reflexive demonstrative and interrogative pronouns

A reflexive pronoun is formed by adding ‘‘-self’’ or ‘‘-selves’’ to a personal pronoun. ➲ Reflexive pronouns include the first-person pronouns, myself and ourselves. The second-person pronouns are yourself and yourselves. The third-person pronouns are himself, herself, itself, and themselves. The young lady carried in all her packages by herself. They relied upon themselves to…

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…

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….

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 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…

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…

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,…

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…

Confusing usage words part six

learn: verb to acquire knowledge How did you learn to swim so gracefully? teach: (verb) to instruct Will you please teach me the eight parts of speech for this test? personal: (adjective) individual or private; intended for use by a single person This is a personal problem that I would not want to share with…

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…

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…

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…

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…

the interjection

The interjection, the eighth part of speech, expresses strong emotions or feelings. Often found at the beginning of a sentence, an interjection is usually followed by either an exclamation mark (for strong emotions) or a comma (for mild emotions). An interjection can also be used to protest or command. Though interjections can stand alone, they…

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…

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…

Confusing usage words part five

farther: (adjective and adverb) used to designate a physical distance This woman shot the arrow much farther than I did. further: (adjective and adverb) additional Let’s wait for further instructions before we do anything else. healthful: (adjective) that which brings about good health; wholesome Doctor Geiger told his patient to eat a more healthful diet….

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….

Confusing usage words part seven

right: (noun) claim or title; (adjective) proper; just; correct; (adverb) directly; (verb) to put in proper order Freedom of speech is one of our rights. (noun) Is this the right way to tie this knot? (adjective) Come right home after school. (adverb) Let’s right the wrongs we committed. (verb) rite: (noun) a ceremony The religious…

Confusing usage words part three

can (verb) to know how to to be able to I think that I can climb that fence with little effort. may (verb) to be allowed to May I help you with those heavy bundles? cent: (noun) one penny 1/100 of a dollar Lou found one cent under the couch. scent: (noun) a smell odor…

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…

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…

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….

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…

Commas Part One

A comma probably has more rules and uses than any other punctuationmark. Below is an important comma rule. Use commas to separate items (words, phrases, and clauses) in a series. James enjoys playing tennis, soccer, and basketball. (words in a series) The troop traveled into the mountains, across the plains, and along the river. (phrases…

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…

Parentheses Ellipsis Marks and Dashes

Use the following rules for these three punctuationmarks. Parentheses ( ) are used to • enclose numbers or letters in a series within a sentence There are three different types of learners: (1) visual, (2) auditory, and (3) tactile-kinesthetic. • enclose extra materials Priscilla Smith (n

Quotation Marks Part Two

This is the second of three pages dealing with quotation marks. Know these rules and include them in your writing. Use a question mark or an exclamation mark within the closing quotation mark if the question mark or the exclamation mark is part of the quotation. ‘‘Is this the correct tool?’’ the assistant asked the…

Italics Hyphens and Brackets

Use italics (or an underline) for the titles of the following: books (Brain Games) comic strips (Pogo) full-length plays (The Crucible) long poems (The Aeneid) magazines (Sports Illustrated) movies (The Sound of Music) newspapers (New York Times) ships and planes (U.S.S. Constitution, The Spirit of St. Louis) television and radio programs (Law and Order, All…