MBA Preparation / #Grammar

May 08, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

May 08, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai

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Grammar

Grammar

Grammar is the fundamental component of language learning. It is the formal and standardized framework, accepted across the world. It comprises the rules and principles which determine the structure of sentences. Though, it is possible to communicate even without knowing the rudiments of grammar, knowledge of grammar is absolutely essential for mastering the language. To be able to speak and write effectively, it is essential to be aware of the structure of words and how words come together to form meaningful sentences which makes effective communication possible. The rules that govern this fall under the domain of grammar.

As grammar is a vast domain, this module on grammar is restricted to those areas that can help the MBA aspirants improve their language skills and avoid committing errors on this account. The MBA aspirants are expected to possess a reasonable level of spoken and written English skills. English is an important lingua franca of the world and that is why being proficient in it is unavoidable for MBA aspirants. Keeping this in mind, the module is divided into the following components, to help them improve their speaking and writing skills:

Subject Verb Agreement

It is one of the basic rules of English language that the Verb must agree with its Subject in Number and Person. The following points need to be kept in mind while framing a sentence.

a. Two or more singular nouns or pronouns joined by 'and' require a plural verb.
For instance, He and I were playing.
Are your father and mother home? But, if the nouns suggest one idea, or refer to the same person or thing, the verb is singular.
For instance, Time and tide waits for no man.
Honour and glory is his reward.

b. Two or more singular subjects connected by 'or' or 'nor' require a singular verb.
For instance, Either the thief or the police has reached the house first.
Neither praise nor blame seems to affect him.

c. 'Either', 'neither', 'each', 'everyone' must be followed by a singular verb.
For instance, He asked me whether either of the applicants was suitable.
Neither of the two men was very strong.
Each of these varieties is found in England.
Every one of you is a traitor.

d.When a plural noun denotes some specific quantity or amount considered as a whole, the verb is generally singular.
For instance, fifteen minutes is allowed to each speaker.
Ten kilometres is a long walk.

d.Words joined to a singular subject by 'with', 'as well as', etc take a singular verb.
For instance, the ship, with its crew, was lost.
Sanskrit, as well as Persian, was taught there

Test yourself

Fill in the blanks with a Verb in agreement with its Subject.

  • The cost of all these articles _____ risen.
  • No news _____ good news.
  • A good man and useful citizen _____ passed away.
  • Each of the suspected men _____ arrested.
  • The cow as well as the horse _____ grass.
  • Neither you nor he _____ to blame
  • The news _____ true.
  • All possible means _____ been tried.
  • The United States _____ a big navy.
  • Neither praise nor blame _____ to affect him.
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Preposition

A preposition is a word placed before a noun or a pronoun to show in what relation the person or thing denoted by it stands in regard to something else. A preposition used in the wrong place can turn the meaning of the sentence on its head. For instance, 'Please don't shout at me: calm down and speak normally' suggests anger and 'She shouted to me from the upstairs window' suggests that someone is calling someone to be heard. Changing prepositions will change the meaning of the sentence. That's how crucial the role of preposition is. A person with a good command over the English language will use prepositions correctly.

Types of Prepositions

  • Preposition of Place
  • Preposition of Time
  • Preposition of Direction

Preposition of Place

These prepositions are used to show the position or location of one thing with another. Some of the common prepositions of place are on, at, in, inside, over, against, below. The image below shows the idea conveyed by these prepositions.

Test yourself

Fill in the blanks with a suitable preposition.

  • The child responded to his mother's demands _____ throwing a tantrum.
  • I will wait _____ 6.30, but then I'm going home.
  • My best friend, John, is named _____ his grandfather.
  • My parents have been married _____ forty years.
  • It's been snowing _____ Christmas morning.
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Articles

An article is a kind of determiner which is always used with and gives some information about a noun. They specify the definiteness of the noun. There are three articles used in English language- 'a', 'an', 'the'. Every noun must be accompanied by the article, if any, corresponding to its definiteness, and the lack of an article itself specifies a certain definiteness. Given the frequency with which they appear, these words are certainly indispensable to the language. Therefore, this module will discuss articles for the benefit of the MBA aspirants to help them improve their language skills and become aware of one of the components of English grammar

Articles are divided into two categories:

a. Indefinite Article
Indefinite articles are used:
-with countable nouns when we don't know exactly which one we are referring to. For instance, 'The teacher is talking about a ten year old boy'.
-while referring to a particular member of a group. For instance, 'John is a Catholic'.
-to say what someone is or what job they do. For instance, 'He is a teacher.'
-with a singular noun to refer to all things of that kind. For instance, 'A dog is man's best friend.'

There are two types of indefinite articles:
-'a' is used with words starting with consonant sounds, for example, a doctor, a boy etc.
-'an' is used with words starting with vowel sounds, for example, an engineer, an orange, an honest man etc.

Test yourself

Question: Complete the following sentences by filling in 'a' or 'an' or 'the' as may be suitable

  • He is not _____ honourable man.
  • _____ sun shines brightly.
  • Rustum is _____ young Parsee.
  • You are _____ fool to say that.
  • French is _____ easy language.
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Tenses

Tenses play a crucial role in the English language. It denotes the time an action takes place, whether some time in the past, in the present or will take some time in the future.

This module is designed for helping the MBA aspirants grasp this crucial topic, to enable them to speak and write English correctly. From a general view of tenses, this module will go on to discuss each tense in detail with examples. The table below gives a glimpse of the way tenses are used using the verb 'play'

  Past Present Future
Simple played (verb+ed) plays (verb+s) will/shall play (will/shall+verb)
Perfect had played (had+past participle) has/have played (has/have+past participle) will/shall have played(will/shall+past participle)
Continuous was/were playing(was/were+verb+ing) is/am/are playing(is/am/are+verb+ing) will/shall be playing(will/shall be+verb+ing)
Perfect Continuous had been playing (had been+verb+ing) has/have been playing(has/have been+verb+ing) will/shall have been playing(will/shall have been+verb+ing)

PAST TENSE

The weightages are as follows:

i. Simple Past Tense-indicates an action took place before the present moment and that has no real connection with the present time.
For example, "He danced in the function." (The action took place in the past, is finished and is completely unrelated to the present)
"He flew to London yesterday."

Note
a.the verb 'flew' is an irregular verb which does not take 'ed' in the past tense like regular verbs.
b. the form of Simple Past Tense is - verb + ed

ii. Past Perfect Tense- indicates an action in the past that had been completed before another time or event in the past.
For example, "He had exercised before it started to rain."
"He had slept before I came back from the market."

Note
a. the form of Past Perfect Tense is- had + verb (past participle form or the 3rd form of the verb)

iii. Past Continuous Tense-indicates an action going on at some time in the past or an action in the past that is longer in duration than another action in the past.
For example, "It was getting darker."
"The light went out while theywere reading."

Note
a. the form of Past Continuous Tense is- was/were + verb + ing

Test Yourself

Q1. Choose the correct verb from those in brackets:

  • The earth _____ round the sun. (move, moves, moved)
  • My friends _____ the film yesterday. (see, saw, have seen)
  • It started to rain while we _____ tennis. (are playing, had played, were playing)
  • I _____ English for five years. (have been studying, study, am studying)
  • The train _____ before we reach the station. (arrives, will have arrived, had arrived)
  • Don't disturb me. I _____ my work. (do, did, am doing)
  • Fortune _____ the brave. (is favouring, will favour, favours)
  • I _____ the letter before you arrived. (had written, wrote, will write)
  • He _____ us next week. (will have met, will have been meeting, will be meeting)
  • Perhaps we _____ Delhi next month. (visit, will visit, visited)
Read More

Conjunction

The art of communication, whether oral or written, lies in how words are brought together to form sentences. It is here that conjunctions play an important role. They are words that connect other words, phrases or clauses within a sentence. For example, 'and', 'or;, 'besides', 'also', 'because', but', 'although', 'despite', 'yet', 'however' and so on.

There are two kinds of conjunctions:

a. Co-ordinating Conjunctions-connect words, phrases, or clauses of the same rank and usually of the same kind. The chief Co-ordinating Conjunctions are: and, but, for, or, nor, also, either...or, neither...nor.

For example, "Anuj and Kalpana are friends."
"We waited an hour, but no one came."
"Neither a borrower, nor a lender be."
"Either he is mad, or he feigns madness."
"He is slow, but he is sure."

Understanding the way Co-ordinating Conjunctions work can make it easy for the aspirant to use. There are four types of Co-ordinating Conjunctions:

  • Cumulative- these merely add one statement to another. For example, "God made the country and man made the town."
  • Adversative- these express opposition or contrast between two statements. For example, "I was annoyed, still I kept quiet."
  • Disjunctive or Alternative- these express a choice between two alternatives. For example, "Walk quickly, else you will not overtake him."
  • Illative- these express an inference. For example, "All precautions must have been neglected, for the disease spread rapidly."

Test Yourself

Q1. Fill the blank with appropriate Conjunctions:

  • He fled, _____ he was afraid.
  • Wait _____ I return.
  • _____ you say so, I must believe it.
  • You will pass _____ you work hard.
  • _____ take it _____ leave it.
Read More

Clauses

Clauses are the building blocks of the English language. Any sentence hat you write which has a subject (the doer of the action) and a verb (an action word) is called a clause. Whereas a phrase is a group of words which makes sense but not complete sense, a clause makes complete sense. For example, "a clear blue sky" (is a phrase) and "A clear blue sky welcomed me in Leh" (is a clause-The subject is 'A clear blue sky' and the verb is 'welcomed').

There are two kinds of Clauses:

a. Principal or Main Clause
A main clause is a clause that contains a subject and an object. They make sense on their own.
For example, "I like ice-cream" is a simple sentence made of a main clause.
"I like ice-cream and I like chocolate" is a compound sentence made up of two main clauses ('I like ice-cream' and 'I like chocolate'). The two main clauses are joined by the conjunction 'and.'

Test yourself

Question 1

Identify the clauses and point it whether it is a Noun Clause, Adjective Clause, Adverb Clause.

  • The bankers need to know what they should do.
  • The books, which are lost, are not really necessary.
  • Whether you like it or not, you have to go to bed now.
  • Students who are intelligent get good grades.
  • No one knows he is.
Read More

Punctuations

You may possess good language skills and know how to express yourself in the language but without the knowledge of punctuation marks, your skills, especially written, is incomplete. A piece of writing which does include punctuation marks is difficult to read as compared to a piece of writing which carries proper punctuation marks at the right places. To make an impact on the examiner, it is important for you to take care of these little marks, to come across as a serious and professional writer. This module discusses the commonly used punctuation marks, their significance and their implementation.

i. COMMA (,)
The comma is used to indicate a short pause. It is used:
For example, "I like ice-cream" is a simple sentence made of a main clause.

a. for words, phrases, and clauses in a series.
For example, "Gandhiji, the Father of the Nation, died on 30th January, 1948.
"Apples, Mangoes and Bananas are my favourites."
"Gandhiji, who was the Father of the Nation, died on 30th January, 1948.

b. when you address a person.
For example, "Yes, Sir."

c. to separate numbers, dates and address.
For example, I was born on 9th August, 1990 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

d. When two persons, things or other elements are contrasted, the two are separated by a comma.
For example, I meant Raj, not Robin.

e. Direct quotations are marked by comma.
For example, She said, "I'm sorry."

Test yourself

Q1. Punctuate the following sentences.

  • i like playing with my friends sandy sunny sameer
  • we went through the smoky mountains, near shimla on our way to leh
  • my favourite soap is pears and my favourite toothpaste is pepsodent
  • i’m a catholic and that’s why i go to st.joseph’s school
  • my friend priya speaks german and she is teaching me some words
Read More

Idioms

An idiom is an expression or a phrase whose meaning cannot be easily understood from the individual meanings of the words it contains. Idioms play an important part in the language as they make language richer and more colourful and convey their point subtly. The aspirants can use idioms to enrich their language skills, make an impact and say more in few words. Find a list of few idioms given below:

IDIOMS MEANING
Actions speak louder than words People's intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say
At the drop of a hat Instantly
Have an ace up your sleeve Have a secret advantage
Up in arms Protesting angrily about something
Back to square one Back to the starting point, with no progress made
A bed of roses A situation or activity that is comfortable or easy
A bird's eye view A general view from above
Can't judge a book by its cover Cannot judge something primarily on appearance
Bury the hatchet End a quarrel or conflict and become friendly
Count your blessings Be grateful for what you have
Off the cuff Without preparation
Get on like a house of fire Have a good and friendly relationship
Let bygones be bygones Forgive and forget past offences or causes of conflict
Let bygones be bygones Forgive and forget past offences or causes of conflict
The cat has got someone's tongue Someone is remaining silent
Let the cat out of the bag Revel a secret, especially carelessly or by mistake
Under fire Being severely criticized
Breathe fire Be fiercely angry
The bottom line The important conclusion
Live out of a suitcase A great deal of travelling
For good measure In addition to what has already been said, done
Send in your papers Resign
Paddle your own canoe Be independent and self sufficient
Roll up your sleeves Prepare to fight or work
Make a rod for your own back Do something likely to cause difficulties for yourself later

Test Yourself

Q1. Complete the table:

Idiom Meaning Example
Spill the beans   Don't spill the beans yet.
Keep an eye out for that Maintain awareness of it  
Beating around the bush Avoiding the main topic  
  Adjusting quickly to changes and making fast decisions He had to think on his feat to close the deal.
Tricks of the trade Clever or expert way of doing something  
Read More

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