Grammar : The Units of English

This is your first lesson in your learning process.

Bring in a note-book and a pen. You may need them to take down notes for your future reference.

Taking down notes will help you pay focused attention on what you learn.

It is strongly suggested that you had better take down notes of what you learn in every lesson.

Let us start with the Units of English.

What is called a UNIT?

A Unit is a basic part, many of which bring out the whole.

Units make a word or a sentence complete.

How many Units are there in English?

There are

1. Letter

2. Word

3. Phrase

4. Clause

5. Sentence

All these five Units make a sentence or a paragraph a meaningful one.

Let us see these Units of English individually.

1. Letter:

There are twenty six letters in English language.

They are:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z .

These letters have been written in Capital forms.

The same letters can also be written in Small forms.

They are:

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y and z.

All these twenty-six letters are collectively called ALPHABET.

So the alphabet of English language has twenty-six letters.

These twenty-six letters can be classified into two groups.

They are:

I. Consonants

b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y and z. are called CONSONANTS. That means there are 21 consonants.

II. Vowels

a, e, i. o and u are called VOWELS. That means there are five vowels.


A word converts the group of letters into a meaningful one. A word plays a pivotal role in the Units of English.

A word is a group of letters with a meaning.

Ball, nation, ocean, boy, courage, install, save and organization are words.

The word ball is having four letters b..a..l..l.

The word organization is having twelve letters o..r..g..a..n..i..s..a..t..i..o..n.

In this way all the words are collective forms of few letters.

Every word carries a meaning.

Let us see few more words which we use regularly in our daily lives.

Son, father, mother, daughter, wife, husband, school, college, milk, street, bus, car, train, sky, moon, sun, note, book, university, love, language, skill, communication, motivation, can, will, no, yes, carry, on, down, up, color, white, red, computer, profit, business and knowledge are few of the words which we use in our day-to-day lives.

It is must for one to know at least 25,000 words to become a very good communicator in English.

Till you master that much of words and the Basics of English language, you have to keep on learning so that you language-skill will get sharpened day by day. Becoming thorough with the Basics of English is a matter of practice.

Understanding the meaning of the words determines your progress. Among the Units of English, the unit word has its own place in understaning the Perfect English.The word-power is indomitable. Rote learning of words will not take you to understand the Perfect English.The meaning and the usages of every word should be understood. You should allot more time to increase your word-power.These Units of English will take you to the next level of learning process.


This is another important Unit in the Units of English.

A phrase is a group of words without a subject and a predicate but with a meaning.

(What are meant by subject and predicate? Let us see later.)

The basics of English language should be understood in a comprehensive manner. keep on reading till all the lessons in the basics are over. Then begin once again from this Units of English, that will give you better understanding of the Basics of English language.

Let us see few phrases.

i. The leader of the group

ii. The red ball

iii. Your class-mates

iv. Our family-members

v. A very distant place

vi. Business people

vii. To make up

viii. To get away with

ix. To score more marks

x. To attain fame

If the most important word in a phrase is a noun (what is noun? Let us see later.), it is called a Nominal phrase or a Noun phrase.

In the foloowing sections, you will understand these pharses very well.

In the examples given above, the first six phrases have nouns as the most important words.

“The leader of the group" has the noun “leader" as the most important word in that phrase.

“The red ball" has the noun “ball" as the most important word in that phrase.

So they are called Nominal phrase or Noun phrase.

Few more examples for Nominal phrases:

i. All the admitted students

ii. Tax-payers from that state

iii. The primary colors

iv. Safe web-sites

v. Only English teachers

If the most important word in the phrase is verb (what is verb? Let us see later.), that phrase is called Verbal phrase.

In the above-mentioned examples, vii, viii, ix and x have the verbs make-up, get away, score and attain as the most important words. So they are called Verbal Phrases.

Few more examples for Verbal phrases:

i. To cultivate the lands

ii. To study into night

iii. To go around the city

iv. To donate liberally

v. To be there in time


A clause is a group of words, with a subject and a predicate having a meaning.

A phrase does not have a subject and a predicate. But a clause has both.

i. You are my best friend
ii. It is not possible for him to do that now
iii. When the train arrived
iv. If you are qualified
v. As the election is declared

If clause is conveying the complete meaning, it is called Main clause.

The clause You are my best friend conveys the complete meaning. So it is called the Main clause.

Few more examples for main clauses:

i. His letter is full of eulogies.

ii. The magicians have not yet come.

iii. The school-hour is over.

iv. Red-colored cars have very good demand.

v. Indians are religious by nature.

If the meaning of the clause is incomplete, then that clause is called subordinate clause.

The clause mentioned above “if you are qualified" does not have a complete meaning.

So that clause is called subordinate clause .

Few more examples for subordinate clauses:

i. It is possible only when

ii. Unless you score high marks

iii. Since your age is below 21

iv. As the time is not ripe

v. Because of high blood-pressure

Subordinate clauses begin with words such as:

Who, whom, whose, which, that, unless, as, because, when, how, where, what, since, etc..


A. There can not be a sentence without a Main clause.

B. In few sentences, the subordinate clause may occur between two parts of a main clause.

5. Sentence:

A sentence is a group of clauses, conveying a complete meaning. A sentence is the form which carries all the five Units of English by remaining one of the five Units of English.


i. It is possible only when all the members support this project. ( 1 main clause and 1 subordinate clause).

ii. Do not try to be smart ( 1 main clause).

iii. When you come to my house, please, bring that book. (1 main clause and 1 subordinate clause).

iv. He is intelligent but he is lazy. (2 main clauses).

v. Since the students have not yet paid their fees, the exam was not conducted yesterday. (1 subordinate clause and a main clause).

These are the basic Units of English. Here after you can enter the next area of Perfect English.

So far we have clearly understood the following terms.

i. Units of English language

ii. Alphabet

iii. Consonant

iv. Vowel

v. Letter

vi. Word

vii. Nominal phrase or Noun phrase

viii. Verbal phrase

ix. Main clause

x. Sub-ordinate clause

xi. Sentence

These are the utter basics which constitute English language. From the first unit of the five Units of English language, we have come to the unit of sentence.

Go through this page once again so as to understand all these
Units of English without any doubt. This slow-approach will give you strong foundation to go ahead with your journey of learning of the Basics of English language.


Understanding the Basics of English(Grammar) very clearly will give you the strong foundation needed to become a very good communicator.

Parts of SpeechGrammarHome Page