What is my name in English grammar

English grammar

Why is it important to master English grammar? The English sentence order follows the SPO rule. For German native speakers, English grammar is comparatively easy to learn. And it's worth it: alongside Mandarin and Spanish, English is one of the most important languages ​​in the world. English grammar is the foundation for a perfect command of the language.

Brief summary

With more than 400 million native speakers and to more than 700 million non-native speakers, English is one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world. As the second most important second language, English is also the most widely used language in scientific and technological texts, and English is used in the media around the world and is by far the most widely used language on the Internet. Today's English is the result of many different waves of immigration, as well as the blending of different cultures and dialects that date back to the beginning of English history. These include, but are not limited to, the original immigration of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes to the British Isles in the fifth to seventh centuries, the invasion by the Vikings in the eighth and ninth centuries, the conquest by the Normans in the eleventh century, and not so long ago the development of English into the worldwide lingua franca, i.e. the international lingua franca.

These countless intense influences of other languages ​​over many centuries have meant that English has lost much of its grammatical complexity. In English, for example, there is only two grammatical cases (Subject and object), no grammatical gender and a relatively easy verb conjugation system. Nevertheless, English, partly because of the persistent contact with other languages ​​mentioned, has a relatively strict sentence order, complex tenses that language learners have to work through, and one of the most extensive vocabularies of all languages ​​in the world.

In fact, one of the greatest poets in the English language, William Shakespeare, is said to be one 60,000 words extensive vocabulary - compared to the approximately 42,000 words that a normal adult knows. Perhaps you will be scared and anxious if you just understand the term English grammar read. But once you've worked through this easy-to-understand guide we've put together for you, you'll never miss an opportunity to show off your newly acquired skills. Get started right away! Because, as Shakespeare himself puts it so beautifully: "Our doubts are traitors and often the cause of the loss of things that we could gain, we did not shy away from trying." What are you waiting for? Here we go!

History of English grammar

A brief excursion into language history explains why English has a relatively low level of complexity in grammar. Over the centuries, the English language has been influenced by numerous other languages. It all began in 449 when the Angles, Saxons and Jutes conquered what is now England. These tribes were armed not only with combat tools but also with speech tools. These peoples spread their languages ​​and were still far from a uniform standard language. Other languages ​​such as Celtic, Latin and Scandinavian languages ​​eventually also influenced the English language. In English today there are only two grammatical cases, no grammatical gender and a light verb conjugation system. Only the sentence order is relatively strict and the tenses are also complex. In addition, the English language has one of the most extensive vocabulary in the world. To help you master the challenges of English grammar, Babbel provides you with a practical app for learning. You will soon master English grammar in your sleep.

Chapter overview

1The basics of English grammar
1.1sentence position
1.2Subject and verb
1.3Noun and gender
1.4Noun and numbers
1.7Question tag
2All about adjectives
2.1adjectives and adverbs
2.2Position of the adverbs of frequency
2.3Position of the adjectives
2.4Congruence of adjectives
2.5Increase in adjectives (comparative)
2.6Superlative adjectives
2.7So / Such in conjunction with adjectives
2.8Adjectives that end in ing and ed
2.9Modifiers (adjectives for further definition)
2.9.1Nouns that define nouns in more detail
2.9.2Demonstrative adjectives
3Use the (correct) English pronoun!
3.1Demonstrative pronouns
3.2Pronoun forms of You
3.3Pronouns and gender
3.4Direct pronouns
3.5Indirect pronouns
3.6Possessive companions and pronouns
3.7The genitive
4Regular and irregular verbs
4.1Present Simple Regular verb conjugation (from want)
4.2Present Simple Irregular Verb Conjugation (from be)
4.3Modal auxiliary verbs
5The best of the rest!
5.3Some and Any
5.4Used to for past habits
5.5To be used to
5.6Used to for past habits
5.7To be going to
5.8For and Since with time expressions
5.9Already and Yet
5.9.1Relative clauses
5.9.2Conditional forms
6Summary: The English grammar

1 basics

sentence position

In English sentences with a direct object, the subject-predicate-object rule usually applies.

Subject and verb

In English, the verb must be preceded by a pronoun, e.g. B. She ate and They danced.

Noun and gender

Nouns have no grammatical gender in English.

Noun and numbers

a) The plural of most English nouns is formed by adding an s, es or ies to the noun, such as car - cars. There are also irregular nouns, such as knife - knives, (where) one(where) men, person - people.

b) Many substance names or abstract nouns do not have a plural form, such as fruit, water and information (Fruits / fruits, water and information (s)).


There is a specific article in English: the (the / die / das), as well as the indefinite articles: a, at (a / an / an / an). At comes before nouns that begin with a vowel or silent consonant. Usually no article is used with substance names or abstract nouns.


In sentences with the verb be (sein) or in the case of modal verbs / auxiliary verbs, the order of subject-predicate is reversed. In the present and simple past must be do, does or did be added, for example What do you think? If who is used as a subject, the do-forms are not used, for example Who cares?

Question tag

Question tags are used to confirm something we believe is true. English has both positive and negative question tags, such as: ... is she?... isn't she?... did they?... don’t you? E.g. "You don’t speak Japanese, do you?" ("You don't speak Japanese, do you?"), "You come from Italy, don’t you?" ("You're from Italy, aren't you?")

2 All about adjectives

adjectives and adverbs

Most adverbs are formed by using a -ly is attached to an adjective (slowslowly). Some adjectives and adverbs, such as B. nearly and hard, have the same shape. Others are irregular, for example good - well, nearly - nearly, late - late.

Position of the adverbs of frequency

Adverbs of frequency are usually placed immediately before the main verb in a sentence. She always wears red. (She always wears red.)

Position of the adjectives

For example:"That's a big dog." ("That's a big dog.")

  • If they are used with the verb "to be", they come after the verb.

For example:"The dog is big." ("The dog is big.")

  • If two or more adjectives come before a noun, then they are usually in a certain order, namely size, color, material.

For example:The big, blue, china plate. (The big blue china plate.)

Congruence of adjectives

In English, adjectives are not changed, regardless of the number or gender of what they are describing.

Increase in adjectives (comparative)

  • Comparative adjectives are used in English grammar to compare two things. In the case of one- or two-syllable adjectives, a he or r attached.

For example:warmer, colder, nicer.

  • In the case of adjectives with three or more syllables, the adjective remains and a more is put in front.

For example:more beautiful, more intelligent, more dangerous.

  • The comparative of some adjectives is irregular.

For example: good - better, bath - worse

Superlative adjectives

  • Superlative adjectives are used when comparing three or more things. To form the superlative, short adjectives are preceded by the and by them est or iest attached.

For example: the warmest, the coldest, the nicest

  • For longer adjectives, the adjective remains the same and the most is prepended.

For example:the most beautiful, the most intelligent, the most dangerous

  • The superlative of some adjectives is irregular.

For example: good - the best, bath - the worst

So/Search in connection with adjectives

So and such have the same meaning when used to specify adjectives, namely very (very). However, they are used differently: so + adjective (no noun) / such (+ a / an) + adjective + noun.

For example: "You are so talented. ”,“ She is search a great singer. "

Adjectives that point to ing and ed end up

Adjectives that point to ing end, refer to the cause of a feeling, adjectives that refer to ed end up on the thing or person concerned.

For example: A. tiring walk leaves the walker tired. (A tiring walk makes the walker tired).

Modifiers (adjectives to specify)

To emphasize most of the adjectives one uses very or extremely, as really and absolutely for adjectives that are already extreme.

For example:very / extremely cool, really / absolutely amazing

Nouns that define nouns in more detail

Sometimes a noun can be used to define a noun rather than using an adjective.

For example: A. mountain cabin ("a mountain hut")

Demonstrative adjectives

This and that indicate things in the singular that are near and far, respectively. You use the plural for it thesis and those.

For example: Look at this Has! and Have you seen thesis shoes? (Look at that hat! And did you see these shoes?)

3 English pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns

These correspond to the demonstrative adjectives, but are used alone instead of the noun.

For example: Look at this! and Have you seen thesis? (Check this out! And have you seen this one?)

Pronoun forms of You

You is used to address other people, both in the singular and plural, as well as in formal and informal contexts.

Pronouns and gender

Inanimate Objects without gender are called it (es), always in the singular. A feminine person (singular) is she (she) and her (she). A masculine person (singular) is he (he) and him (him / him).

Gender neutral Persons or persons of unknown gender (singular) are they (they) and them (them). All things and persons (plural) are also referred to as they (they) and them (them).

Direct pronouns

he / she / ithe she it

Indirect pronouns

meme me
him / her / theyhim / him / her / them

Possessive companions and pronouns

my / minemy
your / yoursyour
his / hers / itshis / her / his
our / oursour
your / yoursyour
their / theirsher (it)


  • Possessive companion stand in front of a noun. possessive pronouns replace a noun. For example you can ask the question Is this Jack’s jumper? Answer ("Is that Jack's sweater?") With the possessive companion: No, it's my jumper! ("No that is my Pullover! ") Or use the possessive pronoun: No, it's mine! ("No, this is mine!")

  • In response to a question that begins with whose ("whose") one uses possessive pronouns: Whose is it? ("Who does this belong to?") It’s theirs! ("That belongs them!“)

The genitive

To form the genitive of people, an ’s is added to a name or noun in the singular: The kid’s ball. ("The child's ball.")

In the plural form, the apostrophe is at the end: The kids ’ball. ("The children's ball.")

4 English verbs

Overview of the tenses of the verbs

Present simpleHe sleeps.repeated actions, ongoing states and descriptions
Present progressiveHe is sleeping.Temporary actions at the moment in which they take place, future actions that are agreed upon at the moment they are spoken, something that is going on, irritating or even lovable habits, as well as the section that provides the framework in a story told in the present simple the story pretends
Present perfect simpleHe has slept.an action that was completed in the past but has effects on or results in the present. The focus is on the result. Is also used to express the duration of a state from the past to the present moment (I've been a teacher for five years.)
Present Perfect ProgressiveHe has been sleeping.describes the duration of an action that began in the past and has continued until now, or has continued and has just ended. The focus is on the plot.
Past simpleHe slept.completed actions, repeated actions in the past, the duration of actions in the past, actions in a story, or changes taking place
Past progressiveHe was sleeping.describes actions that took place at some point in the past, background circumstances that frame the story
Past Perfect SimpleHe had slept.describes actions that were completed before a point in time in the past. The focus is on the result.
Past Perfect ProgressiveHe had been sleeping.describes actions that began in the past and continued until another point in the past. Often used to describe duration. The focus is on the plot.
Future SimpleHe will sleep.uncertain predictions about the future, spontaneous decisions about the future, promises, favors, offers and inquiries
Future ProgressiveHe will be sleeping.describes actions that will take place at some point in the future
Future perfect simpleHe will have slept.describes actions that will be completed before some point in the future
Future Perfect ProgressiveHe will have been sleeping.describes actions that will take place up to a point in the future. Often used to describe the duration of an action.

Regular and irregular verbs

  • The past simple and past participle forms of regular English verbs are the same and end in -ed, e.g. B. cooked.

  • Other regular verbs: talk - talked, call - called, stop - stopped, decide - decided

  • There are a large number of irregular verbs with very many different forms of the past simple and past participle, such as go - went - gone.

  • Other irregular verbs: see - saw - seen, do - did - done, grow - grew - grown

Present Simple Regular verb conjugation (from want)

I wantI want
you wantyou want
she / he / it wantshe / she / it wants
we wantwe want
you wantyou want
they wantyou want to

Present Simple Irregular Verb Conjugation (from be)

I amI am
you areyou are
she / he / it ishe, she, it is
we arewe are
you areyou are
they areyou are

Modal auxiliary verbs

Modal auxiliary verbs express a possibility or something desired, namely can, could, may and must. In the present simple, no -s is added to auxiliary verbs in the third person singular: She should eat and not She should eat.

5 The best of the rest!


English prepositions come directly before the article + noun.

inin"He is in the bathroom." (He's in the bathroom.)
onon"He is on the table." (It's on the table.)
underunder"They are under the table" (They're under the table.)
behindBehind"She is behind the sofa" (She is behind the sofa.)
in front (of)in front"You are in front of the TV" (You are in front of the TV.)
atin / in / at"They are at the pub" (You're in the pub.)


English conjunctions include and, but, or, neither ... nor, either ... or, because, after, although (and, but, or, neither ... nor, either ... or, because / because, after, though).

Some and Any

Some is used for positive statements and any for negatively desired and questions.

Used to for past habits

The expression used to can be used to express that in the past one has done something regularly that is no longer the case.

For example: "I used to play darts." (I used to play darts.)

To be used to

A common construction to express that one is used to something.

For example: "I am used to his bad jokes - he tells them all the time!" (I'm used to his bad jokes - he keeps telling them!)

To be going to

With be going to + the basic form of a verb, one expresses future plans or intentions.

For example: "I'm going to be an astronaut." (I will be an astronaut.)

For and Since with time expressions

For expresses a period of time:

For example: "I've been single for five years" (I've been single for five years.)

Since is used when referring to a specific point in time:

For example: "They have been divorced since 1995!" (They have been divorced since 1995!)

Already and Yet

Already is mostly used for positive statements and for some questions:

For example: "I already walked the dog. Did you already walk the dog?" (I've already been for a walk with the dog. Have you already been for a walk with the dog?)

Yet is used for negative statements as well as for questions:

For example: "Dinner isn't ready yet. Is dinner ready yet?" (Dinner isn't ready yet. Is dinner ready yet?)

Relative clauses

There are two types of relative clauses in English: necessary and unnecessary relative clauses. A necessary relative clause contains essential information about someone or something and usually comes right after the thing or person concerned.

For example: "The woman who lives next door is a doctor. "(The woman who lives next door is a doctor.)

An unnecessary relative clause contains additional, not essential information that could also be left out. Relative clauses that are not required are always separated by a comma.

For example: "My sister, who lives in the USA, is a teacher. "(My sister, who lives in the USA, is a teacher.)

Conditional forms

There are four different types of conditional sentences:

Zero conditionalIf / When / Whenever + Present Simple, Present Simpleuniversal or unchanging truths / facts. When or whenever can be used in place of if"If you go out in the rain without an umbrella, then you get wet. "(If you go out without an umbrella, you will get wet.)
First conditionalIf + present simple, future simplepossible or most likely scenarios in the future. The if-sentence is in the present simple and the other sentence is usually in the future simple."If the weather is nice tomorrow, then I. want ride my bike to work. "(If the weather is nice tomorrow, I'll ride my bike to work.)
Second conditionalIf + past simple, would + basic form of the verbimprobable or impossible scenarios in the present or future. The if-sentence is in a past tense."If I won the lottery, I. would buy a yacht. "(If I won the lottery, I would buy a yacht.)
Third conditionalIf + past perfect, would have + past participleEvents that have already taken place. Both sentences are in the past."If I hadn't slept through my alarm, I. wouldn't have been late to work. "(If I hadn't heard the alarm clock, I wouldn't have been late for work.)

6 Summary

So this is it. English grammar in a nutshell. Do you want to know more and still want to practice? Fortunately, Babbel's advanced courses explain all of the grammar of this guide to you in easy-to-understand steps, with each lesson building on the previous one, making you a language expert step by step! We also recommend our grammar course, in which one topic is covered in a whole lesson. We hope this guide has been helpful to you and we wish you the best of luck on your English learning journey! Ted Mentele is editor / proofreader / editor in the Babbel English team. He is originally from Wisconsin, USA, but has lived in Berlin for six years. When he's not making Babbel lessons, he spends his free time eating cheese, building shelves to hold his growing collection of science fiction books, and worrying about the fact that Birds are actually dinosaurs. Samuel Dowd is also an English editor / lecturer / editor and has lived in Berlin for six years. He studied sculpture, philosophy and time-based art in Great Britain and Ireland and now spends his free time tending exotic fruits and indulging in a secret passion for cheese. He also trains the amount of time he can hold his breath underwater without thinking anything in any language.