1. Recognize points of view.
The point of view of a sentence will influence other parts of the sentence so it’s important to correctly define this from the start. There are 3 points of view with each having it’s plural form.
1. First person point of view uses the pronouns “I” or “we”.
- Singular: “I am reading a book.”
- Plural: “We are reading a book together.”
2. Second person point of view uses the pronoun “you”.
- Singular: “You are always late to class.”
- Plural: “You guys are always late to class.”
3. Third person point of view uses pronouns “he”, “she”, “it”, “they”, or a name.
- Singular: “Paul is a good man. He follows the rules.”
- Plural: “They are good people. They follow the rules.”
2. Learn the parts of speech.
In order to to put sentences together properly, you must understand what the parts of speech are and what they do inside of a sentence. Here they are:
- Nouns are the elements that usually perform the action in a sentence. They are a person, animal, thing, place, idea, emotion, or event.
Examples: Sally, lion, ball, Paris, philosophy , happiness, birthday.
- Adjectives describe aspects or characteristics of nouns.
Examples: red, funny, lazy, large, short.
- Pronouns take the place of nouns.
Personal subject pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, and they
Personal object pronouns: Me, you, him, her, it, us, and them
Personal possessive pronouns: Mine, yours, his, hers, —, ours, and theirs
Relative pronouns: Who, whom, that, which, whoever, whomever, and whichever
- Verbs indicate actions or states of being and tell what the noun is doing.
Examples: run, sing, jump, be, walk.
- Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, and other adverbs. These words often end in –ly.
Examples: quickly, well, slowly, delicately, lightly, quickly.
- Prepositions indicate relationships in time, space, or direction. Examples: in, on, over, under, to, at, by, through, from, of, across.
- Conjunctions join nouns, clauses, phrases, and sentences. Coordinating conjunctions link independent clauses, and they are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so (remember FANBOYS). Subordinating conjunctions link dependent clauses, and they include because, if, since, while, and although.
- Interjections are words that indicate emotions. They are often followed by exclamation points.
Examples: oh, hey, ouch, wow.
- Articles are used to modify and define nouns. The is a definite article, and a and an are the indefinite articles.
3. Use proper word order.
English sentences are structured in this order:
subject – verb – object
Andrea ran to the door
In general, articles come before adjectives, and adjectives come before the nouns they modify. Modifiers should always be placed as close to their nouns as possible. For instance:
- Frank (subject) quickly (adverb) mailed (verb) the (article) long (adjective) letter (object).
4. Master verb conjugation.
- Simple present (uninflected verb, or verb + s/es in third person):
I go, you go, he/she/it goes, we go, you go, they go.
- Present continuous (aka progressive) (am/is/are + present participle):
I am going, you are going, he/she/it is going, we/you/they are going.
- Present perfect (has/have + past participle):
I have gone, you have gone, he/she/it has gone, we/you/they have gone.
- Simple past (verb + –ed for regular verbs):
I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they went (“to go” is an irregular verb).
- Past continuous (was/were + present participle):
I was going, you were going, he/she/it was going, we/you/they were going.
- Past Perfect (had + past participle):
I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they had gone.
- Simple future (will + uninflected verb):
I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they will go.
- Future continuous (will be + present participle): I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they will be going.
- Future Perfect (will have + past participle): I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they will have gone.
5. Use proper punctuation.
Punctuation is an important part of language because it indicates starts, stops, pauses, and relationships. The main punctuation marks in English are:
- Commas separate thoughts, ideas, elements, and independent clauses.
- Periods indicate the end of a sentence.
- Semicolons join independent clauses in a single sentence or separate elements in a list.
- Colons introduce items in a list, explanations, or definitions.
- Question marks indicate that a question was posed.
- Exclamation points show emphasis, imperatives, or declarations.
- Apostrophes demonstrate possession or create contractions.
- Quotation marks indicate that you are directly quoting someone else’s words.
- Hyphens join separate words into compound words, modifiers, and numbers.
- Dashes create a pause, interrupt a sentence, or add parenthetical information.
- Parenthesis add additional information, references, or citations.
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