Pronouns: Meanings and Functions

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Pronouns : words that are used in place of a noun (pronoun ialah kata-kata yang digunakan untuk menggantikan kata benda).

Pronouns are divided into 4 types (pronoun dibagi menjadi 4 jenis):

  • Singular subject pronouns: I, you (meaning: “kamu/Anda”), she (e.g. the wife, Sarah, our sister), he (e.g. Andy, your grand father), it (e.g. a street, the song, Indonesia )
  • Plural subject pronouns: we (e.g. you and I, she and I), you (meaning: “kamu/Anda semua”), they (the daughters )

Personal Pronouns
I, me, you, he, him, she… Continue reading “Pronouns: Meanings and Functions”

A Self Note: Minimalist Principles and Cell Phone

Android : The rising star

Yes, lately I’m infatuated with minimalism. Every single thing I do seems to be revolving around this. But it’s actually not coming from outside. I adore simplicity since a long time ago and minimalism does answer most problems. Some think it’s about scarcity but to me it’s more about liberation from any things that may bind me.

So I read Leo Babauta‘s “Minimalist Guide”. To me, saying it’s one of  my favorite books is an understatement. I mean it, it’s absolutely cool. It ought to be everyone’s favorite. I simply find every and each word in the book  powerful.

But powerful words and inspiring books are nothing unless readers do something real in their lives. Great books change people’s lives. And that’s what a book or any other writing pieces should do to readers; improving people’s lives quality.

Blackberry, Android, or iOS? Give me Java.

Applying Minimalism to Cell Phones

Speaking of cell phones nowadays, we can’t miss a day without noticing some new models thrown into the global or local markets. Every day we’re bombarded with these Blackberry, Android, Badda, iPhone, Windows Mobile handsets ads.

Continue reading “A Self Note: Minimalist Principles and Cell Phone”

Subject-Verb Agreement

Simple rule to remember: "A singular subject needs a singular verb, a plural subject needs a plural verb."


A subject is a person, a place,or a thing that performs an action in a sentence. It usually comes first. For example, Bill acts as the subject in ‘Bill goes to the convention’.


A verb is an action word. It includes the words : is, am , are (present), was, were (past).

Singular subjects

Singular means just one. The examples of singular subjects are:

  • The classroom
  • The English novel
  • Everybody
  • One of the students

Singular subjects always take singular verbs. Singular verbs often end in ‘-s’ (in present tense). Some examples of singular subjects are:

  • The verb ‘is’ in ‘The classroom is overloaded.
  • The verb ‘belongs’ in ‘The English novel belongs to him.’
  • The verb ‘likes’ in ‘Everybody likes ice cream‘.
  • The verb ‘is’ ‘One of the students is absent‘.

Continue reading “Subject-Verb Agreement”



    Affirmative : Aladdin plays all day long in the streets of Baghdad.

    Negative : Aladdin doesn’t play all day long in the streets of Baghdad.

    Aff.question : Does Aladdin play all day long in the streets of Baghdad?

    Neg.questio : Doesn’t Aladdin play all day long in the streets of Baghdad?

    WH question : Who plays all day long in the streets of Baghdad?

    Tag question : Aladdin plays all day long in the streets of Baghdad, doesn’t he?



    Affirmative : Aladdin’s uncle drew a ring from his finger.

    Negative : Aladdin’s uncle did not draw a ring from his finger.

    Aff.question : Did Aladdin’s uncle draw a ring from his finger?

    Neg.questio : Didn’t Aladdin’s uncle draw a ring from his finger?

    WH question : What did Aladdin’s uncle do?

    Tag question : Aladdin’s uncle did not draw a ring from his finger, did he?

    Continue reading “Tenses”

    Verb Phrases

    Cover of "The St. Martin's Handbook"
    Cover of The St. Martin's Handbook
    Definition:(1) In traditional grammar, a word group that includes a verb and its auxiliaries

    (2) In generative grammar, a predicate: that is, a lexical verb and all the words governed by that verb except a subject.

    Examples and Observations:

    • V[erb] P[hrase]s can be identified by . . . substitution procedures. Consider the sentence Lou cried, where criedconstitutes the VP. Among many others, the following strings can substitute for cried in the slot Lou _____. They thus fit the frame and are VPs (the verb in each VP is italicized):

      Lou fell.
      Lou lost the race,
      Lou won a prize for his efforts in the tournament.

      (Edward Finegan, Language: Its Structure and Use, 5th ed. Thomson Wadsworth, 2008)

    • [7] I was reading the letter to John.

      “. . . I will make two crude assumptions (i) and (ii) about what is inside the verb phrase , along with the verb (which is its head) . . ..

      (i) The verb phrase contains anything which follows the verb within the same sentence.
      (ii) The verb phrase contains the auxiliary verbs which precede the verb (i.e. words like might, could, should, have, be and do) and the negation word not.

      Based on these assumptions, the only word in [7] which is not in the verb phrase is the word I, this being the noun phrase which preceds the verb. The verb phrase thus takes up most of the sentence.”
      (Nigel Fabb, Sentence Structure, 2nd ed. Routledge, 2005)

    • “The verb is the easiest constituent to recognize because of its formal characteristics. The verb of the sentence takes the form of a verb phrase, and the first or only word in the verb phrase indicates present or past tense. Thus, like is present in [1] and liked is past in [1a]:

      [1] I like the music.
      [1a] I liked the music.

      In [2] have is present tense even though have thanked refers to past time:

      [2] I have thanked them for the gift.

      In contrast, had is past tense:

      [2a] I had thanked them for the gift.

      In [2a] had thanked is the verb phrase, and thanked is the main verb. The phrase can be replaced by the one wordthanked, in which case thanked is past tense and its corresponding present is thank.

      [2b] I thanked them for the gift.
      [2c] I thank them for the gift.

      (Sidney GreenbaumThe Oxford English Grammar. Oxford Univ. Press, 1996)

    • Putting auxiliary verbs in order
      In the sentence Immigration figures may have been rising, the main verb rising follows three auxiliaries: may, have,and been. Together these auxiliaries and main verb make up a verb phrase

      • May is a modal that indicates possibility; it is followed by the base form of a verb.
      • Have is an auxiliary verb that in this case indicates the perfect tense; it must be followed by a past participle (been).
      • Any form of be, when it is followed by a present participle ending in -ing (such as rising), indicates theprogressive tense.
      • Be followed by a past participle, as in New immigration policies have been passed in recent years, indicates thepassive voice.

      . . . [W]hen two or more auxiliaries appear in a verb phrase, they must follow a particular order based on the type of auxiliary: (1) modal, (2) a form of have used to indicate a perfect tense, (3) a form of be used to indicate a progressive tense, and (4) a form of be used to indicate the passive voice. (Very few sentences include all four kinds of auxiliaries.)

      “Only one modal is permitted in a verb phrase.”
      (Andrea Lunsford, The St. Martin’s Handbook, 6th ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008)


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    Definition:A word, phrase, or clause that functions as an adjective or adverb to limit or qualify the meaning of another word or word group (called the head). 

    Modifiers that appear before the head are called premodifiers. Modifiers that appear after the head are called postmodifiers.


    • “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
      (Humphrey Bogart as Rick in Casablanca, 1942)
    • “As the leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca, I am an influential and respected man.”
      (Sydney Greenstreet as Senor Ferrari in Casablanca
    • “You can tell me now. I’m reasonably sober.”
      (Rick in Casablanca)
    • Major Strasser: What is your nationality?
      Rick: I’m a drunkard.
      Captain Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world.


    Complements are words that come after linking verbs and modify nouns. The most common noun complements are adjectives and nouns, but can be many other parts of speech as well.

    TestMagic uses the term noun complement more liberally than do some other grammar resources; doing so will make grammar explanations for tests much, much easier and faster.

    Examples of complements

    All the highlighted words or phrases below are complements.

    I consider you a friend.

    Megumi called her ex-boyfriend a philistine.


    Definition  of verb:

    one of the major grammatical groups, and all sentences must contain one. Verbs refer to anaction (do, break, walk, etc.) or a state (be, like, own).

    The verb tense shows the time of the action or state. Aspect shows whether the action or state is completed or not. Voice is used to show relationships between the action and the people affected by it.Mood shows the attitude of the speaker about the verb, whether it is a declaration or an order. Verbs can be affected by person and number to show agreement with the subject.



    The main verb is the most important verb in a sentence; without it, the sentence would not be complete.



    DO‘, ‘BE‘ and ‘HAVE‘ are the English auxiliary verbs used in a negative structure, a question or to show tense.


    1/ ‘DO‘, ‘DON’T‘, ‘DOES‘ and ‘DOESN’T‘ are used for questions and negatives in the Present Simple Tense, and ‘DID‘ and ‘DIDN’T‘ are used in the Past Simple Tense.

    2/ ‘BE‘ is used with the Present Participle in Continuous (Progressive) Verbs. It is also used with thePast Participle in the Passive

    3/ ‘HAVE‘ is used with the Past Participle to form the Perfect Aspect.



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    Definition of subject:The part of a sentence or clause that commonly indicates (a) what it is about, or (b) who or what performs the action (that is, the agent).

    The subject is typically a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun. In a declarative sentence, the subject usually appears before the verb (“Gus never smiles”). In an interrogative sentence, the subject usually follows the first part of a verb (“Does Gus ever smile?”).

    As discussed below, there are exceptions to this traditional definition of a subject.

    How to Identify the Subject:

    “The clearest way of spotting the subject of a sentence is to turn the sentence into a yes-no question (by this we mean a question which can be answered with either ‘yes’ or ‘no’). In English, questions are formed by reversing the order between the subject and the first verb which follows it. Look at the following example:

    He can keep a Tamagotchi alive for more than a week.

    The appropriate question here if we want a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer is:

    Can he keep a Tamagotchi alive for more than a week?

    Here ‘he’ and ‘can’ have changed places and that means that ‘he’ must be the subject in the first sentence. . . .

    “If there is no suitable verb in the original sentence, then use dummy do, and the subject is the constituent which occurs between do and the original verb.”
    (Kersti Börjars and Kate Burridge, Introducing English Grammar, 2nd ed. Hodder, 2010) 

    Examples and Observations:

    • My master made me this collar. He is a good and smart master, and he made me this collar so that I may speak.”
      (Dug in Up, 2009)