Grammatical Clasifications

5 Grammatical Concepts

    1. Grammatical Units:
         Clauses, Phrases, Words

        2. Sequences of Grammatical Units:
               Standard Positions & Movement

        3. Grammatical Relationships:
               How words combine

        4. Functions of Grammatical Units:
               Parts of Sentences

        5. Forms of Grammatical Units:
               Parts of Speech: Types of Representations

Grammatical Units
Word = Morpheme + Morpheme
binary = bi + nary

Word = Morpheme + Word
bicycle = bi + cycle

Word = Root + Suffix
speaking = speak + ing
spoken = spoke + en
globe - globes - global - globally

Phrase = Word + Word
We play games [every day]. / often
[In the evening] we play games [to pass the time].

Clause = Subject + Predicate
I think [those people play games].
We saw [some people playing games].

Sequences of Grammatical Units

English is an S-V-O / S-V-C language.

Subject + Verb + Object
They + speak + English

Adjective + Noun + (Adj. Clause or Phrase)

[Adverb] + Subject + [Adv.] + Verb + [Adv.]

Movement of Units
Questions, Complex Sentences

Five Grammatical Relationships
Unit CombinationRelationship
Subject + Predicate
1. Predication
Modifier + Head2. Modification
Head + ModifierModification
Head + Complement3. Complementation
Head + (Head + Unit)4. Subordination
Head + [Head + Unit]Subordination
Unit + Connector + Unit5. Coordination

Word word Head word Head word word word.

Functions of Grammatical Units
Units7 Parts of Sentences
Clause, Phrase or Word = Subject
Phrase or Word =


Phrase or Word = Head
Word = Particle
Clause, Phrase or Word = Complement
Clause, Phrase or Word =


Phrase or Word = Connector

Forms of Grammatical Units
9 Parts of Speech: Types of Representations
1. Noun = People, Places, Physical & Abstract Things
2. Pronoun = Noun or Noun Phrase or Noun Clause:
3. Adjective = Descriptive Property of a Noun
4. Determiner = Universal Property of a Noun
5. Adverb = Property of an Adjective

5. Adverb = Property of a Verb Phrase or an Adverb
6. Verb = Processes: Actions or States
    6. Non-finite Verb = Abstract Things / Nouns, Adjectives & Adverbs
6. Auxiliary Verb = Aspect of a Verb Phrase
5. Adverb = Intensity of an Auxiliary Verb

7. Preposition = Relationship: sit [in the chair (beside the table)]
8. Conjunction = Relationship: We will leave [If it rains]
8. Conjunction = Relationship boys and girls
9. Interjection & 5. Adverb = Point of View of the speaker Wow / Anyway

Parts of Speech / Parts of Sentences
The 18 Color-Styles
 Solid Dotted Dashed 
AquaDeterminer / (Adjective) {Adjective} [Adverb]
Blue(Noun ) / Pronoun {Noun} Pron. [Noun] Pron.
PurpleVerbal Verbal [Adverb]
OrangeModal Verb Auxiliary VerbAux. V. / Adverb
BlackPreposition S. Conj.Conjunction[Adverb / Interjection ]
 (Parentheses) {Braces} [Brackets]

Types of Nouns and Verbs
Noun = Thing
Abstract Physical      Man-made      Living      Human     
river cardog man
Tuesday    NileToyotaSnoopy    Bob

Verb = Process
Existential      Relational      Mental      Physical      Behavioral      Communicative  
be have knowfall prepare ask
succeed contain likemelt obey talk
ACTIONS -------->

Noun & Verb Relationships

Subject + Verb = Predication
Birds fly. / Time flies. / Rivers fly run

Verb + Object OR Prep. + Object = Complementation
A bird ate a fish. / A fish was eaten by a bird by the river.

Verb + Indirect Object  +  Direct Object = Complementation
Our teacher told us a story. / Our teacher told a story to us.

Verb + Link = Complementation
That bird is a duck. / The ugly duckling became a swan.

Verb + Object + Link = Complementation
The students named the duck Donald.

Types of Adjectives
Determiners:Articles: a, an, the
Demonstratives: this, that, these, those, Which
Distributives: every, both, all
Quantifiers: one, many, any, some, What
Possessives: my, your, our, his, theirs, Whose
Adjectives:OBSERVATION: smart, beautiful, funny / interesting, worried
SIZE & SHAPE: big, short, round, thin
AGE: new, young, old,
TEMPERATURE, COLOR, & STATE: hot, cold, red, blue, wet / broken
ORIGIN: American, French, & foreign MATERIAL: leather, glass
TYPE: electric, national / sports, / swimming, furnished

Noun Phrases = Identifications
Det. + OBSERVATION + COLOR + TYPE - that beautiful red sports car
Det. + DEGREE + OBSERVATION - a very interesting problem
Det. + TYPE - her swimming suit

She likes French wine, but we like wine (from Italy). - ORIGIN / (ORIGIN)
The class (on Tuesday) (in room 101) has been canceled.

(OBSERVATION) - The people (who are swimming) are my classmates.
(OBSERVATION) - Our English teacher, (who is an American), can play the guitar.

OBSERVATION - Tired and sick [with a cold], Bob failed the exam.

The headmaster himself gave her the first prize, a full scholarship.

Do you have anything to eat in the house? - TYPE
The boss gave me something important to do. - OBSERVATION + TYPE

Types of Adverbs
of Adjectives
or Adverbs:
Degree: very, quite, extremely, too, enough, How,
Comparative & Superlative: more, most, less, least
or Verbs
INTENSIFIER: really, definitely
AMPLIFIER: absolutely, completely
DOWNTONER: almost, hardly, LIMITER: primarily, only, also, too
EXPERIENCE: usually, normally, initially, eventually
FREQUENCY: often, seldom, again, once, never, How often
TIME period: soon, today, now, yet, When
TIME duration: How long
LOCATION: here, there, away / Where
DIRECTION: right, back
MANNER: carefully, loudly, well, together, How
Reason: Why

The 3 Adverb Positions
Middle: We often watch movies. - FREQUENCY
He definitely needs a haircut. - INTENSITY
We almost won the game. - DOWNTONER

End: He listened carefully today. - MANNER + TIME
We eat there together [every Tuesday]. - LOCATION + MANNER + [FREQUENCY]
She worked [in the office] [by herself] [last night].. - [LOCATION] + [MANNER] + [TIME]

Beginning:    Today [near the ocean], the air is clean. TIME + [LOCATION]
Eventually Bob found his keys. - EXPERIENCE

Sentence Adverbs
The Modifiers
Interjections, Vocatives & Disjunctive Adverbs

Wow, you look great.
Ladies and gentlemen, the show will begin soon.
We need your help, William.

Incidentally, I received a strange email.
I met your neighbors, [by the way].
My wife, however, had already met them, .

The Complement

The students have not arrived. = No students have arrived.
No, it is not a problem. = It's no problem .

They are not home. ≠ They are never home.

Prepositions that form Adverbs and Particles
Prepositional Adverbs Phrasal Verbs
come [in my office]
come in
show her [around the city]
show her around
look up an address
call off the game
pick on me
fall for her

Phrasal Modal Verbs
ought to leave should leave
have to listen must listen
is going to rain      will rain

Common Phrasal Verbs
More Phrasal Verbs

Aspects of Possibility
Modal Verbs:
can, will, shall, would, should, could, may, might, and must

Phrasal Modal Verbs:
be to, be able to, be about to, be going to, be supposed to
have to, have got to, had better
ought to, used to, need to, would rather

PossibilityPoint of View about Possibility
We can leave today.
It will rain tomorrow.
There shouldn't be any problems.    
You can borrow my car.
Will You please be careful?
You should wear your seat belt.

Aspects of Reality
The Helping Verb
Verifies or Negates Reality
do does did
Do you speak English?
He doesn't understand the question.
Continuous Aspect
Expresses Duration of a Process
be is are
been was were
They are listening to music.
Perfect Aspect
Expresses Completion of a Process
have has had
They have listened to three songs.
Passive Voice
Emphasizes part of a process
be is are
been was were
English is spoken in many countries.
Do your homework They are happy They have many MP3s
He is a South African

The Parts of Speech of Verbal Phrases
Predicate Verbs vs. Infinitives, Gerunds & Participles
Finite Verbs vs. Non-finite Verbs

Predicate Verb
Adverb Phrase

Adverb Phrase
Noun Phrase
Non-finite Verb     
Non-finite Verb
The young boys are swimming.(Physical Process)
Swimming can be fun. (Abstract Thing)
The people swimming are my classmates (Observation)
My favorite place to swim is the lake (Type of place)
They came here [to swim [in the pool]]. (Reason)
He hurt his back swimming. (Manner)

She is afraid [to swim alone]. (Condition)
We like [to swim together]. (Abstract Thing)
His father taught the boys to swim. (Process)
tend to swim [in the morning]

Prepositional Object     
Noun Phrase
Non-finite Verb
Non-finite Verb

excited [about [swimming tomorrow]]
enjoy [swimming together]
saw them swimming
They go swimming [every day]. (Co-process)

Five Grammatical Concepts:

Grammatical Units: Words, Phrases, and Dependent Clauses all have parts of speech.

Parts of speech (Forms of grammatical units) are types of representions.

The relationships between its grammatical units determine the structure of a sentence

Color-Coding shows the parts of speech and parts of sentence and gives clues about meaning.

Copyright © 2017 Ted O'Brien

Sentence Structures