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Some amazing discoveries on English grammar

 article about Some amazing discoveries on English grammar

This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.

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1. We can divide every English sentence into two parts; Grammar part and Meaning part. The Grammar part will have just 3 elements – Subject, Auxiliary, Verb. And the meaning part - Object and. or Complement which may be in any combination. It is the O/C parts that will contain the full meaning of the sentence while the Grammar part will give only a small meaning. This information is shown diagrammatically here,

Tom is reading / the day's newspaper now.
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Grammar part Meaning part

2. (a) More about the grammar part: S – Subject ‘ A – Auxiliary ; Verb
(b) " meaning part ; Object or Complement; O and C

The English language uses in all 18 tenses. Of these, two are "action less" types.
and the balance 16, action based.

Whether Action based or Action less, we identify the tense of a sentence by looking at the "Auxiliary and Verb" combination, because each tense has its own captive A+V combination, which is not repeated in any other.:

3.Every action based tense will show some kind of activity. In the sentence, "John has purchased a teddy bear for his sister, ." the activity is "purchasing". This is an important point. If there is an activity in a sentence, someone must be performing that activity? That performer is, "Subject". Therefore, the Subject will always be a noun of a Person or Thing only. No other noun could perform any action !.
The "purchasing activity" would be directed on some one or something, wouldn't it? That someone or something is the Object. So, the Subject and Object are brought together by the ‘purchasing' action" or by the Verb. See, how S and O are inter-related.

4. We may look at the O/C part in another way also. While the Verb tells us the ‘nature' of the activity, the O/C part will tell us the ‘details' of that activity.

5.We can identify the Object or Complement only through a test question. For instance, if the end word(s) constitute the answer for any of the questions out of WHO, WHAT,WHICH,WHOSE or WHOM, it will be the Object of the sentence. If they answer the test question HOW,WHEN,WHERE or WHY they will be the Complement of the sentence. We put the test question after S+A+V. Tom is reading WHAT? Answer is , "the day's newspaper," hence ‘newspaper' is the Object. This is a noun of Thing and is supported by the words, " the, day's". An object may or may not have supporting words but the Object must be a noun of a Person or Thing.

6. Any Complement will be of three types – Complement of Manner (TQ: HOW), Complement of Place (TQ: WHERE ) and Complement of Time (TQ: WHEN)
"Tom is reading the day's newspaper WHEN?" Answer is "now". So, now is a complement of Time. This Complement is all by itself without any supporting words.

7.You would notice that Complement of Time and Place are Nouns. Whereas the Object will also be Nouns. Some people teach that any noun found in the O/.C part will be an object. This is wrong teaching.

8.There is also a short cut method to identify O and C. If you find a Noun of a Person or Thing, it will be object. If you find a Noun of a place or time, it will be a Complement of place or complement of time [C(p). C(t)]. If there is no noun of any kind in the O/C part, it will be a complement of Manner [C(m)]. The above Nouns may be supported bywords of all parts of speech except A and V. Complement of Manner will invariably be a single word without any supporting words.



Sweet grace

Israel Jayakaran

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