Basic English Grammar 101 – Subjects

English grammar can be a very difficult. I know it was for me when I was in school and it definitely is for my students. So, lets start from the beginning. What are the most basic parts of English grammar? Well, today we are going to focus on one basic part, the Subject.

 

Define

The subject is the part of sentence that is the topic or focus of the sentence. It is the part of the sentence that is doing or performing something. Usually the subject is a noun (person, place, or thing). By asking the question “who or what does something?”, we can easily identify the subject. Let’s look at a few examples.

 

Jack eats chocolate.             jack eats chocolate

In the above sentence “Jack” is the subject. He is the subject because he is the topic or focus of the sentence and he does something. He eats chocolate. Jack is also a noun. He is a person. Identifying the nouns in a sentence will help you recognize the subject.

 

Recognize

In English grammar the subject usually comes before the verb. In our example sentence, “Jack” comes before “eats”. So, the placement of the noun in the sentence also indicates who or what is the subject.

 

Let’s look at an example.

 

The colorful tree is beautiful.

maple_tree_autumn

In the above sentence, “colorful tree” is the subject. It comes before the verb “is” which is a “to be” verb.

 

Complete vs Simple Subject

The above example is a little more complex. The noun includes an adjective which is a word that describes the noun. the adjective and noun together are called the complete subject. The complete subject includes the words that describe the subject. If we take away the describing word “colorful”, the simple subject “tree” is found.

 

Importance

Every sentence in English has a subject. When you are listening or reading English, you will need to be able to recognize the subject to follow the conversation or story. When you are speaking or writing, your listener or reader will need to know the subject to understand you well. The subject is a very important part of English!

 

Conclusion

Subjects are a very basic and important part of English. It is the focus or topic of a sentence and is usually a noun.  It is important to recognize the subject when listening and reading and its important to establish a subject when speaking or writing.

 

For more examples on identifying the subject of a sentence and for subject exercises, please visit my facebook page.

 

Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to comment below.

 

Happy Learning,

Justin, Passport English

The & a/an are from the devil!

Nahhhh, they’re not really from the devil. But they can be tricky for the new English user. Just like the rest of English, especially English grammar, article usage has rules and and exceptions to the rules. While these rules and exception can seem difficult at first, with practice and time you’ll be a grammar expert in no time. Here are a few useful tips when using articles.

1) The, a & an are adjectives and describe the noun.

2) The is used for something specific and a/an is used for something nonspecific. For instance, “She is the winner” means there is one winner and she is it. “She is a winner” however, means there are more than one winners and she is one winner.

3) A or An is used depending on the sound of the following word. If there is a consonant sound in the following word, use a. For example, “a banana”. But if the following word has a vowel sound, use an. For example, “an apple”. A and An are only used after singular nouns.

devil pic

Now here’s the bad news…there are some exceptions to the above rules! I know, I know. English grammar can be such a pain in the a**!

1) Articles are used with the names of Seas, oceans, mountain ranges, rivers, and deserts (The Pacific Ocean).  But usually not used with continents or countries.

2) Articles are used with exclamations such as, “What an awesome song!”

3) With the use of some phrases such as “kind of” the article is left out for example, “what kind of bird is that?” not “what kind of a bird is that?”

And the list of exceptions goes on…

…which is why some English language learners will want to cry out, “Articles are from the devil!”

I know many of my students get frustrated with articles and some of the common mistakes I hear are with countable and uncountable nouns such as rice, water, hair, and states of being. For instance, many student will say, “I want a rice for dinner.” This is incorrect.

If you would like to learn more about correct article usage and the exceptions to the rules message me on facebook.

As always, happy learning and don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

 

-Justin

Passport English

www.passporteng.com

English Language Teacher

As an experienced English language teacher with over 12 years class room experience, I have seen the good and bad when it comes to English teaching and English learning. I’ve used countless programs, curriculum and teaching styles. The main constant I have witnessed in students who excel in English is the presence of a native speaker.

English is a difficult language with numerous grammar rules, exceptions, idioms, and slang. To truly become fluent, one must incorporate speaking practice with a native speaker in their learning. The best way for a learner to practice speaking is to connect with a native English language speaker. This can be done in a social, professional or scholastic environment.

English language learners should ideally interact with a native speaker 3-5 times a week to develop fluent language skills. In my experience, students who regularly socialize with native speakers improve their speaking, listening, writing, and reading at a much faster rate than students who attend classes or self study. Regular interaction provides opportunities for live sentence formation, vocabulary usage, and real world speaking and listening practice.

This is a large part of what we do at Passport English. We connect learners with native English speakers in a live environment to quickly improve your English language skills in a practical and comfortable way. We believe that English fluency will open up opportunities and broaden your horizons. English is your passport to the world. Visit www.passporteng.com today to see how we can help you.

 

 

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Justin Gray is the owner and head teacher of Passport English. He is TESOL certified and has taught all over the world but currently resides and teaches in his home State of Oregon in the USA.