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GRAMMAR GUIDE

GRAMMAR GUIDE

PARTS OF SPEECH

1. NOUNS are the names of people, places, objects or qualities.


Ex. boat, tree, Tom, dog, playground, Florida, wisdom, mercy

2. VERBS express action, condition or state of being.


Ex. run, fly, work, is, are, was, were, appear

3. PRONOUNS take the place of nouns.


Subject Ex.- I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who
Object Ex.- me, you, him, her, it, us, them, whom
Poss. Ex.- my, your, his, her, its, our, their, whose
Indf. Sing.Ex.- everyone, each, someone
Indf. Pl. Ex.- both, many, some, any
Indf. Sing/P. Ex.- all, none, some, any

4. ADJECTIVES modify or describe nouns and pronouns.


Ex. good, happy, smart, young, green (Keep the adjective close to the word it
modifies.)

5. ADVERBS modify verbs, adjectives and adverbs.


Ex. always, slowly, well, really, never (Keep the adverb close to the word it
modifies.)

6. PREPOSITIONS show relationships between words.


Ex. for, from, to, on, through, by, with, of, before, under

7. CONJUNCTIONS connect words, phrases or clauses.


Coordinating Ex. - and, but, or, yet, so, for
Subordinators Ex. - unless, if, since, so that, while, because

8. INTERJECTIONS are power words that express strong feelings.


Ex. Oh!, Wow!, Well, Lordy!

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

VERBS

1. PRESENT PAST PAST PARTICIPLE PRES. PART.

jump jumped have, has jumped jumping


go went have, has gone going
write wrote have, has written writing

The tricky verbs are the following:


1 2
lie (to rest) and lay (to place)
sit (to rest) and set (to place)
rise (to get up) and raise (to lift up)

Note: If you are unsure about which form to use, substitute the synonymous verb
in parentheses. The first column of verbs is intransitive; those verbs do not act on
some other object. The second column of verbs is transitive; those verbs do perform
an action on some other object.

lie lay have lain is lying


lay laid has laid am laying
sit sat have sat are sitting
set set has set am setting
rise rose has risen is rising
raise raised have raised are raising

PRONOUNS
1. Pronouns take the place of nouns.
2. Pronouns must agree with their antecedent nouns.
3. Use a subject nominative pronoun when the pronoun is the actor before the verb.
4. Use an object pronouns when the pronoun is the object after the verb or
preposition.
5. Reflexive (self) pronouns need to reflect back to themselves.

INDEFINITE PRONOUNS
Some indefinite pronouns are always singular.
Everyone anybody anyone either everybody everything
neither no one someone something each

Some indefinite pronouns are always plural.


both many several few

Some indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural.


all none some any

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

PRINCIPAL PARTS OF VERBS

Active Present Active Past Past Participle Present Participle


(Now I ...) (Yesterday, I ...) (I have ...) (I am...)

1. ask asked asked asking


2. beat beat beaten beating
3. become became become becoming
4. begin began begun beginning
5. bid (to offer) bid bid bidding
6. bite bit bitten biting
7. blow blew blown blowing
8. bring brought brought bringing
9. burst burst burst bursting
I0. buy bought bought buying
11. catch caught caught catching
12. choose chose chosen choosing
13. climb climbed climbed climbing
14. cling clung clung clinging
15. come came come coming
16. deal dealt dealt dealing
17. dive dived dived diving
18. do did done doing
19. drag dragged dragged dragging
20. draw drew drawn drawing
21. drink drank drunk drinking
22. eat ate eaten eating
23. fall fell fallen falling
24. flee fled fled fleeing
25. fly flew flown flying
26. freeze froze frozen freezing
27. get (to obtain) got gotten, got getting
28. give gave given giving
29. go went gone going
30. grow grew grown growing
31. hang (suspend) hung hung hanging
32. hang (execute) hanged hanged hanging
33. hear heard heard hearing
34. hurt hurt hurt hurting
35. know knew known knowing

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

Active Present Active Past Past Participle Present Participle

36. lay (to place) laid laid laying


37. lead led led leading
38. leave left left leaving
39. let let let letting
40. lie (to rest) lay lain lying
41. lie (falsehood) lied lied lying
42. lose lost lost losing
43. pay paid paid paying
44. raise raised raised raising
45. ride rode ridden riding
46. ring rang rung ringing
47. rise rose risen rising
48. run ran run running
49. see saw seen seeing
50. set (to place something) set set setting
51. shake shook shaken shaking
52. shine shone shone shining
53. shrink shrank shrunk shrinking
54. sing sang sung singing
55. sink sank sunk sinking
56. sit sat sat sitting
57. slay slew slain slaying
58. speak spoke spoken speaking
59. spring sprang sprung springing
60. steal stole stolen stealing
61. strike struck struck striking
62. swear swore sworn swearing
63. swim swam swum swimming
64. swing swung swung swinging
65. take took taken taking
66. tear tore torn tearing
67. think thought thought thinking
68. throw threw thrown throwing
69. wear wore worn wearing
70. weave wove woven weaving
71. wring wrung wrung wringing
72. write wrote written writing

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

CONJUNCTIONS

Coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases or clauses.


and but or nor yet so for

Subordinating conjunctions introduce dependent (subordinate) clauses.

Some subordinating conjunctions are the following:


after although as
as if because before
even though if in order that
rather than since so that
than that though
unless until when
where whether while

Relative pronouns introduce dependent clauses and are the subject of the
clause.
who whom whose which that

Conjunctive adverbs look like conjunctions.


therefore moreover consequently however nevertheless thus

PREPOSITIONS

A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or a


pronoun object.
about above across after against along
among around as at before behind
below beside between beyond by despite
down during except for from in
inside into like near next of
off on onto out outside over
past since than through to toward
under until unto up upon with
without

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

SIMPLE SENTENCE PATTERN

Subject Verb Object


(actor) Subject Complement
(verbs of being)

COMPOUND SENTENCE

Sentence + Punctuation + Sentence


comma plus coordinating conjunction
(and, but, or, yet, so, for)
semicolon or period (preferred)

COMPLEX SENTENCE

Fragment first + comma + main sentence

Main sentence + (usually no comma) + fragment

(Non-essential phrases and clauses are set off with commas.)

SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT RULES

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

1. Singular subject - singular verb


wrong: The lone wolf howl at the moon.
right: The lone wolf howls at the moon.
2. Plural subject - plural verb
wrong: The Canada geese stops at Fort Meade.
right: The Canada geese stop at Fort Meade.

3. Prepositional phrase between subject and verb - Don t go there!


wrong: The class of rowdy students perform well on test.
right: The class of rowdy students performs well on tests.

4. And rule - Compound subjects joined by and - usually plural


wrong: Paper and a pencil is required for class.
right: Paper and a pencil are required for class.

5. Menu items - When one item (macaroni and cheese) - singular


wrong: Spaghetti and meatballs are one of my familys favorites.
right: Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my familys favorites.

6. Or - nor rule - Make verb agree with closest subject to verb.


wrong: The boy or his parents is responsible for the money.
right: The boy or his parents are responsible for the money.

7. Most indefinite pronouns - singular


wrong: Everyone get an A in this class.
right: Everyone gets an A in this class.

8. Both, few, many and several - plural


wrong: Both is running for class clown.
right: Both are running for class clown.

9. All, none, some and any - depends on meaning


As a whole - singular Number of individuals - plural
wrong: All of the library were burned.
right: All of the library was burned.
wrong: All of the books in the library was burned.
right: All of the books in the library were burned.

10. Collective group nouns - depends on meaning


As a whole - singular Individually - plural
wrong: The band play at the club each Friday night.
right: The band plays at the club each Friday night.
wrong: The band is responsible for their own instruments.
right: The band are responsible for their own instruments.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT RULES 2

11. Fractions - Peek in the prepositional phrase


part of a whole - singular part of individuals - plural
wrong: Half of the oranges goes bad in the shipment.
right: Half of the oranges go bad in the shipment.

12. THE number -singular


wrong: The number of people who attended were outstanding.
right: The number of people who attended was outstanding

13. A number - plural (means several)


wrong: A number of people complains about the test each time.
right: A number of people complain about the test each time.

14. Money, measurements, time, organizations, food, diseases - singular


wrong: Ten hours are a long time to spend in an airplane.
right: Ten hours is a long time to spend in an airplane.

15. Here/there - Flip-flop sentence to find true subject


wrong: There is several species of butterflies in our forest.
right: There are several species of butterflies in our forest.

16. Titles - singular


wrong: Mickey Mouse and His Friends are playing tomorrow night.
right: Mickey Mouse and His Friends is playing tomorrow night.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

COMMA RULES

1. Compound sentence with coordinating conjunction - (Use comma.)


wrong: Marco Polo Restaurant serves the best hot wings and they cost
very little.
right: Marco Polo Restaurant serves the best hot wings, and they cost
very little.
2. Intro clauses and phrases - (comma after intro fragment element)
wrong: Because the weather is nice outside we will have a picnic.
right: Because the weather is nice outside, we will have a picnic.

3. Simple series commas - (not before the last conjunction and )


wrong: Tom collects cards, mugs, and coasters.
right: Tom collects cards, mugs and coasters.

4. Complex series of phrases or clauses - (Use comma before and. )


right: Tom wakes up early in the morning, makes all the beds in the house,
and prepares breakfast for everyone.
INTERRUPTERS:

5. Non-essential clause - (commas before and after)


wrong: Mr. Smith who is from Florida runs fast.
right: Mr. Smith, who is from Florida, runs fast.
6. Hometowns and ages - (Use commas.)
wrong: Bill Smith 14 won the Kentucky Derby.
right: Bill Smith, 14, won the Kentucky Derby.

7. City, State, - (Use comma between city and state - and after state.)
wrong: Tom traveled through Lexington, Ky. on the way to Texas.
right: Tom traveled through Lexington, Ky., on the way to Texas.

8. Appositives, (same-same)
wrong: Todd Rogers the catcher can really hit the ball.
right: Todd Rogers, the catcher, can really hit the ball.

9. Parenthetical side comments


wrong: The hardest part of the test I think is the punctuation.
right: The hardest part of the test, I think, is the punctuation.

10. Contrasting elements (not and but)


wrong: We concentrated on completing the project not making it look
pretty.
right: We concentrated on completing the project, not making it look
pretty.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

11. Transitions
wrong: He could do it on the other hand if he would put his mind to it.
right: He could do it, on the other hand, if he would put his mind to it.

12. Conjunctive adverbs


wrong: The program will therefore work smoothly.
right: The program will, therefore, work smoothly. (one sentence)
right: These classrooms are adequate; however, the new rooms are
fabulous. (two sentences)

WITH QUOTATION MARKS:

13. Concluding quotes - (Use comma.)


wrong: The paper arrives on time each day said Dad.
right: The paper arrives on time each day, said Dad.
14. Intro quotes - (Use comma with direct quote. Use no comma with indirect
quote.)
wrong: Dad said, the paper arrives on time each day.
right: Dad said, The paper arrives on time each day.
right: Dad said the paper arrives on time each day.
15. Commas always go inside quotation marks.
wrong: Follow the blue car, Bill said.
right: Follow the blue car, Bill said.

CLARITY:
16. Equal adjectives (If you can switch them around - commas.)
wrong: The dog has a long shaggy tail. (shaggy long tail?)
right: The dog has a long, shaggy tail.
17. Yes-no
wrong: Yes Im happy you won the game.
right: Yes, Im happy you won the game.

18. Direct Address


wrong: Gentlemen take your mark.
right: Gentlemen, take your mark.

19. Similar words


wrong: What the answer is is beyond my knowledge.
right: What the answer is, is beyond my knowledge.

20. Numbers higher than 999


wrong: We collected 1500 bottle caps.
right: We collected 1,500 bottle caps.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

ACTIVE VOICE
The subject of the sentence does the action in the act ive voice.
Sam baked the birthday cake.

Use active voice unless you have justifiable reason to use passive voice.

Passive voice is used to direct attention to the receiver of the action.


Tom Smith was hit by a runaway vehicle.

Passive voice is used when the actor is unknown or unimportant.


The car was repaired.

FIXING PASSIVE VOICE


Find the main verb in the sentence.
Ask who or what is doing the action.
Rewrite so the actor is the subject.

An innocent pedestrian was hit by the speeding police car.

The speeding police car hit the innocent pedestrian.

All of the questions were answered by a five-year-old boy.

A five-year-old boy answered all the questions.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

CAPITALIZATION
Proper nouns name specific persons, places and things. Proper nouns always
begin with a capital letter. General, non-specific nouns are common.

Common Nouns Proper nouns


ocean Arctic Ocean
street Main Street
city Atlantic City
building Hoffman Building
lake Lake Huron

Proper adjectives are adjectives derived from proper nouns that name specific
people, places or things.

Proper Nouns Proper Adjectives


Spain Spanish onion
Catholic Catholic priest
Swiss Swiss watch
Scotland Scotch pine
Ireland Irish setter
*Mars martian spaceship
* See rule 12.
1. Capitalize the names of particular people and places.
Amy Grant Mount Vernon
2. Capitalize geographic names (SB p. 88)
Mount Rushmore Lake Superior Ohio
3. Capitalize names of specific bridges, buildings, monument s, park s, shi ps,
for t s, st r eets, railroads, etc.
Mapes Road Everglades National Park Hoffman Building
4. Capitalize names of definite regions. (SB p. 62)
Tourists flock to the South in winter.
She has a Midwestern accent.
The men hunted in West Virginia.

5. Do not capitalize compass directions.


We drove east toward the coast.
Annapolis is south of Baltimore.
Snow covered northern Virginia.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

6. Capitalize names of historical event s, periods and document s. (SB p. 97)


The colonists participated in the Boston Tea Party.
Knights fought during the Middle Ages.
John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence.

7. Capitalize names of governmental bodies and departments. (SB p. 90)


He worked for the State Department.
She worked as an aide to Congress at the Capitol.

8. Capitalize names of political part ies and the word party if it is used as part
of the organization s proper name. (SB p. 161)
Bill is a Democrat.
He belongs to the Democratic Party.
Make party words lowercase when they refer to a philosophy.
Our family operates like a democracy.

9. Capitalize titles of rank when they appear directly before an individual s


name. (SB p. 34 & 130)
The hero shook President Clintons hand.
Make lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with an
individuals name.
The major met with General John J. Jones.
Make lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from
a name by commas.
Bill Clinton, the president, met his wife in college.

10. Capitalize days of the week, months of the year, holidays and holy days.
(SB p. 98)
Next year, Easter falls on a Sunday in April.

11. Do not capitalize names of the seasons unless part of a formal name. (SB P.
186)
Next summer, the Summer Olympics will be held in Atlanta, Ga.

12. Capitalize the proper names of planets. Lowercase sun and moon, but
capitalize them if their Greek or Latin names are used. Lowercase nouns
and adjectives derived from planets or other heavenly bodies. (SB p. 158)
Helios, Luna, Mars, Pluto, martian, lunar, solar

13. Capitalize service names when referring to the U.S. forces.


The Navy policy governs Navy personnel.

14. Capitalize brand names, but not the product.


Levi pants Kleenix tissues Dial soap

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

15. Capitalize proper nouns and adjectives in plant names.


California redwood Douglas fir

16. Capitalize words that show family relationships when they are used with a
name.
Aunt Bea Granny Smith Grandpa Roy

Do not capitalize relationship names when they are used with possessive
pronouns.
My aunt likes to bowl with all the single moms.

17. Capitalize all references to the international athletic contest held every
four years.
an Olympic athlete

18. Capitalize formal names of specific courses. Do not capitalize course


names used in a general sense except when derived from a proper name.
A journalism course the Basic Journalist Course

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

COMMON GRAMMAR ERRORS


WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER! WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER! WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER!

1. Wrong Tense or Verb Form


Wrong: Tom done us a favor.
Right: Tom did us a favor.

2. Run-on Sentences
Wrong: Sam is a good tennis player and he beats everyone.
Right: Sam is a good tennis player. He beats everyone.
Right: Sam is a good tennis player, and he beats everyone.
Right: Sam is a good tennis player; he beats everyone.

3. Sentence Fragments
Wrong: Peaches taste sweet. Because they contain sugar.
Right: Peaches taste sweet because they contain sugar.
Right: Because they contain sugar, peaches taste sweet.

4. Lack of Agreement Between Subject and Verb.


Wrong: The bag of chips are open.
Right: The bag of chips is open.

5. Wrong Word Usage


Wrong: The cookies were divided among the two children.
Right: The cookies were divided between the two children.

6. Missing Commas with a Nonessential Element


Wrong: Bill who is a mere baby salutes the flag correctly.
Right: Bill, who is a mere baby, salutes the flag correctly.

7. Unnecessary Shift in Tense


Wrong: The officer stopped the car and speaks to the driver.
Right: The officer stopped the car and spoke to the driver.

8. Missing Commas in a Series


Wrong: She invited Robert John and me to go swimming.
Right: She invited Robert, John and me to go swimming.

9. Missing or Misplaced Possessive Apostrophe


Wrong: Edisons inventions make life easier.
Right: Edisons inventions make life easier.

10. Confusion of its and it s


Wrong: Its not funny if its tail gets caught.
Right: Its not funny if its tail gets caught.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

COMMON GRAMMAR ERRORS 2


WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER! WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER! WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER!

11. Objective Case Pronouns Used as Subjects


Wrong: You and me should go before the store closes.
Right: You and I should go before the store closes.

12. Unnecessary Commas with an Essential Element


Wrong: Men, who are shy, make bad detectives.
Right: Men who are shy make bad detectives.

13. Dangling or Misplaced Modifiers


Wrong: Reading in the library, the fire alarm startled me.
Right: While I was reading in the library, the fire alarm startled me.
Right: While reading in the library, I was startled by the fire alarm.

14. Lack of Agreement Between Pronoun and Antecedent


Wrong: Anyone can attend, but they must pay first
Right: Anyone can attend, but he must pay first

15. Wrong or Missing Preposition


Wrong: The new computer differs with the old one in style.
Right: The new computer differs from the old one in style.

16. Vague Pronoun Reference


Wrong: The teacher told her student that she needed a break from school.
Right: The teacher told her student, I need a break from school.

17. Unnecessary Shift in Pronoun


Wrong: When we expect good results, you get them.
Right: When we expect good results, we get them.

18. Comma Splice


Wrong: The woman ran down the street, her daughter followed her.
Right: The woman ran down the street; her daughter followed her.

19. Wrong or Missing Verb Ending


Wrong: Yesterday, he bounce a check.
Right: Yesterday, he bounced a check.

20. Missing Comma in a Compound Sentence


Wrong: The piano plays well but it weighs a ton.
Right: The piano plays well, but it weighs a ton.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

COMMON GRAMMAR ERRORS 3


WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER! WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER! WRITE FIRST; EDIT LATER!

21. Missing Comma After an Introductory Element


Wrong: While the dogs ate the cat stayed away from his dish.
Right: While the dog ate, the cat stayed away from his dish.

22. Subjective Pronouns Used for Objects


Wrong: The fire alarm startled my student and I.
Right: The fire alarm startled my student and me.

Dos and Donts of effective writing:

1. Use subject-verb-object sentence structure.


2. Dont back into sentences. Keep the emphasis of the sentence
to the front.
3. Use common, easy-to-understand words. Write to express, not
to impress.
4. Dont use clutter words (overuse of the word that is a classic
example).
Writing tips:

1. Limit your sentences to 25 words or less.


2. Write simple rather than complex sentences and words.
3. Use strong verbs to establish active voice sentences.
4. Use words familiar to your audience.
5. Dont try to bury information in the body.
6. Keep paragraphs short usually one idea per paragraph.
7. Vary beginnings of each paragraph.
8. Alternate sentence length for variety.
9. Dont add your opinion.
10. Produce in the body what you promise in the first paragraph.
11. Be consistent.

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GRAMMAR GUIDE

APOSTROPHE
GENERAL RULES:
1. If the owner word ends in the letter s, add an apostrophe alone.
2. If the owner word ends in any letter other than s, add an apostrophe and an s.
3. Note the exceptions marked by **.

STYLEBOOK RULES
PLURAL:
1. Plural nouns not ending in s: add s
mens birthdays
2. Plural nouns ending in s: add
two dogs masters
3. Nouns plural in form, singular in meaning: add
news editorial tone
4. Nouns same in singular and plural: use plural rules
two fishs tails
SINGULAR:
5. Singular nouns not ending in s: add s
babys toys
**6. Singular common nouns ending in s: add s (followed by s word: add )
crosss color / cross silver chain
7. Singular proper names ending in s: add
James announcement
**8. Words not ending in s that have s sound, followed by s word: add
chances turn / chance surprise

Remember: its = it is, and its = possession!


RULE OF THUMB
Cover everything to the right of the apostrophe with your thumb.

The word that appears to the left of the apostrophe should be the owner/owners
or the noun modified.

books title students cars ladies purse

(one book) (many students) (ladie? -XX)

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