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Grammar Busters / 25 октября 2007 г.

Know Your Parts of Speech

Noun

A noun names a person, place, thing, quality, or action. It can function as the subject or object of a verb.

Pronoun

A pronoun substitutes for a noun or a noun phrase. Here are several different types of pronouns:

Personal Pronouns 

Subject Pronouns: Singular/Plural: l/we ▪ you/you ▪ he, she, it/they

Object Pronouns: Singular/Plural: me/us ▪ you/you ▪ him, her, it/them

Possessive Pronouns: Singular/Plural: my, mine/our, ours ▪ your, yours/your, yours ▪ his, her, hers, its/their, theirs

Relative Pronouns: These pronouns take the place of a repeated noun when a sentence is collapsed inside another sentence.

Example: “My sister (my sister knows all the grammar rules) couldn’t believe the mistakes I made” becomes “My sister, who knows all the grammar rules, couldn’t believe the mistakes I made.”

For People: who, whom, whose, that

For Things: which, of which, that

Interrogative Pronouns: These pronouns introduce questions.

For People: who, whom, whose, which

For Things: what, which

Indefinite Pronouns: Indefinite pronouns refer to nouns or noun phrases that are vague or unknown.

Example: each, all, either, anyone, somebody, everyone, whoever, whatever.

Article

An article is a word used to signal a noun.

Indefinite: a or an Definite: the

Verb

Verbs express actions or state of being. They are distinguished by number (singular and plural) and person (first, second, third).

Prepositions and Conjunctions

Prepositions and conjunctions connect elements in a sentence. In general, prepositions are followed by a noun; conjunctions are followed by a subject/verb phrase.

Preposition: We decided not to drive because of the rain.

Conjunction: He wanted to get good grades, but he didn’t study.

Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjective: An adjective is a word used to describe or specify a noun.

Example: “I read the book” becomes more specific when you add an adjective: “I read the blue book.”

Adverb: An adverb is a word used to modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

Example: Joe walked quickly down the street.

Perfect Punctuation

Period/Question Mark/Exclamation Point

End your sentences with a period for a declarative sentence, a question mark to ask a question, or an exclamation point to express strong feeling.

Comma

Commas are used:

  • To separate parts of a series. (I like dogs, cats, and birds.)
  • To separate long independent clauses when they’re joined by a coordinating conjunction. (I haven’t eaten anything all day, yet I don’t feel hungry right now.)
  • To separate parts of a sentence. (Yes, we’ll come.)
  • To set off long phrases that come before the subject. (During the harsh winter at Valley Forge, the soldiers suffered greatly.)
  • To indicate that the normal sentence order is being interrupted. (The girl, it seems likely, will win the race.)
  • To set off non-essential parts of a sentence. (My friend, who is an actress, enioyed the play.)
  • To prevent misreading of a sentence. (After summer, school began.)

Some misuses of the comma are:

  • Interrupting the flow of thought of a sentence.
    (Incorrect: The man knew that, he had a problem.)
  • Separating words or phrases joined by and or or.
    (Incorrect: Jane walked to the park, and sat on the bench.)
  • Separating a conjunction and the word or word it introduces.
    (Incorrect: Norah was sad but, she kept smiling.)

Semicolon

Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses and major word groupings from minor ones.

Examples:

  • The horse galloped around the field; it was full of energy.
  • I enjoy apples and pears; corn, peas, and potatoes; and other natural foods.

Apostrophe

Apostrophes indicate possession and contractions, and are used to form plurals of letters and figures for which there is no acceptable plural.

Examples:

  • It’s time to go to school. ▪ Those are John’s shoes.
  • How many i’s are in Mississippi?

Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are used to indicate titles of short works and direct quotations. Commas and periods are always placed inside the end quotation mark.

Examples:

  • ▪ I have to read a story called “My Mother’s House” tonignt.
    (Note: when the speaker of a direct quotation is mentioned in the sentence, separate the reference from the quotation with a comma.)
  • ▪ Mary said, “I love grammar.”

Common Grammar Mistakes

Adjectives vs. Adverbs

On confusing adjectives and adverbs: remember, an adjective describes a noun, and an adverb describes a verb.

Examples:

  • I do a good job. (Good, an adjective, is used to describe the type of job you do.)
  • I do that job well. (Well, an adverb, is used to describe how the job was done.)

Subject vs. Object Pronouns

Using a subject pronoun when an object pronoun is needed.

Examples:

Correct: “Keith went to the park with Steve, Dave, and me.”

Incorrect: “Keith went to the park with Steve, Dave, and I.”

When the pronoun is a direct object or follows a preposition, the object form of the pronoun should be used.

TIP: Say the sentence aloud without the other nouns. For example, “Keith went to the park with I” is obviously incorrect.

Agreement In Number

A singular subject requires a singular verb; a plural subject requires a plural verb. This rule holds true even when the subject and verb are separated by phrases and modifiers.

Examples:

  • A hive of bees is near the garage.
  • Sarah, as well as three other girls, is not in school today.
  • The biggest problem is the repairs we must make.
  • Where are Jane and Jake?
  • Each of the cats likes milk.

TIP: Find the subject and verb and make sure they agree in number. Don’t get sidetracked by prepositional phrases that appear between the subject and verb.

Agreement In Case

When the noun following a verb stands for the same person or thing as the subject of the verb, it should be in the same case as the subject.

Examples:

Correct: They thought that the writer was I.

Incorrect: They thought that the writer was me.

TIP: Switch the positions of the nouns before and after the verb. The sentence should still make sense: “They thought that me was the writer” is obviously incorrect.

Dangling Modifiers

A dangling modifier is a phrase or clause that is attached to the wrong part of the sentence. The “doer” usually follows the introductory clause.

Examples:

Correct: Turning to talk to the passenger, the driver didn’t see the pothole.

Incorrect: Turning to talk to the passenger, the pothole wasn’t seen.

TIP: Change the phrase around: “The pothole, turning to talk to the passenger, wasn’t seen” doesn’t make sense!

Split Constructions

Avoid breaks between a preposition and its object, a main verb and its auxiliary, and an infinitive and “to.”

Examples:

Awkward: He was looking for, among the crowd, his best friend.

Acceptable: He was looking for his best friend among the crowd.

Awkward: Joe will have, if all goes well, finished the project by 5:00 p.m.

Acceptable: If all goes well, Joe will have finished the project by 5:00 p.m.

Awkward: Nicole hopes to quickly rise to success.

Acceptable: Nicole hopes to rise to success quickly.

TIP: Ask yourself if the break you’re making in a sentence is really necessary.

Commonly Confused Word Pairs

Here’s a list of word groups that are frequently confused.

accept — to receive except — to leave out

affect — to influence

effect — to accomplish (or, as a noun, a result)

among — refers to a group of more than 2

between — refers to only 2

amount — refers to uncountable nouns (sand, milk)

number — refers to countable nouns (apples, cups)

beside — by the side of something (May I sit beside you?)

besides — in addition (She had two cars, and she owned a moped besides.)

can — implies ability may — denotes permission

fewer — refers to countable nouns (people, dollars)

less — refers to uncountable nouns (money, fuel)

healthful — gives health (An apple is a healthful food.)

healthy — a state of health (He is a healthy young man.)

its — possessive form of it (The bird broke its wing.)

it’s — contracted form of it is (It’s time to go.)

respectable — deserving of respect

respectful — showing respect

their — possessive form of they (It is their house.)

there — denotes a place (I won’t be going there.)

they’re — contracted form of they are (They’re here.)

who’s — contracted form of who is (Who’s coming for dinner?)

whose — possessive form of who (Whose book is this?)

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4 августа 2008 г.
Copy Editing: последняя часть

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