Basic Grammar Rules for Beginners: An Ultimate Guide

For English learners to be able to speak clearly, they…

For English learners to be able to speak clearly, they need to fully understand the basic grammar rules that govern the language. Without rules, we can’t talk to each other the right way.

Definition of a Sentence

A sentence comprises a subject and a predicate and expresses a complete thought. A sentence begins and finishes with a capital letter and a punctuation mark, respectively.

Sentence:The hairdresser made 50 wigs. Subject: ‘The hairdresser’ Predicate: ‘made 50 wigs’.

That brings us to the question of sentence structure.

What Is Sentence Structure?

A sentence structure is a grammatically complete statement in the form of a verb (to do), subject (someone or something that is being pointed to), and object (something that is being done to).

In the English language, sentences can be either simple or complex. Every sentence in English begins with a verb, followed by any other words that contribute to the sentence’s meaning. It is essential to be able to construct phrases that sound natural.

The three components of an English sentence are the subject, the verb, and the object. Without these three components, the statement would not be complete.


A subject is the first person, place, or thing that is mentioned (the actor). It can also be a formal noun, such as “the president”, or less formal but still important, such as “the Pope”.

Example of first person or thing:

  • Stacy goes to church every Sunday.
  • Water is good for your health.


The predicate is a word or phrase that completes a sentence. The predicate contains a verb and informs the reader about the subject. Example: Janet walks to school. In this sentence ‘Janet’ is the subject and ‘walks to school’ is the predicate. A simple predicate is made up of only one word: a verb. Example: Janet slept. In this sentence the predicate ‘slept’ consists of just one word.


The person or thing that is affected by what the subject does. Example: The rabbit ate a nut.


Clauses are the parts that make up a sentence. Like sentences, clauses have a subject and a predicate. Example: My siblings are going to church, and they will be home late. This is a complete sentence composed of two clauses.


A phrase is a group of words that doesn’t have a subject and a predicate. Inside of clauses, phrases act like parts of speech. They can be used as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc. See the examples of phrases underlined below:

  • The sun is shining.
  • This game is over.
  • The weather is beautiful.


In addition to the basic rules of sentence structure, it is beneficial for learners to study the parts of speech.


A noun is a name of a person, animal, place, thing, quality, idea, activity, or feeling. Nouns may be either singular or plural. Examples of nouns: Jerry, people, London, plates, kindness


A pronoun is a term that stands in for a noun, such as “I”, “you”, ‘her’, ‘us’, ‘they’ etc.”


A verb is a term that describes an action, condition, or event, such as ‘talk‘, ‘happen‘, ‘love‘. A verb can either be dynamic or stative. Dynamic verbs (actions): walk, sleep, drink, read, write, etc. Stative verbs (ideas, feelings, and states of being): be, feel, touch, see, hear, love, hate, etc. A verb can be a main verb or an auxiliary or helping verb such as “have” or “will.” Verbs can also alter form to indicate the past, present, or future.


A noun or a pronoun is described, identified, qualified, or given further information by an adjective.

Examples: ugly, heavy, rough, beautiful.


An adverb modifies a verb by describing how, how often, where, or how we do something. Examples:ferociously, carefully, well, sometimes, hardly

Articles and Determiners

Articles and determiners are words that go before a noun to indicate quantity or what the noun refers to. Examples:

‘A’, ‘that’, ‘one’, ‘my’, ‘your’, ‘some’, ‘many’ etc.


A preposition is a word that connects a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to another component of the sentence.

They can also indicate time, direction, motion, purpose, or ownership. Prepositions are frequently used with nouns to indicate place.


‘In’, ‘of’, ‘above’, ‘to’.


Conjunctions are words that link other words, phrases, or clauses. When we use conjunctions, we don’t have to make as many short sentences. Typical conjunctions are “and”, “yet”, and “nor.”


An exclamation is used to express a strong emotional response. Examples: 

Ah! Ouch! Hurray! Alas! Gosh!

Three Things to Remember About Basic Grammar Rules

1. Take Note of Homophones

Homophonic words sound the same but mean different things, even if they are spelled differently. This can make things confusing, and unfortunately, English has a lot of these words.


  • Here and hear
  • I and eye
  • Break and brake

2. Remember the question-word order

The structure of questions differs from the structure of affirmatives. Therefore, you must remember to alter the word order or add the auxiliary ‘do’. There are four question construction types in English.

Verb “to be”

When using the verb “to be” in a question, switch the subject and verb. For example, Are you a driver?

Adding the auxiliary “do” to other verbs make it a question. For example, “Do they camp here?”

Modal verbs

To turn a modal verb into a question, switch the subject and the verb. For example, “Can he drive the car?”

Auxiliary verbs

When a sentence has an auxiliary verb, like “have” in the present perfect, switch the subject and the auxiliary verb. For example: “Have you seen my bracelet?”

3. Never Employ Two Negatives

There are typically two methods to describe a negative concept in English. For example, “The house is empty” can be alternatively written as:

  • There is nothing in the house. 
  • There isn’t anything in the house.

Nothing and anything have identical meaning. However, nothing is used with an affirmative verb while anything is used with a negative verb.

To Wrap Up

Learning the grammar rules is one of the most difficult aspects of learning a new language.

While English grammar may seem quite straightforward compared to other languages, a minor error can easily alter your intended meaning.

If you are willing to make the effort, however, the rewards should be well worth it.

Frequently asked questions

What are the 12 basic rules of grammar?

  • The sentence should either end with a full stop (or) a question mark (or), an exclamation mark.
  • Subject and verb forms are interconnected in a sentence.
  • Each sentence should have SVO (Subject – Verb – Object).
  • The first word of every sentence should include a capital letter.

How many rules of grammar are there?

According to our estimates, there are between 500 and 10,000 grammar rules, but for practical purposes, we can say about 3,500 grammar rules. Originally published by David Crystal, the man who created the grammar reference book: A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, by Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech & Svartvik, this estimate is based on his.

How do I start basic English grammar?

  • Learn the Speech Parts in Step 1. These parts of speech are defined by the types of English words they are used for.
  • Two Steps: How to Learn New Vocabulary.
  • Learning Sentence Structures in Step 3.
  • Step 4: Learn Clauses
  • Learn English Grammar Tenses in Step 5.

What is the basic grammar in English?

English grammar consists of eight major parts: noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.

What are the 10 grammar rules?

  • Parallel Structure
  • Pronouns
  • Punctuation
  • Run-ons & Fragments. A complete sentence has a subject, a predicate verb, and a complete thought.
  • Verbs: Subject-verb agreement and verb tensions.
  • Wordiness
  • Adjectives, Adverbs, & Phrases: Modified.
  • Idioms

How can I remember English grammar rules?

  • Remember any grammar principle in English.
  • Learn English with the ancient Art of Memory.
  • You can create a memory palace and use it.
  • Have others teach you the same things.
  • English grammar is improved dramatically.

What are English fundamentals?

Practicing basic English writing skills, including sentence structure, capitalization, punctuation, and vocabulary development, is provided by Fundamentals of English Writing. Grammar tenses will be reviewed.

What should I teach first grammar?

  • Subject, predicate, and direct and indirect objects in between active and passive voices.
  • Independent vs
  • Complete sentences vs
  • An agreement concerning subject/verbal agreement OR subject and predicate after verbals.
  • When part of speech is dangling with modifiers before they are misplaced.
  • Complete sentences vs

What are the 11 rules of grammar?

  • You can connect two ideas in a Comma.
  • Use the present progressive tension to plan action.
  • A Serial Comma is useful in a list.
  • Pair ideas with a conjunction.
  • Past and present words with -ed.
  • The Simple Present Tense for Habitual Actions.
  • Use the semicolon to join two ideas.
  • Use Active Voice

What are the 4 levels of grammar?

Grammar is divided into four levels: (1) parts of speech, (2) sentences, (3)phrases, and (4)clauses.

How do I start teaching grammar?

  • Start by creating a context that fits your teaching style.
  • Using a timeline, you can present what the tense is like:.
  • Step 3: First, introduce the form.
  • How do you know that students understand the concept?
  • How do you know whether students understand the written form?

What grammar rules should be broken?

  • Know who and who are the two.
  • Use double negatives
  • Avoid defining a single noun with a plural pronoun.
  • Ensure that a sentence does not start with a preposition.
  • Don’t begin a sentence with a conjunction.
  • It is best not to use sentence fragments.

How can I perfect English grammar?

  • Read: Reading is one of the best weapons to improve grammar proficiency.
  • It is a good idea to consult a grammar manual nearby when you write.
  • Then write more and ask yourself.
  • Re-reading aloud:
  • Taking feedback from others is a useful thing to do.

What are the 5 key principles of English grammar?

  • Tense and aspect
  • Connectors
  • Word order. Analytical languages like English use word order to determine relationship between different words.
  • Determiners
  • Punctuation. Punctuation is used to signify pauses, intonations, and stress words in written English.
Basic Grammar Rules for Beginners: An Ultimate Guide

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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