deals with the structure and use of words, and of how these words relate to, or are connected to other words in a sentence, and with how that relationship can change, depending on whereabouts in the sentence the words are used, and with how individual words can be changed and modified.
Syntax  deals with the structure of sentences, and of how words in a sentence can be  arranged to provide a clear meaning, and with the correct way of using words in a sentence.

Though Grammar differs from Syntax, both are so intertwined that little reference is made to their different structure and use; often one depends on the other.

A Sentence is a group, or unit, of words, so connected that they make complete sense. and say something about someone or something else.

In order to tell something about someone or something else, a Sentence must have both a Subject and a Predicate.

Example of a sentence:  Jason rides his bicycle to school.
The Subject
The Subject of a sentence is that part of the sentence that tells WHO or WHAT we are talking about, that is, what the sentence is about.  In the sentence above, we are talking about Jason; so the subject is Jason.
The Predicate


The Predicate of a sentence is that part of the sentence that tells WHAT the subject does, or did, or said, etc,  In the sentence above, the predicate is  rides his bicycle to school.

Jason  is the subject of the sentence.

Whom were we talking about?  We were talking about Jason.


            What were we saying about Jason?

We were saying that Jason rides his bicycle to school.

So, rides his bicycle to school is the predicate of the sentence.

A Verb (action word)
In order to say something meaningful about the subject, the predicate must have a doing,  or saying , or telling, word.  Such a word is also called an action  word.  The proper grammatical term to use is VERB.
In the sentence, Jason rides his bicycle to school,  the verb, or action word, is rides.  What does Jason do?  He rides  (his bicycle to school,)  {Jason does not carry his bicycle, or push it, or drag it.  What he does is ride it.}
A Noun is the name of any person, place or thing.
The Subject must be some-one or some-thing, so it must have a name.  Every person or thing must have a name.  That name is called a NOUN.  The name, Jason, is a noun.
In the sentence, Jason rides his bicycle to school, there are three nouns:   Jason, bicycle and school.

Sometimes a sentence reads more easily if a thing or person is not referred to by its name but by a substitute word.

Instead of the sentence above about Jason we could have written:


            Jason is riding Jason’s bicycle to school.



This would still be an accurate, and a grammatically correct, statement, but its syntax would be poor.  It is much better to provide a substitute word for the second Jason, and so we do:

Jason is riding his bicycle to school.

The substitute word, his, is called a PRONOUN.


Verbs, Nouns and Pronouns are all PARTS OF SPEECH.  Other Parts of Speech are


An Adjective is a word that tells more about, or qualifies, a Noun.

Examples are:  blue flowers, happy child, three months, full moon, first prize.


An Adverb is a word that tells more about, or qualifies, a Verb.


            Jason slowly rides his bicycle to school.

A Preposition is a word that shows the relationship, or connection, between Nouns.




The kitten is in the box.

The kitten is beside the box.

The kitten is under the box.

A Conjunction is a word that joins other words, or phrases or clauses or sentences, together.




We need to buy some apples and oranges.

The girl in the blue dress and carrying a bunch of flowers is my cousin.Let us go to the beach and have a swim, but we must return early.

Alphabetical Order
Alphabetical Order refers to the arrangement of words in the order in which the initial letter appears in the alphabet.  Words in a dictionary, and names in a telephone directory, appear in alphabetical order.


Examples:  apple, bun, cat, dog, egg, flower, goat..

If several words begin with the same letter, then the second letter determines the order, and if these are the same, then the third letter, and so on.


            Ape, apple, apply, aptitude, optical, optician.

Word Order
Word Order refers to the logical order of words in a sentence in order that the sentence be intelligible:


Door the lock make you sure.  Incorrect. 


  Make sure you lock the door.  Correct.
A Paragraph is a group of sentences that discusses the same thing.



To become a good dog doctor, it is necessary to love, and to understand, dogs.  Never forget that the mentality of one dog is totally different from that of another.  The sharp wit that sparkles in the quick eye of a fox terrier, for instance, reflects a mental activity totally different from the serene wisdom that shines in the eye of a St Bernard.


Three sentences, but all discussing the one thing.

Topic Sentence
The Topic Sentence refers to the chief sentence in a paragraph, usually, but not necessarily, the first sentence.  The topic sentence is the sentence that tells what the paragraph is discussing.  In the paragraph above, the topic sentence is:



To become a good dog doctor, it is necessary to love, and to understand, dogs.



The remaining sentences in the paragraph support the topic sentence.

A Phrase is a group of words without a verb, but which adds meaning to the other words in the sentence.



            The boy in the brown shirt was sitting under a tree.

The main  part of the sentence is:  The boy is sitting.

            Which boy?  The boy in the brown shirt.

Where was the boy sitting?  He was sitting under a tree.  So in the brown shirt and under the tree

            are both phrases.

A Clause is a group, or unit, of words that forms part of a sentence and that includes both a subject and a predicate and adds to the meaning of other words in the sentence.



The boy, who had been riding his bicycle too fast, failed to take the corner and landed in the ditch.



There are three clauses in this sentence:


            The boy failed to take the corner.

            who had been riding his bicycle too fast,

            (The boy) landed in the ditch.

A Participle is a word that has the functions of both a verb and an adjective.  It is a verbal adjective.



The burning candle was placed too close to the curtains and set both them and the house on fire.



Burning is a participle.  It describes an action, burning, so is part verb, but at the same times describes the candle, so is part adjective.


Participles can also form part of a verb.

            The boy is running.

            The girl is swimming.

            The tree has fallen across the road.

Running, swimming and fallen are all participles.

A Gerund is a verbal noun, functioning as both verb and noun.


            Jenny loves swimming.  

Swimming is a gerund.
Synonyms are words that are similar in meaning.




Antonyms are words that are opposite in meaning

small/large    quick/slow    high/low


Homonyms are words which have the same pronunciation (sound the same) but which are different in spelling and meaning.


one/won   to/too/two   be/bee   blue/blew

A Prefix consistsof one or more letters placed at the beginning of a word to create a derivative word:



       fix/prefix   logical/illogical   happy/unhappy.


     ‘pre-’  ‘il-’   and ‘un-‘  are all prefixes.






A Simile  is a phrase that describes one thing in terms of another.  A simile usually begins with like or as.

The greyhound moved as gracefully as a swallow in flight.

            ‘as gracefully as a swallow in flight’ is a simile.

   The air was so still, the lake was like glass.

‘like glass’ is a simile, comparing the surface of the lake to glass.

A Metaphor compares one thing with another by applying a noun or phrase to an object or activity to which it would not normally apply.



            The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,

            The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,

And the highwayman came riding –

Riding – riding –

The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.

   From  The Highwayman

  By  Alfred Noyes

Are you able to pick up the three metaphors in the above verse?
Personification refers to the use of the pronouns he or she, or of another word, to give personality to something which is not a person.


Just look at that ship; she rides the water so



The heart of the matter; the mouth of the river.


The Sun came up upon the left,

Out of the sea came he!

And he shone bright, and on the right

Went down into the sea.

Alliteration refers to the repetition of the same letter or syllable at the beginning of two or more words, close together in a sentence:



            Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!

            A load of learning lumbering in his head.

            Wilful waste makes woeful want.


            The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

            The furrow followed free.

            We were the first that ever burst

            Into that silent sea.  

Onomatopoæia refers to words in which the sense is represented by the sound.  Or, as the poet, Alexander Pope, said, ‘The sound is made an echo of the sense.’



We can think of the quacking of ducks, the purring of cats, the barking of dogs, the baaing of lambs.



And this, from a poem about an office worker on a hot day, seeing an ice cart go by, imagining himself in the cool Arctic regions, buried


            Beneath a gentle drift of snow,

            Snow drifting gently, fine and white

            Out of the endless Polar night,

            Falling and falling evermore

            Upon that far untravelled shore,

            Till I was buried fathoms deep

            Beneath that cold white drifting sleep,

Sleep drifting deep,

Deep drifting sleep….


The carter clutched a sudden whip:

I clutched my stool with startled grip,

Awakening to the grimy heat

Of that intolerable street.




For those students that presented work on English we gathered a lot of useful reference information that became a STUDENT's COMPENDIUM here are some samples of student work

Please note there are some excellent links to assist with these pages

see at the end for the links for further information. 

Please note there are some excellent links to assist with these pages

see at the end for the links for further information. 

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Page last updated 2nd March 2020