Correct grammar is essential if you want to make a good impression and appear educated. People make assumptions about intelligence and ability based on the correctness of the grammar spoken. This is equally important in written and oral communication. Correct sentence structure is created when the basic rules of sentences are adhered to. At its simplest level, a sentence must always contain at least one subject, which is a noun, and one verb. By recognizing and practicing this basic structure, spoken and written grammar will improve.
Create your own grammar worksheets by writing a list of nouns on one page in a notebook. Remember that nouns are people, places and things. Use the dictionary to check any words about which you may be uncertain as the dictionary will indicate whether the word is a noun.
Write a list of verbs on another page in the notebook. Remember that verbs are action words. Use the dictionary to check any words about which you may be uncertain as the dictionary will indicate whether the word is a verb.
Use a third page in the notebook to create simple sentences by choosing one noun from the noun list and one verb from the verb list. Add articles such as "the," "these," or "an" to help make the sentences more clear. Adjust the verb to agree in number with the noun so that singular nouns will have singular verb form and plural nouns will have the plural form. Use only the present tense of the verb. For example, if the noun chosen was "book" and the verb chosen was "fell," the sentence constructed would be: "The book falls."
Create more interesting sentences by using adjectives that add description to the noun. For example, "The book falls" could become, "The blue book falls." Rewrite the sentences changing all the verbs to the past tense. In this example the sentence would become, "The blue book fell."
Add a predicate phrase to the verb, something that adds more detail about the action, answering the question "where," "why" or "how" about the verb. For example, for the sentence, "The blue book fell," the added predicate phrase that answers the question "where" might be, "The blue book fell onto the floor."
Underline all the nouns in all the sentences with a colored pencil. Underline all the verbs with a colored pencil of a different color. Draw a vertical line between the subject part of the sentence and the predicate or verb part of the sentence. Repeat steps 1 through 6 for additional practice with sentence structure or purchase a grammar workbook on sentence structure and do the exercises in the book.
Open the text and copy a selected short sentence from the book into the notebook. Underline all the nouns and verbs, using the same colors for nouns and verbs used in Step 6. Check in the dictionary to determine if you correctly identified the words.
- Whenever you communicate in writing, always check your sentence structure by identifying the nouns and verbs in each sentence and checking for singular plural agreement. When speaking, keep these grammar rules in mind and try to speak accordingly.
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.