Learning English? Get the plan!

TWO important aspects must be appreciated in order to learn English effectively. These are word formation or morphology, and building sentences also called syntax. Together these make up what is commonly termed as grammar.

Simply put, grammar is a plan or a blueprint of the English language. People who read and write English use this blueprint to construct words, groups of words (phrases) and sentences.

Parts of speech

The types of words that go into syntax are known as parts of speech. There are eight parts of speech. They are:

  • Verbs
  • Nouns
  • Pronouns
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions
  • Interjections

Those who study in depth these aspects of learning the English language are called grammarians. However, most of us are concerned only to know just enough to help us communicate effectively especially in conversation.

But many of us also need to communicate effectively in writing. To do this coherently and in an intelligible fashion, a decent appreciation of the grammar of English is essential.

Take the grammar quiz

Test your grasp of basic grammar with the following simple exercise comprising ten questions. It will help to further your understanding of syntax (parts of speech). Choose carefully an answer from the options given after each question.

1. A witness under oath must always speak the truth to the court.

What part of speech is the word 'speak' in the sentence above?

A. noun
B. verb
C. adjective
D. preposition

2. Lady Gaga frequently writes articles for that newspaper.

Where would you insert the word 'short' in this sentence?

A. between 'Lady Gaga' and 'frequently'
B. between 'frequently' and 'writes'
C. between 'writes' and 'articles'
D. between 'articles' and 'for'

3. Those students answered all the questions intelligently.

What word would you use as a substitute for the words 'those students'?

A. he
B. she
C. me
D. they

4. Can you please air this stuffy room?

What part of speech is the word 'air' in this sentence?

A. noun
B. verb
C. conjunction
D. preposition

5. The receptionist always smiled ________ she was not happy.

Which of the following conjunctions would you use to fill in the blank?

A. but
B. or
C. and
D. where

6. We ________ visit our niece in Sydney.

Which one of the following words would you use to fill in the blank in the above sentence?

A. are
B. family
C. sometimes
D. have

7. Which part of speech was the correct answer in number 6 above?

A. noun
B. verb
C. adjective
D. adverb

8. I bought a computer during the Great Singapore Sale.

If I want to remove the word 'computer,' which of the following words is qualified to take its place?

A. cunningly
B. have
C. fast
D. handbag

9. drove / Genting Highlands / he /in / us / family car / to / the

Which of the following is the best rearrangement of the words given above?

A. He to us drove the family car in Genting Highlands.
B. He drove us in the family car to Genting Highlands.
C. Drove us to Genting Highlands he in the family car.
D. To Genting Highlands he drove us in the family car.


10. The wolf followed Red Riding Hood to her grandmother's cottage.

The words 'wolf', 'Red Riding Hood' and 'cottage' belong to the same part of speech. Which one of the following is it?

A. noun
B. verb
C. pronoun
D. adverb



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