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Top English Grammar Rules to Learn and Follow

What are grammar rules to be aware of? What are the most common grammar rules in the English language? Learning proper grammar is a great way to advance yourself. Whether its for work (writing skills) or composing literature, whatever your goal, improving overall grammar is a great way to improve your English skills.

Here are the top grammar rules to be aware of.

What are grammar rules?

Grammar rules help in the structuring of sentences so that they can be effectively communicated. In the English language, there are many different grammar rules to follow but here the main rules are listed below.

Ten grammar rules in the English language

Grammar rules
Grammar rules

1. Write complete sentences

Sentences in the English language have two parts and sometimes three parts. They are:

Structure: Subject + Verb + Object (optional)

If the sentences are missing both subject and object, then those sentences are fragmented sentences.

Here are a few examples of complete sentences.


  • James eats fruits in the morning. Here, the subject is “James”, the verb is “eats”, and the object is “fruits”. This is a complete sentence.
  • Sam plays guitar. In this example, the subject is “Sam”, the verb is “plays”, and the object is “guitar”.
Grammar rules
Grammar rules

2. Start the first word in a sentence with a capital letter

This is the basic grammar rule when constructing a sentence. Every first word in the sentence should start with a capital letter and the sentence should end with a period, question mark, or an exclamation mark.


Grammar rules
Grammar rules

3. Link multiple ideas in a sentence with conjunction or semicolon

A sentence with more than one idea should be joined with a coordinating conjunction or semicolon. Joining two ideas in a sentence is called a compound sentence. Here are a few examples.


  • Sam loves sandwiches, but her mother prefers burgers.
  • Tom traveled to Paris and visited the Eiffel Tower.
  • Jane traveled to Egypt; he visited the pyramids.
Grammar rules
Grammar rules

4. Commas should be correctly used in sentences

When using coordinating conjunctions, commas are used. However, joining two ideas in a sentence is not possible with a comma. Doing so becomes an incorrect sentence.

For example, “He went to the restaurant, he ordered sandwiches”. This is an incorrect sentence. “He went to the restaurant, and he ordered sandwiches”. This is the correct use of a comma in a sentence.

Grammar rules
Grammar rules

5. A singular subject in a sentence needs a singular verb

A singular subject needs a singular verb and not a plural verb.

For example, “Shawn eats fruits every day”. Here, “Shawn” is the singular subject, and “eats” is the singular verb. On the other hand, “Shawn eat fruits every day” is incorrect. “Eat” is a plural verb.

Grammar rules
Grammar rules

6. Plural subjects in a sentence need a plural verb

Just like a singular subject needs a singular verb, a plural subject in a sentence needs a plural verb.

For example, “John and Amelie teach in school”. Here, “John” and “Amelie” are plural subjects, and “teach” is the plural verb. On the other hand, “John and Amelie teaches in school” is an incorrect sentence. “Teaches” is a singular verb.

7. Correct verb tenses should be utilized in the sentences

Based on when the action happened, the correct verb tense should be used. If the action took place yesterday, is taking place today, or will take place tomorrow, based on the time period the correct verb tense should be used.


  • James attended the match yesterday. Here, the action happened in the past so the sentence is written in the past tense.
  • Shawn and David will drive the children to school. In this example, the action is about to take place so the sentence is written in the future tense.

8. Adjectives and adverbs should be properly used

Adjectives come before a noun. For example, “He is a fast runner”. Here, the “fast” adjective comes before the noun “runner”.

Adverbs come after the verb in a sentence. For example, “She eats quickly”. Here, “quickly” is the adverb that comes after the verb “eats”. Most of the adverbs are created by adding “ly” at the end of the adjective such as “quick + ly”.

9. Singular subjects linked with “or” in a sentence should have a singular verb

When using two subjects connected with an “or” in a sentence, then a singular verb is used. For example, “John or Mary is playing the piano tonight”. Here, “is” is the singular verb.

Even when they are joined with “either” or “nor”, the singular verb is used. For example, “Neither John nor Sam is coming to the party”. Here, “is” is the singular verb.

10. Use serial commas for sentences that require a list

Sentences that list items need serial commas to separate one item from another.


  • Shawn bought chips, sandwiches, and drinks for the party.
  • She adopted a dog, a cat, and a horse.


How many rules are there in English grammar?

The English language has many grammar rules. Some estimate the count could be between 500 to 1000 rules or more. Though there are many rules, remembering every rule is impossible. Only, knowing the main grammar rules is enough to speak and write in English.

What are the four types of sentence structures?

The construction of sentences is done in four ways which are:

  • The Simple Sentence Structure
  • The Compound Sentence Structure
  • The Complex Sentence Structure
  • The Compound-Complex Sentence Structure



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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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