Important Grammar Rules

There are numerous Grammar rules in English. Most of the times remembering those rules get really difficult.   So instead of following many rules and making the construction of a proper statement more complicated than necessary, follow these ten important rules of grammar. These grammar rules will help you construct grammatically correct sentences without any error.

Important rules of Grammar

1. Use of Active Voice

There is a standard rule of sentence construction. Usually, an active sentence begins with an active sentence that consists of a subject. The subject or “doer” is followed by the verb (an action that is happening). The sentence ends with an object (the object receiving the action). This entire explanation can be written as the formula: “Subject + Verb + Object.” This forms the basis of English Language.

For example

Jennifer hit the ball.

The dog liked Ana.

I did not like chocolate.

2. Connect two ideas with a conjunction

There will be particular situations when two sentences or sentence constructions following the “Subject + Verb + Object” rule are joined together. The two sentences are joined by a coordinating conjunction. They are joined together with proper punctuations such as a semicolon or a comma along with FANBOYS conjunction.  There are seven coordinating conjunction words used as connectors to join two clauses.  The coordinating conjunctions together are called as FANBOYS.

F- For

A- And

N- Nor

B- But

O- Or

Y- Yet

S- So

3a. Use of Comma to join two ideas

FANBOYS is used for joining two ideas and changing it to a single sentence by using proper punctuation. Usually, a comma is used to connect two ideas together. For example

I do not like to keep a pet, nor do I wish to have one.

My father returned from the office, and my mother made tea.

Jenifer likes to jog every day, but she is still overweight.

3b. Use of Serial Comma in a list

Popularly termed as Oxford comma is a very contradictory rule of grammar. Many of them want to remove it altogether where as many of them are just ignorant about how to use it. The serial comma is generally used at the end of a list usually placed before an “and.”

For example:

Ana saw many animals in the zoo such as leopards, lions, snakes, and tigers.

A comma is used for separating different units in a list of examples. It is easy to understand and identify a serial comma if it has one part. However, it gets complicated and confusing when the units are bigger, but still one has to follow the same rule. For example

Ana has cats and dogs, hens and ducks, and cows and buffaloes in her farm.

It is important to understand that even though the Oxford comma is used before an “and” but it is not necessary the serial comma has to be used after the last “and” in a sentence. The “and” that is used after the comma is just used for making the sentence better for reading. Grammatically it is quite irrelevant, but the units are important.

4. Use of Semicolon to connect two ideas

It is very important to use the proper punctuation marks in a sentence. This rule is also followed while joining two ideas. Punctuation rules are slightly difficult but a necessary part of the sentence. The semicolon is one of them. Semicolon is one of the easiest punctuation marks that can be used while connecting two sentences. For example, if anyone wants to join two sentences but cannot understand what coordinating conjunction is to be used then a semicolon is the best possible way to join two ideas or sentences to form grammatically proper sentences.  The ideas that are joined can be two different sentences, but if they are closely connected, then a semicolon can be used to connect them. For example

John is very busy; he had continuous meetings from morning to afternoon.

She is very sad; she had performed poorly in her semester examinations.

My dad was cleaning the garden; my mom was making iced tea for my dad.

5. Present Progressive (Continuous) Tense is used for expressing Current Action

The present progressive tense is used for describing anything that is occurring at present (right now). It is a tense that can be easily spotted because of the verbs in the present progressive tense end with an –ing. Usually this tense get a helping verb that indicates “who” and “when” of the sentence. In this tense, the helping verbs act as the present tense conjugations of the “to be” form.

I am drinking iced tea.

The shouting children on the patio are driving me mad.

Jennifer is playing with her little sister.

6. Past tense is formed by adding “–ed”  to the verbs

It is very important to add “ed” at the end of the regular verbs to represent past tense in a sentence. “-ed” is added to form the second form of the regular verbs. In case of irregular verbs use of –ed becomes slightly tricky. This is because irregular verbs have their own list of rules. For example “drink” is changed to “drank.” However, generally –ed can be used in most past tense words.

The car stopped suddenly in the middle of the road.

Jennifer played with the children’s in the park.

The children started shouting near my patio a few minutes ago, and I am feeling restless.

Use of Perfect Tenses

The present perfect tense is one of the most important rules of Grammar. Primarily there are three rules to follow while using the perfect tenses. Keeping these rules in mind will help an individual to construct proper sentences.

7. Present perfect tense is used for an unfinished past

The present perfect tense is used for expressing an action that has already occurred, but there is no specific time in which they happened. These types of sentences are unfinished, so the third form of the verb is used with the helping verb.  In the case of present perfect tense, the present tense conjugation is present in the “to have” form.

I have drunk three glass of iced tea today.

My neighbour’s dog has bitten five people so far.

The only way to understand the “third form of a verb” is by remembering and practicing.

8. Present Perfect Progressive (Continuous) is used for unfinished action and past

In the case of a sentence where action and the time both are unfinished then the verb used in the sentence is the progressive form of the third form of helping verbs (“to have” and “to be”).  For example

I have been drinking iced tea all day.

I have been cooking food since morning.

She has been trying to improve her English from past three years.

I have been staying in Australia for last ten years.

9. Past Perfect is used for the first of two past actions

If there are two things happening in the past, it is important to note which one happened before. The one that occurred first takes the third form and is attached to the helping verb “had.”

I had not eaten lunch when my senior called for a meeting.

She could not attend her classes because she had a very high fever.

By the time I drank my iced tea, the little children had started shouting near the patio of my house.

10. Use of Pronouns

Pronouns are described as word or phrases that are used for replacing a noun or a noun phrase. The one that is replaced is termed as pronoun’s antecedent. Summing up pronouns we can say that pronouns can do everything that is possible by a noun. It can act as a subject, object (direct and indirect), object of the prepositions as well as adverbs, adjectives, and other pronouns. The common error related with pronouns is known as “Pronoun antecedent agreement.” A pronoun is necessary to have a proper antecedent that can be easily understood. The lack of an antecedent is also an error. Sometimes even though the antecedent is present, it may not agree with the pronoun in number. There are errors such as ambiguous pronoun in which a pronoun represent more than one noun. For example

The lawyer and her client spoke for a long time before she reached a conclusion. The pronoun “she” can be either referred to the lawyer or her client, so the sentence is wrong.

Pronouns help in avoiding repetitions and make speech or writing clear with a better flow. Examples of pronouns include him, her, them, it, us, and who.

It is necessary to constantly remember and practice these basic grammar rules. Understanding these rules and constantly following them can help anyone write and speak proper English sentences with minimal or no errors.