Learn basic grammar for students of English as a second language:
Grammar rules with examples on all English tenses:
- Present simple and present continuous
- Past simple and past continuous
- Future simple and future continuous
- Present perfect simple and continuous
- Past perfect simple and continuous
- Future perfect simple and continuous
Can, may, must, have to in positive and negative forms:
- I can swim very well (abilities). We can help you (possibilities). It can be John (probabilities). You can take it (permissions).
- May I smoke here (permissions)? They may come tomorrow (probabilities or predictions).
- You must go there (strong obligations). You must see the film (strong recommendations). It must be John (certainties).
- British students have to wear uniforms (obligations based on a rule). Mum says you have to do your homework first (obligations based on the authority of another person).
All passive forms compared to active forms:
- Present simple passive (The car is repaired).
- Present continuous passive (The houses are being built).
- Past simple passive (My laptop was broken).
- Past continuous passive (The road was being cleared).
- Future simple passive (The parcel will be sent in time).
- Present perfect passive (The report has been finished).
- Past perfect passive (The painting had been stolen).
- Present conditional passive (I would be tired).
- Past conditional passive (The film would have been made).
The first, second and third person imperative sentences and emphatic imperatives.
- Let me do it. Let's stay here. (the first person imperative)
- Open your books. Don't sit down. (the second person imperative)
- Let him go. Let them join us. (the third person imperative)
- Do be quiet. (emphatic imperative)
Gerunds, infinitives with 'to' and bare infinitives.
- We hope to come on time. (infinitive with 'to')
- They made me stand up. (bare infinitive - without 'to')
- He admitted smashing the window. (gerund)
- I stopped to smoke. I stopped smoking. (infinitive and gerund with different meanings)
Present and perfect conditionals (would, should, ought to, could, might).
- It would help me. You should do it. You ought to do it. Dan could | might come tonight. (present conditional)
- It would have helped me. You should have done it. You ought to have done it. Dan could | might have come yesterday night. (perfect conditional)
Zero, first, second, third, mixed and inverted conditional sentences:
- If I go to school, I get up at seven. (zero conditional)
- If he studies hard, he'll pass the exams. (the first conditional)
- If I had more time, I would help you. (the second conditional)
- If he had met her, he would have told her. (the third conditional)
- If he had left immediately, he would be here now. (mixed conditionals)
- Were I in your position, I would accept it. (inverted conditional)
Future time clauses:
- I'll do it when I come back home.
- While we are cutting the grass you'll pick the apples.
- As soon as they have repaired our car we will go for a trip.
Defining, non-defining and connective relative clauses (who, which, that, whose, whom):
- The man who called you has just arrived. This is the book which I wanted. Are you the boy that lives next door? The river whose bridge is in front of us is called the Cam. The man whom I met yesterday... (defining relative clauses)
- My father, who is 65 now, still works. His car, which cost nearly 20,000 dollars, is broken. (non-defining relative clauses)
- I gave the letter to James, who sent it to London. She passed me the salt, which fell on the floor. (connective relative clauses)
Direct and indirect objects in English sentences:
- Sarah never eats meat. (direct object)
- Please, call me tomorrow. (indirect object)
- They gave Harold a new car. They gave him a new car. (indirect and direct objects)
- They gave a new car to Harold. They gave it to him. (direct and indirect objects)
Direct versus indirect questions:
- What did she want? Where was it? (direct questions)
- Can you tell me what she wanted? Do you remember where it was? (indirect questions)
Direct and indirect speech, reported questions, commands and requests.
- "I never understand you," she told me. (direct speech) - She told me she never understood me. (reported speech)
- Mary: "Greg came yesterday." (direct speech) - Mary said that Greg had come the day before. (reported speech)
- "What time did it start?" he said. (direct question) - He wanted to know what time it had started. (reported question)
- "Get up!" he said. (command) - He told me to get up. (reported command)
- "Make coffee, please," he said. (request) - He asked me to make coffee. (reported request)
All these English grammar lessons are written for self-study learners who want to learn basic English grammar for free. They are suitable for beginners - advanced levels.