the adverb

The adverb, the fifth part of speech, modifies (qualifies or limits) verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. An adverb can answer any of these four questions—Where? When? How? To what extent? ➲ Adverbs modify verbs: Henry swam brilliantly. (How did Henry swim?) The train then came down the line. (When did the train come down the…

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)…

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…

the noun

A noun, the first of the eight parts of speech, is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea. person: Darlene, boy, mayor, worker, scientist, assistantplace: Los Angeles, dock, home, park thing: automobile, tool, balloon, penguin, tree idea: freedom, independence, enmity, thoughtfulness A singular noun is the name of only one person, place, thing,…

singular and plural nouns and pronouns

A singular noun or pronoun is a word that refers to one person, place, thing, or idea. ➲ Singular nouns include car, desk, pool, friend, computer, video, geography, and poetry. ➲ Singular pronouns include he, she, it, I, me, mine, my, his, and her. A plural noun or pronoun refers to more than one person,…

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…

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.)…

irregular verbs part one

Regular verbs form their past and past participle forms by adding -d or -ed to the verb’s present tense Thus, use becomes used, and call becomes called. Irregular verbs form their past and past participle forms differently. The present tense break becomes broke in its pasttense form and broken in its past participle form. The…

Prepositions – About

About identifies a topic. Pattern 1: noun + be + about + nounThis book is about prepositions.Nouns commonly used before about:argument, article, book, conversation, disagreement, discussion, joke, lecture, movie, news, play, program, report, speech, story Pattern 2: noun + about + nounShe gave me advice about my loan.Nouns commonly used before about:assurance, complaint, comment, gossip,…

compound subjects part two

Here are some more handy rules about compound subjects to know and use in your writing. ➲ Rule #3: When singular subjects are joined by or or nor, use a singular verb. Neither the kangaroo nor the ostrich was awake. Either the monkey or the giraffe is here. ➲ Rule #4: Plural subjects joined by…

Confusing usage words part four

good (adjective) effective; efficient; (adverb) well completely fully Evelyn has been a good physicians assistant for many years now(adjective) This is about as good as it gets for this group. (adverb) well (adverb) in a pleasing or desirable manner fittingly to a larg extent I felt well after the challenging mountain climb. Pierre fit in…

The nominative case

Nouns and pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, and they, to name a few) used in the nominative case function as subjects and predicate nominatives in sentences. Subject examples: Patsy read the newspaper. I can assist you with the project. They will be doing the least favorite part of the job. Predicate nominative examples:…

Misplaced and dangling modifiers

Words, phrases, and clauses that describe or modify nouns and pronouns need to be properly placed within the sentence. This placement should clearly indicate which word is being described. A misplaced modifier is a word or group of words intended to describe a noun or pronoun, but is placed incorrectly within the sentence. Speaking to…

Sound alike words part one

The words in these pairs sound alike. Study these quick definitions, and use these words in your writing and speech. board: piece of wood Hillary hammered the pine board. bored: tired of; not interested Were you bored at the movies? brake: the stopping device Push hard on the brake to stop the bike. break: a…

The verb be

Forms of the verb to be are used very frequently in the English language. It is very useful to know all of the verb’s forms. Here is a list to help you along with the verb’s tenses. Present tense: The action either exists or is happening now. Singular Plural First person I am happy. We…

irregular verbs part two

Infinitive Present Participle Past Past Participle to + verb the -ing form (Yesterday I . . . I had . . . She has . . . You have . . . lie to rest, to recline lying lay lain lose losing lost lost make making made made ride riding rode ridden ring ringing rang…

the direct object

A direct object is a noun or pronoun that receives the action of a transitive verb (a verb that has an object) or shows the result of that action. A direct object answers the question ‘‘What?’’ or ‘‘Whom?’’ after the transitive verb. In these sentences, the transitive verb is underlined, and the direct object is…

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…

pronouns and their antecedents

Take the sentence, “The veterinarian took pride in her work.” The pronoun her refers back to veterinarian, the subject of the sentence. In this context, veterinarian is the pronoun” antecedent, the word that the pronoun refers back to in the sentence. Usually, the antecedent comes before the pronoun in the sentence. In all cases, the…

the adverb phrase

A prepositional phrase that answers any of these questions—When? Where? How? Why? Under what conditions? or To what degree?—is an adverb phrase. If you can logically move the prepositional phrase within the sentence, it is probably an adverb phrase. Remember that an adverb phrase contains no verb. The adverb phrases in these sentences are underlined….

The possessive case

The possessive case of a noun or pronoun indicates ownership or possession. Pronouns such as his, her, its, my, mine, your, yours, their, theirs, our, and ours are all possessive case words. Here are several rules for the possessive case. A. Most singular nouns form their possessive by adding an apostrophe and an s. (the…

the noun adjective pronoun question

When is a specific word a noun? an adjective? a pronoun? Great questions! ➲ Sometimes, a noun is used as an adjective. This is true for the word gar- den in the sentence, “The garden display attracted many visitors” since garden describes the type of display. ➲ Examples of when a noun is a noun…

the gerund and gerund phrase

➲ A gerund, the second type of verbal, ends in -ing and functions as a noun. A gerund’s uses are many—subject, direct object, subject comple-ment (predicate nominative), appositive, and object of the preposition. If a gerund or the entire gerund phrase is removed from the sentence, the remaining words will not form a complete, logical…

regular verb tenses

Most regular verbs form their past tense by adding -ed to the present-tense form of the verb. Examples of this include walked, talked, and recalled. If a regular verb ends in ‘‘e,’’ as in bathe or wave, simply add ‘‘d’’ to form the past tense. In addition to the present (expresses action that is occurring…

the correlative conjunction

Just as the coordinating conjunction does, the correlative conjunction joins words or groups of words. Here are the five pairs of correlative conjunctions. Whether . . . or Neither . . . nor Both . . . and Either . . . or Not only . . . but also Note: Using only the first…

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…

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…

the appositive

An appositive is a noun or pronoun (often with modifiers) that is placed beside another noun or pronoun to explain or identify it. Essentially, an appositive is an additional word or group of words used to tell more about who (or what) that noun or pronoun is. No verb appears in an appositive phrase. In…

the indirect object

An indirect object is a noun, pronoun, or word group that answers the ques-tion to whom or for whom after the action verb. An indirect object precedes a direct object in the sentence. In each sentence, the indirect object is italicized, and the direct object is underlined. Mr. Higgins gave Penny an award. (To whom…

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…