Grammar ESL/EFL

English grammar for teachers of ESL/EFL
Major Word Classes
include noun, verbs, adverbs and adjectives
"Open" meaning new words can be added
carry most of the content or meaning of a sentence
Minor Word Classes
include auxiliary verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, determiners
"closed" no new words are added
functors--provide structure or functions words
a minimal unit that cannot be broken down further
ie: book
grammatical morphemes of English nouns
plural inflection "s"-- boy vs boys--for countable nouns
possessive "s"-- Ritch's house--all nouns
derivational morphemes
nouns derived from other parts of speech such as:
-ness "sadness" or -dom "wisdom"
3 criteria for identifying subsentential parts of speech
semantic, structural and functional
form, meaning, use
Semantic: person, place, thing, event, idea
-derivational morphemes (sadness),
- grammatical morphemes for possessive and plural
-frequently preceded by determiners and before verbs
role of nouns in a sentence
subject of verbs
direct object
indirect object
subject noun predicate
object noun predicate
objects of prepositions
subject noun predicate
We are all learners--learners is the S N P because it defines the subject "We"
object noun predicate
They elected Ann President-- President is the O N P because it defines the object, Ann.
A noun, noun phrase or series of nouns used to identify or rename another noun.
Albany, capital of New York,....
word or phrase used to address a reader or listener directly, usually in the form of a personal name, title, or term of endearment.
Good Morning, my love....
Common nouns
person, place, thing, idea
2 categories
1. Count Nouns--Farmers
2. Non count nouns or Mass nouns-"air"
Proper Nouns
names for unique individuals or places
can be singular or plural
collective nouns
singular or plural depending on the interpretation given to the word "family" "The family is together again" vs "the family are all coming for the holiday"
team, staff, band, group, class,
Semantic: denotes an action or a state of being
4 inflections,
follows the noun and may be followed by N, Adj or Adv
has two qualities, aspect and tense
4 inflections of English verbs
-s of 3rd person singular present tense
-ed of past tense verbs
-en of the past participle
-ing of present participle
verb position
generally verbs follow nouns
can be followed by adjectives, adverbs or nouns
intransitive verbs
take no following object
Pauline snores
appear, happen, die, digress, matter, fall, rise, go
transitive verbs
require an object
He raises llamas
ditransitive verbs
can take 2 objects (direct and indirect)
I handed her the bowl.
linking verbs
what follows the verb relates back to the subject
We are women-- women defines We
be, seen, become, taste, appear
complex transitive verbs
what follows the verb relates to the object
They considered the book a piece of crap--pice of crap relates to the object, the book
prepositional verbs
require a prepositional phrase to be complete
Ritch glanced at the headlines
glance, suffer, lurk
2 qualities of verbs
tense and aspect
refers to time of an event's occurrence
past, present, future
whether or not the action has been completed
perfect or progressive
Semantic-describe or denote the qualities of something,
contributes to the meaning of direction, location, manner, time and frequency
Structural- flexible location
-commonly occur between a determiner and a noun
-after "to be" or another linking verb
-some derivational morphemes ( -ish, -ful, -able, -y) childish, likable, thoughtful, lazy
-inflectional morphemes for comparative or superlative forms: happy, happier, happiest
Semantic- Replace noun and noun phrases within a text OR are a direct reference to an outside text
-Occupy the same position as would the noun or NP
-distinguish number,person, gender and proximity
Semantic--Limit the nouns that follow them
Structural- precedes noun or adj. noun
What was that? (pronoun)
What was that noise? (determiner)
Semantic- spatial relations , position, destination(on the table, to the park)
Structural- Precedes noun or NP in prepositional phrase
Semantic-signal addition (and), contrast (but) alternative (unless)
Structural- connect words, phrases or clauses
2 types: coordinating and subordinating
Coordinating conjunction
make compound sentences with two or more independent clauses
FANBOYS- for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
Subordinating conjunction
make a complete sentence with one main clause and one subordinate clause.
If it rains, we won't go.
After the rain stops, we will leave
Rather than driving, I'll take the train
Sentence moods
3 Main Moods: Declarative, Interrogative, Imperative
2 MInor Mood: Subjunctive, Exclamatory
marked vs unmarked
marked is out of the ordinary, unmarked is what you would expect
formal or informal
the type of writing and the audience you are writing for. Academic vs email
compound words
can be one or more words
computer lab or hairbrush
in language, the smallest unit that carries meaning
two types: free and bound
free morphemes
smallest unit of language that carries meaning and can exist independently
bound morpheme
morpheme that only has meaning when attached to a word (like the 'un' in unlikely). Is never a word by itself.
2 kinds: derivational and inflectional
derivational morpheme
bound morpheme
changes meaning or parts of speech
kind-unkind or doubt to doubtful
inflectional morphemes
different forms of the same word
8 total
2 noun (-s and 's)
4 verb-3rd person singular, -ed, -ing,-en
2 adj -er, -est
transitive adjective
must be followed by an object noun and have a preposition before the object noun
Claudia is fond of chocolate
Dogs are attracted by cheese
intransitive adjective
does not take an object noun
The dog is pretty
both transitive and intransitive adjectives
Can either take an object or not
John is tired/ John is tired of walking
lexical process that occurs when one part of speech is converted into another without any derivational affixation. He gardens in the garden.
-contribute to the meaning of direction, time, location manner or frequency
-flexible location: sentence final, medial or initial
-manner adverbs take the inflection -ly
lexical phrase
words commonly used together as a little phrase that serves a specific function
some are flexible some fixed
"by the way"
"Need any help?"
multi word phrase used by convention
gramatically correct and most flexible
literal translation
"Little old lady" can also use "Short old lady" it's just not what we say
"ask a question" not "say a question"
"high and dry"
phrases used by convention the meaning of which cannot be predicted from the individual words
meaning not literal
"kick the bucket" "raining cats and dogs" "break a leg"
a verb form that links a subject with a nonverbal predicated (NP, AP, PrepP or AdvP)
She is a teacher (NP)
SHe is pretty (AP)
She is on the table (PrepP)
She is upstairs (AdvP)
The verb "to be"
marked by tense, person and number
--I am, you are, he is vs I was, you were, he was
question and negation it acts like an auxiliary with no need for DO like other verbs
-Isn;t the dog hungy vs Doesn't the dog want to walk?
other copular verbs
Perception copulars: seem, feel, taste
(meat tastes funny, cushion feels soft)
State copulars: remain, lie, stand (he remained outside, she stood firm)
Change of state copulars: become, grow, come, go, turn (he turned pro, he grew tall, he went native)
copula "be" vs other linking verbs
-"be" can be followed by NP, AP, PrepP or AdvP
other followed by APs, except...
become and turn--AP and NP
He became a teacher, turned pro
She remained on the roof
-"be" does not take a "do" auxiliary in the negative and interrogatory forms
have + -en
be + -ing
perfect progressive
have +en be +-ing
{(det)3 (AP) N (-pl) (PrepP)}
{NP' {NP or AP or PrepP}}
(intens)n (ADJ)n (prepP)
Prep NP
AUX VP (Advl)n
{Advl CL}
{Advl P}
Advl CL
adv sub S
Adv P
(intens)n ADV
{T/M} (pm) (perf) (prog)
{cop NP or AP or PrepP}
{V (NP)2 (PrepP)}
{(det)3 (AP) N (-pl) (PrepP)}
simple future
I will eat pancakes for breakfast tomorrow
present progressive
I am running for president
present perfect
I have eaten every type of pancake on the menu
past progressive
I was running for city council but I dropped out of hte race
past perfect
I had eaten all the pancakes before the boys woke up
present perfect progressive
I have been eating pancakes for breakfast for 8 years.
phrasal modals
be able to
be going to/ be about to
have to/have got to
be to/be supposed to
used to
be allowed to/be permitted to
example of a phrasal modal
I am going to run a marathon
true modals
would (past habit)
example of a modal
YOu should walk the dog before dark
Example of a phrasal modal and a modal
You should be able to see the moon tonight.
Modal high to low certainty
modal and prediction high to low
HIstorical past tense in modals
use of historical past
indirect or reported speech
logical probability of a modal
It's getting cloudy, it might rain.
Mapping rules for negation
output at base
copy s/t
operator addition
not placement
not contraction
sentence level negation
I don't want to go.
phrasal negation
He ate all of the pancakes that did not fall o the floor.
He was surprised she did not want to go.
lexical negation
She was unwilling to go to the store.
operator addition
I do not want to eat the pancakes
no determiner
There are no pancakes left.
negative equative
Dee is not as tall as Sam.
negative indefinite pronoun
No one is at the door.
mapping rules for yes/no questions with copular be
output at base
copy s/t
subject operator inversion
mapping rules for yes/no question with other verbs
output at base
copy s/t
operator addition
subject operator inversion
unmarked yes/no question
Did you enjoy the pancakes?
negative yes/no question
Didn't the package arrive?
some in a yes/no question
WOuld you like some pancakes?
uncontracted negative yes/no question
Do you not want any pancakes?
uninverted question
You did what last night?
You went out with who?
yes/no question with a phrasal modal
Do you have to go to the office today?
elliptical yes/no question
You going out tonight?
leave off the operator.
reflexive sentences
the object of a reflexive verb must be identical in reference to the reflexive pronoun:
Anne prided herself on her accomplishments.
mapping rules for imperatives
output at base: you -imperative get a life
subject deletion: -imper get a life
morphology: Get a life
Imperative with a do operator
output at base: you -imperative get a life
operator addition: you -imper do get a life
subject deletion: -imper do get a life
morphology: Do get a life.
negative imperatives:
output at base: not you -imper touch that
operator addition: not you -imper do touch that
not placement: you -imper do not touch that
not contraction: you -imper don't touch that
subject deletion: -imper don't touch that
morphology: don't touch that.
imperative be
cannot go with NOT, must add an operator
elliptical imperatives
You retention in imperatives
for use when there are a bunch of people there and you just want to talk to one
"You call 911."
Diffuse imperative
Somebody help me
Inclusive imperative
Let's go.
imperatives and politeness
Least polite of the moods
Can increase politeness with "please" or "kindly."
Hierarchy of imperatives: least polite to most polite
elliptical: A glass of water
Imperative: Give me a glass of water
Declarative (no modal): I want a glass of water
Declarative (present): I will have a glass of water.
Declarative (historical past): I would like a glass of water
Interrogative (no modal): Do you have a glass of water?
Interrogative (present modal): Can you give me...
Interrogative (historical past): Could you give me..
mapping rules for wh- questions
output: what/who/where at end as adverbial
copy s/t
wh- fronting
operator addition
subj/operator inversion
wh- fronting and the possessive determiner
When the possessive determiner is being queried the object it determines must be fronted:
Whose boss did lee write a note to?
wh-question focusing on the subject
WHo wrote the story?
Who is in that movie?
WH- question focusing on the object
WHo is it?
WH- question focusing on the object of a preposition
To whom did you send that package?
Whom did you send that package to?
Tag question
short question form appended to a statement
generally contrast the polarity of the statement
tag must match the subject
tag is generally clause final
looking for confirmation
You bought the books, didn't you?
marked tag question
You call yourself a musician, do you?
meaning of marked tag questions
nuanced meaning including expressing doubt, incredulity, checking for meaning or sarcasm
Alternative questions
offer choice yes/no answer would be inappropriate
affected by intonation
Would you like coffee or tea?
alternative question speaker irritation hierarchy
the more redundnacy the more irritated the speaker
Did you take out the garbage or didn't you
Did you take out the garabge or did you not take out the garbage?
alternative wh- question
What would you like water or juice or chocolate milk?
Exclamatory question
Isn't that grand?
Shall me dance?
more emphatic than tag questions and also invites confirmation
interrogative in form but not in function
Rhetorical questions
interrogative in form but not function
not looking for information or a yes/no question
Rhetorical question example
You're not really going to wear that to the party?
idiosyncratic tag question
We're having fun aren't we?
definite, indefinite or ø
definite article with count noun
the book
indefinite article with count noun
I need to get a book about trees
indefinite articles
some (pl count, non count), a (sg count), ø(pl count or noncount),
indefinite article with a noncount noun
I need to get some air.
some vs ø
quantity is irrelevant with ø
some cant be used to classify
shared knowledge
The is only used when the noun is specific (known) to both the speaker and the listenener.
Anaphoric use
prior mention
He left a book on the table. He returned home to get THE book.
CAtaphoric use
subsequent mention
This is the truth: I am just too tired to clean the kitchen.
Deductive anaphoric
He ordered the hummous and later got the recipe from the chef.
mass noun
Water is all around us.
abstract noun
Friendship is important.
definite article with textual coreference
I went to the opera last night. The aria was magnificent
definite article with local coreference
I'll run down to the pharmacy and get some cream.
definite article with immediate situational use
Eat at that restaurant. The pasta is delicious.
definite article with perceptual situational use
the object is visible or audible
Pass the sugar, please.
general cultural use
Don't look directly at the sun.
limit of determiners
3 total: 1 pre, a definite article and 1 post
All the other kids get to go
uses of indefinite article
fractions & frequency: half a gallon/once a day
After what and such in exclamations: What a day.
before quantifiers few and little
a necessary part of: a lot of energy, a great deal of money
indefinite article with generic usage
A tiger is a large cat.
specific indefinite noun
I'm waiting for a package I ordered.
nonspecific indefinite noun
I'll have to get her a new t-shirt if I cant find the one I lost.
nouns that don't take articles
proper nouns
institutions: church
positions: professor, director
school subjects: math, science
days, months, years, seasons
sports: baseball
parallel sturctures: smiling from ear to ear
vocatives: Teacher, doctor
passive voice
The book was written by Ritch
active voice
Ritch wrote the book
MIddle voice (ergative)
the door shut
the cake is baking
the glass broke
verbs that can only be used in the passive
to be born,
to be rumoured
to be fired
to be hospitalized
to be jailed
verbs not likely to be used int he passive
containment: contain, hold, comprise
measurement: weigh, cost, last
reciprocal verbs: resemble, look like, equal
fitting: fit, suit
posession: have belong
verbs that can occur in middle voice
occurrence: happen, occur, take place
inherently directed motion: arrive, fall, rise, emerge, go
description: appear, disappear
factual conditional
If it snows people go sledding
future conditional
If it rains I am not going to the park
If you eat your dinner, we will have ice cream (strong prediction)]If you eat your dinner, we may have ice cream (weak condition)
counterfactual conditional
If my grandfatehr were alive today, he would be shocked that a woman is the Secretary of State.
contrastive use of conditional
I will watch the horror movie with you now, but if we rent a movie again I want to watch a comedy
If I were younger I would run a marathon
If you were in class (you weren't) you owuld know the answer.
If I were Hillary Clinton, I would not cowtow to Israel.
then insertion with conditional
iF I won a million dollars then I would go on vacation
hypothetical use of conditional
if I felt better I would run around the block
If I had the money, I would go to Barbados
imaginative conditional
hypothetical and counterfactual