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…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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….

Sound alike words part one

The words in these pairs sound alike. Study these quick definitions, and use these words in your writing and speech. board: piece of wood Hillary hammered the pine board. bored: tired of; not interested Were you bored at the movies? brake: the stopping device Push hard on the brake to stop the bike. break: a…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Sound a like words Part Three

Here is the third set of sound-alike words. Study and use them well. plain: not adorned; piece of land She wore a plain dress to the event. The horses moved quickly across the plain. plane: a piece of aircraft How heavy is that plane with all those passengers aboard it now? principal: the school’s leader;…

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….

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 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…

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…

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).

the participle and participial phrase

➲ A word that looks like a verb, but functions as an adjective, is a participle. A participle is a type of verbal, a word that is formed from a verb, but functions as another part of speech. Common endings for participles are -ing (reading), -ed (returned), -en (broken), -d (said), -t (lent), and -n…

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…

singular and plural nouns and pronouns

A singular noun or pronoun is a word that refers to one person, place, thing, or idea. ➲ Singular nouns include car, desk, pool, friend, computer, video, geography, and poetry. ➲ Singular pronouns include he, she, it, I, me, mine, my, his, and her. A plural noun or pronoun refers to more than one person,…

the verb

The verb, the fourth of the eight parts of speech, is an action word. Since all good writing starts with strong verbs, this part of speech is very important. The three basic types of verbs are the following: ➲ The action verb tells what action the sentence’s subject (or doer) per-forms, is performing, has performed,…

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…

Confusing usage words part one

accept (verb) to receive willingly Will you accept this present as a thank-you for your work except (preposition) but other than All of the dogs except Kenny’s dog were in the park that afternoon

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…

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…

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 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 noun adjective pronoun question

When is a specific word a noun? an adjective? a pronoun? Great questions! ➲ Sometimes, a noun is used as an adjective. This is true for the word gar- den in the sentence, “The garden display attracted many visitors” since garden describes the type of display. ➲ Examples of when a noun is a noun…

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