ASL Grammar

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ASL: How to Sign the Alphabet

American Sign Language (ASL) signers use the manual alphabet all the time, especially beginners. People’s names, at first, and some words need to be fingerspelled [more…]

How to Distinguish between Nouns and Verbs in American Sign Language

Some nouns and verbs in American Sign Language (ASL) share the same handshapes. You distinguish the part of speech by signing the motion once if it’s a verb and twice if it’s a noun. Although most nouns [more…]

How to Express Adjectives and Adverbs in American Sign Language

In English, a modifier can come before or after the word it’s modifying. However, in American Sign Language (ASL), you typically place the adjective or adverb — the modifier — after the word that it modifies [more…]

How to Use Tenses in American Sign Language

To communicate tenses in American Sign Language (ASL), you need your hands and your body. Think of your body as being in the present tense. Showing tense in ASL is partly a matter of where you sign in [more…]

How to Structure Sentences in American Sign Language

In American Sign Language (ASL), you can choose to assemble the words in your sentence in different orders, depending on the content of your dialogue. Some sentences should be signed in a natural English [more…]

How to Ask Questions in American Sign Language

When you want to ask a question in American Sign Language (ASL), you simply sign the question word at the end of the sentence — words such as who, what, when, where, which, why, and how. [more…]

How to Express Possessives and Pronouns in American Sign Language

Using pronouns in American Sign Language (ASL) is the same as in English; you need to refer to a noun before you use a pronoun. You may also use possessives during your Sign conversation. Show possession [more…]

How to Express Superlatives and Make Comparisons with American Sign Language

In English, you sometimes form words that compare by adding endings, such as “est” or “er.” In American Sign Language (ASL), you can't really sign comparatives and superlatives. For example, [more…]

How to Use Conjunctions in American Sign Language

As you probably remember from grammar classes of long ago, conjunctions join thoughts or phrases. American Sign Language (ASL) includes conjunctions, which you can use to sign about related ideas. [more…]

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