual actions. Example: “If water reaches 100 degrees Celsius, it boils.”
  • First conditional: Used for real possibilities in the future. Example: “If it rains tomorrow, I will take an umbrella.”
  • Second conditional: Used for hypothetical situations in the present or future. Example: “If I won the lottery, I would travel the world.”
  • Third conditional: Used for hypothetical situations in the past. Example: “If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.”

Reported Speech

Reported speech is a way of writing or speaking where instead of quoting what the speaker said, you use your own words to convey their message.

Examples: 

  • Direct speech: “I am enjoying the party,” she said.
  • Indirect speech: “She said that she was enjoying the party.”

Passive Voice

In passive voice, the subject receives the action rather than performing it as is the case with active voice. For instance, “the cat poured the milk” is active, while “the milk was poured by the cat” is passive.

Generally, active voice is much preferable as it uses fewer words and makes statements less complicated and more powerful.

Quantifiers

Quantifiers are used when providing information about a number relating to something. They can refer to a specific or unspecific quantity and can be used with countable or uncountable nouns. 

Examples:

  • Many people attended the concert.
  • She has little patience for delays.
  • A few apples were left on the table.

Determiners

Determiners are words placed in front of nouns to clarify what the noun refers to. They include articles (a, an, the), demonstratives (this, that, these, those), possessives (my, your, his, her), and quantifiers. Furthermore, determiners can also include numbers and indefinite pronouns, and they can be used to express relationships of quantity, proximity, possession, and definiteness to the noun they precede.

Examples:

  • The dog barked loudly. (Definite article ‘the’ specifies a particular dog.) 
  • Those cookies are delicious. (Demonstrative ‘those’ indicates specific cookies.) 
  • My brother is coming to visit. (Possessive ‘my’ indicates the brother is related to the speaker.)

Basic Grammar Rules: English Sentence Structure

We’ll look at some common elements of English sentence structure. If you find these ideas difficult, don’t worry. As your English improves, you’ll learn to recognize these patterns. This will give you a deeper understanding of not only English but also your own language.

Rule #1: A clause must include a noun and a verb.

  • The bird flew.

Rule #2: A complete sentence must include a subject and a predicate.

  • The angry bird flew quickly across the sky.

Rule #3: The only exception to the above rules is the imperative sentence.

  • Go away!

Rule #4: Adjectives can go directly before the noun they describe, or after it, if separated by a verb.

  • The angry bird flew.
  • The bird is angry.

Rule #5: A compound subject includes two or more simple subjects.

  • The bird and the plane flew.

Rule #6: A compound predicate includes two or more predicates.

  • The bird flew and sang.

Rule #7: A compound sentence includes more than one subject and predicate.

  • The bird sang and the plane flew.

Rule #8: An independent clause consists of a subject and a predicate, like a complete sentence.

  • The plane flew.

Rule #9: A dependent clause cannot form a complete sentence without additional words and an independent clause.

  • The plane flew when the bird sang.

Rule #10: The direct object is the noun being acted on by the verb.

  • The bird ate seeds.

Rule #11: The indirect object is the recipient of the direct object.

  • The bird gave the seeds to me.

Rule #12: When written in passive voice, the object of the verb becomes the subject of the sentence.

  • The bird ate seeds.
  • –> The seeds were eaten by the bird.

Rule #13: Conjugations of the verb “to be” are essential to the passive voice.

  • The seeds are being eaten by the bird.

Rule #14: Sentences written in passive voice can omit the subject of the acting verb.

  • The seeds were eaten.

Rule #15: In passive voice, the subject of the acting verb is connected by using “by”.

  • She was complimented by a lot of people.

Rule #16: Prepositional phrases are sometimes separated by commas.

  • In the morning, she opens the window and lets the light in. 

Rule #17: Adverbs, similar to prepositions, provide additional information. 

  • The bird ate seeds quickly.

Rule #18: A subject complement describes the subject of the sentence.

  • The bird is green.

Learn to Write Numbers and Punctuation Marks

How to Write Numbers

When writing, there are certain rules you should follow. For instance, one-digit numbers should be spelled out, for instance, “two.” However, numbers greater than 9 should be written numerically.

Still, you should never mix up spelled and numerically written numbers within a sentence. For instance, “they were 10 girls and two boys” is incorrect, while “they were 10 girls and 2 boys” is correct. Additionally, you should not start sentences with a numerically written number.

Also, as you write fractions, you should use hyphens, for instance, “two-thirds”. Also, decimals should always be written numerically, as well as days of the month, for instance, “0.6” and “August 10”.

How to Use Punctuation Marks

Punctuation marks guide readers through sentences, indicating pauses, dialogues, and the end of sentences. Below are a few punctuation marks with their basic uses:

  • Period (.) – Denotes the end of a declarative sentence.
  • Comma (,) – Indicates a pause, lists items, or separates clauses.
  • Exclamation Mark (!) – Expresses strong emotions or commands.
  • Question Mark (?) – Indicates a direct question.
  • Semicolon (;) – Connects independent clauses related in thought.
  • Quotation marks (“) – Indicates direct speech.
  • Apostrophe (‘) – Shows contractions or possession. 

Examples: 

  • She went to the store.
  • I need to buy apples, oranges, and bananas.
  • Stop!
  • Where are you going?
  • She finished her work; then she went home.
  • She said, “Hello!”
  • It’s a beautiful day. / The dog’s toy.

Learn more with useful lessons on punctuation marks and punctuation rules in the English language. 

How to Learn English Grammar | Pictures

Verb tenses in English grammar

Verb tenses in English grammarPin

18 Basic English Grammar Rules

Grammar Rules Pin

Grammar Lessons

There is obviously more to knowing English grammar than the steps shown above, but these basics should help you make significant progress in this important learning journey. By keeping these simple rules in mind, and trying to learn as much as possible by following grammar lessons, you can easily become a very proficient user of this language.

Grammar Video Lesson

 

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