The Singular and the Plural 1 страница

Sentence Structure

Types of Sentences

Sentences fall into four general groups - declarative, im­perative, interrogative and exclamatory.


A declarative sentence states facts or opinions; it ends with a period.

The class discussed a very important problem yesterday. The basic word order of an English sentence (a statement:).

      How? Where? When?
I learned the poem in class yesterday.
We ate our meal in silence.

NOTE: We can also put the time reference at the beginning: Yesterday the class discussed a very important prob­lem.


An imperative sentence requests or demands action; it ends with a period. Some imperative sentences sound like questions. These sentences do not require a response in words; they sug­gest or require an action by someone.

Will you please call Dale Jennings.

Open / don't open the window.


An exclamatory sentence shows emotion; it ends with an exclamation point.

How well she dances!


An interrogative sentence asks a question; it ends with a question mark.

Are you leaving Minsk for Moscow tomorrow?

There are following types of questions:

1. "Yes/no"-questions,i.e. questions which can be answered 'yes' or 'no' (general questions).

The typical word order is auxiliary verb + subject group + main verb + object + adverbial modifier

Is she typing?

Has he been working?

2. "Wh"-questions(special questions).

The scheme of all types of special questions except questions about the subject of the sentence is interrogative word + auxil­iary verb + subject group + main verb + object + adverbial modifier

When did she get the letter?

Mind the word order in questions about the subject of the sentence: interrogative word + predicate + object + adverbial modifier

Who plays the piano well?

3. Question tags(disjunctive questions).

Tags generally repeat auxiliaries, or do / did. A positive state­ment has a negative tag, a negative statement has a positive tag.

He is not friendly, is he?

You will help me, won't you ?

NOTE; a) It is possible for a positive tag to follow a positive statement, to express interest, or ask for confirmation.

So, you like working here, do you?

b) Tags with will and won't can be used after imperatives. Don't drive so fast, will you?

c) Let's ... has a tag formed with shall. Let's have a drink, shall we ?

d) Everyone / Someone / Anyone / No one —^- they? Someone is knocking at the door, aren 't they ?

4. "Or"-questions (alternative questions).

Are you a lecturer or a student!

Indirect questions.

Mind the direct word order in indirect questions. / wonder if you can help me. He inquired whether he could see her.

Sentence Elements

A sentence consists of words or word groups. Every sen­tence must have a subject and a predicate.


The subject identifies "who" or "what" the sentence is about.

California is a large state.

If a subject is being described or modified, the subject and the modifiers become the complete subject.

Our branch office in California will be closing in April.

Subject Ways of expression Example
    Noun The station was close to our house.
    Numeral Five stayed away from the lecture.
    Verbals Smoking is not allowed here. To smoke here means to violate the rules.
    Substantivised adjective The blind usually walk with white sticks.
    Pronoun Nobody saw him yesterday.


a) The pronoun it can be either a notional or a formal sub­ject. In the latter case we must distinguish the impersonal it, the introductory or anticipatory it and the emphatic it.

The impersonal it is used to talk about times, distances, temperatures and weather. These words don't have another subject.

It is 8 a. m.

It will be cool tomorrow.

c.f. There was a heavy snowfall last night. (In sentences like this, the noun introduced by the construction there is is the subject.)

The introductory or anticipatory it introduces the real subject.

It's pleasant to lie in the sun.

The emphatic it is used for emphasis.

It was John who paid for dinner.

b) The subject can be expressed by the indefinite pronoun one or the personal pronouns they, you, we which refer to peo­ple in general. They is used when the speaker is excluded, one and we when the speaker is included.

They build new blocks of flats in our town.

One / we must know this.


The predicate indicates something about the subject. We distinguish the simple predicate and the compound predicate, which in its turn can be nominal or verbal.

They arrived in the morning.

He looked good-natured and happy.

I have to work for my living.

In the English language the predicate agrees with the sub­ject in person and number.

She works in the marketing division.


a) Use a singular or plural predicate when two or more subjects are separated by or or nor. The predicate must agree with the subject closest to it.

The other secretaries or Jane has to solve the problem.

b) Use a singular predicate with such words as each, eve­rybody, and nobody.

Nobody was laughing.

c) Use a plural predicate when the subject is a number. Use a singular predicate when the subject is the number.

A number of students fail in the exams every year. The number of car accidents has increased.

d) Use a singular predicate with periods of time or sums of money expressed as total units.

Five dollars is the amount of money I plan to donate for Sylvia's gift.


The direct object usually follows a verb in a sentence. The subject acts on an item through the verb. The direct object an­swers the questions "what?" or "who?" to an action verb.

She bought a ring.


The indirect object precedes the direct object. A sentence may have a direct object and an indirect object. An indirect ob­ject indicates to whom or for whom or to which or for which the action of the verb is being performed.

We wrote thema letter, or We wrote a letter to them.


Compliments name or describe the subject. They also ap­pear in the predicate. Compliments that follow linking verbs are

predicate nouns or predicate adjectives; these are often called subject compliments. The compliments complete the meaning intended by the verbs.

He is a personnel manager.

Sam and Mary took a shortcutacross the empty field.


Modifiers describe or limit other parts of speech.

Everyone agreed the newproject would be an exciting


Your advice is very helpful.


1. Identify each of the sentences below according to their structure.

1) Close the window.

2) The house is on fire!

3) Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota.

4) Have you read any books by Jack London?

5) What a funny cartoon it is!

6) Please stand by!

7) I'm going on an excursion on Saturday.

8) Do you like travelling by train?

9) She met him at the party.

10) Let's go for a walk.

2. Arrange these groups of words in the right order. Add (.),(?) or ( ! ). Describe each sentence as a state­ment, question, command or exclamation.

1) the coffee/don't spill

2) today's papers / have you seen

3) to meet you / how nice

4) my umbrella / where did you put

5) arrived / the train / fifteen minutes late

6) on time/the plane / won't arrive

7) for me / please / open the door

8) the bill / can't pay /1 / he cried

3. Read the story and arrange the words in each sentence in the right order. Add capital letters and (,),(.),(!), or (?) in the right places. Retell the story.

A quiet sort of place!

My car / I parked / in the centre of the village - / parked my car in the centre of the village.

1. near a bus stop / an old man /1 saw

2. "beautiful village / what a " /1 exclaimed

3. "live here / how many people"

4. "seventeen people / there are" / the old man said

5. "here / have you lived / how long"

6. "all my life /1 have lived here"

7. "isn't it / it's a quiet sort of place"

8. "here / a quiet life / we live

9. a cinema / we don't have / or a theatre

10. our school / five years ago / was closed

11. only one shop / we have

12. calls / a bus / once a day

13. here / in 55 B.C. / came / the Romans

14. since then / has happened / nothing"

4. ("Yes/no" - questions):ask your partner questions about his / her food habits and then speak about them.

1. Are you a good eater? Do you have a substantial break­fast in the morning? Do you normally drink coffee for breakfast?

2. Have you ever been to the Chinese restaurant? Is it very expensive to dine there?

3. Are you a vegetarian? Do you ever eat meat?

4. Do you care for fish? Are you good at cooking fish yourself?

5. Have you ever eaten asparagus? Does it taste good?

6. Are you a good cook? What is your specialty? Is it fish dish?

7. Are you on a slimming diet now?

5. ("Wh" - questions): match the questions and answers.

1. What's the longest word in the dictionary?

2. Where does Thursday come before Friday?

3. Which is easier to spell, seventeen or eighteen?

4. What begins with "t", ends with "t", and has "t" in it?

5. Why is an island like the letter "t"?

6. How should you dress on a cold day?

7. Why is the letter "e" lazy?

8. Why is there plenty of food in the desert?

a) Because of all the sandwiches (sand which is) there.

b) In a dictionary.

c) A teapot.

d) Because it's always in bed.

e) Smiles - because it's a mile from beginning to end.

f) Seventeen because it's spelt with more ease, (more "e" s)

g) Because it's in the middle of water, h) As quickly as possible.

6. Choose the most suitable words in each sentence.

a) Let's go to London next weekend, shall we / won't we?

b) You shouldn't have told me, did you / should you?

c) Jim hasn't been waiting long, was he / has he?

d) You won't tell anyone about this, do you / will you?

e) You are not doing what I told you, do you / are you?

f) Answer the phone for me, will you / do you?

g) George can't have noticed, can he / has he?

h) You've got to leave now, don't you / haven't you?

i) Pam and Tim got married last year, didn't they / ha­ven't they?

j) I don't think John's very friendly, does he / is he?

7. Supply the missing tag questions in the dialogue. The first sentences are done for you. Act the dialogue out.

(Speakers: Peter and Sue.)

- Come on, Sue! The taxi's waiting! We're going to miss the train!

- All right! I'm coming! But the taxi's early, isn't it? You ordered it for 10 o'clock, didn't you?

- Well, it doesn't matter, does it? You know I can't stand

being late for trains,......? You've got everything now,......?

Or shall I have another quick look?

- Oh! You haven't said goodbye to the neighbours,......?

- Hell! No!

- And you won't forget to give Mrs Williams the key,......?

- Mrs Williams said she'd water the plants,......?

(In the taxi on the way to the station.)

- Oh! What about the newspapers? You did cancel them, ... ...?

- And the milkman already knows we're going away,......?

- Well, I told him last week. He should remember,......?

- Er ... I wonder if I turned the radio off .... But I must have done,......?

- And I can't have left the coffee-maker on,......?

- Oh, dear! And there is enough food for Mrs Williams to feed the cat,......?

- Well, if there isn't, Mrs Williams can buy some.......?

- Damn! I didn't leave the train tickets in my other jacket, ... ...? Sue! Tell the driver to turn round! It ... er ... would probably be better to drive back home and get the next train,......?

8. Analyse the ways of expressing the subject in the following


1. Many great men in England have been buried in West­minster Abbey. 2. Everyone is ready to help him. 3. Our cos­monauts have spent hundreds of hours in outer space. 4. One needn't go to a post-office to send a letter. 5. To send letters from one community to another was necessary even in ancient times. 6. There is a railway road connecting these two towns. 1. It is autumn. 8. He was late for the train. 9. It has been raining for two days. 10. He began to prepare for exams. 11. She stopped crying and looked at me hopefully. 12. He is considered to be a clever man. 13. His work is interesting and important. 14. Jack has to take a taxi.

9. Choose the form in parentheses that agrees with the subject.

1. Neither the children nor their father (know, knows) the time of Tom's arrival.

2. Neither Mike nor his friends (support, supports) this baseball team.

3. Everyone (was, were) excited.

4. A number of graduates (have, has) received scholar­ships from this department.

5. The winner of the award (is, are) to be chosen.

6. Those scissors (was, were) mine.

7. The police (is, are) on the alert for the escaped convict.

8. Most of our furniture (is, are) in storage.

9. All of the money (was, were) stolen.

10. Tom and his cousins (belong, belongs) to the club.

11. A pile of newspapers (was, were) stored in there.

12. My handwriting and spelling (has, have) improved.

Sentence length

Sentence length varies; it depends on the type of sentence. The types of sentences include the simple sentence, compound sentence, complex sentence, and compound - complex sentence.


A simple sentence is a complete thought with a subject and a predicate.

She is typing now.


A compound sentence involves two or more independent clauses linked by coordinate conjunction such as and, but/yet, or, so, for.

I'm an old man and I'm sick.

My son has a car buthe doesn't take me for a drive. He knew there were excuses for his father, yet he felt sick at heart.


A complex sentence involves an independent clause or clauses and one or more dependent clauses. Subordinate conjunctions link them.

When Mr Brown returns from the meeting, I will give him your message.

I have come here because I want you to help me. I don't like the man who does the gardening here.

  Main clause +   Subject clause
Predicative clause
Object clause
Attributive clause
Adverbial clause
Kind of clause Usual conjunctions Example
Subject clause Who, which, what, where, when, how, why, etc. What is done cannot be undone.
Predicate clause That, if, whether, as if The truth was that he didn 't love her.
Object clause who, which, what I don 't know what happened yesterday.
Attributive clause Who, whose, which as, where, when He is the customer whose address I lost.

There are different types of adverbial clauses. They are as follows:

Kind of an adverbial clause Usual conjunctions Examples
Time clauses when, before, after, since, while, as soon as, once When he had gone, she sighed. I'll call you as soon as you come home.
Conditional clauses if, unless What will I do if he doesn 't come? I'll go to the country unless it rains.
Purpose clauses in order to, so that The police locked the door so (that) no one could get in.
Reason clauses because, since, as Since it was Sunday, he stayed in bed.
Result clauses so that She got such a shock that she fainted.
Concessive clauses although, though, while Though he is French, he speaks English well.
Place clauses where, wherever He said he was happy where he was.


A compound-complex sentence contains a dependent clause linked to two or more independent clauses.

Please let me know if my flight arrangements have been confirmed; if they have, contact the hotel to make a reservation.


1. Read the story and choose the correct conjunction in brackets. (Not so) Merry - Go Round!

The customers at the funfair were leaving (and / but) the lights were going out. The last two people on dodgem cars paid (and / so) left. The big wheel stopped (for / and) the merry-go-

round stopped (as well / not only). The stalls closed down (so / and) the stall - owners went home. At 2 a. m. four night watch­men walked round the funfair, (but / so) there was no one to be seen. "I'm fed up walking round, one of them said, (yet / and) and what can we do? We can (or / either) play cards (either / or) sit and talk". They were bored, (so / for) there was nothing to do. "We can have a ride on the merry-go-round!" one of them cried. "That'll be fun!" Three of them jumped on merry-go-round horses (yet / and) the forth started the motor. Then he jumped on too (and / but) round they went. They were having the time of their lives, (but / so) suddenly realized there was no one to stop the machine. They were not rescued till morning (and / but) by then they felt very sick indeed!

2. Find and identify the subordinate clauses in these sentences.

1. A bee performs a special dance, when it has found food, to inform the others about it.

2. Most people will be happy if the law to reduce taxes is passed.

3. The house where Shakespeare lived has been visited by many people.

4. Many people came to California in the 1860s believ­ing that they would find gold.

5. All the offices are closed because it's Sunday.

6. Mother's Day, which is celebrated in May, has been observed since 1914.

7. Benjamin Franklin, who was a famous statesman, was also a scientist and an author.

8. Although we call them shooting stars, meteorites are bits of matter from other planets entering the earth's atmosphere.

3. Fill in the blanks with one of the words from (A), (B), (C) or (D).

1. It looked dark and heavy ... it was going to rain.

(A) although

(B) unless

(C) as if

(D) whereas

2. I get your car, I will leave.

(A) as soon as

(B) as though

(C) by the time

(D) now that

3. ... he had read the instructions several times, he knew what to do.

(A) whereas

(B) after

(C) until

(D) while

4. ... he cannot afford a car, he rides a bicycle.

(A) unless

(B) whereas

(C) though

(D) because

5. ... the cities do not provide better and cheaper mass transportation, the traffic problem will get worse.

(A) so that

(B) even though

(C) if

(D) before

6. ... you go to Canada, you should visit Toronto.

(A) when

(B) as

(C) since

(D) unless

7. ... riding a bicycle is good leg exercise, it does not use a lot of calories.

(A) as

(B) although

(C) because

(D) so that

8. She turned off the cassette player ... she could study.

(A) now that

(B) even if

(C) so that

(D) in case

4. Use a subordinating conjunction to combine the following sentences.

1. The boy walked quickly. He was late.

2. I know a woman. She writes detective stories.

3. The horses were frightened. The wind howled.

4. The photographer went to Loch Ness. She wanted to photograph the monster.

5. The storm continued four days. The snow was deep.

6. Two persons told the reporter. They saw UFO's.

7. I'll tell you a ghost story. You promise not to laugh.

8. We were driving down Central Avenue. We heard a siren.

5. Rewrite the paragraph below by making compound and complex sentence where possible.

We went to the balloon races. They were held in France. Each huge, crumpled balloon was filled with hot air. It grew large and light. Two people climbed into the basket. A basket was attached to each balloon. Sand was in the basket. The sand was thrown out by handfuls. The crowd cheered with delight. The balloons rose in the air. The people in the balloon waved to the people. The balloons rose higher and higher. The young man and woman in the blue-and-green balloon were from the United States. They were entering the race. It was their first time. We wished them luck.

The Noun

The noun is a word expressing substance in the widest sense of the word.

Nouns fall under two classes:

1. Proper nouns: Mary, London, Nelson, France, Mr Manson, Mrs Bush.

2. Common nouns: dog, woman, man, wind, table, snow, beauty, etc.

There are three groups of common nouns:

Class nouns: a shop - shops, a forest - forests, a house -

houses, a boy - boys.

Collective nouns: money, police, crowd, linen, furniture, team,

staff, etc.

Nouns of material and abstract nouns: gold, water, courage, fear, etc.

Nouns can be countable and uncountable.

Countable nouns (that can be counted) have two numbers: the singular and the plural:

a girl - girls, a river - rivers, a son - sons, etc.

Before countable nouns we can say a I an/ theI some I any I many I a lot of I few I a few I this I these I my I his,etc.

He decided to take his way to Paris for their anniversary. He got on a train and found a seat and stared out of the window.

Uncountable nouns (that we cannot count) are always singular and are not used with a I an (music, blood). Before uncountable

nouns we can say: some I any / no I much I a lot of I little / a little/this /his, etc. Also: a bit of a slice of/a piece of, etc.

a bit of news a piece of advice a bar of chocolate

a cake of soap a sheet of paper a slice of bread

I don't want (any) advice or help. Music enriches our life.

Many nouns can be used as countable or uncountable nouns. Usually there is a difference in meaning:

She had beautiful hair. There is a hair in my soup.

I bought some paper. I bought a paper.

We drink wine. but: We enjoy a good wine.

The Singular and the Plural

The general rule for forming the plural is by adding the end­ing -s (-es) to the singular:

a flower - flowers [z], a hat - hats [s], a bridge - bridges [iz] If the noun ends in -s, -ss, -x, -sh, -ch, -tch, the plural is formed by adding -es to the singular.

bus - buses box - boxes bench - benches

glass - glasses brush - brushes match – matches

If the noun ends in -o preceded by a consonant, the plural is generally formed by adding -es.

hero - heroes piano - pianos

potato - potatoes but: photo - photos

volcano - volcanoes stereo - stereos

tomato - tomatoes kilo - kilos

echo - echoes radio – radios

If the noun ends in -y preceded by a consonant, -y is changed into i before -es.

army - armies but: day - days In proper names:

lady - ladies boy - boys Mary - Marys

The nouns ending in -f (in some cases followed by a mute e) change it into -ves.

thief-thieves wife-wives roof-roofs serf-serfs

leaf-leaves shelf-shelves belief - beliefs safe-safes

knife - knives wolf-wolves but: chief-chiefs handkerchief –

life-lives half-halves proof-proofs handkerchiefs

NOTE: The nouns scarf, hoof, wharf take either -s or -ves in the plural.

Some words borrowed from Latin or Greek keep their original plural forms:

datum - data phenomenon - phenomena

basis - bases formula - formulae / formulas

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