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Adjectives : English Grammar

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What Is An Adjective? Simply put adjectives are descriptive words. Adjectives are used to describe or give information about things, ideas and people: nouns or pronouns. For Example: The black dog barked. (The adjective black describes the noun "dog".) The most common question an adjective might... read more

What Is An Adjective?

Simply put adjectives are descriptive words. Adjectives are used to describe or give information about things, ideas and people: nouns or pronouns.

For Example:

  • The black dog barked. (The adjective black describes the noun "dog".)
  • The most common question an adjective might answer is "What kind of ...?"

The good news is that in English the form of an adjective does not change, once you have learnt it that's it and it does not matter if the noun being described is male or female, singular or plural, subject or object. 

Some adjectives give us factual information about the noun - age, size colour etc (fact adjectives - can't be argued with).

Some adjectives show what somebody thinks about something or somebody: nice, horrid, beautiful etc (opinion adjectives: not everyone may agree).

If you are asked questions with which, whose, what kind, or how many, you need an adjective to be able to answer.

There are different types of adjectives in the English language:

  • Numeric: six, one hundred and one etc.

  • Quantitative: more, all, some, half, more than enough etc.

  • Qualitative: colour, size, smell etc.

  • Possessive: my, his, their, your etc.

  • Interrogative: which, whose, what etc.

  • Demonstrative: this, that, those, these etc.

Note - The articles a, an, and the are a special kind of adjective called articles, and the possessives my, our, your, and their are sometimes known as possessive adjectives.

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Adverbials : English Grammar

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Adverbials: Adverbials modify or tell us something about the sentence or the verb. It may be a single adverb, a phrase, or a prepositional phrase, or clause element. When an adverbial modifies a verb, it changes the meaning of that verb. For example: The students looked at me. The students... read more

Adverbials:

Adverbials modify or tell us something about the sentence or the verb. It may be a single adverb, a phrase, or a prepositional phrase, or clause element.

When an adverbial modifies a verb, it changes the meaning of that verb.

For example:

  • The students looked at me.
  • The students looked at me fearfully (The verb looked suddenly has a very different meaning).

When an adverbial modifies a sentence, the meaning of the sentence changes.

For example:

  • I attained all my goals.
  • Surprisingly, I attained all my goals.

Word groups that are also considered to be adverbials can also modify verbs: a prepositional phrase, a noun phrase, a finite clause or a non-finite clause.

Multi-word adverbials are sometimes called adverbial phrases.

For example:

  • I drove as quickly as I could, but I missed the flight.
  • If a whole clause acts as an adverbial, it's called an adverbial clause.

For example:

  • I'll go to bed when the show ends.
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ADVERBS - ENGLISH GRAMMAR

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Adverbs There are several different classes of adverbs : Degree Duration Frequency Manner Place Probability Time Adverbial Comparative Superlative 1. Adverbs can tell you where, when, how, why and to what extent something happens: They are often formed from adjectives or nouns by... read more

Adverbs

There are several different classes of adverbs :

  • Degree  
  • Duration
  • Frequency 
  • Manner
  • Place
  • Probability
  • Time
  • Adverbial
  • Comparative
  • Superlative
1. Adverbs can tell you where, when, how, why and to what extent something happens:
  • They are often formed from adjectives or nouns by adding the suffix -ly.
  • For example: quick becomes quickly, sudden becomes suddenly, intelligent becomes intelligently.
  • To form an adverb from adjectives ending in -y change the y to i before adding the -ly.
  • For example: angry becomes angrily, busy becomes busily.
  • To form an adverb from adjectives ending in -e drop the -e before adding the -ly.
  • For example: Feeble becomes feebly, true becomes truly.
  • Some adjectives ending in -ly need no changes.
  • For example: Heavenly.
  • However there are exceptions.
  • For example: sly becomes slyly, shy becomes shyly.
  • Some adverbs do not end in -ly.
  • For example: fast, hard, straight.
Adjective Pretty Serious Fast Quiet
Example She was a pretty girl. He was a serious boy. It was a fast car. They were quiet children.
Adverb Prettily Seriously Fast Quietly
Example The bird sang prettily. The policeman spoke seriously. Schumacher drives fast. The woman spoke quietly.

2. Adverbs can modify adjectives:

  • An adjective can be modified by an adverb, which precedes the adjective.
  • For example:
  • That's really nice.

3. Adverbs can modify adverbs

  • Some adverbs can modify others. As with adjectives, the adverb precedes the one it is modifying.
  • For example:-
  • She did it really well.

4. Adverbs can modify nouns:

  • Adverbs can modify nouns to indicate time or place.
  • For example:
  • The concert tomorrow.
  • The room upstairs.

5. Adverbs can modify noun phrases:

  • Some adverbs of degree such as quite, rather, so, such ... can modify noun phrases.
  • For example:
  • We had quite a good time.
  • They're such good friends.

6. Adverbs can modify determiners, numerals and pronouns:

  • Adverbs such as almost, nearly, hardly, about, etc., can be used:
  • For example:
  • Nearly everyone, who was invited, came to the party.

7. Adverbs can modify sentences:

  • Some adverbs modify a whole sentence, not just a part of one.
  • For example:
  • Luckily the car stopped in time. In this sentence luckily modifies the whole sentence, it shows that it was good luck that the car stopped in time.
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Case - English Grammar

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Case: Case is the grammatical function of a noun or pronoun. There are only three cases in modern English, they are subjective (he), objective (him) and possessive(his). They may seem more familiar in their old English form - nominative, accusative and genitive. You cannot really go wrong here,... read more

Case:

Case is the grammatical function of a noun or pronoun. There are only three cases in modern English, they are subjective (he), objective (him) and possessive(his). They may seem more familiar in their old English form - nominative, accusative and genitive. 

You cannot really go wrong here, we got rid of most of our cases and as a result English is easier than many other languages because nouns and some indefinite pronouns (anyone, someone, everyone, and so on) only have a distinctive case form for the possessive. There are a few remnants of old English though, and pronouns have distinctive forms in all three cases and should be used with a bit more care.

The pronoun cases are simple though. There are only three:

1. Subjective case: pronouns used as subject. 
2. Objective case: pronouns used as objects of verbs or prepositions. 
3. Possessive case: pronouns which express ownership.

Personal Pronoun

Subjective

Objective

Possessive

Referring to the subject in a sentence Referring to the object in a sentence The apostrophe form of the word (Ram's).
     
I Me Mine
You You Yours
He Him His
She Her Hers
It It Its
We Us Ours
They Them Theirs
Who Whom Whose

These pronouns, and who and its compounds, are the only words that are inflected in all three cases (subjective, objective, possessive). In nouns the first two cases (subjective and objective) are indistinguishable, and are called the common case. One result of this simplicity is that, the sense of case being almost lost, the few mistakes that can be made are made often, even by native speakers, some of them so often that they are now almost right by prescription.

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Clauses : English Grammar

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Clauses What is a clause? A clause is a part of a sentence. There are two main types: independent (main clauses), dependent (subordinate clauses). 1. Independedent Clauses: An independent clause is a complete sentence; it contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought in both... read more

Clauses

What is a clause?

A clause is a part of a sentence. There are two main types: independent (main clauses), dependent (subordinate clauses).

1. Independedent Clauses:

  • An independent clause is a complete sentence; it contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought in both context and meaning.
  • For example: The door opened.
  • Independent clauses can be joined by a coordinating conjunction to form complex or compound sentences.
CO-ORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS
and

but

for

or

nor

so

yet    
  •  For example: Take two independent clauses and join them together with the conjunction and: " The door opened." "The dog jumped in." = The door opened and the dog jumped in.

Dependent Clauses:

A dependent (subordinate) clause is part of a sentence; it contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. They can make sense on their own, but, they are dependent on the rest of the sentence for context and meaning. They are usually joined to an independent clause to form a complex sentence.

Dependent clauses often begin with a a subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun (see below) that makes the clause unable to stand alone.

Subordinating Conjunctions

after although as because
before even if even though if
in order that

 

once

 

provided that

 

rather than

 

since

 

so that

 

than

that

though

unless

until

when

whenever

where

whereas

wherever

whether

while

why  
Relative Pronouns
that

which

whichever

who

whoever

whom

whose whosever whomever

For example:

The door opened because the man pushed it.

Dependent clauses can be nominal, adverbial or adjectivial.

A nominal clause (noun clause) functions like a noun or noun phrase. It is a group of words containing a subject and a finite verb of its own and contains one of the following: that | if | whether

For example:

  • I wondered whether the homework was necessary.

Noun clauses answer questions like "who(m)?" or "what?"

An adverbial clause (adverb clause) is a word or expression in the sentence that functions as an adverb; that is, it tells you something about how the action in the verb was done. An adverbial clause is separated from the other clauses by any of the following subordinating conjunctions: after | although | as | because | before | if | since | that | though | till | unless | until | when |where | while

For example:

  • They will visit you before they go to the airport.

Adverbial clauses can also be placed before the main clause without changing the meaning.

For example:

  • Before they go to the airport, they will visit you.

Note - When an adverb clause introduces the sentence (as this one does), it is set off with a comma.

Adverb clauses answer questions like "when?", "where?", "why?"

An adjectival clause (adjective clause or relative clause) does the work of an adjective and describes a noun, it's usually introduced by a relative pronoun: who | whom | whose | that | which

For example:

  • I went to the show that was very popular.

This kind of clause is used to provide extra information about the noun it follows. This can be to define something (a defining clause), or provide unnecessary, but interesting, added information (a non-defining clause).

For example:

  • The car that is parked in front of the gates will be towed away. (Defining relative clause.)

Information contained in the defining relative clause is absolutely essential in order for us to be able to identify the car in question.

  • My dog, who is grey and white, chased the postman. ( Non-defining relative clause)

A non-defining relative clause is separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. If you take away the non-defining clause the basic meaning of the sentence remains intact.

For example:

  • My dog chased the postman.

Adjective clauses answer questions like "which?" or "what kind of?"

Summary:

An adjective clause functions as an adjective (modifies a noun or pronoun); an adverb clause functions as an adverb (describes a verb, adjective or other adverb); a noun clause is used as a noun (subject of a verb, direct object, indirect object, predicate nominative or object of the preposition).

Note : The difference between a clause and a phrase is that a phrase does not contain a finite verb.

Relative Clauses:

A relative clause follows the noun it modifies. It is generally indicated by a relative pronoun at the start of the clause, although sometimes you can tell simply by word order. The choice of relative pronoun, or choice to omit one, can be affected by the following:-

Human Or Non-Human?

We make a distinction between an antecedent that is a human, who(m) and an antecedent which is a non-human, which.

Who(m) is used when the antecedent is a person.
That is used to refer to either a person or thing. 
Which is used to refer to anything exept a person.

  • I met a man and a woman yesterday. The woman, who had long blonde hair, was very pretty.
  • The man she was with, was the man that / who won the race.
  • The race was the one that I lost.
  • The man, to whom the winnings were given, was with the woman who was very pretty. 

Note : Whom is not used much in spoken English.

Restrictive Or Non-Restrictive?

Restrictive relative clauses are sometimes called defining relative clauses, or identifying relative clauses. Similarly, non-restrictive relative clauses are called non-defining or non-identifying relative clauses.

In English a non-restrictive relative clause is preceded by a pause in speech or a comma in writing, unlike a restrictive clause.

For example:

The builder, who erects very fine houses, will make a large profit.
This example, with commas, contains a non-restrictive relative clause. It refers to a specific builder, and assumes we know which builder is intended. It tells us firstly about his houses, then about his profits.

The builder who erects very fine houses will make a large profit.
This second example uses a restrictive relative clause. Without the commas, the sentence states that any builder who builds such houses will make a profit.

Restrictive Non-restrictive
Human Nonhuman Human Nonhuman
Subject who, that which, that who which
Object who, whom, that which, that who, whom which
After preposition whom which whom which

Possessive

whose, of whom whose, of which whose, of whom whose, of which
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Conditionals : English Grammar

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Conditionals / The If Clause: A conditional sentence shows that an action is reliant on something else (there's a condition). The two most common conditionals are real and unreal, they are sometimes called if-clauses. The real conditional (often named 1st Conditional) describes situations based... read more

Conditionals / The If Clause:

A conditional sentence shows that an action is reliant on something else (there's a condition).

The two most common conditionals are real and unreal, they are sometimes called if-clauses.

The real conditional (often named 1st Conditional) describes situations based on fact.

The unreal conditional (often named 2nd Conditional) describes unreal or imaginary situations.

There is also what we call the 3rd conditional, used to express no possibility of something having happened in the past, and the zero conditional is used to express absolute certainty.

Unless you are studying English to pass an exam or test don't try to remember the types, just learn the structure so that you know how to express the meaning conveyed by each type, it's going to happen, it's only going to happen if something else happens, it's never going to happen.

Note: You can swap if clauses around, but if the "if" clause comes first, a comma is usually used, but if the "if" clause comes second, there is no need for a comma.

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Noun : English Grammar

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Nouns: A noun is the word that refers to a person, thing or abstract idea. A noun can tell you who or what. There are several different types of noun: There are common nouns such as dog, car, chair etc. Nouns that refer to things which can be counted (can be singular or plural) are countable... read more
Nouns:
A noun is the word that refers to a person, thing or abstract idea. A noun can tell you who or what.

There are several different types of noun:

  • There are common nouns such as dog, car, chair etc.
  • Nouns that refer to things which can be counted (can be singular or plural) are countable nouns.
  • Nouns that refer to some groups of countable nouns, substances, feelings and types of activity (can only be singular) are uncountable nouns.
  • Nouns that refer to a group of people or things are collective nouns.
  • Nouns that refer to people, organisations or places areproper nouns, only proper nouns are capitalised.
  • Nouns that are made up of two or more words are called compund nouns.
  • Nouns that are formed from a verb by adding -ing are called gerunds.
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Prepositions - English Grammar

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Prepositions: Prepositions are words that show the relationships between nouns, pronouns and other words in a sentence. Most of the time they come before a noun, and can affect the time, place, and movement. They can be classified as simple or compound prepositions. Simple prepositions are single... read more

Prepositions:

Prepositions are words that show the relationships between nouns, pronouns and other words in a sentence. Most of the time they come before a noun, and can affect the time, place, and movement.

They can be classified as simple or compound prepositions.

Simple prepositions are single word prepositions: across, after, at, before, between, by, during, from, in, into, of, on, to, under, with and without are all single word prepositions.

For example:

  • The book is on the table.
  • The book is under the cloth.

Compound prepositions contain more than one word. Ahead of and because of, are still prepositions even though they contain two words, and there meaning can be a bit more difficult to work out.

For example:

  • They followed the car ahead of them. (Gives information about place.)
  • They were following it because of the heavy fog. (Gives information about reason.)

In front of, in case of, on behalf of , are also compound prepositions. They just happen to contain three words.

For example:

  • The book is on top of the bookcase.
  • The book is in front of the clock.

Their meaning can be less clear cut:

For example:

  • Some icons are sophisticated enough to be used in place of images.
  • In spite of the many technological advances available, many schools are still using pen and paper.
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Pronoun : English Grammar

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Pronouns: A pronoun usually refers to something already mentioned in a sentence or piece of text. They are used instead of nouns to prevent repetition of the noun to which they refer. One of the most common pronouns is it and it has no gender. Singular Singular Singular Plural Plural Personal... read more

Pronouns:

A pronoun usually refers to something already mentioned in a sentence or piece of text. They are used instead of nouns to prevent repetition of the noun to which they refer.

One of the most common pronouns is it and it has no gender.

  Singular Singular Singular Plural Plural
Personal Pronoun - Subject
I
you
he/she/it
we / you
they
Personal Pronoun - Object
me
you
him/her/it
us
them
Possessive Pronouns
mine
yours
his/hers/its
ours
theirs
Reflexive Pronouns
myself
yourself
himself/herself/itself
ourselves
themselves

Example (Singular):

  • Without a pronoun:
  • The train was late, the train had been delayed. 
  • With a pronoun:
  • The train was late, it had been delayed. (Nice !)
  • In this example the train is singular, therefore the pronoun must be singular also - it.

Example (Plural):

  • Without a pronoun:
  • The trains were late, the trains had been delayed. 
  • With a pronoun:
  • The trains were late, they had been delayed. (Sounds better!)
  • In this example the trains are plural, therefore the pronoun must be plural also - they.
  • Note : the possessive determiner is not a pronoun.
Possessive Determiner / Adjective
my
your
his/her/its
our
their
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Verbs : English Grammar

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Verbs: Types of verbs : Action verbs Auxiliary verbs Finite Non-finite Irregular verbs Main verbs Modal verb Mood Phrasal verbs Regular verbs Stative verbs Verbs are a class of words used to show the performance of an action (do, throw,... read more

Verbs:

Types of verbs :
  • Action verbs
  • Auxiliary verbs
  • Finite
  • Non-finite 
  • Irregular verbs
  • Main verbs
  • Modal verb
  • Mood
  • Phrasal verbs
  • Regular verbs
  • Stative verbs

Verbs are a class of words used to show the performance of an action (do, throw, run), existence (be), possession (have), or state (know, love) of a subject. To put it simply a verb shows what something or someone does.

Most statements in speech and writing have a main verb. These verbs are expressed in tenses which place everything in a point in time.

Verbs have moods, which indicate the viewpoint of the verb, whether it is a fact, a command or hypothetical.

Verbs have a voice too. The voice shows whether the subject of a sentence is carrying out an action, or is having an action carried out on it.

Verbs are conjugated (inflected) to reflect how they are used. There are two general areas in which conjugation occurs; for person and for tense. 

Conjugation for tense is carried out on all verbs. All conjugations start with the infinitive form of the verb. The infinitive is simply the to form of the verb For example, to begin. The present participle form (the -ing form), is formed by adding ing to the bare infinitive. For example, the present participle of the verb to begin is beginning. There are two other forms that the verb can take, depending on the tense type and time, the simple past form (began) and the past participle (begun). 

Conjugation for person occurs when the verb changes form, depending on whether it is governed by a first, second, or third person subject. This gives three conjugations for any verb depending on who is acting as the subject of the verb.  For example, we have: to begin, you begin, and he begins. Note that only the third conjunction really shows a difference.

While most English verbs simply do not show extensive conjugation forms for person, an exception is the verb to be.

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