working on + (noun)

I’m working on + (noun) I’m is a contraction for the words I am. The phrase ‘working on’ relays a physical or mental effort towards an accomplishment. Here are some examples: I’m working on a big project. I’m working on training my dog. I’m working on making new friends. I’m working on educating myself. I’m…

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 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)…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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 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…

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 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…

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….

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…

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…

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….

sentences fragments and run on sentences

A sentence can be a word (Stop!) or a group of words that must contain a subject (doer), a verb (action), and a complete thought. ➲ In the sentence, ‘‘Lorina washed her face,’’ the subject is Lorina, the verb is washed, and the group of words makes a complete thought. A fragment is a group…

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 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…