Copyright by Kozi Asano 1999
Any English writing is made up of sentences. A sentence begins with a capital letter, and ends with a period. Every sentence is made up of words. Words are separated by a space.
In English, six major types, or usages, of words are distinguished. They are called parts of speech and are shown below.
1. Noun 2. Adjective 5. PrepositionIn the above table, the parts of speech in the first line, that is, noun, adjective, and preposition, make one group. The parts of speech in the second line, that is, verb, adverb, and conjunction, make the other group.
3. Verb 4. Adverb 6. Conjunction
Since these parts of speech are so important, you need to memorize them in the order in which I have numbered them.
You may wonder what those parts of speech are. Here I will explain what they are.
Next I will give you examples of nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs so that you can better understand what they are like.
There are long sentences and short sentences. There are many words in a long sentence. However long or short, every sentence must have at least two elements, that is, subject and main verb. These two elements are the most important parts of a sentence. So you have to first recognize what the subject is and what the main verb is in a sentence when you read English. Even if a sentence is very long and contains very many words, you can always find its subject and main verb. When you find the subject and main verb of a sentence, you understand the basic meaning of the sentence.
So what is the subject and what is the main verb?
A sentence is something which tells you something about something. In other words, a sentence picks up a subject and tells you something about it. So the subject is what you are talking about in a sentence. The main verb expresses what you say about the subject. Here is an example.
Tom cries.This sentence is about Tom. In it, you are talking about Tom, and what you say about Tom is that he cries. I hope you now understand why these two elements, subject and main verb, are indispensable for a sentence.
So how do you find the subject and main verb of a sentence? The subject of a sentence must be a noun. The main verb must be a verb. Thus when you put together a noun and a verb, you have a sentence, actually a very short sentence like this: Birds fly.
The two-words sentence like "Birds fly" is so simple. When you want to put more information in a sentence, what can you do?
Fortunately, the English language has the definite order of words in a sentence. The normal word order is as follows:
Subject + Main Verb + Object(s) + Adverb.Thus a typical simple sentence is like this:
I had lunch there.The reason why this type of sentence is called "simple" is that it contains only one combination of subject and verb. There can be more complex sentences which contain more than one combination of subject and verb. We will see those complex sentences later.
There are two types of verbs, or rather verbs can be used either transitively or intransitively. What I am saying is not so difficult. It is simply this. Many verbs take objects, but some verbs do not take objects. Objects are the things at which the actions expressed by verbs are aimed. For example, when you hit, you hit something. When you eat, you eat something. This "something" is the object of your action. On the other hand, when you walk, you simply walk. In other words, you can walk by yourself without having an object of your action.
Most verbs can be used transitively and intransitively. They can have objects or no objects. There are only a few verbs which have the intransitive use only. For example, "die" has the intransitive use only. It cannot have an object.
The third baseman throws a ball quickly.Thus in the normal word order shown above, objects can be easily omitted.
That pitcher throws well.
J. F. Kennedy died in 1963.
Some verbs can take two objects at once. These verbs are not so many. Here is a sample sentence.
I give you wine.In this sentence, "you" and "wine" are both objects of "give". My giving action is aimed at you and wine in slightly different ways. "Wine" is called a direct object, and "you" is called an indirect object. A direct object is the thing which you give, send, buy, etc. An indirect object is usually somebody to whom you give, send, or buy something.
There are a limited number of prepositions. Most of them are quite familiar to you. The most common types of prepositions are the following.
Place: at, in, on, to, from, above, below, over, under, behind, beyond, etc.
Time: at, on, in, for, before, after, since, till, by, etc.
Means, Agent: by
Means, Accompaniment: with
The prepositions under the heading Place indicate spatial relationships like position and direction. Here are examples:
Tohoku University is at Sendai.The prepositions under the heading Time indicate time, duration, and other temporal relationships. The examples are as follows:
Nagoya is in Aichi Prefecture.
Japan is on the Earth.
The train goes from Nagoya to Osaka.
The mirror ball is above the stage.
The stage is below the mirror ball.
The dark cloud is over the city.
The city is under the dark cloud.
The parking space is behind the restaurant.
Shiga Prefecture is beyond Suzuka Mountains.
The plane leaves the airport at 5:30 p.m.The preposition "for" can express the purpose, too.
We have a party on Friday.
Yokohama BayStars won the Japan Series in 1998.
I traveled for a week.
Today is the day before tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the day after today.
Women have the right to vote since 1945.
Women did not have the right to vote till 1945.
We finished the homework by Tuesday.
The government is for the people.The preposition "by" can also be used to introduce the agent who does something. You can most often find this "by" in a passive construction.
The house was bought by the President.The preposition "with" introduces a tool, and something which accompanies something else.
We drove the nails with a hammer.There are other prepositions and other uses as well. You have to learn them one by one.
Jack traveled with his parents.
The prepositions are so called because they are put in front of something. This something is called their objects.
Nouns can have three different functions in a sentence. To understand those different functions, you may remember various forms of pronouns.
Subjective: I you he, she, it we you they Genitive: my your his, her, its our your theirThe subjective cases are used when the pronouns are the subjects of verbs. The objective cases are used when the pronouns are objects of verbs. Thus the following two sentences are quite different.
Objective: me you him, her, it us you them
He loves her.The objective cases are also used when the pronouns are the terms which the prepositions relate. The examples are these:
She loves him.
I heard the news from her.The genitive case can mean many different relationships. However, its most common meaning is the possessive relationship. For example, "my book" means the book which I have: I am the owner of the book.
The wall was painted by them.
Nouns do not change. Their subjective and objective cases are the same. You can make their genitive cases by adding apostrophe s ('s) to the nouns.
There are two types of phrases: noun phrases and prepositional phrases. A noun phrase is a combination of words which functions like a noun. Typically it consists of (an article) + adjective(s) + noun. So the following are examples of noun phrases.
a tall manA prepositional phrase is a combination of a preposition and its object. It usually works as an adverb, that is to say, modifies a verb. Here are examples of prepositional phrases.
the biggest city
a white, light cup
two shiny modern buildings
at the stationAs you know already, the normal word order in a sentence is this:
on the table
in a large stadium
for three weeks
after my birthday
for his younger brother
Subject + Main Verb + Object(s) + Adverb.Now you can enrich a sentence by writing noun phrases for the subject and objects, and prepositional phrases for the adverb. Here are some sample sentences:
Tom's older sister liked her roommate from the beginning.The least important element in a sentence is adverb. It can violate the normal word order, and go anywhere in a sentence. Very often, temporal and spatial adverbs go to the beginning of a sentence. Here are examples:
The school's famous library received many books from individuals
after the war.
Mary sent her boyfriend a big heavy package from her hometown
before his birthday.
Yesterday we watched an interesting movie at the school.Well, you can write fairly long sentences now.
Last summer our teacher visited his relatives in California.
In Japan many people prepare nice gifts for their mothers before
the Mother's Day.
In the developed countries many people are killed by traffic
accidents each year.
There is a very special preposition, "of". It is quite familiar to you, and you may not know that it is a preposition. It can mean various relationships just like the genitive case of a noun. Actually, you may regard it as another genitive case. In other words, the following two forms are roughly equivalent.
A's BThe principal meaning of "of" is the possessive relationship: A has B, or rather B belongs to A. Here are examples.
B of A
a microscope of the laboratoryThese examples are all noun phrases. The central ideas in them are microscope, gravity, solution, and temperature respectively. And the prepositional phrases, "of the laboratory", "of the earth", "of the problem", and "of water", merely qualify those ideas. The whole phrases thus composed are noun phrases, simply because they function like nouns. Do you understand? To repeat, "A of B" is a noun phrase, although its part, "of B", is a prepositional phrase.
the gravity of the earth
the solution of the problem
the temperature of water
Similarly, other prepositonal phrases can become part of noun phrases. Here are examples.
the school at Oxford
the newspaper on the table
a study room in the library
Japan after the war
the happy days till the end of summer break
a textbook for physics
a statue by a famous sculptor
There are three coordinate conjunctions: and, but, or. They conjoin equal things, for example, words with words, and clauses with clauses. The following are examples of words conjoined by coordinate conjunctions.
water and breadIn general you can express the formulae of coordinate conjunctions in the following way.
a white shirt and blue trousers
hot and humid
come and go
back and forth
stylish but expensive
after 6 o'clock but before the sunset
a book or a CD
neat or messy
sing or die
slowly or very slowly
on the table or under it
A and BHere the important point is that when A and B are conjoined by a coordinate conjunction ("and" or "but" or "or"), they are equally important. I mean, you cannot say that A is more important than B or that B is more important than A.
A but B
A or B
Usually in a sentence there are many words before a coordinate conjunction and after it. So it is very important to know the scope of the coordintae conjunction: exactly what words and what words are conjoined by the coordinate conjunction. You have to figure it out from the meaning of the words. Here is an example.
the speed of the car and the conditions of the roadIn this example, you would know that "the speed of the car" and "the conditions of the road" are conjoined by the coordinate conjunction "and". How do you know it? From the meaning of the words. In general you will often find the following form of word combination.
A of B and C of DTheoretically you can take this phrase in the following four ways.
(A of B) and (C of D)Which reading is the most appropriate depends on the meaning of A, B, C, and D.
A of (B and C) of D
A of (B and (C of D))
((A of B) and C) of D
Next a big step comes in your study of English. So far we have dealt with simple sentences only. But what can you do if you want to express more complex thought in a sentence? You can combine two sentences into one sentence with a coordinate conjunction. Each constituent sentence is called a clause in the new long sentence. Here are sample sentences.
I was hungry, and I could not study.In the first sentence, "I was hungry" is a clause, and "I could not study" is another clause; and they are conjoined by a coordinate conjunction "and". These sentences--sentences in which clauses are conjoined by coordinate conjunctions--are called compound sentences.
We studied mathematics yesterday, and we study physics today.
The shirt looked very nice, but it was expensive.
I want to go to the Science Museum, but I am too busy these days.
You have to leave here, or I will leave.
Your team will win the game, or perhaps it will lose.
There are 7 main types of subordinate conjunctions.
Time: when, while, before, after, since, as, till, until.
Concession: though, although.
Reason: because, since, as.
Manner (Comparison): as.
Subordinate conjunctions begin subordinate clauses. In other words, they are written at the beginning of subordinate clauses. So what are subordinate clauses? Compare the following two sentences.
The moon was full yesterday.In these two sentences, the main idea is that the moon was full. This idea is qualified by an adverb "yesterday" in the first sentence. The adverb "yesterday" is replaced by a subordinate clause "when I became a tiger" in the second sentence. This clause is subordinate to the clause "the moon was full". This means that "the moon was full" is more important than "when I became a tiger". Just as "yesterday" is a mere addition to the main idea that the moon was full, "when I became a tiger" is a mere addition to the main idea that the moon was full. That is why "the moon was full" is called the main clause and "when I became a tiger" is called the subordinate clause. Do you understand what a subordinate clause is? Let me give you more sample sentences.
The moon was full when I became a tiger.
Mr. Smith was working before he came to Japan to study.In the above sentences, the first half is the main clause, and the second half is the subordinate clause. Thus "Mr. Smith was working", "We can go to see a movie", etc. are more important parts. The clause which begins with a subordinate conjunction is the subordinate clause. So "before he came to Japan to study", "after we finish today's classes", etc. are subordinate clauses. In the above sentences, the subordinate clauses are written after the main clauses. However, the subordinate clauses can also be written before the main clauses. Here are some examples.
We can go to see a movie after we finish today's classes.
I was playing in the ground till I felt hungry.
Plants grow abundantly where the climate is hot and rainy.
They will get married if they like each other.
I went to Downtown for shopping though it was raining.
Ms. Rockfeller went to Britain because she wanted to study at
The wind will get stronger as the typhoon approaches Japan.
You can do as you like.
While I was waiting for the bus, somebody called me.In these sentences, the first half is the subordinate clause, and the second half expresses the main idea.
After the burglar ran away, the police arrived at the bank.
Until you become 20 years old, you are prohibited from drinking.
Where there is love, there is God.
If the weather is fine, we will go hiking in the country.
Although junk foods are cheap and handy, they are not healthy.
Because your school wants to give you excellent education, you are
expected to study hard.
As we get older, we grow morally as well as intellectually.
As the chart shows, the electricity consumption is rising.
There are several words which can be used as prepositions and as subordinate conjunctions. So they are confusing. First I will list those words.
before, after, since, as, till, until.Concerning these words, you have to sort out the two uses: the use as a preposition and the use as a subordinate conjunction. How are the two uses different? You would know that the following two series of words are different.
before the end of World War IIIn the first example "before" is used as a preposition, and in the second example "before" is used as a subordinate conjunction. When a word is used as a preposition, it takes a noun or noun phrase as its object. Do you remember that? In the first example here, "the end of World War II" is a noun phrase. By contrast, when a word is used as a subordinate conjunction, it is followed by a combination of subject and predicate (verb). In the second example here, "World War II" is the subject of "ended", and "ended" is the predicate verb of "World War II". Do you understand? Let me give you sample sentences.
before World War II ended
He passed the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination after hisNow you would understand clearly the difference between prepositions and subordinate conjunctions.
graduation of college.
He passed the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination after he
graduated from college.
Since the death of his child, his personality has changed.
Since his child died, his personality has changed.
You have to perform certain duties as a human being.
You have to perform certain duties as you are a human being.
Till their final divorce, they tried to fix their relationship.
Till they finally divorced, they tried to fix their relationship.
Note that a few words can have more than one meaning. For example, "since" can be used to express time or reason; and "as" can be used to express time or reason or circumstance or manner (comparison). Thus these words, "since" and "as", are often difficult for students. (That is why these words are italicized in the table at the beginning of Lecture 12.) Here are sample sentences. You should carefully distinguish different uses of "since" and "as".
Since he was a child, he has been living in France.
Since I do not have much time, I cannot go to the gymnasium.
As I came home, the phone started to ring.
As root beer is not an alcoholic beverage, it does not make you drunk.
As you read more English, you will build up more vocabulary.
As dry land thirsts for water, we thirst for knowledge.
"For" is a strange word. It can be used not only as a preposition but also as a coordinate conjunction. When it is used as a preposition, it expresses temporal duration or purpose. When it is used as a coordinate conjunction, it expresses reason. Thus "for" can be used in three different ways. Let me give you examples.
They had to live without eating fish for two weeks.In the last sentence, "for" is not a preposition but a conjunction. It is followed by a combination of subject and predicate verb, "we are". Since "for" introduces a clause of reason, it might seem a subordinate conjunction. But surprisingly it is in fact a coordinate conjunction. That is to say, you cannot say that "we support the recycling program" is more important than "we are concerned with environmental issues". The coordinate conjunction "for" is conjoining them as equally important clauses. Just keep in mind that "for" as a conjunction is not a subordinate conjunction but a coordinate conjunction.
Susan wants to buy him a gift for his birthday.
We support the recycling program for we are concerned with
See the following two sentences first.
Dr. Tuan is an associate professor. He is from Vietnam.One way of combining these two sentences is to use a coordinate conjunction "and". Then you get the following sentence.
Dr. Tuan is an associate professor, and he is from Vietnam.But another way of combining the first two sentences is to use a relative pronoun. Then you get the following sentence.
Dr. Tuan is an associate professor, who is from Vietnam.You would know that in this sentence "who" means roughly the same as "and he". This type of use of a relative pronoun is called non-restrictive.
Relative pronouns are a kind of pronouns. So they stand for the antecedents. In the last sample sentence above, the antecedent "an associate professor" is part of the main clause, and the main clause is "Dr. Tuan is an associate professor". The relative pronoun "who" is part of the relative clause. In other words, the relative clause is the clause which includes the relative pronoun. So "who is from Vietnam" is the relative clause.
In general, relative clauses explain their antecedents. They can do this in two different ways. Sometimes relative clauses provide merely additional information on their antecedents. This was the case in the last sample sentence above. This type of use of a relative pronoun is called non-restrictive, as it is already said. But sometimes relative clauses are integrated into the identity of the antecedents. This is typical of the antecedents which are accompanied by a demonstrative adjective "that" or "those". This type of use of a relative pronoun is called restrictive. Here are examples.
That man who has just arrived is a well-known tennis player.However, the demonstrative adjectives "that" and "those" are not necessary for the restrictive use of relative pronouns. That is to say, when relative pronouns are used restrictively, the antecedents are not always accompanied by a demonstrative adjective "that" or "those". Let me give you some examples.
Those people who want to build a new statue are raising funds for it.
The professor who has Ph.D. from Cambridge is Dr. Hankinson.Next, I will give you examples of the non-restrictive use of relative pronouns.
The residents who suffered from air pollution filed a suit against the
Somebody who was injured in a car accident was brought in last night.
Many people who watched the game became frustrated.
The school expelled the student who raped another student.
We discussed political issues with the journalists who came from the
He is a man who has made a fortune by his own ingenuity and hard work.
Do you like people who come here for exercise?
Our school's president is Dr. Nagasawa, who has studied polymers.The boundary between the restrictive and non-restrictive uses of relative pronouns is not always clear. That is to say, many relative clauses can be taken either restrictively or non-restrictively. However, if the antecedent and the relative pronoun are separated by a comma, then you can be sure that the relative pronoun is used non-restrictively.
Last month I visited my mother, who is now 68 years old.
He bought a used car from a dealer, who gave him such a discount.
Kate, who is an actress, is coming to our party.
A dentist, who is also a musician, told me about her experience.
The carpenters, who were having lunch at that time, were surprised by
a huge sound of explosion.
So far we have discussed only one relative pronoun "who". There are other forms of relative pronouns. Just as there are three cases of pronoun "he" "his" "him", there are three cases of relative pronoun: who, whose, whom. The subjective case "who" is used when the relative pronoun works as the subject of the relative clause. When the relative pronoun works as a genitive pronoun in the relative clause, the genitive case "whose" is used. And the objective case "whom" is used when the relative pronoun works as an objective pronoun in the relative clause. Let me start with the genitive case "his" and "whose".
I have a friend. His sister is a singer.When these two sentences are combined with a relative pronoun, you get the folowing sentence.
I have a friend whose sister is a singer.Next, let us see the objective case "him" and "whom".
Basho is a poet. Japanese people respect him.When these two sentences are combined with a relative pronoun, they become the following sentence.
Basho is a poet whom Japanese people respect.Now let me just give you more examples of "whose" and "whom".
Do you know anybody whose brother or sister lives abroad?The relative pronouns "who", "whose", and "whom" are used when the antecedents are people. But when the antecendents are not people, another relative pronoun "which" is used. This relative pronoun has the same form "which" in the subjective and objective cases, and there is no genitive form. Let's see some examples.
Prof. Takasaka, whose father was a philosopher, teaches politics at
The parents whose only child was killed in a traffic accident lost all
hope in life.
This novel was writen by a young writer whose talent is widely
These are graduate students whom Prof. Woodruff is advising.
Did you like my friend whom you met at the party last night?
The new engineer whom the company has hired will join our team.
The Foreign Minister, whom we saw in Nagoya yesterday, is in the
United States now.
This is a train which travels between Tokyo and Nagoya in less thanNote that in the first four sentences above the case of "which" is subjective and in the last four sentences the case of "which" is objective.
Do you want to see the monuments which were vandalized yesterday?
Baseball, which is a popular sport in Japan, was originally started in
the United States.
Nagoya Castle, which was rebuilt in 1959, is a popular tourist spot.
This is a small transistor radio which Sony marketed in 1957.
Did you read a book which I lent you last week?
The dictionaries which I bought yesterday are very informative.
The aquarium which I visited in San Diego was quite an interesting
Next, what can you do when you want to make a genitive case of "which"? Well, you can make the genitive case of "which" by using a preposition "of": of which. So "of which" is similar to "of it", which is the same as "its". Do you understand? See the following two sentences.
This is a car. The engine of the car is made in Japan.In the second sentence, "the engine of the car" would be the same as "the engine of it" and "its engine". To combine those two sentences by using "of which", you need to write the following sentence.
This is a car the engine of which is made in Japan.I will give you more examples.
I have bought an interesting book the title of which is A Theory ofNote that in the first five examples the words which precede "of which" are subjects of relative clauses, and in the last four examples the words which precede "of which" are objects of verbs in the relative clauses. Is that clear? The words which precede "of which" in the first five examples are "title", "life", "population", "top", and "door". They are subjects in the relative clauses. The words which precede "of which" in the last four examples are "memory", "value", "cover" and "conductivity". They are objects of verbs "made", "know", "designed", and "check" in the relative clauses.
Justice. (I have bought an interesting book. The title of it is A
Theory of Justice.)
He was looking for a washing machine the life of which was more than 10
years. (He was looking for a washing machine. The life of it was
more than 10 years.)
Nagoya, the population of which is over 2 millions, is the fourth
largest city in Japan.
The mountain the top of which is covered with snow is Mt. Fuji.
The refrigerator the door of which is broken needs to be repaired.
This is a computer the memory of which we have made.
Ms. Milton received a present, the value of which she did not know.
This book, the cover of which my cousin has designed, is selling well.
The objects the conductivity of which you need to check are stored in
Sometimes "whose" can be used as a genitive form of "which" even though the antecedent is not people. Here are only two examples.
Those are trees whose leaves turn red and yellow in autumn.
The new computer whose outlook we liked so much became a best-selling
In the above we have just discussed "of which". Do you remember that "of" is a preposition, and that the objective case can become an object of a verb and an object of a preposition? If you do not remember, go back to see Lectures 8 and 10. So the objective case of relative pronouns can be an object of a preposition as well as an object of a verb. As you know, there are two objective forms of relative pronouns: "whom" and "which". They can be used in combination with prepositions. See the following two sentences first.
That is an instructor. For her we are preparing a birthday party.When you conjoin these sentences by using a relative pronoun, they become the following sentence.
That is an instructor for whom we are preparing a birthday party.I will give you more examples.
This is a golf club with which the criminal assaulted the victim.My lecture of relative pronouns has been taking so much time and space. But we are coming close to its end. The last stage of my lecture of relative pronouns is about "that". Besides "who" and "which", there is another relative pronoun "that". It can be used when the antecedents are people as well as when they are not people. It has the same form "that" both in the subjective case and objective case, but it has no genitive form at all. It is used only in restrictive relative clauses. Do you remember the restrictive use of relative clauses? If not, go back to see Lecture 15. Here are sample sentences which use the relative pronoun "that".
(This is a golf club. The criminal assaulted the victim with it.)
We received summer greetings from many people, to whom we have to
write new year's cards. (We received summer greetings from many
people. To them we have to write new year's cards.)
They will discuss the Industrial Revolution, during which many people
moved from the country to the city.
Have you constructed the stage on which we are going to sing?
The fund on which our school depends was provided by Toyota Motors.
The tree under which they met is a large cypress in front of the Museum.
The customers, from whom his company was getting many complaints,
brought a class action against the company.
Those young people to whom we directed our campaign showed a keen
interest in our products.
This is the first steam locomotive that was imported to Japan in 1872.Note that in the first four examples "that" is subjective, and that in the last four examples "that" is objective.
Shakespeare is the greatest person that has ever lived in Britain.
The people that sleep on the street are called "homeless".
According to the economic forecast that was issued yesterday, Japan is
slowly beginning to recover from the recession.
Is he the same man that you saw at the crime scene?
Did you read the article that Dr. Mackey has published just recently?
Everything that we clearly and distinctly perceive is true.
The only food that she had for the last three days was a small potato,
a piece of bread, and water.
Just as relative pronouns are a kind of pronouns, relative adverbs are a kind of adverbs. The relative adverbs are actually only two: where, and when. In other words, "where" and "when" can be used not only as subordinate conjunctions but also as relative adverbs.