English Grammar Step by Step
Put the words in brackets in the correct place.
1 Examples: (mid-position adverbs)
You could also buy her flowers.
She usually sits with her legs crossed.
I donít often go to the cinema on Sundays.
I will never do such a thing. (Compare this with the
following short answer: I never will.)
We can make a twofold classification here: (1) verbs that take
do, does or did in the negative and in the interrogative and
(2) verbs that do not take do, does or did. As for the former
group, we put the mid-position adverb before the verb. As
regards the latter, we place the mid-position adverb after the
a Theyíre saying that Iím a he-man. (always)
b If you would hold on, (kindly) I will see if the manager is in.
c I put my foot in it yesterday. (nearly)
d I have had the pleasure of meeting her. (never)
e She loves him. (no longer)
She still hasnít come/She still has not come/She has still
Has she still not come? (Note the position of still in
He still isnít an expert on the subject/He still is not an
expert on the subject/He is still not an expert on the subject.
She may still come.
She still plays darts very well.
Still is placed before negative words and before verbs that
take do, does or did in the negative and in the interrogative,
but it comes after verbs that do not take do, does or did in
the negative and in the interrogative. There are also other
adverbs which behave in the same way as still (certainly,
definitely, probably, surely, and a few others):
They probably wonít tell you the truth/They probably
will not tell you the truth/They will probably not tell
you the truth.
I definitely wonít go/I definitely will not go/I
will definitely not go.
This certainly isnít an easy question/This certainly is
not an easy question/This is certainly not an easy question.
He certainly does not love her.
a This car is reliable. (still)
b I donít know anything about cars. (really) [= I have not
the foggiest idea about cars.]
c She wonít come. (surely) [= I do not think she will come.]
d Theyíre not naÔve. (certainly)
e She canít beat you at draughts. (still)
3 Examples: (Insert yet or still where appropriate.)
ĎHave you fed the dog yet?í
Heís not prepared to endure this yet. (Or more formally, He is
not yet prepared to endure this.)
Yet has a similar meaning to still, but goes at the end
of the sentence and is only used in negative and in
interrogative sentences. Compare these four sentences:
He still hasnít done his homework. (= He should have done
it by now.)
He hasnít done his homework yet. (This sentence
merely states something that has not been done.)
Is he still at home? (He should have left by now)
Is he at home yet? (I just want to know whether or not he
is at home.)
a I got a letter from her yesterday. I havenít written to her,
but Iíll do it tomorrow.
b You havenít studied for your exam! Then you wonít have time
to learn everything for tomorrow.
c I arrived in Paris yesterday. I havenít visited the Eiffel
Tower, but Iíll do it tomorrow.
d I havenít had time to visit the Eiffel Tower. Iíve been very
busy. (I would have liked to have visited some days ago.)
e Is he studying? I canít believe it! Heís been studying the
4 Examples: (Insert already and yet where appropriate.)
We have already sent a hundred postcards/We have sent a
hundred postcards already. (This is quite a lot.)
Have you already done your homework/Have you done your
homework already? I canít believe it! Twenty minutes
ago you said that you hadnít even started it.
Have you done your homework yet? (= I want to know whether or
not you have done it.)
So as to give more emphasis to the sentence, we place already
at the end.
a Are they here? Theyíve come too early!
b Are they here? (= I want to know whether they have arrived or
c Youíve eaten your supper! You eat too fast, I think.
d Have you told her? I told you yesterday to wait for a couple
e ĎHave you fed the cat?í
ĎWell, I was going to feed it when you rang the bell.í
He gave her (indirect object) a gift (direct object).
He gave a gift (direct object) to her (indirect object).
She bought him (indirect object) a drink (direct object).
She bought a drink (direct object) for him (indirect object).
If we place the indirect object first, we do not use a
preposition. If we put the direct object first, a
preposition is required. However, these two alternatives
are not always possible: He explain the whole matter to
her. Apart from to and for, there are other prepositions:
I borrowed the money from my sister. We must bear in mind,
too, that when an object is too long, it comes last:
Iíll give you the present (that) I promised.
He gave a silver ring to the girl (that) he loved.
a I owe. (my sister, a hundred dollars)
b I made. (you, it)
c Heíll find. (them, a free seat)
d You stole. (this workbook, Clive)
e She bought. (it, you)
We work hard (manner) here (place) every day (time)/Every day
we work hard here.
I sent her (indirect object) a bunch of flowers (direct
object) yesterday morning. (time)
He arrived early (time) in the morning (time).
He was killed by a terrorist (agent) with a revolver
(instrument) near the Thames (place) last night (time)/
Last night he was killed by a terrorist with a revolver near
He had some drinks (direct object) at the pub round the
corner (place) with a friend (company).
Unfortunately (point-of-view adverb), she didnít pass
the exam (direct object) at the first attempt (time).
He arrived home (place) tired (complement).
The more marginal meaning has a part of a sentence, the
more marginal position it takes. For example, the
connection between work and hard is stronger than the
one between work and here.
The normal order of a sentence can be altered to give
You can find anything in New York at any time of the
day. (usual order)
In New York, you can find anything at any time of the
day. (emphatic order)
At any time of the day, you can find anything in New
York. (emphatic order)
Usually(,) they spend their evenings watching
television. (Instead of They usually spend their
evenings watching television.)
a Everything happened. (at night, late, last night)
b She taught. (Arabic, a long time ago, at this school, me)
c She was walking (home, slowly) when I saw her.
d Youíre working. (very slowly, today) Is anything wrong with
e They reported. (the police, it, yesterday)
7 Revision exercise.
a We see each other. (seldom, now)
b I think that unemployment will grow. (personally, over the
next few months)
c He talks. (from time to time, to her, in the pub round the
d She sits cross-legged. (on the ground, often)
e They watch. (sometimes, this television programme, on Fridays)
f This pullover has gone. (already, at the elbows)
g She was not dressed for the occasion. (properly)
h A burglar broke. (into the house, on Tuesday morning)
i I wonít go. (definitely, to the opera, tonight)
j You can see. (the whole valley, from the top of the mountains,
in a clear day)
k I want you to send. (on Monday evening, the report, at the
l The house was built. (with granite blocks, in 1950,
by my granfather)
m She read. (some passages of the book that I like most, on
Thursday morning, me)
n She read. (some passages of the book, the girl who was sitting
next to her, on the bus)
o They declined (two days ago, my invitation) by saying that
they had. (that very same day, at that very same time, an
p Her parents bought (a sports car, her, two days ago)
q We can come. (tomorrow afternoon, at the very earliest)
r They donít watch. (very often, sports programmes, on TV)
s This book was bound. (by my great-grandfather, in 1910, in a
small workshop, in leather)
t Sheíll be. (now, probably, at home)
u She will not rub. (any sun cream, probably, on her body,
v Are you going? (already, home)
w We take. (every day, a short cut, generally, to get here)
x ĎHas your father got up?í (yet)
ĎNot yet. He told me to wake up, (him, at ten oíclock) and it
is.í (still, half past nine)
y When he saw her, she was walking. (worriedly, to and fro)
z They have not found. (still, this illness, a cure)
For the order of adjectives, see unit 19.
Too and as well can replace also, but go at the end of the
sentence and are less formal:
You could buy her flowers(,) too/as well.
See unit 5, section 1.
See unit 1.
Compare this with the following:
She doesnít love him any longer/any more.
Any more can also be written as one word (anymore), especially
in American English. Some people consider anymore incorrect.
They think that it should be written as two words.
Still can also mean even (in comparative sentences) or
Today they are angry, but tomorrow they will be
still (= even) angrier. (See the next section.)
She told him she didnít want to see him any more.
Still (= despite this), he phoned her to make it
up with her/She told him that she didnít want to
see him any more, but he still phoned her to make
it up with her. (See the next section and unit 30,
When still is used with the verb be, it can exceptionally
come after not: He is not still an expert on the subject.
Surely may also go in initial and end positions:
Surely some explanation lies behind his behaviour(?)
[= Some explanation lies behind his behaviour, doesnít it?]
You have taken your pills, surely(?) [= You have taken your
pill, donít you?]
They surely wonít be there. (= I do not think they will
Surely, I will help you. (= Of course I will help
you.) [This usage is American.]
Probably can also come in front position: Probably they wonít
tell you the truth.
You cannot say He does certainly not love her.
I donít really fancy going out tonight. (= I am not
very keen on going out tonight.)
I really donít fancy going out tonight. (= I do not want
to go out tonight.)
I donít fancy going out tonight, really. (= I am
not interested in going out tonight.)
Yet and still can mean Ďevení (in comparative sentences) or
His wife speaks French yet/still more fluently/His
wife speaks French more fluently still.
It was pouring. Yet, they went cycling. (Or Still, they
See the previous section and unit 30, section 1.
See the following section as well.
This position is necessary when the direct object is a
I gave it to Mary.
She bought it for Michael.
Some adverbs of manner can come before past participles
Your homework hasnít been properly done/done properly,
so youíll have to do it again.
Her children are badly behaved/Her children behave badly.
See the previous section.
When we have two adverbs of time, we generally put the shorter
one before the longer one: I visited Erica yesterday at four
It tell us some information about the subject.
Note the usage of the comma.
Author: Miquel Molina i Diez
Pages: 1 and the key
1 Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
2 Short answers (Page 2 and the key)
3 Question tags (Page 2 and the key)
4 Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)
5 So, neither, nor, either (the key)
6 Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)
7 Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)
8 Irregular verbs
9 Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)
10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)
11 The genitive case (the key)
12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)
13 Gender (the key)
14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)
16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)
17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)
18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
19 Adjective order (the key)
20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)
21 Do and make (the key)
22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)
24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)
25 Passive sentences (the key)
26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)
27 Purpose (the key)
28 Word order (the key)
29 Inversion (the key)
30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)
31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
32 Phrasal verbs (the key)