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14.5 Grammar: Parts of Speech and Conditional Clauses

durenmgmail-com November 9, 2021

The English language grammar classifies all words based on eight parts of speech. These are some

additional parts of speech and other grammar topics:

Conjunctions – Words that connect parts of speech.

Examples: and, or, because, for, however, but, if, so, meanwhile, although

I am a teacher and musician.


Prepositions express relationships between people, things, or actions or introduce phrases that complete a verb’s meaning.

Examples: I spoke to Mr. Hall on Friday about the hole in our roof. e.g., I told him about …

Types of Prepositions

  1. Prepositions of Place:

Examples: at, in, on, behind, between, for, to, off

  • Prepositions of Time:

Examples: in, on, at, about


There are two different types of articles, ‘indefinite’ and ‘definite’. Indefinite: a,

  1. Definite: the

Example: I saw him run from the accident.

Gerunds: Gerunds are the –ing form of a verb used as a noun.


Talking, eating, or sleeping.

He likes singing. Running is a great sport.

Countable / Uncountable Nouns 

Words/Nouns that are both countable and uncountable.

  1. Countable Nouns:

Examples: book, flower, people, TV, chair, table

Plural terms: many, (a) few, a lot

Terms used in counting both –

plenty of, no, enough

  • Uncountable Nouns

Examples: information, love, bread, rice, ice, sugar

Plural terms: much, (a) little (bit), a lot

  • Uncountable Nouns can become countable when used in ‘containers’.


Three bags of ice.

Many cubes of sugar,

Six loaves of bread.

Modal Verbs

Modal Verbs –

These are auxiliary verbs used to indicate the possibility, necessity, willingness, ability, obligation, and a lot more. Let us look at the types of modal auxiliary verbs and their uses.

  1. May


Teacher, may I go to the bathroom?

He may be at the library.

Uses: Polite Request / Formal Permission / Less than 50% Certainty

Present/Future: May be

Past: May have (been)

  • Might

Example: I might go to the concert.

Uses: Polite Request / Less than 50% Certainty

Present / Future: Might be

Past: Might have (been)

  • Should

Example: You should go to the doctor.

Uses: Advice/Suggestion / 90% Certain Present/Future: Should

Past: Should have

  • Ought to

Example: You ought to go to the doctor.

Uses: Advice/Suggestion /90% Certainty

Present/Future: Ought to

Past: Ought to have

  • Had Better

Examples: You had better go to the doctor. You ́d better go to the doctor. Uses: Advice with a threat of lousy result

Present/Future: You had better …

Past: None

  • Supposed to

Examples: He is supposed to arrive at two o ́clock.

Uses: Expectation

Present/Future: Is supposed to … / are supposed to …

Past: Was supposed to …

  • To be

Examples: I am to be there at 5 pm.

Uses: Strong Expectations

Present/Future: Are to be here … / Are to pass …

Past: Were to be …

  • Must

Example: You must pass the test.

Uses: Strong Need or Necessity / Prohibition (must not) / 90% Certainty

Present/Future: You Must

Past: Must have (been)

  • Have to

Examples: They have to buy the paper today.

Uses: Lack of Necessity

Present/Future: I have to … / I don’t have to …

Past: I had to … / I didn’t have to …

  1. Will

Example: I will pass this test.

Uses: 100% Certainty / Willingness / Polite request

Present/Future: I will pass … / I’ll get it … / Will you please …?

Past: None

  1. Be Going

Examples: I am going to pass this test.

Uses: 100% certainty / Definite plan

Present/Future: He is going to be here. / I am going to travel this week.

Past: I was going to go …

  1. Can

Examples: I can ride a horse. Can I go out tonight?

Uses: Ability / Possibility / Informed Permission / Informal Request / Impossibility

Present/Future: I can ride a bike./ I can lend you ./ You can go …/ Can I go …? / You can’t …

Past: None

  1. Could

Examples: Could you please pass the salt?

Uses: Past Ability / Polite Request / Suggestion /Less Than 50% Certainty / Impossibility

Present/Future: Could I …? / You could … / He could be … / That couldn’t …

Past: I could …

  1. Would


Would you pass the salt to me, please?

Uses: Polite Request / Preferences / Repeated Action in the Past

Present/Future: Would you please …? / I would rather go …

Past: When I was a child, I would…

  1. Used to

Examples: I used to play volleyball every day.

Uses: Repeated Action in the Past

Past: When I was a kid, I used to …

  1. Shall

Example: Shall we open the window?

Uses: Future Action / Volunteering Promise / Inevitability

Present/Future: John shall be there by 8:00 am. / I shall take care of everything. / We shall overcome this

Conditionals Sentences (If Clauses)

There are three types of If-Clauses.

  1. Cause and Effect (true in the present/future)

Verb form “if clause” – simple present.

Verb form “result clause” – simple present/future, e.g., If I stop smoking, I live longer. If I quit smoking, I will live longer.

  • Hypothetical (untrue in the present/future) Verb form “if clause” simple past

Verb form: could/should/would + simple form of verb

Examples: If I won the lottery, I would buy a yacht

  • Hypothetical (unreal in the past)

Verb form “if clause” – past perfect

Verb form “result clause” would have + past participle

Examples: If you had driven my car, I wouldn’t have gotten so tired from walking.

  • Mixed Time

Type 2 and 3 – You can also mix type 2 and 3.


If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t have had to live here.

If I had travelled by plane, I would be rested.