Lesson #2 – Part Two – Every word has a job to do!

This week, we want to learn about the simple present tense of verbs, but before we go ahead, let’s review the meaning of the word “verb” and other types of words in sentences.

We use sentences to communicate what we mean. To communicate well, we have to know how to build sentences correctly. That is grammar.

Sentences are made up of words, right? Each word in a sentence has a job to do and has to follow the rules for its own job. You need to be able to know the jobs and the rules so you can build sentences correctly. We call these word types Parts of Speech and there are 8 main types of them: nouns, pronouns, verbs, prepositions, articles, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions

We usually start by talking about “nouns” because they are easy to see and form correctly. Nouns are persons, places, things (or ideas). The sentences are usually about the nouns – what they are doing or what is happening to them. When the noun in the main idea or doing the main action, it is called the “subject” of the sentence. When the main action is happening to the noun, we call it the “object”. Remember this for later on.

Let’s look at an example….

The doctor helped the patient.  Notice the underlined words are either doing something or it is happening to them. The word “the” is a signal that a noun follows it.  Which word is the “subject” and which is the “object”?  What are the rules that the noun has to follow? You can answer this one. If there is more than one, how does the word change? For both “doctor” and “patient”?

Check your understanding

Underline the nouns in the following sentences.

Sally likes to work at the grocery store.
The building is very new.
Freedom is important to have.
The woman walks her dog every day.
The city is loud and dangerous.

There are a few other things to understand about nouns – If you want to read more, go to http://www.myesl.info/grammar/word-classes/noun.html

Pronouns are another job that words can have in the sentence (part of speech). Their job is to take the place of nouns, because you wouldn’t want to say: The tree is very tall. The tree is green. The tree has leaves.

Instead you say this: The tree is very tall. It is green and has leaves.

Just like for nouns, pronouns are the thing the sentence is about. Other common pronouns are I, you, he, she, we, they. Read more about pronouns at http://www.myesl.info/grammar/word-classes/pronoun.html

Check your understanding

Put each word in the correct group. Is it a noun or pronoun?

dog, they, people, woman, I, chair, you, we, school, he, HACC, she, Mr. Smith, it, freedom

Noun Pronoun
dog they

Check your answers HERE

You  need to understand both nouns and pronouns in order to understand the work that verbs do in a sentence… so that takes us to the next Part of Speech – verbs.

Verbs have the action of the sentence. They can also show what something “is” or what something “has”. They always follow the subject (or main focus) of the sentence – so look for them after a noun!

Watch this video to hear the instructor describe verbs in another way.


Read more about verbs here http://www.myesl.info/grammar/word-classes/verb.html

Verbs are going to tell you about when the sentence is happening. That is the verb tense. It is also going to tell you if it happens at one point in time, or over a period of time (aspect).  We will look at 3 main tenses this term: present, past, and future tenses.

Take a look at a list of the 100 most common verbs. Do you know them? http://www.acme2k.co.uk/Acme/100print.htm

The top 331 verbs list – http://www.acme2k.co.uk/Acme/3star%20verbs.htm

How do nouns (pronouns) and verbs work together to get their job done in the present tense?

1) Nouns that act as “subjects” and their verbs have to match (we call that agree) in how much. If the noun is plural, then the verb has to take a plural ending, too.

2) In what order do words have to be in a sentence? For regular sentences (statements), words come in this order:

Subject (noun) – Verb – Object (noun) or Complement (with a linking verb)

S – V – O (or C)

Read more about objects and complements – http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/objects.htm