Talking About The Past

Past simple : finished actions, past states, past habits and routines, actions following one another Past perfect : an event that happened before another past event, an event that happened before a certain point in past used to + inf : past habits not repeated anymore, past states not existing any longer Past continuous :…

the adjective phrase

An adjective phrase is a prepositional phrase that modifies a noun or a pronoun. This phrase answers the question Which one? The adjective phrase follows right after the noun or pronoun that it modifies or describes. Generally, if you cannot logically move the prepositional phrase within the sentence, it is most often an adjective phrase….

complex sentences

A complex sentence has one main (or independent) clause and one (or more) subordinate (or dependent) clauses. In each sentence, the main clause is underlined, and the subordinate clause is in italics. After the storm subsided, we went out to inspect the grounds. The ticket that you received in the mail is the right one….

introducing phrases

A phrase is a related group of words that functions as a part of speech and does not contain both a subject and a verb. ➲ Verb phrases do not contain a subject. Examples of verb phrases include has been laughing, will remain, and does believe. ➲ Prepositional phrases, such as the adjective phrase and…

compound prepositions and the preposition adverb question

A compound preposition has the same function as the regular, one-word preposition. It connects a noun (or pronoun) to another word in the sentence. The sole difference with the compound preposition is that it contains more than one word! according to ahead of apart from as of aside from because of by means of in…

Quotation Marks Part Three

This is the third of three pages dealing with quotation marks. Study these rules, and use them in your writing. When you are writing dialogue, start a new paragraph each time the speaker changes. ‘‘We need to remodel the upstairs bathroom,’’ Mom said to Dad. He asked her, ‘‘How much do you think that this…

The coordinating conjunction

The conjunction, the seventh part of speech, connects words or groups of words. In the sentence, ‘‘The video producer and the singer selected an inter-esting location for the shoot,’’ the conjunction and connects the two nouns producer and singer. Similarly, in the sentence, ‘‘You can swim or jog during the afternoon class,’’ the conjunction or…

Commas Part Four

Here is a very important comma rule. Study it, and use it well in your writing. Use a comma to separate nonessential or nonrestrictive clauses, participial phrases, and appositives. A nonessential or nonrestrictive element adds information that is not necessary to the sentence’s basic meaning. • Nonessential or nonrestrictive clauses The debate, which was attended…

The possessive case 2

Nouns and pronouns (me, you, her, him, it, them, and us, to name a few) used in the objective case function as direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of the preposition. The direct object is a noun or pronoun that answers the question ‘‘who?’’ or ‘‘what?’’ after an action verb. ➲ You asked me an…

working on + (noun)

I’m working on + (noun) I’m is a contraction for the words I am. The phrase ‘working on’ relays a physical or mental effort towards an accomplishment. Here are some examples: I’m working on a big project. I’m working on training my dog. I’m working on making new friends. I’m working on educating myself. I’m…

the prepositional phrase

A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and usually ends with a noun or a pronoun. The prepositional phrase is underlined in each sentence. The elderly man went to the doctor’s office today. In the morning, the elementary school students perform their exercises. These magicians performed many tricks for the children. Tomas walked into the…

what good writers do

Good writers utilize effective sentence starters to interest their readers. You can do the same. By using different starters, you use variety, a trait of strong writing. Here are seven ways to start your sentences. Gerund or gerund phrase Learning was crucial for the new student. (gerund) Finishing his art project on time brought Andy…

First Capitalization List

Here are names of people, places, and things to capitalize. This is the first of two lists of names that require capital letters. Albums (Abbey Road, Grease) Awards (Emmys®, Oscars®) Bodies of water (Atlantic Ocean, Lake Superior) Books (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the Bible) Buildings and other structures (the Taj Mahal, Empire State Building)…

Irregular Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs of two or more syllables form their comparative and superlative degrees (or forms) in an irregular way. The rules below will help you understand and utilize these forms. ➲Use -er, more, or less to form the comparative degree of many two-syllable modifiers or describers. ➲ Adverbs that end in -ly always use…

the infinitive and infinitive phrase

➲The third type of verbal, in addition to the participle and the gerund, is the infinitive. An infinitive is composed of the word to plus a verb. Examples of the infinitive include to remember, to cuddle, to pacify, and to yodel. Infinitives can function as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. To succeed is Ted’s goal. (noun—subject…

Indefinite pronouns and the possessive case

Indefinite pronouns form the possessive by adding an apostrophe and an ‘‘s’’ after the word. Is this someone’s backpack? May I ask everyone’s help here? Somebody’s cell phone is ringing; please answer it in the other room. We would like to hear another’s opinion. The other’s situation is much different. If you use the word…

the subordinating conjunction

The subordinating conjunction joins larger groups of words within sen-tences. It begins adverb clauses (groups of words that answer the questions When? Where?How? To what extent?). The subordinating conjunction can also be used to combine the ideas found in several sentences. Here are the subordinating conjunctions, followed by sample sentences. after although as as far…

agreement between indefinite pronouns and their antecedents

Singular indefinite pronouns agree in number with their antecedents. These pronouns are anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, and something. ➲Everyone in the church is singing his or her best. (His and her are singular pronouns, and everyone is the singular antecedent.) Note: Use his…

Sound a like words Part Two

Here are some more paired words that sound the same. Review them, and then use them in your writings and speech. formally: in a refined way He formally asked the girl to the banquet. formerly: in the past The new soldier had formerly lived in Duluth, Minnesota. hear: to use the ears to pick up…

subject complements predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives

A subject complement is a word or group of words within the complete predicate that either identifies (with a predicate nominative) or describes (with a predicate adjective) the subject (doer of the action). There are two types of subject complements—the predicate adjective (the describer) and the predicate nominative (the identifier). As an example, in the…

More subject verb agreement situations

An expression of an amount, including fractions, measurements, percent-ages, and time periods, can be singular or plural depending on its use. Two-sixths equals one-third. (Two sixths is considered a single unit.) Sixteen hours is a very long time to wait. (Sixteen hours is a unit of time, one block of time according to the sentence.)…

The Semicolon

Use a semicolon to join two independent clauses. In this case, a conjunction is unnecessary. The two independent clauses should be closely related. Isaac is a champion discus thrower; he holds the state record. (This is an acceptable use of the semicolon.) Isaac is a champion discus thrower; his dad is a baker. (This is…

Regular Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs

To show how they differ in degree or extent, most adjectives and adverbs have three degrees (or forms)—the positive, the comparative, and the superlative. One-syllable words form these degrees in a regular way. ➲ The positive degree (or form) is used when an adjective or adverb modifier is not being compared. The young sister walked…

complete and simple subjects

➲ The complete subject (the noun or pronoun that performs the action) contains all the words that help to identify the main person, place, thing, or idea in the sentence. The complete subject in each sentence is italicized. Many teachers and two principals from our school attended the musical concert. Giraffes and monkeys in the…

the adjective

The adjective, the third of the eight parts of speech, modifies (qualifies or limits the meaning of) a noun or pronoun. An adjective can answer any one of these questions: What kind? Which one? How many? or How much? In addition to regular adjectives such as tall, muscular, beautiful, and intell-igent, there are two specific…

introducing clauses

A clause is a group of words that has both a subject and a verb. Any simple sentence is a clause. Unlike phrases, clauses include both a subject and a verb. The specific types of clauses are the following: ➲ A main or independent clause is a group of words that can stand alone. ‘‘Jeremiah…

compound subject and compound predicate

➲A compound subject is two or more subjects in a sentence. These subjects are joined by a conjunction and share the same verb. The compound subject is underlined in each sentence. Happy, Sleepy, and Doc knew Snow White. The horses and the king’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again. She and I…

Present Perfect Simple Tense

Present Perfect Simple Tense have + past participle things you have done in your life – Have you ever been to Mexico? – I’ve tried sushi before. Have you? – He’s lived in many different countries. number of times you have done something – I’ve been to Paris three times. – How many times have…

Quotation Marks Part One

When working with quotation marks (‘‘ ’’), follow these rules. This is the first of three pages about quotation marks. Use quotation marks before and directly after a speaker’s exact words. The lifeguard told the swimmers, ‘‘Please move down between the green flags.’’ Note: Use a comma to separate the speaker’s exact words from the…

The possessive case and pronouns

A word used in the possessive case shows ownership. Possessive pronouns do not require apostrophes. The singular possessive pronouns aremy, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, and its. The plural possessive pronouns are our, ours, your, yours, their, and theirs. The possessive pronoun whose also does not require an apostrophe. This house is theirs. Their…