Grammar Resources

Basic Grammar

The Noun

Definition: A noun is the name of a person, place or thing.

Why Nouns? Nouns allow you to name things. You can identify and distinguish objects with more precision by means of nouns.

Imagine a doctor who could not name the different parts of the body and referred to them all as 'soft squashy bits'. Would that inspire confidence I you?

Example: A cleaver and a scalpel are, in broad terms, cutting instruments. Imagine our doctor, (above). How would you feel if he mentioned using a cleaver to remove a small growth from your finger? What if a butcher suggested preparing a joint of meat with a scalpel?

Exercise 1:

Choose any 3 activities from the list below.
Write out the names of 6 items that you would need with which to do the activity.

1. Carpentry
2. Baking a cake
3. Building a wall
4. Painting a room
5. Tailoring a garment
6. Cleaning the house
7. Playing a sport
8. Using a computer

Exercise 2:

Arrange the following nouns in sequence, e.g. in the first list you should arrange the items by order of size or thickness.

1. cord; thread; twine; hawser; string; rope.

2. page; sheet; pad; scrap; ream; piece.

3. tome; leaflet; magazine; pamphlet; flyer; book

4. grain; rock; pebble; boulder; stone

Exercise 3

In each of the following sentences, can you supply a more appropriate noun than the noun or phrase underlined?

1. The carpenter tapped the chisel with a hammer.

2. We descended the river in slender light boats.

3. Jenny wore a special pair of glasses while swimming.

4. The soup was served with a large spoon.

5. We sat at the counter on backless chairs.

6. The Parker and Cross companies make writing instruments.

7. A continental breakfast usually comprises coffee and bread buns.

8. She wore a piece of jewellery around her neck.

9. Fermented grape juice was served with the meal.

10. The race time was measured with a very precise clock.

Exercise 4:

Write a paragraph entitled, 'The Expert'. Describe the work or craft of the expert as he / she does a task typical of their expertise.

Try to include as many appropriate nouns as possible.

Basic Grammar Exercises:

The Adjective

Definition: An adjective qualifies a noun; it describes the noun by telling you more about it.

Why Adjectives? Adjectives allow you to give a better and more detailed description of a noun.

Example: How can I distinguish my bicycle from other bicycles which are similar?
By using adjectives, e.g. I have a 22" black Raleigh mountain bike.

Exercise 1:

Add 2 adjectives to each of the following nouns to enhance the description.

1. It is a __________ _____________ apple
2. It is a __________ _____________ building
3. They are __________ __________ combats
4. She is a __________ ___________ student
5. It is a __________ _____________ biscuit
6. It is a __________ _____________ tree
7. He is a __________ ___________ pupil
8. It is a __________ _____________ skateboard
9. It is a __________ _____________ pen
10. They are __________ __________ trainers

Exercise 2:

You have lost your jacket, probably on the bus on the way home.
You have been asked to provide a detailed description for the 'lost & found' office.

Identify 6 distinguishing features of your jacket. (e.g. style, colour, pockets, zip / buttons, lining, collar /hood, design features, fabric / material.)

Write a paragraph describing you jacket. Remember to use your adjectives!

Exercise 3:

Write a paragraph describing your favourite meal. Name the main ingredients of the meal. Use your adjectives to describe the appeal of each course.

Basic Grammar:

The Verb

Definition: Verbs describe actions. They are action words.

Why verbs? Verbs are important for naming an action and for telling us something about the timing of the action (the tense does this) and something about the manner of the action (the choice of verb does this).

Example: Look at these 3 sentences. Each sentence describes a similar action. Notice how the meaning of the sentence changes as the verb is changed.

1. Joe entered the room.
2. Joe slipped into the room.
3. Joe burst into the room.

Exercise 1:

For each of these sentences, write four alternative verbs to the one underlined. Change other words as necessary if you wish.

1. The old woman walked across the road.

2. The athlete jumped over the hurdle.

3. The mother spoke to her child.

4. The animal called from the field.

5. The child sat in the water.

Exercise 2:

You are watching a sports match (choose your own sport). Write a paragraph describing an exciting moment in the game / match / activity. Choose verbs which reflect the excitement of the action.

Exercise 3:

Look at the following lists of verbs. Arrange each list in an appropriate sequence.

1. run; stroll; jog; stride; lope; sprint.

2. pound; tip; knock; thump; tap; bang.

3. say; scream; whisper; shout; mutter.

Basic Grammar: The Verb

Exercise 4:

Choose any 4 of the tasks listed below. Write a simple set of instructions ( about 5 instructions or so should be enough). Choose appropriate verbs to explain the actions clearly.

1. Making a sandwich.
2. Making tea or coffee (not instant though!).
3. Sewing on a button.
4. Rising a sliotar.
5. Serving a tennis ball or badminton shuttlecock.
6. Pumping a bicycle tyre.
7. Cleaning your teeth.
8. Opening a bag of crisps.

Basic Grammar:

The Adverb

Definition: The adverb modifies the verb. It tells you more about the verb.

Why adverbs: the adverb allows you to say more about how or when the action, described by the verb, was carried out. It also allows you to say more about the doer of the action, the subject of the sentence.

Example: look at each of these pairs of sentences. Notice the adverb (underlined) adds to the understanding of the sentence.

1. Helen walked onto the stage.
2. Helen walked confidently onto the stage.

3. Gerry chopped the log.
4. Gerry chopped half-heartedly at the log.

Notice that most adverbs end in '-ly' . Adverbs are usually placed alongside the verb in the sentence, though not always.

Exercise 1:

Add 1 adverb to the underlined verb in each of the sentences below.

1. Ciara struck the ball into the net.
2. Pádraic scooped a fish out of the water.
3. Síofra greeted her fried.
4. Ciarán cleaned the cut on his knee.
5. Máire laid out the pieces of the kit before assembling it.
6. Séamus hammered a nail into the wall.
7. Niamh changed the channel on the television.
8. Niall swept the floor.
9. Criona hid her diary when her brother walked into the room.
10. Fintan handed over the catapult to his father.

Exercise 2:

Incorporate each of the following adverbs into separate sentences.

1. Quickly
2. Wisely
3. Badly
4. Strongly
5. Lightly
6. Angrily
7. Sweetly
8. Heavily
9. Weakly
10. Happily

Exercise 3:

An athlete prepares for his / her event or for their turn in the competition.

Write a short paragraph describing the athlete in the moments before they take their turn. Use verbs and adverbs to capture the action and attitude of the moment.

Here are some suggestions for activities from which to choose.

  • High board diver
    Javelin / hammer / discuss thrower
    Long / triple jumper
    High jumper / pole vaulter
    Sprint athlete

Click here for answers to Basic Grammar Exercises: The Noun; Exercise 3