Grammar 1


Bad News

Okay, here's the bad news:

There are some things in life that you simply have to memorize.

Here is one example: My first semester at college, I had to take a class in basic Chemistry. The first day of class, our professor told us that we needed to memorize the periodic table (a table that shows the chemical elements in order of their atomic number). But I was lazy, and I didn't do it, and that semester I failed Chemistry.

The following semester I repeated the course, and this time I was determined not to repeat my mistake. So this time I made myself some flash cards, and I studied them every day. That semester, Chemistry was a breeze.

English grammar is not so different. There are certain words that you simply need to memorize. It's not very glamorous, but it does make the job of learning grammar a whole lot easier.

Specifically, there are three categories of words that you need to memorize.

I call these words the "glue words" because they're used to glue different parts of a sentence together. All of them are common words, such as:

You already know the meaning of these words, but can you identify which category each of them falls into?

Try the following practice questions. (Identify the underlined word.)


The car went through the tunnel.


  • preposition
  • coordinating conjunction
  • subordinating conjunction


Nelson is nice, but Roger is cruel.

  • preposition
  • coordinating conjunction
  • subordinating conjunction


I ordered a pizza because I was hungry.


  • preposition
  • coordinating conjunction
  • subordinating conjunction

How did you do? (Answers: 1=A; 2=B; 3=C).

If these questions weren't easy for you, then this unit is for you. It's a chance for you to get all of the nasty memorization work out of the way. I promise: It's going to pay off in the end.

Do I really need to memorize these words?

Gosh, I don't know . . . Can you learn advanced math, without ever having taken the time to memorize a basic multiplication table? I suppose it can be done, but it wouldn't be much fun.

If you're serious about learning English grammar, stop complaining and do what you've got to do.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.