WH Question Words

Introduction

 

We often refer to them as WH words because they include the letters WH (for example WHy, HoW). We use question words to ask certain types of questions, such as what, when, where, who, why and how. They may be used in both direct questions (Where is he going?) and in indirect questions (I wonder where he is going). In English and various other languages the same forms are also used as relative pronouns in certain relative clauses (The country where he was born) and certain adverb clauses (I go where he goes).

 

Some Examples are as follows

 

Question Word: What

Function: Asking for information about something / asking for repetition or confirmation / asking for a reason, asking why

 

Example: What is your name?

What? I can’t hear you.
You did what?

what…for

What did you do that for?

 

Question Word: When

Function: Asking about time

 

Example: When did he leave?

 

Question Word: Where

Function: Asking in or at what place or position

 

Example: Where do they live?

 

Question Word: Which

Function: Asking about choice

 

Example: Which colour do you want?

 

Question Word: Who

Function: Asking what or which person or people (subject)

 

Example: Who opened the door?

 

 

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Interjection

An Interjection or Exclamation is a word used to express an emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker (although most interjections have clear definitions). Filled pauses such as uh, er, um are also considered interjections. Interjections are typically placed at the beginning of a sentence. An interjection is sometimes expressed as a single word or non-sentence phrase, followed by a punctuation mark.

 

Interjections to express greeting.
Examples : Hello!
Interjections to express joy.
Examples : Hurray!
Interjections to express approval.
Example : Bravo!
Interjections to express surprise.
Example : Oh!
Interjections to express grief.
Example : Alas!

 

The highlighted words in the following sentences are interjections:

Ouch, that hurt!

Oh no, I forgot that the exam was today.

Hey! Put that down!

Hello! My name is Amit.

Hurray! We won the match.

Bravo! That was a great goal.

Oh! I didn’t expect to see you here.

Alas! I failed in the examination.

 

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Quantifiers

Quantifiers form a sub-class under determiners; they are adjectives or phrases that serve to answer two possible questions: How many? And How much?

For e.g a few, a little, much, many, most, some, any, enough, etc are quantifiers.

 

Quantifiers that describe quantity

Words and phrases that describe quantity include a little, none, a few, etc. Some of these are used only with countable nouns (the ones that answer the question How many? such as a few, a number of, several, etc), some only with uncountable nouns (the ones that answer the question How much? such as a little, a bit of, etc) and some with both (the ones that answer both questions, such as no/none, some, a lot of, etc).

 

Quantifiers that express attitude

The words few and little and the phrases a few and a little serve to describe the speaker’s attitude to the quantity being described. The first two carry negatives suggestions, whereas the second two carry positive suggestions. For e.g. the phrase I have little time means that the speaker hardly has time, whereas the phrase I have a little time means that while the speaker may not have all the time in the world, s/he has enough for the purpose at hand.

 

‘Enough’

Enough is used to indicate the necessary amount or quantity; it is placed before nouns. For e.g. there is enough time, you have enough money, is there enough food? Etc.

 

 

Comparative quantifiers

There are ten comparative or grade quantifiers: much, many, more, most, few, fewer, fewest, little, less, and least.

 

Much, many, more and most chart, in ascending order, increase; much is used only with uncountable nouns, many only with plural countable nouns, and more and most with both.

 

I have much time. < I have more time. < I have the most time.

I have many apples. < I have more apples. < I have the most apples.

 

Few, fewer, fewest, little, less and least chart decrease. The first three (in descending order) are used only with countable plural nouns. The second three (in descending order) are used only with uncountable nouns.

 

He has few friends. > He has fewer friends. > He has the fewest friends.

He has little time. > He has less time. > He has the least time.

 

 

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Types of paragraphs

A paragraph is the smallest unit of prose composition. A paragraph may be defined as a group of sentences relating to a single topic. There are several different types of paragraphs.

 

Descriptive Paragraph

In a descriptive paragraph you describe a scene or a thing or a person. The aim is to give a vivid picture of the object. Only the significant details should be given in a descriptive paragraph.

 

Narrative Paragraph

In a narrative paragraph you narrate an incident. The ideas are presented in a coherent manner. Your account must be clear and cogent, and, when the occasion demands it, dramatic and full of suspense.

 

A paragraph of definition

In a paragraph of definition you define a person or an object. When you define things use precise words and expressions. Be objective, scientific and dispassionate in defining things.

 

A paragraph of similarities

When you compare two things you have to bring out the similarities between them in a convincing manner. Sometimes you will need to use a simile or a metaphor.

 

A paragraph of differences

When you contrast two things, the differences have to be expressed in an explicit manner. Use linking words like but, whereas, on the other hand, on the contrary etc.

 

Statement of facts and figures

There are paragraphs which do not belong to any of the above categories and are mainly concerned with giving facts and figures in a clear and emphatic manner.

 

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Direct and Reported Speech

There are two ways in language of conveying what someone else has said: Direct / Quoted speech and Indirect / Reported speech.

 

Direct / Quoted speech involves quoting the exact words uttered by the person, within quotation marks. For example she said, ‘I won’t be coming home tonight.’ is an example of direct speech.


Indirect / Reported speech, on the other hand, does not have to be within quotes or word-for-word. In fact, unless one is relaying the exact words spoken, one should never use quotation marks. For example, she told us that she wouldn’t be coming home that night is an example of reported speech. Note that the verb tense necessarily changes in reported speech. This is because when we report speech, we are talking, obviously, about something that was said in the past. Hence, it becomes necessary to use the past tense of the verb.

 

More Examples:

 

DIRECT SPEECH

He said, ‘I’m fine.’

He said, ‘I’ve been married for 3 years.’

He said, ‘I went to the theatre yesterday.’

He said, ‘The show was already underway when the chief guest arrived.’

 

 

REPORTED SPEECH

He said that he was fine.

He said that he had been married for 3 years.

He said that he had gone to the theatre the day before.

He said that the show was already underway when the chief guest arrived. (no change in tense)


Another thing to note is that modal verbs (will, can, must, shall, may) also change, taking their past tense forms (would, could, had to, should, might). This also means that would, could, should, might and ought to do not change forms when reported.

 

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PALINDROMES

 

The word Palindrome is derived from the Greek palíndromos, meaning running back again (palín = AGAIN + drom–, drameîn = RUN).  Palindromes are words or phrases that read the same in both directions

 

Some simple examples are:

RACECAR DEED LEVEL PIP
ROTOR CIVIC POP MADAM
EYE NUN RADAR TOOT

 

Some more Examples

 

Single Word Palindromes

  • Stressed or desserts
  • Rewarder or redrawer
  • Departer or retraped
  • Stop or pots
  • Snap or pans
  • Evil or live
  • Star or rats
  • Diaper or repaid
  • Never odd or even

 

Multiple Word Palindromes

  • Red rum, sir, is murder
  • Step on no pets
  • Eva, can I see bees in a cave?
  • No lemon, no melon

 

When creating reversible sentences, it is usually accepted that punctuation and word spacing are ignored, and so the famous MADAM, I’M ADAM is a valid palindrome.

 

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Subjects, Verbs and Objects

Subjects, verbs and objects are the basic units of any sentence; to be able to identify them and use them correctly is the one of the first steps to writing and speaking good English.

A sentence, of course, is the conventional unit of connected speech and writing: it is a grouping of words that together make sense as a statement, question, command or exclamation.

 

Sentences

 

  • Begin with a capitalized letter,
  • Conclude with a full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark,
  • And are, at the most basic level, comprised of a subject and a predicate, or verb.

 

The subject is generally a noun, a noun phrase, or pronoun, about which something is said in the predicate, which usually follows it. Take the following sentence:

 

The dog barked.

Here, the subject is the dog, and the verb ‘barked’ describes what it is/was doing. The place of the noun in the sentence as the subject can be taken by noun phrases, such as the five dogs, or by pronouns, such as I, you, he and she.

Another role played by nouns in sentences is that of the object: that which, directly or indirectly, receives the action performed by the subject. For example:

 

The dog barked at the postman.

Here, the postman is obviously the object: that which the subject’s action (the barking of the dog) is directed at. In this role too, pronouns such as they, it, us, them, me, etc can replace nouns.

To conclude, let us analyse another sentence and see if we can identify the subject-verb-object pattern:

 

Rita was furious with me.

Here,

  1. ‘was’ acts as the verb that links the subject, ‘Rita’,
  2. with the adjective ‘furious’,
  3. and together they establish the relationship between the subject and the object, ‘me’ (used in place of the narrator’s name).

 

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Subjunctive

 

Introduction

The subjunctive is a verb form in English that is relatively rare, but is structurally very simple. It is a special kind of present tense; for all verbs except the past tense of ‘be’ (‘were’), the subjunctive is the same as the infinitive without ‘to’. Therefore, the subjunctive is simply the basic verb form (for e.g., do, work, demand, hire), with the difference that no ‘s’ is added to the verb when it is used with the third person singular. For e.g. in the sentence I suggested that he take the matter to the proper authorities, ‘take’ is the subjunctive.

 

The subjunctive is used more often in American and written than in British and spoken English. It is used generally when talking about something that may or may not happen; it could be something that the speaker wants, hopes for, expects, or imagines. The following are more examples of subjunctives:

 

 

 

If I were king, there would be no more famines.

 

The chairman requests that all members of the board be present at the meeting.      

 

I demand that he provide us with a full explanation.

 

 

As you can see, the structure that the subjunctive takes is generally as follows: [subject] (I) [verb] (demand) ‘that’ [object] (he) [subjunctive] (provide)… The verbs that are commonly used before subjunctives are advise, ask, beg, decide, decree, desire, dictate, insist, intend, move, order, petition, propose, recommend, request, require, resolve, suggest, urge, and vote.

 

 

Another pattern exists as well, in which ‘that’ is preceded by an expression rather than the verb. For e.g. in the sentence It is essential that the goods be delivered on time, ‘it is essential’ is the expression. The expressions that are commonly used with subjunctives are it is desirable/imperative/essential/necessary/important, etc.

 

 

Now, in the example If I were king…, there seems to be a slight problem, which is that ‘king’ is a singular noun, so the verb preceding it should, it appears, be ‘was’, not ‘were’. However, this construction does not use ‘was’. ‘Were’ is the ‘past subjunctive’ of ‘be’, and is formally always with ‘if’, and certain other words/phrases, such as ‘I wish’ and ‘as if’; it is simply a quirk of the language.

 

The following are more examples of the same:

 

If I were you, I would take a stand on the issue.

 

            If he were not so intelligent, I would have fired him for his insolence.

 

            I wish she weren’t so dull.

 

            You act as if you were king.

 

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Spelling Rules for Adding “ing”

Introduction

Vowel = a sound we make when the breath flows out through the mouth freely, without being blocked. The English letters a, e, i, o, u are called vowels, because they represent such sounds.

Consonant = a sound we make that is not a vowel. The breath is somehow blocked on its way out of the mouth. For example, the sound b is made when breath flow is stopped with the lips. All the English letters which are not vowels are called consonants. These are

: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x,y,z.

 

Some verbs change their spelling when ”ing” is added to them.

 

Verbs ending with “consonant-vowel-consonant”

When a verb ends with a consonant-vowel-consonant, and we put STRESS on this sound in speech, we double the last consonant. Then we add ing.

The STRESS is underlined.

 

Example

run

=>

runn + ing

=>

running

stop

=>

stopp + ing

=>

stopping

plan

=>

plann + ing

=>

planning

begin

=>

beginn + ing

=>

beginning

 

But if we don’t put STRESS on this sound in speech, then we simply add ing.

 

Example

open

=>

open + ing

=>

opening

visit

=>

visit + ing

=>

visiting

listen

=>

listen + ing

=>

listening

happen

=>

happen + ing

=>

happening


Verbs ending with “e”

When a verb ends with the letter e, we first remove it, and then add ing.

 

Example

take

=>

tak + ing

=>

taking

make

=>

mak + ing

=>

making

dance

=>

danc + ing

=>

dancing

write

=>

writ + ing

=>

writing


Verbs ending with “ie”

When a verb ends with the letters ie, we change them into y, and add ing.

 

Example

lie

=>

ly + ing

=>

lying

die

=>

dy + ing

=>

dying

 

So these were the spelling rules for adding “ing”.

 

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Spelling Rules for Adding “ed”

Introduction

Vowel = a sound we make when the breath flows out through the mouth freely, without being blocked. The English letters a, e, i, o, u are called vowels, because they represent such sounds.

 

Consonant = a sound we make that is not a vowel. The breath is somehow blocked on its way out of the mouth. For example, the sound b is made when breath flow is stopped with the lips. All the English letters which are not vowels are called consonants. These are: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z.

 

 

Some verbs change their spelling when ”ed” is added to them.

 

Verbs ending with “consonant-vowel-consonant”

When a verb ends with a consonant-vowel-consonant, and we put STRESS on this sound in speech, we double the last consonant. Then we add ed.  The STRESS is underlined.

examples

stop

=>

stopp + ed

=>

stopped

plan

=>

plann + ed

=>

planned

But if we don’t put STRESS on this sound in speech, then we simply add ed.

examples

open

=>

open + ed

=>

opened

visit

=>

visit + ed

=>

visited

listen

=>

listen + ed

=>

listened

happen

=>

happen + ed

=>

happened

 

 

Verbs ending with “e”

When a verb ends with the letter e, we add only the letter d.

examples

dance

=>

dance + d

=>

danced

smile

=>

smile + d

=>

smiled

 

 

Verbs Ending with “y”

When a verb ends with the letter y, and there is a consonant before it, the y changes into i. Then we add ed.

examples

try

=>

tri + ed

=>

tried

cry

=>

cri + ed

=>

cried

study

=>

studi + ed

=>

studied

 

When a verb ends with y, and there is a vowel before it, we simply add ed to the verb.

examples

stay

=>

stay + ed

=>

stayed

play

=>

play + ed

=>

played

enjoy

=>

enjoy + ed

=>

enjoyed

So these were the spelling rules for adding “ed”.

 

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