Welcome to English 101
It is always helpful to keep a dictionary, thesaurus and any language to English translation dictionaries handy when learning English either for the first time or if you just want a better understanding of the English language. If you are a visual learner, it may also help to write notes or print and highlight key pieces of information. Keep in mind that this is by no means a college level class, but simply an overview of the main parts of the English language.
There are five types of nouns. Every noun can be classified in at least two ways.
A common noun names any person, place, thing or idea, it begins with a lowercase letter. Examples are: doctor, ocean, wolf, and love.
A proper noun names a particular person, place, thing or idea, it begins with a capital letter. Examples are: Jacob Black, Atlantic Ocean, Grey wolf, and Australian
A concrete noun names something that can be touched or seen. Examples are: volcano, clouds, The Statue of Liberty, and Mt.Olympus.
An abstract noun names something that cannot be seen or touched, such as an emotion, quality, period of time, or an idea. Examples are: love, hate, century, millennium, and history.
A compound noun consists of two or more words that could each stand alone, but all the words are needed to make the meaning clear. Examples are: President Washington, Timber wolf, Mt.Olympus, and Hall of Fame.
A singular noun names one person, place, thing, or idea. A plural noun names more than one person, place, thing, or idea.How do you know when to pluralize a noun?
For most nouns add an ‘s’: mountain –> mountains
For nouns ending in ch, sh, s, ss, x, or z, add es: lunch –> lunches or fox –> foxes
For nouns ending in y preceded by a vowel, add s: valley –> valleys
For nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant, change y to i and add es: baby –> babies
For most compound nouns, make only the most important word plural: brother-in-law –> brothers-in-law or timepiece –> timepieces
For some nouns ending in f or fe, change f or fe to ve and add s: thief –> thieves
For other nouns ending in f or fe, add s: roof –> roofs
For nouns ending in a vowel and o, add s: studio –> studios
For some nouns ending in a consonant and o, add s: piano –> pianos
For nouns that have irregular plurals, you may have to change the spelling in various ways…English is messed up when it comes to words such as mouse, woman, child, foot, tooth, goose, crisis, and emphasis which change to mice, women, children, feet, teeth, geese, crises and emphases.
A small group of nouns do not change their spelling when they become plural such as: salmon, trout, sheep, moose, deer, offspring, series, and fish.
A possessive is a word that tells who or what has or owns something. This applies to nouns.
Singular nouns: add ‘s: prospector, Lois, sister-in-law –> prospector’s, Lois’s, sister-in-law’s
Plural nouns ending in s, add apostrophe (‘): pioneers, years, bosses –> pioneers’, years’, bosses’
Plural nouns not ending in s, add ‘s: women, sheep, sons-in-law –> women’s, sheep’s, sons-in-law’s
Adjectives are ‘describing’ words which give more information about the noun Identified. Examples include: tall, green, lovely.
Verbs are words that convey an action(bring, read, walk, run, learn), an occurrence(happen, become), or a state of being(be, exist, stand). Verbs have a present tense, to indicate that an action is being carried out; a past tense, to indicate that an action has been carried out; and a future tense, to indicate that an action will be carried out. Examples include: running, ran, run; happening, happened, happen; being, been, be.
Adverbs are words which modify verbs, and usually end in “-ly”. Examples include: quickly, slowly, hungrily.
Examples used in sentences:
“Cheryl runs quickly.” “Esteban slowly walked down the street.” “Chelsea ate hungrily.”
Adverbs and Adjectives: Many languages, including English, distinguish between adjectives, which qualify nouns and pronouns, and adverbs, which modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Not all languages have exactly this distinction and many languages, including English, have words that can function as both. For example, in English fast is an adjective in “a fast car” (where it qualifies the noun car), but an adverb in “he drove fast” (where it modifies the verb drove). In Dutch and German, almost all adjectives are implicitly also adverbs, without any difference in form.
Pronouns are words used in place of a pre-established noun. Examples include: I, he, she, it, they.
Prepositions are short words used to connect different words within a sentence, creating a phrase. Examples include: to, from, in, with.
Conjunctions are used to join different parts of a sentence, including words, phrases and whole sentences. Examples include: and, or, but, so.
Interjections are isolated words and phrases that generally express emotion. Most profanities are used in the context of an interjection, as are salutations. They are, as a rule, not connected to a sentence. Interjections are often in the form of exclamations, and are thus usually followed by an exclamation mark [!]. Examples include: “Ouch!” “Hi!” “Excuse me.”
Transitions clarify the time order. They link what has occurred with what is to follow, either within a paragraph, or between paragraphs.
For example: First, I opened the door. Then, I went outside.
Some common transition words are: before, after, then, next, finally, first, second, third, last, as a result, earlier, later, suddenly, meanwhile, and since.
A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. Each sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark: (.),(!)or(?)
Kinds of Sentences
Believe it or not there are types of sentences! Before we get into the parts of a sentence, here are the four types of sentences.
Declarative: gives information, is ended with a period (.)
Interrogative: asks a question, is ended with a question mark (?)
Imperative: gives a command or makes a request, is ended with a period or an exclamation mark (.) or (!)
Exclamatory: shows surprise or strong feeling, is ended with an exclamation point (!)
Parts of a Sentence
A sentence is made up of a subject and predicate.
The complete subject of a sentence is all the words that tell whom or what the sentence is about.
The simple subject of a sentence is the main word or group of words in the complete subject.
The simple subject is a noun or a pronoun that names the subject.
The complete predicate of a sentence is the verb and all the other words that tell what the subject does, has, is, or is like.
The simple predicate of a sentence is the main word or group of words in the complete predicate. The simple predicate is also called the verb.
For example in the sentence: The flower is blue. “The flower” is the complete subject and “is” is the simple predicate, “is blue” is the complete predicate. Even the sentence: “The flower is.” Is technically correct, meaning the flower exists, or it may be the answer to a question such as “What is blue?” “The flower is.”
A sentence may have two or more subjects or predicates. These are called compound subjects and compound predicates.
A compound subject is two or more simple subjects that have the same predicate.
The simple subjects are connected by and or or.
A compound predicate is two or more simple predicates that have the same subject.
The simple predicates are connected by and, or, or but.
For example in the sentence “Jack and Jill ran and tumbled.” “Jack and Jill” is the compound subject and “ran and tumbled” is the compound predicate.
A simple sentence contains one complete subject and one complete predicate.
A compound sentence consists of one or more simple sentences.
When you write two thoughts that are closely related, they may be connected to form one compound sentence. The parts of a compound sentence can be joined by and, but, or or. These connecting words are called coordinating conjunctions. A comma will usually appear before the conjunction. Two simple sentences can also be joined by a semi colon, but only if both sentences are independent clauses. Meaning that they have something to do with one another, but can stand alone.
For example:The wolf howled sadly under the light of the full moon; it couldn’t stand to be far from its mate.
Avoid fragments when you are writing professionally. A fragment is a group of words that does not express a complete thought or lacks a subject, predicate, or both.
For example: Yes, at 11:00.
To fix this fragment, add a subject and a verb: Yes, the Hogwarts Express leaves from Platform Nine and Three Quarters at 11:00am.
Another issue to avoid when writing is the run-on sentence. It may be difficult at first, but with practice run-ons can be defeated!
For example: Hayao Miyazaki is my favorite Japanese movie director and he is the director of many amazing movies such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
This run on can be edited to: Hayao Miyazaki is my favorite Japanese director. He is the director of many amazing movies such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
A compound sentence combines two or more simple sentences.
We use and to combine ideas
For example: Every night William practiced the trumpet. He also practiced the trombone. Every night William practiced the trumpet, and the trombone
We use but to contrast ideas
For example Christina thought she had failed the test. She aced it. Christina thought she had failed the test, but she aced it.
We use or to show alternative ideas
For example Michael could play video games. He could play outside. Michael could play video games, or he could play outside.
Remember to always use a comma before the conjunction in a compound sentence!
Correct punctuation helps convey your ideas more clearly to the reader. Below are some rules for punctuation.
1.Indent the first line of a paragraph.
–>My goal in life is to become a world famous tennis player. By practicing hard and always trying my best, I am sure that I will succeed in life and achieve that goal! Together with my teammates I will practice serving and returning as well as tennis etiquette. I will read books on tennis and watch live matches.
–>My second goal in life is to become a famous author. I want to get my short stories published so that people all around the world can read them. I hope that my stories will be as amazing as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
–>Although I would like to think I can achieve my goals, I have to think practically. I should work on getting acknowledged on district and state levels first before I can move on to national levels. If I make it there, then I can probably start planning where I will build my beach front houses.
2.Use a period at the end of a declarative or imperative sentence.
I laughed at the thought. Open the bottle.
3.Use a question mark at the end of an interrogatory sentence.
Who am I?
4.Use an exclamation point at the end of an exclamatory sentence.
There was no way he was still alive; Brutus killed him in the first act!
5.Use a comma after an introductory word or phrase such as yes, no, or well.
Well, after all you are the boss.
6.Use a comma after a transitional word or phrase that introduces a sentence.
Suddenly, I was surrounded by bandits!
7.Use a comma before a conjunction if two independent sentences are combined.
I learned to tango, and I learned the lyrics.
Capitalization makes your written work look much more professional and lets the reader know when you are talking about something “special” such as the day of the week, the month, a planet, a person’s title, a place, etc. It also signifies the first word of a sentence. For example: The audience gasped as the volunteer disappeared.
When you are writing, if it is not a prompt given to you by a teacher or professor or a job your boss might have given you, it helps to write about something you care about. It is often difficult to write if you do not like what you are writing about!
There are five steps in the writing process:
Know what kind of writing you want to do; it helps to look at examples you may find in English textbooks or online. Know your audience and why you are writing. Who is going to be reading this and why are they going to be reading it? Choose a topic that interests you. If you do not know anything about it, do some research first! Take notes, make lists, draw charts or diagrams, or plan an outline to help organize your ideas. Whatever you need to do to get a sense as to how you will be writing and how you want it to unfold.
Using your plan, write a first draft. Its okay if you do not strictly follow your outline/plan. It is only your first draft after all! It is okay if you make mistakes. You can go back and correct them later on. This first draft can be changed and edited.
Read your first draft. Make any changes to content or grammar that you see fit. After you have finished revising it, give it to a family member,friend,peer,classmate,teacher or coworker and have them read it over. Have them make notes on it, or discuss what you could do to make it better: clear up confusing parts, fix grammatical errors, etc. It helps the final product if you rewrite/retype a second copy in which you address all of the mistakes you and/or your reader have found.
Read over your second draft for any missed grammatical errors. When you write your final copy, make all changes to grammatical errors and/or content and style. Although it may seem time consuming, proofreading can make your final draft much better. Your audience will not be able to appreciate it as much if there are errors or if there is confusion about what you are trying to say.
5.Writing the Final Copy
Make all necessary changes to grammar, content, font, size, alignment and anything else that the audience might find distracting or unnecessary.
Be professional about your presentation. Always turn in assignments, whether it be to a teacher or your boss, ON TIME! I cannot stress that enough. People appreciate a clean copy of your work on time and if possible, early. It shows you are capable of professional level work and your reputation will thank you!
What is a personal narrative?
1.It tells about true (nonfiction) or imagined (fiction) events that the writer has experienced.
2.It is written from the first-person point of view.
3.It mentions the time, the place and the people involved.
4.It describes the events in the order in which they happened.
5.It indicates the writer’s feelings about the experience.
By writing a personal narrative you become a storyteller. You are the narrator! You explain the setting (time and place)as well as the detailed sequence of events!
A feature story gives the reader the opportunity to find out more information by taking an in-depth look at a person, place or event. The topics may be about anything. Feature stories can be found in magazines and newspapers or on television, radio, or the internet. A feature story has these characteristics: 1. It is about a subject that the writer thinks would interest readers. 2. It describes a person, a place or an event. 3. It has a casual, rather than a formal, tone. 4. It may include the writer’s opinions, as well as facts about the subject.
The Six Basic Journalism Questions
1. What happened? 2. When did it happen? 3. Who was involved? 4. Where did it happen? 5. Why did it happen? 6. How did it happen?
If it is applicable to the feature story, you may want to conduct an interview. By interviewing people who are directly involved with the topic of your feature story, you can gain answers about the six basic questions.
Preparing for an Interview
1.Set up a time and a place to meet with your subject. 2.Prepare your questions in advance and write them down. Don’t depend on your memory. If you’d like, prepare a note card for each question so that there is enough room to write down notes for their answers. 3.Dress appropriately and neatly. 4.Be friendly and courteous. 5.Take a pen or pencil and a notepad with you to record your notes. If you are more technologically savvy, you could bring an audio recorder instead ( anything from a blank cassette and recording device to an iPhone, the sky is the limit with interviews nowadays) Just make sure you get accurate notes so you are not accidentally changing what the subject has told you. A few notes on taking notes: When taking notes, be sure to spell the names of people correctly. If you are unsure of a spelling, it is okay to ask the person. Write down all names, statistical figures and key words. When you want to use a direct quote, repeat the quote to the person and ask for permission to use it. If you bring a tape recorder to the interview, be sure you ask permission to use it. 6. Be sure to thank the person for allowing you an interview, both before and after you are done with your questions.
Types of Questions
There are three categories of questions used when interviewing: icebreakers, fact-finders, and probes.
Icebreakers put people at ease. They do not necessarily have to relate to your feature story, but they are usually a topic of mutual interest. For example, if your feature story is about a woman who grew up in Massachusetts,USA, your icebreaker might be: “Have you always been a Red Sox fan?”
Fact-finders concern the subject of your feature story and should result in answers to the six basic questions. For example, if your feature story is about an American grad school student who volunteers in South Africa every summer, your fact-finder might be: “What inspired you to volunteer in South Africa every summer?”
Probes go a bit deeper than fact-finding questions. They should reveal a reaction, an observation, or an insight that adds interesting detail to your feature-story. For example, if your feature story is about a girl raised by wolves, your probe might be: Why do you think the wolves accepted you as one of their own? (A good read related to this topic is Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George 😉
Writing the Feature Story
There are three main parts to a feature story:
The Lead: the first line of the story, use it to ‘hook’ the readers into reading more, but don’t give it all away!
The Body: go into detail and give the readers the information they need to understand the subject.
The Conclusion: always end on a note of interest. Inform the reader of up and coming events, exhibits, lectures, etc. Assume that the reader is interested in learning more about your subject.
1. When & where?
2. Who was there?
3. What happened?
4. Now what?
Contributing Authors: Elizabeth Sulzby, Marvin Klein, William Teale, James Hoffman, Sylvia Pena, Lois Easton, Henrietta Grooms, Miles Olson, Arnold Webb
A Note to Future Editors, Contributors and Readers
This page is not complete, I will be coming back to finish it at a later date. If you wish to add to whatever exists or contribute to blank headings, please do so 😀 Thank you! To the readers, forgive me for not completing this page in one night! It’s a start!