Unit 1: The Alphabet and Parts of Speech
English uses 26 letters in its alphabet, and these may be written in both large and small letters.
As large letters
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
As small letters
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Vowels and Consonants
These letters are of two types, called vowels and consonants
The vowels in English are:
a e i o u
(in either small or large letters).
The rest are the consonants.
All words have a vowel.
Sometimes there is only the vowel without any consonants, like in the word, I.
Parts of Speech
Words may be : Things (called nouns), qualities (adjectives) and structure words.
Nouns are things that we see around us or that come into our minds as ideas.
We see many different sorts of things in everyday life.
If we know their names, we can make ourselves clear for a very great part of the time.
There are also words that stand for those things.
They are called pronouns.
Qualities or Adjectives
Qualities or adjectives describe the things.
There are a number of words that build groups of words (sentences) with the nouns and their adjectives.
Without them we would have to point with our fingers or grunt in order to do the same job.
The words that go with the nouns and their adjectives are grouped together as "structure words".
At first there will be "structure words" and simple rules, with nouns and adjectives later on.
An important type of "structure word" in English is given the name of "verbs".
Only sixteen simple verbs and two helpers are needed for a large number of English verbs.
The 10 most frequent words in English are
They make up a fourth part of all reading.
Of course, being so common, they will need no special examples for they will be seen many times here.
One thing has the name - singular
more than one thing - plural
The only way the names of things change is from singular to plural.
The plural is formed by adding 's'.
There are not many personal pronouns.
They take a different form to show whether they are singular or plural.
It is only necessary to show person (gender) in the third person pronouns.
They are: (to be made clear later)
|person - case - gender
|1st person - single
|1st person - plural
|2nd person - single
|2nd person - plural
|3rd person - single - masculine
|3rd person - single - feminine
|3rd person - single - neuter
|3rd person - plural
||I am very sad for you.
||in my body
||he got ten of the men
||crying out to him by name
||she went out of the place
||Only her two sons were with her
||you went away from your father and mother
||said to his servant
||it is a girl
||they came in
||go after them
||as their wives
Adjectives come just before a noun (1) or after parts of the verb 'to be'.
||a strange people
||the Lord be good
||I am so old
||who are strange
||I am sad
||his heart was glad
||may you be great
(be, am, are, was) are parts of the verb to be and will come later.
Give special attention to: "A" and "The"
"A" and "The"
"a" and "the" are hard words to use.
They give the relation to a group of things.
"A" refers to any one of the group.
It is used with a singular noun.
a man = any one man.
"A" becomes "an" before a word starting with a vowel.
"The" is more exact.
It has special relation to that one in the group who seems important to you.
"This" and "That"
"This" and "That" are words which make something special.
They do so more strongly than "the".
"This" points to something near to the one talking.
"That" points to a thing further away.
(The pointing need not be an actual action).
||this is the way
||in that place
An important class of structure words is verbs.
They are "doing" words.
They make connection between the "things" which do the action and the "things" which have a relation to them.
Verbs have some different forms.
You get a sense of these differences through hearing them.
So we will not give them special attention now.
Some things may be seen by eye.
They are called "pictured" words.
They are easier to learn than are words which come to us as ideas and thoughts.
These four things are examples of picture words:
In these units, 200 of the 600 names of things are picture words.
An example of parts of speech may be given with the picture noun, "house":
If we say, "small house", we have put an adjective with the picture noun.
If we say "a small house", we are adding, a.
when we say, "see a small house", we have added the verb, see.
When we say, "I see a small house", we are using the pronoun, I, as well.
From the picture word, "house", we then have formed the simple sentence:
I see a small house.