compound complex sentences

A compound-complex sentence has two or more main (or independent) clauses and at least one subordinate (or dependent) clause. ➲ After the winds ceased, the children went outside to play, and their parents started to rake the leaves. The main (or independent) clauses are ‘‘the children went outside to play’’ and ‘‘their parents started to…

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…

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…

types of nouns

A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea. There are singular nouns that name ONE person (player), place (room), thing (towel), or idea (love), and there are plural nouns that are the names for MORE THAN ONE person (play-ers), place (rooms), thing (towels), or idea (loves). There are other types of…

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…

Commas Part Five

Here are some additional useful rules when working with the comma. Use a comma after the salutation of a friendly letter. Dear Marty, Dearest Mom, Use a comma after the closing in a friendly or business letter. Sincerely, Be well, Use a comma to separate items in dates and addresses. She was born on January…

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…

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…

the preposition

The preposition, the sixth part of speech, is a word that shows the relation-ship between a noun (or a pronoun) and another word in the sentence. Mollie walked into her aunt’s house. (Into connects walked and house.) My mom exercises quietly in the morning. (In connects the idea of exercises and morning.) The professor placed…

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…

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…

Commas Part Two

Here are some useful rules when you are working with commas. Use a comma after Yes and No when these words start a sentence. Yes, we have the show’s starting time. No, there are no bananas in that store. Use a comma both after consecutive introductory prepositional phrases and after a long introductory prepositional phrase….

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 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…

Confusing usage words part three 2

discover: verb to be the first to find The scientist discovered this element years ago. invent: (verb) to think out and produce Who will invent a better way to stop people from texting while driving? disinterested: (adjective) not biased or prejudiced; showing no favoritism We all want a disinterested judge to work in our judicial…

personal pronouns

A personal pronoun refers to people, places, things, and ideas. ➲ A first-person personal pronoun refers to the one (or ones) speaking. The singular first-person pronouns are I, me, my, and mine. The plural first-person personal pronouns are we, our, ours, and us. We told our story. I offered my opinion to the reporters. Ours…

indefinite pronouns

The singular indefinite pronouns are anybody, anyone, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, and something. As subjects, these pronouns agree in number with singular verbs. Everyone in these seats is invited to the party. Neither of the contestants has to leave the studio. Everything in those rooms was…

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 adjective clause

An adjective clause (a group of words with at least one subject and one verb) is a subordinate or dependent clause that functions as an adjective. This type of clause answers the question, Which one? Relative pronouns, such as who, whom, which, and that, begin adjective clauses. At times, words such as where or when…

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:…

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 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…

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,…

Sound a like words Part Four

Here is the last of the sound-alike words. Study, review, and use them when you can. threw: past tense of to throw The hurler threw his best pitch right down the middle of the plate. through: preposition meaning ‘‘in one side and out the other’’ We walked through the many corridors of the large building….

the adverb clause

An adverb clause functions as an adverb. This clause answers any of these questions—How?When?Where?Why? Howmuch? Howoften? It has a subject and a verb, but it cannot stand alone as a complete thought. It needs to be joined with an independent or main clause to make sense. An adverb clause starts with any of the following…

subject and verb agreement

A sentence’s subject must agree in number with its verb. Thus, singular verbs should be used for singular subjects, and plural verbs should be used for plural subjects. ➲ In each of these sentences, the singular subject is underlined, and the singular verb is italicized. Sam holds the school record for the mile run. This…

the noun clause

object of the preposition, or a predicate nominative. This type of clause often starts with any one of these words—how, that, what, whatever, when, where, whether, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose, and why. The noun clause is underlined in each of these sentences. Its function within the sentence follows in the parentheses. What…

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….

types of sentences by purpose

Sentences have different purposes. Some make statements. Some ask questions. Others give commands, and still others express strong feelings. Here are the four types of sentences by purpose: &#10162 A declarative sentence makes a statement or expresses an opinion. Use a period at the end of a declarative sentence. Andy Murray has a great will…

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…