Grammatical Categories in English

Grammatical Categories

1.       Tense

A feature of verbs, associated with time.


i) Present

ii) Past

iii) Future

The tense of a verb indicates whether the action denoted by the verb takes place in present, took place in the past and will take place in the future

Tense also indicates wheter the action denoted by the verb, is simple, countinues or completed.

Types of Tenses:

i) Simple Tense

ii) Continuous Tense

iii) Perfect Tense

  •  Simple Tense

A simple tense is a tense “without complication”. It denotes present, past or future in a direct way. It makes a simple statement about time of action.

For Example;

I eat.

He eats.

I and the he are the first and third person singular of the present simple tense of the verb to eat.

  • Past Simple Tense

                                I ate

He ate.

These are the 1st and 3rd person singular of the past tense.

  • Future Simple Tense

                                I shall eat.

He will eat.

These are the 1st and 3rd person singular of the future simple tense.

Continous Tense

The continuos tense, indiacting is, was or will be continuing, are fromed the auxiliary verb to be eith the present participle.

  • Present Continuous Tense

I am going.

She is going.

  • Past Continuous Tense

I was going.

She was going.

  • Future Continuous Tense

I shall be going.

He will be going.

Perfect Tense:

Perfect tense, indicating that an action is, was or will be completed.


I have ridden

I had ridden

I shall have ridden

2.       Mood

Different moods or manners in which verb may be used to express an action are called moods.

Mood is the mode as manner in which the action denoted by verb is represented.

These are three moods in English.

i) Indicative

ii) Imperative

iii) Subjective

  • Indicative Mood

Indicative mood is used

–> To make a statement of fact

–> To ask a question

For Example

Rabia goes to school daily.

Have you found your book?

Indicative mood is also used in expressing a supposition which is assumed as a fact, as

If he comes, then I will go.

  • Imperative Mood

A verb which expresses a commond, an exhotation, a prayer, is in the imperative mood.


A commond or “come here”

An exhortation, as “Try to do better”


i)                    The imperative mood can strictly be used only in the second person.

ii)                   The subject of a verb in the imperative mood (you) is usually omitted.

For Example

Stop! In this sentence, you is hidden.

  • Subjective Mood

The mood of a verb that express a wish, a supposition, hope, condition, or a doubt.


–> God bless you.

–> I wish I knew his name.

 3.       Voice

The object of the active becoming the subject of the passive. The active voice indicates that the subject of the verb acts. The passive voice indicates that the subject of verb is acted upon.

Active Voice

The predicate comes after the subject

Sara Helps Nadia

In this sentence, the form of verb shows that person denoted by the subject does something.

Passive Voice

The predicates comes before the subject as

Nadia is helped by Sara.

In this sentence the form of the verb shows that something is done to the person denoted by the subject.

–> A verb in the active voice shows that the action it denotes is performed by subject.

–> A verb in the passive voice shows that the action it denotes is performed upon the subject.

 4.       Case

A feature of naun, associated with a variety of largely unrelated semantic and grammatical features.

  • Nominative

When the noun and pronoun are used as a subject of verb

John threw a ball (John is nominative)

  • Accusative

When the noun and pronoun are used as an object of verb.

She broke the window. (Window is accusitive)

  • Genitive or Possessive

Case which normaly denotes possession or shows ownership.

John’s school is very good. (‘s is genitive)

  • Dative

The case of the indirect object word.

We gave the beggar a meal. (The beggar is dative)

  • Vocative

The Case of person or thing addressed.

John, I want to see you (John os vocative)

Parts of Speech

Parts Of Speech

“Parts of speech” are the basic types of words that English has. Most grammar books say that there are eight parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections. We will add one more type: determiners/articles. In the modern era POS are known as “word classes”.

1. Noun

“A word which shows the name of some person, place, thing, condition etc.”.

For Example;

  • John bought a pen from New York.
  • There is a political disturbance in Libya.

Types Of Nouns

  • Common Noun, e.g. Cat, Chair, Book
  • Proper Noun, e.g. Qatar, China, Libya
  • Abstract Noun, e.g. Beauty, Love, Honesty
  • Collective Noun, e.g. Army, Class, Company
  • Concrete Noun, e.g. Book, Pencil, Gate
  • Countable Noun, e.g. Cap, Shirt, Bag
  • Uncountable Noun, e.g. Milk, Water, Air

Functions of Noun

  • Nominative: John goes to school (Noun and pronoun as subject)
  • Vocative: John, where are you going?
  • Accusative: Where is John?
  • Genitive: This is John’s book.
  • Dative: John gave me his book.


  • Feminine, An actress was standing near the mare.
  • Masculine, John saw a lion.
  • Neuter, Bicycle was hit by a truck.
  • Plurals

2. Pronoun

A word that is used instead of noun is called pronoun e.g. Personal pronoun, Reflexive Pronoun, Relative Pronoun, Demonstrative Pronoun

  • Personal: He is playing. (She, It, You, They etc.)
  • Reflexive: You will hurt yourself. (myself, itself)
  • Relative: I met Ali who had just returned.
  • Demonstrative: Each of the boys gets a prize.

3. Verb

A verb is the name of some action, state done by the subject or completes the meaning of the subject.

  • Faustus goes to University.
  • Faustus felt Hungry.

Kinds of Verb

Lexical Verb:

Lexical verb is a word one of the parts of speech, it conveys the complete meanings after the subject. It can stand without the auxiliaries or modals e.g. eat, drink, go, come etc. There are two kinds of lexical verbs.

  • Transitive: I Kick the ball.
  • Intransitive: I fall.

Auxiliary Verb:

Auxiliary verbs are also known as helping verbs but they cannot stand in the sentence without the lexical verbs. There are three types of auxiliaries.

  • Principal Auxiliaries: To be, to have, to do.
  • Modal Auxiliaries: can, may, must, will, ought
  • Semi-Modal: To need, to dare, used

4. Adjective

A word which qualifies the noun to show its quality, quantity, etc. is called Adjective.

Kinds of Adjective:

  • Demonstrative
  • Distributive
  • Quantitative
  • Interrogative
  • Possessive
  • Of Quality

Position of Adjective

  • Attributive; a type of adjective which comes with the noun e.g. Happy Faustus, Naughty Girl
  • Predicative; an adjective which comes after the verb to show the quality of the noun e.g. The farmer is small.

5. Adverb

An adverb is a word which modifies the meaning of a verb, an adjective or an other adverb.

  • This is a very sweet mango.
  • He comes here daily.

Kinds of Adverb

  • Manner (which shows how or in what manner) e.g. The boy works hard.
  • Time (Which Shows when) e.g. He came here Yesterday.
  • Place ( Which Shows where) e.g. He came out Yesterday.
  • Frequency (which shows How often) e.g. He always tries to do his best.
  • Degree (which shows how much or in what degree) e.g. You are quite wrong.
  • Interrogative (which enquires) e.g. Why was he late?

Formation of Adverb

Many adverbs of manner and some adverbs of degree are formed by adding ‘ly’ to the corresponding. For example

Position of Adverb

  • Adverbs of manner, which answer the question “how”? Are generally placed after the verb or after the object e.g. It is Rainy Heavily. The Ship is going slowly.
  • Adverbs or adverb phrases of place and of time are usually placed after the verb or after the object e.g. I met him yesterday.
  • When there are two are more adverbs after a verb, the normal order is MPT e.g. She should go there tomorrow evening.
  • If the verb is ‘Am’/ ‘Are’/ ‘is’/ ‘was’/ ‘were’/ , adverbs are placed after the verb; as

–He is always at home on Sunday.

–We are just off.

6. Preposition

A preposition is a word placed before a noun or a pronoun to show in what relation the person or thing denoted by its stands in regard to something else. For Example

–Faustus is fond of magic.

–There is a cow in the field.

Kinds of Preposition

There are three kinds of preposition

Simple: At, by, for, from, on, out, in etc.

–My book is in my bag.

Compound: These are generally formed by prefixing a preposition ( Usually a=no or be=by) For Example

Across, Around, before, behind

–I came the day before yesterday.

Kinds of Preposition

Phrase: A group a words which complete with more than two words or syllables. For Example

According to, In place of, in spite of, instead of, in order to etc.

According to Aristotle, tragedy cannot be completed in spite of catharsis.

7. Conjunction

A conjunction is a word which merely joins together sentences, clauses, and some times words. There are two types of conjunction

  •  Coordinating Conjunctions:

A coordinating conjunction joins together clauses of equal rank e.g. and, but, both…and, or, either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also

Both men and women were laughing at me but I was looking at their ice cream.

  • Subordinating Conjunction:

A subordinating conjunction joins a clause to another on which it depends for its full meanings e.g. if, that, though/although, unless, when, ete.

–Faustus will serve you, if you give him respect.

When it is wet the buses are crowded.

8. Interjection

An interjection is a word which expresses sudden feelings or emotions e.g. Alas!, Hurrah!, Bravo!, What!, etc.

Hurrah! We won the match.

Alas! He is dead.

9. Determiners

  • Determiners are uses at the beginning of noun, phrases, e.g. I met the two Pakistani girls in London.
  • You use specific determiner when people know exactly which things or people you are talking about e.g.

–The began to run toward the boy.

–Her face was red.

  • You use general determiners to talk about people or things without saying exactly who or what they are e.g. There was a man in the lift.

Specific Determiners:

  •  The definite article: the
  • Demonstrative: this, that, these, those
  • Possessive: my, your, his, her, its, our, their

General Determiners:

  •  Countable: All, any, an, few other
  • Uncountable: Enough, much, less


By: M. Zaman Ali

Grammar and Grammars

Why study grammar?

Grammar usage in daily life:

We spend the whole life in listening, speaking, reading and writing. So all these things are based on the grammatical, our large utterances, sentences, clauses, phrases, morphemes, even sounds are connected with each other under certain rules and regulations. However we can apply these rules on onomatopoeic sounds (animal sounds etc). Grammar tells us how we should apply the rules for our exact communication.

There are three features of language that are important for the perception of the mature of grammar: it is complex, productive and arbitrary. For example:

Traffic lights are mechanical symbols and these follow certain structure like grammar.

What is Grammar?

“Grammar is the name of the amalgamation of sentences, clauses, phrases, morphemes, and sounds under the certain rules and regulation”

Grammar may be defined as a book written about grammar itself.

For Example:

School boys enquire the book stalled. May I have a grammar?

According to some advance learner, grammar only deals with the written expression not with spoken.

The point of view may be support by the etymology of grammar. It is derived from Greek word meaning “To Write”

Some languages are the dependent of grammar but some are independent. Those language which are based on sounds are dependent of grammar e.g. English, French, Urdu etc.

But those which deal with the signs expressions they have no grammatical rules e.g. Chinese.

Some people are indifferent to the grammar of their language. While many others acquire the rules and structure of their languages. It implies that a language doesn’t have a grammar until it is made explicit and can be learnt from a grammar book or at school.

Correct and Incorrect:

Correct and incorrect usage of language happen our daily life. Native speakers not having the knowledge of grammar may speak language in wrong way. But the language learner will speak that language in correct way due to having the knowledge of grammar.

The point can be support with the tour of Frank Palmer (Grammarian) in Wales.

He lived in Welsh and made and attempts to learn the Welsh language. One of his Welsh friends on hearing this said “you will learn speak better Welsh than we do – you will have leant the grammar”

First source of normative rules e.g. it is I, It is me:

English grammar is dependent upon the Latin grammar because teaching / learning we have to follow the Latin rules for English. These rules make us confused.

That’s why many people say that Latin is more logical than English because there are many functions or cases of noun e.g.


  • Nominative: Ali goes to school (Noun and pronoun as subject)
  • Vocative: Ali, where are you going?
  • Accusative: Where is Ali?
  • Genitive: This is Ali’s book.
  • Dative: Ali gave me his book.

There is no reason at all way English should follow the Latin.

A second source of normative rules is ‘logic’. There is noted example of the usage of double negation in English e.g.

  • I did not go nowhere. (Wrong)
  • I went somewhere. (Correct)

The logic here is based on mathematical rule that two minuses make plus.

Another prominent example of different languages concerns the usage of singular form with the numerals.

Speech and writing:

Speech plays an important role than writing in daily life. It has already mentioned that ‘grammar’ is derived from the Greek word meaning “To Write”.

It shows that grammar deals with the written language. There is totally difference between the spelling and pronunciation of English language. It is the confusion for foreign learners.

The second and most important point which becomes the reason of confusion is intonation.

In intonation we have to follow the tonic variation; rising tone, falling tone etc.

E.g.  She is pretty?  Instead of is she pretty?

Know coming to the grammatical rules it is clear that grammar paves the way speech and writing.

Morphologically, there is a variation in the formation of plural forms of singular objects or words. In the English number system e.g. there are three common ways of deriving plurals from singular:

(1)    Add—s

Apple – apples, cat – cats

(2)    “Zero” endings

Cattle – cattle, fish – fish

(3)    Change the vowel

Louse – lice, mouse – mice

Form and meaning:

                This heading deals with the semantic and grammar of some language.

There are synonyms, antonyms, homonyms etc. in the vocabulary of some language e.g.

  • Wheat ( Uncountable noun)
  • Oat, oats
  • News
  • Hair (Uncountable noun)

Another kind of consideration holds for sex and gender. The romance languages, especially French, have some examples. First in these languages every noun has two sexes; masculine (book) and feminine (door).

But know we have three categories of gender; male, female and neutral.

The last but not the least is tenses or time of any language which leads the language in its exact and fair meanings. E.g. “If you went to Paris, I would present you a gift”