The basics of style

English is more than one language. Apart from U.K. (Queen’s) English, there’s obviously U.S. English. But where did it all start? Because the UK has been invaded countless times over the centuries, its language is an amalgam of many tongues. The Roman occupation some 2,000 years ago lasted 400 years, so much of our vocabulary […]

Verbs and their tenses

Remember Latin? Verbs of the first, second, third and fourth conjugations? All very structured; all very logical. Well English isn’t like that. You just have verbs … period. Doing words like I ‘eat‘ or I ‘drive‘ a car and so on. Now clearly you can drive a car yesterday, today or tomorrow. You may still […]

Pedantry and Prepositions

In our rush to write perfect English, we should perhaps pause for a moment and consider the importance of style. Whilst some words and phrases are quite clearly wrong, there are occasions when style can legitimately overrule supposedly correct sentence structure. Just because a sentence disobeys one or more rules, it is not necessarily badly […]

Conjunctions and Interjections

Conjunctions and Interjections There are eight ‘Parts of Speech’. We’ve had a quick look at nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs,pronouns and prepositions. Finally we come to conjunctions and interjections. Neither of them are particularly difficult to understand, but they play important roles when you are trying to learn how to write good English. CONJUNCTIONS are joining […]

Pronouns and Prepositions

Pronouns and Prepositions We come now to pronouns and prepositions – important parts of speech when you’re learning how to write good English. PRONOUNS, as the name suggests, are used instead of nouns – they are pro-nouns. They help us simplify sentences by avoiding repetition. It would be clumsy to write “John sat down at […]

Parts of Speech – Nouns and Verbs

Nouns and Verbs Parts of speech are the names that describe the role or purpose of the different types of words in a language; the job that each word performs in a sentence. First are NOUNS, which are names of things. PROPER NOUNS normally begin with a capital letter (sometimes known as ‘upper case’) and […]