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Report/Essay Writing: Knowing the Grammar rules

By Outworkerpost Support  2 years, 2 months ago

report writingPhoto: report writing

Origin of English Language

English is a language used in West German and was first spoken in early medieval, but with time, it became a global language. English is related to Frisian and low Saxon, which greatly influenced the language. Other languages which influenced English are Latin and French. The English language has developed for over 1400 years since it was introduced (Dixon, Murphy, Hughes, & Alrawi, 2016). The earliest form of English was the English spoke by Germans, and the West Germanic dialect was taken to Great Britain by the Anglo-Saxon settlers. After the old English, Middle English was introduced in the 11th century with the Norman Conquest of England. During this period, English language was influenced by French, and the changes which were done on the language were as a result of the influence by French language.  Modern English began in the late 15th century, and it was at this time when printing was introduced whereby King James Bible was printed.

Introduction to Rules of Grammar

Poor grammar is a common phrase used by instructors when they feel that there are so many grammar mistakes on the paper. More often, a writer might find it challenging to understand why this? yet they proof read the paper and run it through Grammarly. Well as much as it is important to proofread your paper and use Grammarly to minimize the errors knowing grammar rules is surest way to improve your writing.

Grammar rules

1. A sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a period/full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark. see Punctuation


The fat cat sat on the mat.

Where do you live?

My dog is very clever!

2. The order of a basic positive sentence is Subject-Verb-Object. (Negative and question sentences may have a different order.)


John loves Mary.

They were driving their car to Bangkok.

3. Every sentence must have a subject and a verb. An object is optional. Note that an imperative sentence may have a verb only, but the subject is understood (English club 2019).


John teaches.

John teaches English.

Stop! (ie You stop!)

4. The subject and verb must agree in number, that is a singular subject needs a singular verb and a plural subject needs a plural verb.


John works in London.

That monk eats once a day.

John and Mary work in London.

Most people eat three meals a day.

5. When two singular subjects are connected by or, use a singular verb. The same is true for either/or and neither/nor.


John or Mary is coming tonight.

Either coffee or tea is fine.

Neither John nor Mary was late.

6. Adjectives usually come before a noun (except when a verb separates the adjective from the noun).


I have a big dog.

She married a handsome Italian man.

(Her husband is rich.)

7. When using two or more adjectives together, the usual order is opinion-adjective + fact-adjective + noun. (There are some additional rules for the order of fact adjectives.)


I saw a nice French table.

That was an interesting Shakespearian play.

8. Treat collective nouns (eg committee, company, board of directors) as singular OR plural. In BrE a collective noun is usually treated as plural, needing a plural verb and pronoun. In AmE a collective noun is often treated as singular, needing a singular verb and pronoun.


The committee are having sandwiches for lunch. Then they will go to London. (typically BrE)

The BBC have changed their logo. (typically BrE)

My family likes going to the zoo. (typically AmE)

CNN has changed its logo. (typically AmE)

9. The words its and it's are two different words with different meanings.


The dog has hurt its leg.

He says it's two o'clock.

10. The words your and you're are two different words with different meanings.


Here is your coffee.

You're looking good.

11. The words there, their and they're are three different words with different meanings.


There was nobody at the party.

I saw their new car.

Do you think they're happy?

12. The contraction he's can mean he is OR he has. Similarly, she's can mean she is OR she has, and it's can mean it is OR it has, and John's can mean John is OR John has.


He is working

He has finished.

She is here.

She has left.

John is married.

John has divorced his wife.

13. The contraction he'd can mean he had OR he would. Similarly, they'd can mean they had OR they would.


He had eaten when I arrived.

He would eat more if possible.

They had already finished.

They would come if they could.

14. Spell a proper noun with an initial capital letter. A proper noun is a "name" of something, for example Josef, Mary, Russia, China, British Broadcasting Corporation, English.


We have written to Mary.

Is China in Asia?

Do you speak English?

15. Spell proper adjectives with an initial capital letter. Proper adjectives are made from proper nouns, for example Germany → German, Orwell → Orwellian, Machiavelli → Machiavellian.


London is an English town.

Who is the Canadian prime minister?

Which is your favourite Shakespearian play?

16. Use the indefinite article a/an for countable nouns in general. Use the definite article the for specific countable nouns and all uncountable nouns.


I saw a bird and a balloon in the sky. The bird was blue and the balloon was yellow.

He always saves some of the money that he earns.

17. Use the indefinite article a with words beginning with a consonant sound. Use the indefinite article an with words beginning with a vowel sound. see When to Say a or an


a cat, a game of golf, a human endeavour, a Frenchman, a university (you-ni-ver-si-ty)

an apple, an easy job, an interesting story, an old man, an umbella, an honorable man (on-o-ra-ble)

18. Use many or few with countable nouns. Use much/a lot or little for uncountable nouns. see Quantifiers


How many dollars do you have?

How much money do you have?

There are a few cars outside.

There is little traffic on the roads.

19. To show possession (who is the owner of something) use an apostrophe + s for singular owners, and s + apostrophe for plural ownersn (English club 2019).


The boy's dog. (one boy)

The boys' dog. (two or more boys)

20. In general, use the active voice (Cats eat fish) in preference to the passive voice (Fish are eaten by cats).


We use active in preference to passive.


Active is used in preference to passive.

Basic of Conjunctions 

Knowing about conjunction is important because they make up part of speech by connecting words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. There are three kinds of conjunctions: subordinating, paired, and coordinating.

Subordinating conjunctions

This joins a subordinate clause to a main clause and establishes a relationship between the two. There are many subordinating clauses, but here are some of the most common.

  1. after
  2. although
  3. as much as/as soon as/as long as
  4. as though
  5. because
  6. before
  7. how
  8. if
  9. in order to/in order that
  10. once
  11. since
  12. than
  13. that
  14. though
  15. unless
  16. until
  17. when/whenever
  18. where/wherever
  19. whether
  20. while

There are two ways to structure a sentence using a subordinating conjunction:

1.            Main clause + subordinate clause

o             The teacher administered the test after giving instructions.

o             The author must avoid bias if she wants to maintain a scholarly tone.

o             I will turn in this assignment at midnight whether or not I complete it.

2.            Subordinate clause + , + main clause

o             After giving instructions, the teacher administered the test.

o             If she wants to maintain a scholarly tone, the author must avoid bias.

o             Whether or not I complete this assignment, I will turn it in at midnight (Sourced from waldenuniversity website)


 Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect words or phrases that serve the same grammatical purpose in a sentence. There are seven main coordinating conjunctions in English, which form the acronym FANBOYS:


F: for: The teachers were frustrated, for the school had cut funding for all enrichment programs.*

A: and: In this course, I will write a literature review, a case study, and a final paper.**

N: nor: The students did not complete their homework, nor did they pass the test.

B: but: The study is several years old but still valuable to this study.

O: or: At the end of the class, the students can choose to write an essay or take a test.

Y: yet: The patient complained of chronic pain, yet she refused treatment.

S: so: I have only been a nurse for one year, so I have little experience with paper charting.

* For is rarely used as a conjunction in modern English.

** When the conjunctions and and or connect three or more words or phrases, use a serial comma to separate items in the series.

Transitional words such as however and therefore can also function as conjunctions:

•             The authors agreed on the prevalence of the problem; however, they disagreed on the problem’s cause.

•             Several employees complained about the new policies, and therefore, the manager held an all-staff meeting to address their concerns.

Paired Conjunctions

Paired conjunctions consist of two words or phrases that help make a point or establish alternatives. While paired conjunctions can be helpful in structuring a sentence, they can also make sentences wordier than necessary, so use these conjunctions sparingly.

•             both…and

o             The project will require significant investments of both time and money.

o             Both the students and the teachers were satisfied with the pilot program.

o             Note: When two subjects are connected by both…and, use a plural verb (such as are or were).

•             not only…but also

o             Students who did not complete the assignment received not only a poor grade but also a warning from the teacher.

o             Not only did the student include full sentences from the source without using quotation marks, but he alsofailed to properly cite paraphrased material.

•             either…or

o             Either the students were unprepared or the assessment was poorly written.

o             Participants in the survey could either choose from a list of possible answers or write in their own responses.

•             neither…nor

o             Students who did not complete the project received neither praise nor rewards.

o             The staff neither followed the new policy nor asked for clarification (Sourced from waldenuniversity website).

Run on sentences

A run on sentence occurs when two or more independent clauses or complete sentences are connected improperly.

Example: I love to write papers I would write one every day if I had the time.

There are two complete sentences in the above example:

Sentence 1: I love to write papers.


Sentence 2: I would write one every day if I had the time.

Some comma splices occur when a writer attempts to use a transitional expression in the middle of a sentence.

Example of a comma splice: The results of the study were inconclusive, therefore more research needs to be done on the topic.

Sentence 1: The results of the study were inconclusive


Transitional expression (conjunctive adverb): therefore


Sentence 2: More research needs to be done on the topic

To fix this type of comma splice, use a semicolon before the transitional expression and add a comma after it. See more examples of this on the semicolon page.

Revision: The results of the study were inconclusive; therefore, more research needs to be done on the

You correct a run-on sentence by connecting or separating it parts correctly. There are several easy ways to connect independent clauses

You can correct using the following methods of connecting independent clauses

1.            Use a period. The easiest way to fix a run-on is to split the sentence into smaller sentences using a period. This revision works especially well with longer sentences. Check, however, to make sure that this solution does not result in short, choppy sentences.

Revision example: I love to write papers. I would write one every day if I had the time.

2.            Use a semicolon. Inserting a semicolon between independent clauses creates a grammatically correct sentence. Using a semicolon is a stylistic choice that establishes a close relationship between the two sentences.

Revision example: I love to write papers; I would write one every day if I had the time.

3.            Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction. A comma, paired with a coordinating conjunction (such as and, but, or or), corrects a run-on sentence. This method emphasizes the relationship between the two clauses.

Revision example: I love to write papers, and I would write one every day if I had the time.

4.            Use a subordinating conjunction. Turn one of the independent clauses into a dependent clause. A subordinating conjunction (such as because, unless, and although) connects two clauses to create a complex sentence. This option works to cement the relationship between the two parts of the sentence and may improve the flow of the clauses.

Example: Because I love to write papers, I would write one every day if I had the time.


However you decide to revise for run-on sentences, remember that maintaining sentence variety helps to keep the writing clear and interesting for your readers.