10 Important Grammar Rules

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Here are 10 simple rules and tips to help you avoid mistakes in English grammar.

1. A sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a period/full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark.

  • The fat cat sat on the mat.
  • Where do you live?
  • My dog is very clever!

2. The order of a basic positive sentence is Subject-Verb-Object. (Negative and question sentences may have a different order.)

  • John loves Mary.
  • They were driving their car to Bangkok.

3. Every sentence must have a subject and a verb. An object is optional. Note that an imperative sentence may have a verb only, but the subject is understood.

  • John teaches.
  • John teaches English.
  • Stop! (i.e. You stop!)

4. The subject and verb must agree in number, that is a singular subject needs a singular verb and a plural subject needs a plural verb.

  • John works in London.
  • That monk eats once a day.
  • John and Mary work in London.
  • Most people eat three meals a day.

5. When two singular subjects are connected by or, use a singular verb. The same is true for either/or and neither/nor.

  • John or Mary is coming tonight.
  • Either coffee or tea is fine.
  • Neither John nor Mary was late.

6. Adjectives usually come before a noun (except when a verb separates the adjective from the noun).

  • I have a big dog.
  • She married a handsome Italian man.
  • (Her husband is rich.)

7. When using two or more adjectives together, the usual order is opinion-adjective + fact-adjective + noun. (There are some additional rules for the order of fact adjectives.)

  • I saw a nice French table.
  • That was an interesting Shakespearian play.

8. The words its and it's are two different words with different meanings.

  • The dog has hurt its leg.
  • He says it's two o'clock.

9. The words your and you're are two different words with different meanings.

  • Here is your coffee.
  • You're looking good.

10. The words there, their and they're are three different words with different meanings.

  • There was nobody at the party.
  • I saw their new car.
  • Do you think they're happy?


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