Learn-Adverb/Preposition/phrase/conjunctions -basic knowledge






An adverb is a word that modifies a verb,an adjective or another adverb. It indicates time,place,manner and so



He is leaving tomorrow (when-time)

He went away (where-place)

He walked groggily (how-manner)

[ In the case of the question ‘how’, the answer must describe a verb if it is an adverb.

Otherwise, it is a complement describing a noun. ]

(1)He works hard. (how–hard) adverb.

(2)This word is hard. (how-hard) adjective.

[ In sentence (1) the verb is modified while in sentence

(2) the noun ‘word’ is described ]

The adverb has an affinity for the verb or the verb

equivalent (infinitive or gerund) that is closest to it. Hence the position of the adverb is important.



1. He withdrew all the money before the bank crashed luckily.

2. He luckily withdrew all the money before the bank crashed.

[In sentence (1) ‘luckily’ modified crashed’ meaning that the crash was lucky (an absurd connotation) while in sentence (2) it modifies ‘withdrew’, meaning that the withdrawal was lucky.]



This is a bridge word’. It establishes a relation between a subject (noun) and the object of the preposition (another noun). Some common prepositions are in, on, above, below, to, with, upon, etc.

Prepositional Phrase

This is a phrase that has a preposition and its object.


  1. The man on the bicycle is tired
  2. . 2. He will come in a minute.

In sentence (1) the prepositional phrase describes the man. So it is an adjective while in sentence

(2) it modifies the verb ‘come’ and therefore an adverb.


Appropriate Prepositions

Certain words take certain prepositions always. Such prepositions are called appropriate prepositions.

Examples According to, confident of, capacity for, descended from, etc.


Conglomerate Prepositions

Such word groups as in front of, in regard to, in place of, in spite of, in addition to, by virtue of, for the sake of, and so on, are called conglomerate prepositions.

Adverbial Particles

When prepositions follow verbs they alter the meaning of the verb. Such prepositions are called adverbial particles and such phrases are called phrasal verbs.


Phrasal Verbs


take to (develop a habit)

take on (accept)

take in (deceive)

take over (assume responsibility)

take after (resemble)


A conjunction is a link-word used for linking words,

phrases, clauses or even sentences. The nature of the link-word varies with the purpose it is used for.

Conjunctions are of two kinds: the coordinating

(linkage) and the subordinating (bondage). There are others like the correlative conjunctions and compound conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions

These join words, word groups or clauses of equal rank or two sentences. The common coordinating conjunctions are ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘for’, ‘nor’ and ‘also’. The correlatives ‘neither … nor’ and either … or are also used as coordinating conjunctions.

Of the coordinating conjunctions

(a) ‘and’ is known as the cumulative or copulative. It just adds the statements on either side of it.

(b) ‘but’ is known as the adversative. It is used to

indicate contrast between the two statements.

(c) ‘or is known as the alternative or disjunctive. It

  expresses a choice between two alternatives.

(d) ‘for’ is known as the illative or it expresses an



  1. The day was hot and the trek was difficult. (a)
  2.  He is poor but he is honest. (b)
  3.   Speak the truth or you will be punished. (c)
  4. He must have got my letter for I posted it last week.(d)

Subordinating conjunctions

This joins a clause to another on which it depends for it full meaning. Hence it is also known as a ‘bondage word  The subordinating conjunctions frequently used are: because,  if that, although, though, before, unless, as, when where, how, while, till, until, and so forth.

Phrases and Clauses

A phrase is a group of words that has some meaning. It has no verb element in it.


Being late, leamed man, in spite of my repeated

warnings, looking out of the window, etc.

Clauses have a subject and a predicate. If they have an independent meaning they are main classes. If they are dependent they are subordinate clauses.


He was glad that he had passed

main clause                            sub-clause

I don’t know                            if he will come

I forgot                                    where I left my keys

 Phrases and Clauses

Phrases can be changed into clauses and vice versa by introducing a verb or by deleting one.


1. Being ill                                     he went to a doctor.

phase                                                  main clause

As he was ill                                 he went to a doctor

sub-clause                                          main clause

2. As he was old                           he could run

sub-clause                                          main clause

Being old                                       he could not run.

phrase                                                main clause

Such conventions form part of formal grammar and the above examples are cited only to give an idea about the Categories.

Gerund, Participle and Infinitive

The gerund, the participle and the infinitive defy

being classified, as any one part of speech.

* The gerund is the form of a verb used as a noun

ending in ing. Without the auxiliary before it, it is no verb (see non-finite verb). When it does a noun function the verb ending in -ing without the auxiliary before it is called a gerund. It has the force of a noun and a verb.


Walking on a tight-rope is not easy,

It can be used as an adjective when it is called a

gerundial adjective.

Walking sticks are made of cane.

Participles are of two kinds: the present participle and the past participle. The former ends in -ing  while the latter in -ed or -en.

The present participle


I saw a boy carrying a bundle of books.

Bleeding profusely the soldier sank to the ground.

The past participle


Blinded by the light, the driver lost control.

A learned man was invited to speak to the boys.

Participial adjective


A flowering bush decorated the portico.

“A flowering bush’ denotes ‘a bush that flowers’

unlike the ‘walking stick’, a gerundial adjective,

meaning a stick that is used for walking.

More about the dangling participle will be said in the section on ‘Common Errors’

Infinitives are of the form (to + verb). They are also, like the gerunds, verbal nouns. They may be used as subjects or as post verbs.


To read poetry is to be transported to another world. Infinitives and gerunds are interchangeable.


To blush is a sign of modesty (infinitive)

Blushing is a sign of modesty (gerund)

The sentences mean the same. But there are certain words like forget, remember, regret, learn, try, and so on,

which have different meanings in the gerundial and in the infinitive forms. In these cases the infinitive refers to an action which takes place after the remembering, and so on. The gerund refers to an action which took place before

the act of remembering.


I remember to return the books(infinitive)

I remember returning the books (gerund)

Equipped with this knowledge of the fundamentals of English grammar,