5 Important English Grammar Rules
These are the 5 most important grammar rules you should know:
1. A complete sentence has a noun and a verb.
“I run” is a short sentence, but it’s complete since it contains a noun and verb.
2. Avoid sentence fragments
A sentence fragment is a group of words that resembles a sentence but isn’t a complete idea. Here are some examples:
“Discovered the cure for the disease.” (lacks a subject)
Correction: “The scientist discovered the cure for the disease.”
“Clothes and shoes scattered around the room.” (lacks a complete verb)
Revision: “Clothes and shoes were scattered around the room.”
“After I finish the project.” (dependent clause that can’t stand on it’s own as an independent clause)
Revision: “I will get an award after I finish the project.”
3. Learn at least a few basic prepositions
A nice way to think about prepositions is as the words that help glue a sentence together. Several of the most frequently used words in all of English, such as of, to, for, with, on and at, are prepositions. Explaining prepositions can seem complicated, but they are a common part of language and most of us use them naturally without even thinking about it.
- Location: above, behind, below, beside, between, by, in, inside, near, on, over, through
The cat is under the table.
The plate is on the kitchen counter.
The dogs are in the kennel.
The keys are inside the car.
- Movement: against, along, down, from, into, off, on, onto, out of, toward, up, upon
James went into the room.
Jill came tumbling down after.
Jack went up the hill.
- Time: after, before, by, during, from, on, since, through, to, until, upon
I was born on May 26.
I was born in 1998.
I was born at 2 pm.
I was born two minutes before my twin brother.
I was born after Independence Day.
4. Master past, present, and future tenses.
Past, present, and future aren’t the only verb tenses in English. There are simple, continuous, perfect continuous and perfect tenses for past, present, and future. There are also conditional, gerunds, infinitives, present participle verb tenses. But learn them later since past, present, and future tenses are some of the most useful and common tenses. Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge.
5. Know your punctuation marks
- A period is used to end a sentence: “I’m going home.“
- A question mark is asking a question: “How are you?“
- A comma is used to add, pause, and separate words. “The cake mix requires flour, sugar, eggs, and butter.”
See more here: When to Use a Comma: 10 Rules and Examples
- An apostrophe shows possession and is found in contractions: “Mrs. Chang‘s house…”
- An exclamation mark is used to express strong feeling: “Stop running in the house!“
- A hyphen links words together: “state–of–the–art”
- Quotation marks shows who is talking or making a statement: “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
- A colon is the pause between two phrases. “Here is my grocery list: apples, oranges, and bananas.”
- A semi-colon can connect two sentences that are related but grammatically independent: “Richard likes cake; Susan likes salad.”
“Bill was going bald; his hair was falling out.”
See more important grammar rules here: 5 More Important English Grammar Rules.