For the best VocLab experience, we recommend upgrading to a modern browser like Google Chrome, Firefox (12+), Safari (5+) or Internet Explorer (8+).

If you like our Grammar Notes, sign-up for more.
It's free and you will be able to add your own words and your learning status will be saved.

Sign-up for your free VocLab account

Grammar Notes English (US)

The English language originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects that underwent many changes in the Middle Ages wherein it was influenced by two invaders. The scandinavian brought about significant simplification in its grammars while the Normans brought about more technicality in the vocabulary of the said language. It is the official language in 54 countries, 27 non-sovereign entities and not to mention the United Nations. With over 1.5 billion users it is now being considered as a universal language. Learning the English language widens your horizons and opens bigger opportunity for personal and professional growth.

English has a stress and rhythm pattern that is different from other languages in the world. Most languages give equal amount of time to each syllable. In English, we give an equal amount of time between stressed syllables. This means that you must say many unstressed syllables very quickly. You must also take note of intonation patterns.


In English, there are two basic intonation patterns.

1. Rising Intonation - the speaker raises his or her voice on the last stressed syllable of the sentence and keeps the tone higher to the end of the sentence. This pattern is used to indicate that what he or she is saying or asking requires a YES or NO answer.

Are you my teacher?
Will you go home tonight?
Are you ready?

2. Rising-Falling Intonation - the speaker raises the tone on the last stressed syllable of the sentence and then drops the tone to a point that is even lower than the tone before the voice was raised. This pattern is used for regular sentences and for most questions requiring the giving of some information as an answer. There are other patterns, but they are basically variations of the two described.

I am your teacher.
I will go home tonight.

You need must be aware of the intonation as often it can completely change the meaning of a sentence, example:

'You're a college graduate' can either be a statement or a question depending on whether it is said with rising intonation or rising-falling intonation.

Nouns are defined as words used to name a person, animal, place or thing.

There are two kinds of nouns:

1. Common Noun - is the name for the people, places and things around us, such as woman, cat, tree, table, church, air, river, room, etc. Common nouns can also name non-visible things such as idea, luck, happiness, memory, justice, etc.

woman – person
man – person
boy – person
girl – person
bike – thing
ship – thing

2. Proper Noun - is a name that identifies a particular person, place or thing. The first letter should always be in capitalized form.

Woman – Melissa
Man – Albert
Ship – Titanic

Nouns are also classified as either feminine or masculine. They refer to a gender of the person. Feminine nouns are women/girls while masculine nouns are men/boys.

Rules in forming Plural forms of nouns

1. Add (s) after the noun

Singular Form - Plural Form
car – cars
table – tables
bag – bags

2. Add es when the noun ends with (s), (z), (x), (ch) or (sh)

Singular Form - Plural Form
box – boxes
kiss – kisses
church – churches

3. When the noun ends with (y), you should change (y) with (i) and then add (es)

Singular Form - Plural Form
enemy – enemies
baby – babies
lady - ladies

Verbs are words that describe actions and movement. They are also very important in the English language because you will use them a lot of times in every sentence.

There are different kinds of verbs that you must take note of and they are the following:

1. Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called helping verbs because they are needed to form many of the tenses. The most used auxiliary verbs are the verbs to be, to do and to have.
2. Gerund is the name given to the present participle form of a verb that is used as a noun.


3. Modal verbs includes: can, must, may, might, will, would, should. They are used with other verbs to express ability, obligation, possibility, and so on.

Using nouns and verbs to make sample sentences:
man + sit : The man is sitting.
boy and girl + jump : The boy and the girl are jumping.

Take note that grammatical conjugation of a verb requires making a systematic list of all forms of the verb for each person, number, and tense. The verb to be is the most irregular verb in English.

The verb to be is conjugated as follows:

Infinitive: be/is/are
Present: being/verb+ing
Past participle: been

Person, Number : Present : Past
1st, singular : I : am : was
2nd, singular : you are : were
3rd, singular : he/she/it is : was
1st, plural : we are : were
2nd, plural : you are : were
3rd, plural : they are : were

I am feeling sad.
I am feeling angry.
They are in love.

Verb tenses will be discussed in details in Chapter 6.

Adjectives are words that describe a noun.

The white pants are long.
The yellow t-shirt is big.
The white t-shirt is small.

Past tense - used when the action is already done.

Rules in forming past tense of regular verbs:

1. adding (ed) to the base form of the verb

Verb: jump
The horse jumped.

2. Verbs ending in the vowel (e), add (d).

Verb: tie
She tied her shoe lace properly.

3. Verbs that ends with a vowel+y, add (ed).

Verb: play
The children played at the playground.

4. verbs that ends with a consonant+y, change the (y) to (i) and add (ed)

Verb: cry
She cried when her mother left.

5. verbs ending in short vowel sounds followed by a consonant, double the final consonant before adding (ed).

Verb: stop
The care stopped in front of me.

Present tense - used when the action is currently being done. Formed by just using the first form of the verb.

I walk to school everyday.

There is also what we call Present progressive tense which is used when:

1. When somebody is doing something at this moment.
2. When something is happening at this moment. When the action has started but hasn't finished.
3. To talk about something that is happening around the time of speaking but not necessarily at that exact moment.

The cat is drinking.
The horse is jumping.

Future tense - used when the action is about to take place. It is formed with the use of helping verbs like going to, will, etc..

The cat is going to drink.
The horse is going to jump.

Simple progressive tenses - is pretty much the same as simple tenses but you need to add helping verbs like is, are, has, have, has to, going to, etc.

The man has climbed the mountain.
The woman is going to swim in the lake.
The boy and the girl have played on the beach.


Personal pronouns
He/his – male
She/her – female
You-either male or female (2nd person in a conversation)

The girl has a doll in her hand.
The woman has a book in her hand.
The man has a magazine in his hand.


Prepositions are words that describe the place or position of an object or person. There are a lot of prepositional words some of which are (in), (on), and (under).

The word (in) is used when an object or person is inside a certain location, thing, or structure.

The word (on) is used when an object or person is placed on top of a location (not exactly inside), thing, or structure.

The word (under) is used when an object or person is placed under a location, thing, or structure.

A man in a train station.
A baby in a car.
A boy and a girl under a plane.
A bike on a car.

To form positive and negative statements in the English language you just have to take note of the following:

1. Positive statements are those that do not contradict any idea, situation, or concept.

The bus is parking in the parking lot.
A man is standing in front of the factory.
A man is standing in the office.

2. Negative statements are those that contradict or negate an idea, situation, or concept. In order to indicate that the statement is negative we just take note of the word not.

The man is not sitting, he is standing in front of the factory.
The woman is not standing, she is sitting in the office.

Asking questions is very important when you want to communicate with other people. It helps you gain understanding of things you do not know. That's why formulating basic questions using (who), (what), (where), and (when) is very important.


The question word what answers questions about things and actions.

What is the woman doing? | The woman is cooking.
What is the woman doing? | The woman is drinking.
What is the woman doing? | The woman is eating.


The question word where is used to answer questions about places.

Where is the man? | The man is in the house.
Where is the boy? | The boy is in the garage.


The question word when answers questions about time.

When is your birthday?
When are you leaving?


The question word who answers questions about people.

Who is the teacher?
Who is the mechanic?
Who is the doctor?


How is used to ask about the current state of the person you are talking to.

Hello, How are you?
I'm fine, thank you.


There are certain actions wherein you will wonder why it happened in the first place. That's where we usually use the why question. Usually why questions are answered using the word because (to explain the action and the condition that caused it) at the beginning of the sentence.

The boy is taking off his t-shirt because it's hot.
The boy is putting on a sweatshirt because it's cold.
The boy is wet because he was swimming.

When you compare things you must take note that you should/can use words of comparisons like (than the), (more), (less), and (better). You can also follow a simple rule when making sentences with comparisons, and this rule is:

Object A + form of verb + adj. adding the ending (-er) + than the + Object B.

The woman is more beautiful than the man.
The dog is uglier than the cat.
The man is fatter than the woman.

Comparisons in the superlative form (most). Take note that most of the words in superlative form end with (est).

The elephant is the biggest animal in the picture.
The snake is the smallest animal in the picture.

Counting and numbers in the English language is very easy. Unlike in other languages, you just need to know its proper order and there are no special rules in pronouncing and writing them. Well of course, there is the basic numbers and number words but aside from that nothing else follows.

Here is the list of numbers that start from the lowest to the highest:
one (1)
two (2)
three (3)
four (4)
five (5)
six (6)
seven (7)
eight (8)
nine (9)
ten (10)
eleven (11)
twelve (12)

Now there is one rule to remember when writing or saying numbers that are combined with nouns. When you use number one (1) you will write the noun in singular (one) form. But when you use numbers two (2) and up, you need to transform the word into plural (many) form. Always remember the rules in forming plural forms of nouns.

one man
two babies
three boys
four buses
The boy has one ball.
The boy has two balls.

Now, for numbers 13-19 you just have to write the numbers 3-9 then adding the word (teen) at the end.

thirteen (13)
fourteen (14)
fifteen (15)
sixteen (16) and so on.

Take not that when you reach twenty and thirty you can write the number words as is and then combine it with numbers 1-9.

Twenty-one (21)
Twenty-two (22)
Thirty-one (31) and so on.

When it reaches hundreds the format will be like this:
One Hundred One (101)
One Hundred Fifty One (151)
Two Hundred One ---and so on…