the verb phrase

A verb phrase is the main verb and one or more helping verbs. Common helping verbs include these words in the box. am are be been being can could did do does doing had has have having is may might must shall should was were will would The verb phrases are underlined in these sentences….

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….

Confusing usage words part two

anywhere: in, at, or to any place I think that we can drive anywhere in this county. anywheres: This word does not exist in the English language. as: (conjunction that starts a subordinate clause); (adverb) to the same degree, equally. (As is also a preposition.) Rex is already as tall as his dad. like: (preposition)…

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…

Second Capitalization List

Here are names of people, places, and things to capitalize. Organizations (Girl Scouts of America, American Bar Association) Parishes (Vernon Parish, Terrebonne Parish) Parks (Yellowstone National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park) Periodicals (Time, Newsweek) Planets (Saturn, Mercury) Plays (Death of a Salesman, The Master Builder) Poems (‘‘Boy Wandering in Simms’ Valley,’’ ‘‘Richard Cory’’) Product names…

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…

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…

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 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…

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 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…

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 object of the preposition

The object of the preposition is the noun or pronoun that follows a prepo-sition and completes the prepositional phrase. The prepositional phrase can also includemodifiers. In the sentence, ‘‘The orange juice box was in the new refrigerator,’’ the prepositional phrase is ‘‘in the new refrigerator.’’ This phrase answers the question ‘‘Where (is the orange juice…

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…

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.)…

subject verb agreement situations

Here are some important rules and situations regarding subject verb agreement. ➲ Singular nouns and pronouns use the contraction doesn’t while plural nouns and pronouns use the contraction don’t. This piece doesn’t look like the one we need. (singular noun subject) He doesn’t need to exercise that frequently. (singular pronoun subject) These occasions don’t need…

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…

compound subjects part one

A subject is the doer of the action in a sentence. A compound subject has more than one subject. In each of these sentences, the compound subjects are underlined. The catand the mouse ran around the room. Neither the cat nor the mouse heard him. Both the youngsters and the adults enjoyed square dancing. Here…

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….

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 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…

complete and simple predicates

➲ A complete predicate is the main verb (action) along with all of its modifiers. The complete predicate is italicized in these sentences. Each of the seven contestants will be flying to Los Angeles next week. The talented mechanic fixed our car yesterday afternoon. My sister, a hairdresser, studied hard for her state licensing examinations….

agreement involving prepositional phrases

A verb will agree in number with the sentence’s subject. In the sentence, ” One of the girls is counting the tickets,” the subject is one and the verb is is. Both the subject and the verb are singular. In the sentence, “Many of the girls are counting the tickets,” the subject, many, and the…

More Apostrophe Situations

Here are more situations involving the use of the apostrophe. Review them, and incorporate them into your writing. Use an apostrophe in contractions (words that combine two words into one).

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 eight

In mathematics, a negative number times a negative number yields a positive number. Similarly, in grammar, when two negative words are used (where only one is needed), the negatives cancel each other out, making the idea positive and not negative as intended. In the sentence, ‘‘I cannot get no respect from them,’’ the two negative…

The Apostrophe

Here are useful rules for the apostrophe. Learn them well, and use them in your writing. Use an apostrophe to form the possessive of singular and plural nouns. Add an apostrophe and an s to form the possessive of a singular noun. Joe + ’s = Joe’s car day + ’s = day’s effort flag…

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…

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)…

Periods Question Marks and Exclamation Marks

Use a period at the end of a declarative sentence, a sentence that is a request, and one that includes a mild command. Our blue couch will soon be replaced. (declarative sentence) Please help me. (request) Let’s be quiet. (mild command) Use a period after abbreviations. Dr. (Doctor) Mr. (Mister) ft. (foot) in. (inch) Use…