Essential English grammar for English Grammar speaking series- Part 1
I normally do not emphasize on the grammar. Infact, I always say that grammar is not that important for english speaking.
But here I am going to talk about grammar part. This part is mainly for those who are already speaking. If you have not yet followed my advice and using our Marathi 2 English Speaking Course, then pl do skip this article.
A noun is the name of a person, place, or thing—as, Amitabh Bachhan, Mumbai, pencil. A noun may also name an
idea, a quality, or an action. Such names as beauty, noise,odor, and pain express ideas that one gains through the senses. Names of qualities include such words as honesty.
While names of actions comprise hundreds of words like counting, filing, writing.
A pronoun is a word that is used instead of a noun.
Pronouns are classified as follows:
Personal pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we and they.
Relative pronouns: who, which, that, and what.
Interrogative pronouns: who, which, and what.
Demonstrative pronouns: this and that, and the plurals these and those.
Indefinite pronouns: one, any, anyone, someone, none, each, both, another, etc.
Reciprocal pronouns: each other, one another.
Compound personal pronouns: myself, ourselves, yourself, yourselves, himself, herself, themselves, and itself.
A verb is a word that asserts — as, ” Business men work.”
Sometimes a group of words, called a verb phrase, is used to make an assertion. Such a phrase consists of a principal verb and one or more helping words, called auxiliary verbs.
The auxiliary verbs include the various forms of the verbs be (is, am, are, was, were, has been, have been), may, can, must, might, could, would, should, will, shall, ought, have, do, and did.
The following sentences contain verb phrases –
1. Your order will receive prompt attention.
2. We shall he glad to hear from you in a few days.
3. Our draft has been returned.
An adjective –
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun or a pronoun.
An adverb –
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective,
or another adverb. The following sentences contain adverbs:
1. You are cordially invited to be present at a Private Exhibition of our new spring hats.
2. We were extremely sorry to learn from your letter of April 4 that the table was damaged.
3. We will very gladly take back the two coats.
An adverb answers the question when? where? why? how? how many? or how much?
The words how, when, where, and why are sometimes used in asking questions, and in
such cases are called interrogative adverbs.
A preposition –
A preposition is a word that is used to show the relation between a noun or a pronoun and some other word in the sentence — as, ” Our draft of November 10 has been returned to us.”
A conjunction –
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, or clauses. These sentences illustrate the three uses:
1. Manufacturers and wholesalers allow credits varying from ten to ninety days.
2. The business envelope bears in its upper left-hand corner or on the flap the name and address of the house.
3. Some business houses prefer to have all letters single spaced, hut others prefer to have them double spaced.
To determine what part of speech a word is, therefore, you must answer the question,How is it used in the sentence?
It will be necessary also in this lesson to review briefly sentence, clause, and phrase.
A sentence is the expression of a complete thought in words. The simplest sentence must necessarily have a subject, the word or expression that names the person, thing, idea, quality, or action about which an assertion is made, and a predicate, the word or words that say something about the subject.
In the sentence, ” The customer paid cash for the goods,” the subject is The customer and the predicate paid cash for the goods, of which paid is the verb.
Some sentences also contain an object, that is, a word or group of words that completes the meaning of the verb and tells what is acted upon,—as, ”The salesman broke his pencil. ”
Here pencil is the object of broke.
Simple sentences become more complex as modifiers — words, phrases, and clauses — are added.
A phrase is a group of words that does not have a subject and predicate. It generally consists of a preposition and its object, or of an infinitive or participle and its object.
The following sentences contain phrases:
1. The president of the company resigned.
2. The man wanted to study salesmanship.
3. The bond, torn to pieces, was found in the waste basket.
As I said, do not get overwhelmed with this grammar part. But if you are already confident about it, then be sure to read other articles in this series.
Similar Adjectives and Adverbs Distinguished
Since every person should acquire an accurate and varied vocabulary, your attention is again directed to the study of certain words commonly misused. It is, of course, impossible to present here a complete list of similar words.
They constitute a study of importance and would require a large book. The intention of the lesson is to present a few of the most common illustrations and to show how such words can be studied, with the aid of a good dictionary.
All definitions are taken from the New Standard Dictionary. ContinuaL Renewed in regular succession; oft’en repeated; very frequent — as, continual interruptions.”
Continuous. Connected, extended, or prolonged without separation or interruption of sequence; unbroken; uninterrupted; unintermitted.
Continuous describes that which is absolutely without pause; continual, that which often intermits, but as regularly begins again.
1. Continual interruptions made it impossible to complete the work according to contract.
2. Mr. Johnson’s connections with this concern have covered fifteen years of continuous service.
FEW, LESS Few. Small or limited in number; not many; only a small number of. . Less. I. Smaller, as in capacity, quantity, or scope; not so large, great, or much; used as the comparative of little — as, ‘Hess time.”
2. Lacking full number or quantity; smaller by subtraction or omission — as, ”a year less a month.” 3. Of smaller import, of slighter consequence; inferior. use few when speaking of numbers; less, when speaking of capacity, quantity, or scope.
1. We have received fewer orders than usual. (Do not say less orders unless you wish to indicate their size rather than the number of them.)
2. There is less demand for cotton goods than there was a year ago.GRAND, SPLENDID Grand, i. Of imposing character or aspect; magnificent in proportion, extent, or belongings — as, ”grand scenery “; “a grand palace.”
2. Characterized by striking excellence or impressive dignity; inspiring—as, ‘ ‘a. grand idea ” ; “a grand oration. ” 3 . Preeminent by reason of great abihty or high character; noble; worthy of exalted
respect — as, “the grand old man.” Splendid, i. Giving out or reflecting brilliant light; brightly
2. Magnificent; imposing; gorgeous — as, “a. splendid pageant.” 3. Inspiring the imagination or causing emotions of great admiration; illustrfous; grand; glorious; heroic — as,
“splendid achievement.” The foregoing definitions make clear the distinction in meaning between these words. You should not allow yourselves to fall into the habit of speaking of everything that pleases you as grand or splendid, though sometimes either is correct. These words are correctly used in the following expressions
1. grand jury i. splendid display
2. grand review of troops 2. splendid necklaces
3. grand cathedral 3. splendid pageant
4. grand opera 4. splendid parade
5. grand river 5. splendid sunset
6. grand old man 6. splendid costumes
7. grand result 7. splendid coronation robes
8. grand bridge . 8. splendid stone (diamond)
9. grand fireworks 9. splendid achievement
10. grand achievement 10. splendid scenery
Hardly, i. In a hard or rough manner; rigorously; harshly ;oppressively; severely; unfavorably — as, “to deal hardly with one.” 2. With difiiculty or great pains — as, ”Seamen’s wages are hardly earned.” 3. Almost not; not, with few exceptions; not wholly; barely: noting that the qualified clause is untrue, but lacks little of being true — as, ‘ ‘He had hardly escaped when he was recaptured.”
4. Not quite; not, though almost: a euphemism for not, noting that the qualified clause is untrue, though approaching very nearly to truth — as, “That is hardly the way to do it.”
5. Improbably; not likely — as, “He will hardly take such a risk.” Scarcely, i. Only just; with difficulty or with little lapse of time; barely: signifying that the qualified attribute or action is true, but lacks little of being untrue — as, “I had scarcely spoken.”
2. Not quite; hardly: negativing the qualified word, but asserting that it lacks but little of truth — as, “You will scarcely maintain that proposition.” Scarcely is often improperly used for hardly. In strict usage scarcely has reference to quantity; hardly, to degree.
You may rightly say, “It is scarcely dun hour to nightfall” and “He will hardly finish his task before nightfall.” Do not say scarcely — than — as, ‘Scarcely had I recognized him than he addressed me.” In such sentences, use no sooner — than. HEALTHY, HEALTHFUL Healthy, i. Having health; being in a condition of health; sound; well — as, “a healthy body.”
2. Conducing or tending to health, etc. Healthful. Efficacious in promoting health or causing health;
sanative; salubrious — as, “a healthful climate.” Healthy is most correctly used to signify possessing or enjoying health or its results — as, ‘a. healthy person “; ”a healthy condition.” Healthful signifies promoting health, or tending, or adapted to confer, preserve, or promote health — as, “a healthful climate.” MAD, ANGRY Mad. I. Disordered in mind; lunatic; insane; crazy.
2. Subject to overmastering emotion; excited intensely or beyond self-control; inflamed or infatuated, as with jealousy, terror, or grief. Specif, I. Strongly moved by desire or curiosity; eager; infatuated—as,
‘mad for gold.”
2. Wild with animal spirits; extravagantly gay.
3. Distracted with trouble or anxiety, as mad with grief; angry; furious; enraged. 4. Uncontrollable, as an animal through rage or disease, especially rabies. 5. Proceeding from or indicating a disordered
mind; rash, as a mad project.
6. Tumultuous or uncontrollable in movement or action: said of things, as a mad torrent. Angry, i. FeeHng anger; moved by violent resentment or indignation against the agent or cause of the trouble — as, “angry with his brother.”
2. Showing or wearing the marks of anger; caused, occasioned, or aflfected by or as by anger — as, ”an angry sky.” 3. Med.: inflamed — as, “an angry sore.” 4. Vexed, grieved, etc. Mad in the sense of angry is colloquial. Do not say, ”You make me mad” or “I am mud at you.” In about nine cases out of ten the correct word is angry. You may very properly speak of a mad man, meaning an insane person, of a mad scheme, or of a mad dog.
NOWHERE, NOWHERES Nowhere, somewhere, and some place are correct. Avoid nowheres,
somewheres, and someplace. Do not say nowhere near for not nearly. REAL, VERY Real. I. Having actual existence; not theoretical or imaginary — as, “That is a real instance of success.”
2. Being in fact according to appearance or claim; genuine; not artificial, false, spurious SIMILAR ADJECTIVES AND as, ”real diamonds.”
3. Philos. Having actual being, whether spiritual or material; etc.
4. Law. (i) Relating or pertaining to, or arising out of, lands. \2) Civ. Law. Relating to or connected ith things, including things movable and immovable, as distinguished from persons. Very. i. In a high degree; in a large measure; extremely; exceedingly as, ”very generous. Do not say, “I am very pleased to meet you” or ”He was very provoked.” You should say, ”I am very much pleased” or ”He was very muck provoked.” Avoid the very common error of using the adjective real for very.
The foregoing definitions leave no doubt about the distinction in meaning between the two. Do not say, “This book is real deep.” Say, “This book is very deep.” Here are several incorrect expressions: “real tired,” “real hungry,” “real pretty,” “real busy,” and “real unjust.” Very or really is correct in each case. RESPECTFULLY, RESPECTIVELY Respectfully. With due respect. Respectively.
As singly or severally considered; singly in the order designated — as, “John, James, and William were elected president, secretary, and treasurer respectively.” In closing a letter in which Yours respectfully is to be used, be especially careful not to use respectively. SOME, SOMEWHAT Some. I. Of indeterminate quantity; of indefinite number or amount — as, “He bought some land in Texas.” 2. Appreciable
yet limited in degree or amount; moderate as,
“The report is in some measure true.”
3. Conceived or thought of, but not definitely known: used to express ignorance or uncertainty in regard to the person or thing referred to — as, “Some person drove past” or “He may fall into some ditch.”
4. Logic. Part at least; etc. 5. Colloq. Of considerable account; noteworthy or eminent As an adverb the word somŁ. has the following meanings: i. Colloq. In an approximate degree; as nearly as maybe estimated; about as, “Some eighty people were present.”
2. Dial, or Prov. Somewhat as, ”He was some tired” or “I like it some.” Somewhat. Adv. In some degree; to some extent — sls, *’somewhat hastily,” “somewhat more than a year ago.” Remember, therefore, that some should not be used in the sense of somewhat. Do not say, ”Business is some better this year.” It is incorrect to say, “Shipments were delayed some” for ‘Shipments were delayed somewhat.” NICE, AGREEABLE Nice. I. Characterized by discrimination and judgment; discernin — as, “a nice criticism.”
2. Refined and pure in tastes and habits; refined; hence overparticular; dainty; modest; fastidious; etc. From the above definition it is clear that nice in the sense of agreeable or attractive is colloquial. All such expressions as “nice time,” “nice man,” “nice business,” etc. are incorrect. APT, LIKELY, LIABLE Apt. I. Having a natural or habitual tendency (to); liable, likely, or given (to) as, “Iron is apt to rust.”
2. Adapted by nature; naturally gifted; fitted; able — as, “apt to rule.”
3. Adapted to the purposeas, “an apt illustration.” Likely, i. Apparently true or real; easily credible; plausible; probable as, “a likely explanation.” 2. Reasonably expected; showing a tendency; etc. Liable, i. Exposed, as to damage, penalty, expense, burden, or anything unpleasant or dangerous; open; contingently subject; with to as, “liable to insult or injury.” 2. Justly or legally responsible; answerable as,
“The endorser is liable.” 3. Having a tendency, inclination, or likelihood (to do something unfortunate or undesirable); likely (with unfavorable sense) as, “All men are liable to err.” There are some places in which these words are exact synonyms and one may, therefore, be used for the other. For example,
you will note that likely is given as one of the meanings of liable and that both likely and liable are given as synonyms of apt. Words that have the same meaning in some cases, however, have different meanings in others, and the selection of the correct word where the meanings are different is important.
If you eliminate the first definition of apt, because this meaning of the word is the same as one of the meanings of the words liable and likely, you get its distinctive meanings, naturally gifted and
adapted to a purpose. Neither liable nor likely has these meanings. Similarly in the first two definitions of liable you get its distinctive meanings, exposed to danger and legally responsible. Neither apt
nor likely has these meanings. The distinctive meaning of likely is the first one given — plausible.
Neither apt nor liable has this meaning. So much for the distinctive meanings — that is, the place where
one cannot be substituted for the other. But even where the meanings are similar there is a slight difference. Apt refers t o a natural tendency; liable, in the sense of likelihood, refers to something unfavorable; and likely refers to something expected merely.
Thus you say “Iron is apt to rust” when you have in mind its natural chemical qualities; you say ”Men are liable to err” when you have in mind an undesirable possibility; and you say “That man is likely to do wrong” when you have in mind a real probabiUty. None of the three words is wrong in the sentences just given, but the slight shade of difference in them is worth noting.
The following is a list of similar words to be studied with the help of the dictionary or a good book of synonyms: adequate, enough, sufficient disinterested, uninterested apparent, seeming due, owing credible, creditable exceptionable, exceptional delicious, delightful funny, odd, peculiar desirous, anxious human, humane
new, novel, modern
pitiable, piteous, pitiful
plenty, plenteous, plentiful
surprised, astonished, astounded
THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGLISH IN BUSINESS.
I. Why Worry About English?
1. The student who is looking forward to a business career is inclined to dislike anything that takes his attention from the profession he has chosen to master.
Accordingly, when some one says to him, ”You should learn more about English, it will help you in your work,” he is Ukely to reply with a question: “Why should I worry about that? If I know my own business I’ll get on all right, won’t I?” And not infrequently he turns away from his adviser, confident that the study of English has little or no place in the training of a business man or woman .
2. Yet many people know that this skepticism concerning the importance of English in business is not shared by progressive men of affairs. Large firms are every day establishing classes in English for the benefit of their employees; questions concerning correct usage come with astonishing regularity to teachers of English. It is plain that the gulf which once was thought to separate the business man and the teacher is rapidly narrowing.
The teacher can learn much from his friend in business; the business man can learn some things from the schoolmaster
3. When they have gone so far as to accept in a vague way this truth that good English has a place in successful business, some persons, however, make a mistake. They think that there is such a thing as ”business EngUsh,”
2 ftftie iSNGtlSHvOF BUSINESS entirely different from the literary English of the schools.
They realize that the phraseology of a business letter differs in many respects from that, say, of Macaulay’s Essays, and are inclined to make for themselves a new business rhetoric, and to feel, unconsciously perhaps, that the less they interest themselves in the old principles, the easier it will be to master the new.
4. In a limited way, of course, this is true. The ordinary student of English, unless he be a sort of ”perpetual Freshman, ” has in mind the attainment of *’ style ” ; he is interested in the creation of beauty—to use words of perhaps too large significance. The typical business man has no such ideal.
His purpose is, let us say, to sell automobiles. If by his writing he can realize this ambition, he is quite satisfied. He does not concern himself with aesthetics.
And yet to think that the English he uses differs in any fundamental way from that of his friend who writes short stories, is to err. There is no more a “business English” than there is an ”historical English” or a “geological English”; it is all one speech, one written language. What differences there are between the pages composed by story-teller, historian, geologist, and automobile salesman, arise only from the necessity of adapting one written language to the solution of different problems.
5. To return, however, to the main question: why is it that thoughtful people today realize that good English, in the large—and true—sense of the phrase, has an important relation to business? Why are firms and individuals each year paying more attention to the letters and other written matter they send out? Why should the young business man undertake to master the writing and speaking of English?
6. First of all, because the habitual use of good English, whether in speaking or writing, helps one to make a good impression upon other people. It is in a real sense a mark USINESS 3of distinction. A business house is particular about the appearance of its letter paper; it should be equally concerned
with what is written on that paper.
The young man who is advised to be careful about his personal appearance, in order to make a favorable impression upon his associates or employers, should be equally careful about his use of the national tongue.
7. Today, as most people know, the bulk of all business is transacted by letter. A firm is known to its clients not only by the goods it sells, but by the letters it writes. It often makes its first appeal to a prospective customer by a letter. If the letter is carefully typed, on good paper, and is well composed, it makes a favorable initial impression.
The high school graduate applying for a position writes a letter; if it is a good letter, he may receive a personal interview. The outcome of that interview will depend to a considerable xtent upon the candidate’s ability to express himself well in onversation. From this point of view, then, a command of
English is highly desirable: it enables one to make a better mpression, in writing or in speaking, than is possible when ne is not master of his tongue or pen. .
In the second place, a good command of English will nable a person to convey ideas to other people effectively; it will help him to do more business. The world of trade moves through the exchange of ideas. Smith has something to sell; Jones wants to buy. If Smith can show Jones that Smith’s goods will satisfy his demand, he will get the business he wishes. Whether or not he succeeds will depend to a considerable extent on his ability to express himself in English.
9. This practical value of the command of a language has seldom been more clearly recognized than by Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln. Neither man had the opportunity o secure a formal education; each man yearned for power toinfluence others; and each, as a young man, set dehberately about the task of learning to write well in order to convey his ideas to others in the most effective way. Today we still
read Franklin’s letters and Lincoln’s speeches, and wonder at the lucidity and force with which they expressed themselves.
They made the language their tool, and used the tool to admirable purpose. 10. A command of English, then, will aid the business man in these two ways : it will help him make a good impression on others, and will render easier his task of conveying ideas effectively.
The very fact that a command of English has this immediate value to the business man, suggests that it will aid him in still a third way: it will give him self-confidence. Watch a skillful artisan ten minutes, and see how his mastery of his tools enables him to go about his work easily and swiftly. Put those same tools into the hands of a man unacquainted with their use, and the result will be a bungling job—or a wreck.
This lack of confidence which the untrained man is so conscious of is one of the most certain
causes of his failure. Similarly, the business man who “knows what he means, but can’t express himself,” makes a poor showing beside his rival who, no more skillful perhaps than the inarticulate competitor, has yet the confidence which comes from mastery of the chief tool with which business is
transacted—the English language.
11. The chief tool—but not, of course,- the only tool. Mere mastery of language will not ensure any person’s success. But of two men equally endowed in other respects the one who has most effectively mastered the English language will attain the fullest measure of success.