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Английский FAQ 
Welcome to the Английский FAQ In this area of our site, you will find the answers to the frequently asked questions, as well as answers to How do I and Did you know questions. Please feel free to post a comment on any Q&A.
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 The Parts of Speech
Traditional grammar classifies words based on eight parts of speech: the verb, the noun, the pronoun, the adjective, the adverb, the preposition, the conjunction, and the interjection.

Each part of speech explains not what the word is, but how the word is used. In fact, the same word can be a noun in one sentence and a verb or adjective in the next.
8 What is an Interjection?
 The Parts of The Sentence
The parts of the sentence are a set of terms for describing how people construct sentences from smaller pieces. There is not a direct correspondence between the parts of the sentence and the parts of speech -- the subject of a sentence, for example, could be a noun, a pronoun, or even an entire phrase or clause. Like the parts of speech, however, the parts of the sentence form part of the basic vocabulary of grammar, and it is important that you take some time to learn and understand them.
2 What Are Objects and Complements?
 Punctuation
The following sections will help you understand and use different types of punctuation more effectively in your writing. This chapter begins with the comma, the punctuation mark which usually causes writers the most trouble, before turning to other types of punctuation.
7 What is The Dash?
 Using Pronouns
Pronouns connect people and things into sentences. Rather than saying a person's name, you can say 'they' or 'I'. This does remove information about the person or thing referenced and can make the sentence more general.
2 Tricky Points of Pronoun Usage
 Using Verbs
The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb or compound verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and expresses actions, events, or states of being
16 ASK is one of the most common verbs in English
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Punctuation ]


Comma usage is in some respects a question of personal writing style: some writers use commas liberally, while others prefer to use them sparingly. Most modern North American style guides now recommend using fewer commas rather than more, so when faced with the option of using a comma or not, you may find it wise to refrain.

For instance, the use of a comma before the "and" in a series is usually optional, and many writers choose to eliminate it, provided there is no danger of misreading:

We bought scarves, mittens and sweaters before leaving for Iceland. (comma unnecessary before "and")

We ate apples, plums, and strawberry and kiwi compote. (comma needed before "and" for clarity)

Comma Usage

1. Use a comma before a co-ordinating conjunction that joins independent clauses (unless the independent clauses are very short):

I wrapped the fresh fish in three layers of newspaper, but my van still smelled like trout for the next week. (commas with two independent clauses)
She invited him to her party and he accepted. (comma unnecessary with short clauses)

2. Use a comma after an introductory adverb clause and, often, after an introductory phrase (unless the phrase is very short):

After the hospital had completed its fund-raising campaign, an anonymous donor contributed an additional $10,000. (after introductory adverb clause)
From the east wall to the west, her cottage measures twenty feet. (after introductory prepositional phrase)
In the bottom drawer you will find some pink spandex tights. (no comma with short, closely related phrase)

3. Use a comma to separate items in a series:

Playing in a band can be exciting, but many people do not realize the hardships involved: constant rehearsals, playing until 2 a.m., handling drunken audience members, and transporting heavy equipment to and from gigs. (the comma preceding "and" is optional unless needed to prevent misreading)

4. Use commas to set off non-restrictive elements and other parenthetical elements. A non-restrictive modifier is a phrase or clause that does not restrict or limit the meaning of the word it is modifying. It is, in a sense, interrupting material that adds extra information to a sentence. Even though removing the non-restrictive element would result in some loss of meaning, the sentence would still make sense without it. You should usually set off non-restrictive elements with commas:

The people of Haiti, who for decades have lived with grinding poverty and mind-numbing violence, are unfamiliar with the workings of a true democracy.

A restrictive modifier is a phrase or clause that limits the meaning of what it modifies and is essential to the basic idea expressed in the sentence. You should not set off restrictive elements with commas:

Those residents of Ottawa who do not hold secure, well-paying jobs must resent the common portrayal of the city as a land of opportunity.

Note that you can use two other punctuation marks to set off non-restrictive elements or other parenthetical information: parentheses and dashes. Enclosing parenthetical information in parentheses reduces the importance of that information:

Mr. Grundy's driving record (with one small exception) was exemplary.

5. Placing parenthetical information between dashes has the opposite effect: it emphasises the material:

Mr. Grundy's driving record -- with one exception -- was exemplary.

Nevertheless, you should usually set off parenthetical information with commas.

Superfluous Commas

Equally important in understanding how to use commas effectively is knowing when not to use them. While this decision is sometimes a matter of personal taste, there are certain instances when you should definitely avoid a comma.

* Do not use a comma to separate the subject from its predicate:

WRONG Registering for our fitness programs before September 15, will save you thirty percent of the membership cost.
RIGHT Registering for our fitness programs before September 15 will save you thirty percent of the membership cost.

* Do not use a comma to separate a verb from its object or its subject complement, or a preposition from its object:

WRONG I hope to mail to you before Christmas, a current snapshot of my dog Benji.
WRONG She travelled around the world with, a small backpack, a bedroll, a pup tent and a camera.
RIGHT I hope to mail to you before Christmas a current snapshot of my dog Benji.
RIGHT She travelled around the world with a small backpack, a bedroll, a pup tent and a camera.

* Do not misuse a comma after a co-ordinating conjunction:

WRONG Sleet fell heavily on the tin roof but, the family was used to the noise and paid it no attention.
RIGHT Sleet fell heavily on the tin roof, but the family was used to the noise and paid it no attention.

* Do not use commas to set off words and short phrases (especially introductory ones) that are not parenthetical or that are very slightly so:

WRONG After dinner, we will play badminton.
RIGHT After dinner we will play badminton.

* Do not use commas to set off restrictive elements:

WRONG The fingers, on his left hand, are bigger than those on his right.
RIGHT The fingers on his left hand are bigger than those on his right.

* Do not use a comma before the first item or after the last item of a series:

WRONG The treasure chest contained, three wigs, some costume jewellery and five thousand dollars in Monopoly money.
WRONG You should practice your punches, kicks and foot sweeps, if you want to improve in the martial arts.
RIGHT The treasure chest contained three wigs, some costume jewellery and five thousand dollars in Monopoly money.
RIGHT You should practice your punches, kicks and foot sweeps if you want to improve in the martial arts.


Objects

A verb may be followed by an object that completes the verb's meaning. Two kinds of objects follow verbs: direct objects and indirect objects. To determine if a verb has a direct object, isolate the verb and make it into a question by placing "whom?" or "what?" after it. The answer, if there is one, is the direct object:

Direct Object
The advertising executive drove a flashy red Porsche.
Direct Object
Her secret admirer gave her a bouquet of flowers.

The second sentence above also contains an indirect object. An indirect object (which, like a direct object, is always a noun or pronoun) is, in a sense, the recipient of the direct object. To determine if a verb has an indirect object, isolate the verb and ask to whom?, to what?, for whom?, or for what? after it. The answer is the indirect object.

Not all verbs are followed by objects. Consider the verbs in the following sentences:

The guest speaker rose from her chair to protest.
After work, Randy usually jogs around the canal.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Verbs that take objects are known as transitive verbs. Verbs not followed by objects are called intransitive verbs.

Some verbs can be either transitive verbs or intransitive verbs, depending on the context:

Direct Object
I hope the Senators win the next game.
No Direct Object
Did we win?

Subject Complements

In addition to the transitive verb and the intransitive verb, there is a third kind of verb called a linking verb. The word (or phrase) which follows a linking verb is called not an object, but a subject complement.

The most common linking verb is "be." Other linking verbs are "become," "seem," "appear," "feel," "grow," "look," "smell," "taste," and "sound," among others. Note that some of these are sometimes linking verbs, sometimes transitive verbs, or sometimes intransitive verbs, depending on how you use them:

Linking verb with subject complement
He was a radiologist before he became a full-time yoga instructor.
Linking verb with subject complement
Your homemade chili smells delicious.
Transitive verb with direct object
I can't smell anything with this terrible cold.
Intransitive verb with no object
The interior of the beautiful new Buick smells strongly of fish.

Note that a subject complement can be either a noun ("radiologist", "instructor") or an adjective ("delicious").

Object Complements

An object complement is similar to a subject complement, except that (obviously) it modifies an object rather than a subject. Consider this example of a subject complement:

The driver seems tired.

In this case, as explained above, the adjective "tired" modifies the noun "driver," which is the subject of the sentence.

Sometimes, however, the noun will be the object, as in the following example:

I consider the driver tired.

In this case, the noun "driver" is the direct object of the verb "consider," but the adjective "tired" is still acting as its complement.

In general, verbs which have to do with perceiving, judging, or changing something can cause their direct objects to take an object complement:

Paint it black.

The judge ruled her out of order.

I saw the Prime Minister sleeping.

In every case, you could reconstruct the last part of the sentence into a sentence of its own using a subject complement: "it is black," "she is out of order," "the Prime Minister is sleeping."


Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject. In the following sentences, the predicate is enclosed in braces ({}), while the subject is highlighted.

Judy {runs}.
Judy and her dog {run on the beach every morning}.

To determine the subject of a sentence, first isolate the verb and then make a question by placing "who?" or "what?" before it -- the answer is the subject.

The audience littered the theatre floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn.

The verb in the above sentence is "littered." Who or what littered? The audience did. "The audience" is the subject of the sentence. The predicate (which always includes the verb) goes on to relate something about the subject: what about the audience? It "littered the theatre floor with torn wrappings and spilled popcorn."

Unusual Sentences

Imperative sentences (sentences that give a command or an order) differ from conventional sentences in that their subject, which is always "you," is understood rather than expressed.

Stand on your head. ("You" is understood before "stand.")

Be careful with sentences that begin with "there" plus a form of the verb "to be." In such sentences, "there" is not the subject; it merely signals that the true subject will soon follow.

There were three stray kittens cowering under our porch steps this morning.

If you ask who? or what? before the verb ("were cowering"), the answer is "three stray kittens," the correct subject.

Simple Subject and Simple Predicate

Every subject is built around one noun or pronoun (or more) that, when stripped of all the words that modify it, is known as the simple subject. Consider the following example:

A piece of pepperoni pizza would satisfy his hunger.

The subject is built around the noun "piece," with the other words of the subject -- "a" and "of pepperoni pizza" -- modifying the noun. "Piece" is the simple subject.

Likewise, a predicate has at its centre a simple predicate, which is always the verb or verbs that link up with the subject. In the example we just considered, the simple predicate is "would satisfy" -- in other words, the verb of the sentence.

A sentence may have a compound subject -- a simple subject consisting of more than one noun or pronoun -- as in these examples:

Team pennants, rock posters and family photographs covered the boy's bedroom walls.
Her uncle and she walked slowly through the Inuit art gallery and admired the powerful sculptures exhibited there.

The second sentence above features a compound predicate, a predicate that includes more than one verb pertaining to the same subject (in this case, "walked" and "admired").


An interjection is a word added to a sentence to convey emotion. It is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.

You usually follow an interjection with an exclamation mark. Interjections are uncommon in formal academic prose, except in direct quotations.

The highlighted words in the following sentences are interjections:

Ouch, that hurt!
Oh no, I forgot that the exam was today.
Hey! Put that down!
I heard one guy say to another guy, "He has a new car, eh?"
I don't know about you but, good lord, I think taxes are too high!


You can use a conjunction to link words, phrases, and clauses, as in the following example:

I ate the pizza and the pasta.
Call the movers when you are ready.

Co-ordinating Conjunctions

You use a co-ordinating conjunction ("and," "but," "or," "nor," "for," "so," or "yet") to join individual words, phrases, and independent clauses. Note that you can also use the conjunctions "but" and "for" as prepositions.

In the following sentences, each of the highlighted words is a co-ordinating conjunction:

Lilacs and violets are usually purple.

In this example, the co-ordinating conjunction "and" links two nouns.

This movie is particularly interesting to feminist film theorists, for the screenplay was written by Mae West.

In this example, the co-ordinating conjunction "for" is used to link two independent clauses.

Daniel's uncle claimed that he spent most of his youth dancing on rooftops and swallowing goldfish.

Here the co-ordinating conjunction "and" links two participle phrases ("dancing on rooftops" and "swallowing goldfish") which act as adverbs describing the verb "spends."

Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction introduces a dependent clause and indicates the nature of the relationship among the independent clause(s) and the dependent clause(s).

The most common subordinating conjunctions are "after," "although," "as," "because," "before," "how," "if," "once," "since," "than," "that," "though," "till," "until," "when," "where," "whether," and "while."

Each of the highlighted words in the following sentences is a subordinating conjunction:

After she had learned to drive, Alice felt more independent.

The subordinating conjunction "after" introduces the dependent clause "After she had learned to drive."

If the paperwork arrives on time, your cheque will be mailed on Tuesday.

Similarly, the subordinating conjunction "if" introduces the dependent clause "If the paperwork arrives on time."

Gerald had to begin his thesis over again when his computer crashed.

The subordinating conjunction "when" introduces the dependent clause "when his computer crashed."

Midwifery advocates argue that home births are safer because the mother and baby are exposed to fewer people and fewer germs.

In this sentence, the dependent clause "because the mother and baby are exposed to fewer people and fewer germs" is introduced by the subordinating conjunction "because."

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions always appear in pairs -- you use them to link equivalent sentence elements. The most common correlative conjunctions are "both...and," "either...or," "neither...nor,", "not only...but also," "so...as," and "whether...or." (Technically correlative conjunctions consist simply of a co-ordinating conjunction linked to an adjective or adverb.)

The highlighted words in the following sentences are correlative conjunctions:

Both my grandfather and my father worked in the steel plant.

In this sentence, the correlative conjunction "both...and" is used to link the two noun phrases that act as the compound subject of the sentence: "my grandfather" and "my father".

Bring either a Jello salad or a potato scallop.

Here the correlative conjunction "either...or" links two noun phrases: "a Jello salad" and "a potato scallop."

Corinne is trying to decide whether to go to medical school or to go to law school.

Similarly, the correlative conjunction "whether ... or" links the two infinitive phrases "to go to medical school" and "to go to law school."

The explosion destroyed not only the school but also the neighbouring pub.

In this example the correlative conjunction "not only ... but also" links the two noun phrases ("the school" and "neighbouring pub") which act as direct objects.

Note: some words which appear as conjunctions can also appear as prepositions or as adverbs.


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