14.5 Grammar: Parts of Speech and Conditional Clauses
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
- 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,
- 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.
- 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 –
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.
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)
Example: I might go to the concert.
Uses: Polite Request / Less than 50% Certainty
Present / Future: Might be
Past: Might have (been)
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 …
- Supposed to
Examples: He is supposed to arrive at two o ́clock.
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 …
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 …
Example: I will pass this test.
Uses: 100% Certainty / Willingness / Polite request
Present/Future: I will pass … / I’ll get it … / Will you please …?
- 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 …
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 …
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 …
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…
- 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 …
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.
- 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.