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,…

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…

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 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…

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…

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….

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 pronoun

The pronoun, the second of the eight parts of speech, is a word that takes the place of a noun. ➲In the sentence, ‘‘Felipe is an intelligent student,’’ the noun, Felipe, can be replaced by the singular pronoun he. Thus, the new sentence reads, ‘‘He is an intelligent student.’’ ➲In the sentence, ‘‘We offered the…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…