Basic Grammar Concepts and Skills

Grammar rules can be challenging for elementary students because there are so many to remember. In addition, there are irregular forms of words and exceptions to every rule. Use the following explanations and exercises to help your child gain a better foundation in basic grammar.

Find available tutors

How to Teach Your Child Basic Grammar

Parts of Speech

Beginning in first grade, students learn to recognize parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. Every sentence must have at least a noun and a verb. To help your child identify these parts in a sentence, provide him with crayons and a paragraph from a book that he's already read. Then, ask him to circle the nouns in green, the verbs in red and the adjectives in blue. Next, have him write his own sentence using a noun, verb and at least two adjectives.


For your child to use nouns correctly, she must first know about the different types. Common nouns can be people, places or things. Possessive nouns show possession; for instance, 'The girl's pencil fell off her desk.' In this case, girl's is a possessive noun. Finally, a proper noun is the name of something specific, like New York City or the White House. Nouns may also be replaced by pronouns, like 'him,' 'they' or 'she.'


Students learn to conjugate verbs - which are action words, like 'walk' or 'jump' - so that the subject and verb agree. For instance, I jump, but he jumps. By second grade, students are introduced to irregular verbs, like 'drink' and 'sit'. These verbs do not follow the typical conjugation pattern, which makes them tricky to use.

To practice, play a version of Simon Says. When you use the correct form of the verb in a sentence, your child has to do it. However, when you use the wrong verb form, then your child should do nothing. If you said, 'I sitted down,' then your child should do nothing. If you said, 'I sat down,' then your child should sit.


Words that describe a noun are called adjectives. For instance, 'The small, brown dog barked at the talkative squirrel.' In this sentence, small and brown describe the dog, and talkative describes the squirrel. Practice at home by having your child come up with as many adjectives as he can for himself.


Early on, students learn to write sentences in the past, present and future tenses. To give your child practice using these different forms, ask her to write a story about what she did yesterday, what she's doing today and what she plans on doing tomorrow. In early elementary school, these sentences will be simple, like:

I swam yesterday.
Today, I swim.
Tomorrow, I will swim.

Later in elementary school, your child will learn about progressive forms, like:

I was swimming.
I am swimming.
I will be swimming.
Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Ways to Teach Grammar to Students

    Grammar is one of the hardest parts of writing to teach to students, and is the part that most students find uninteresting. This article lists three ways that teachers can try to make grammar fun for students.

  • More Blog Articles
    Elementary Grammar: Learning Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives and Other Parts of Speech

    Learning the various parts of speech can be difficult for third to sixth grade students. Read on to gain an in depth understanding of the grammatical classifications your elementary student is expected to know and how to help him or her master the concepts.

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth