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Found 18 results

  1. This week we go over even more clauses. This week we continue our discussion on clauses. Clauses can be categorized by whether or not they are necessary to the meaning of the noun in the sentence. An essential clause, also called a defining clause or a restrictive clause is essential to the meaning of the noun in the sentence. Example: The car that I just bought in the driveway. The restrictive clause, that I just bought, distinguishes the car from any and all others. Non-restrictive clauses are the opposite, insomuch as that they can be omitted from the sentence without changing its meaning. The Mustang, which only has 25,000 miles on it, needs new brakes. Omitting which has only 25,000 miles on it does not change the sentence's meaning, making the clause non-restrictive. Helpful Tip: That vs Which. Usually, the word that starts restrictive clauses, and the word which starts non-restrictive clauses. Non-restrictive clauses are usually separated from the sentence by commas, while restrictive clauses are not. I'm going to be restrictive and not cover this Claus: References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  2. Welcome to week 18 of our ongoing Grammar Guide. This week we are going to chat about complex phrases, the Clause. A clause is a phrase with a subject and a verb and any complements the verb requires. Depending on the type of clause, it may or may not stand alone as a sentence. Independent Clause - Expresses a complete thought. Two or more independent Clauses can be joined together with a conjunction. Example 1: The shingles blew off the roof. Example 2: I put them in the wheel barrow. With Conjunction: The shingles blew off the roof, and I put them in the wheel barrow. Without Conjunction: The shingles blew off the roof; I put them in the wheel barrow. A note on punctuation: Independent Clauses joined by and, but, for, or, nor, so, or yet should be separated by a comma. Independent clauses joined without a conjunction use a semicolon. Subordinate/Dependent Clause - Does not express a complete thought and does not make sense on its own. Typically modifies or clarifies an Independent clause. Often has: because, when, who, whom and other conjunctions or relative pronouns. Example 1: Because it was windy (this doesn't make sense standing alone.) Example 2: Because it was windy, the shingles blew off the roof. Santa Claus - Nah, never mind. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  3. Welcome to our 17th Grammar Guide! This week we continue our coverage on sentences. The topic for today is Phrases. A phrase is a group of words that adds detail to a sentence but does not have its own subject or verb. Phrases are parts of sentences, but cannot stand on their own. There are five types of phrases: Adjective Phrases - Phrases that give more detail about a noun, and they are usually found right after the word or words they modify. A few guys from my college came over for a barbecue yesterday. Adverb Phrases - Phrases that modify a verb and appear right after it. We will play on the Xbox. Participial Phrases - Phrases using a present participle are formed by adding -ing to a verb, and act as adjectives. Reaching low, Jimmy snagged the ground ball. Infinitive Phrases - Infinitive is "to +verb," and this construction can act as a subject. To bake cake is her big plan. Appositive Phrases - An appositive phrase is a noun (or pronoun) that gives more information about another noun or pronoun. My younger cousin, the really tall boy, is learning how to drive. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  4. Complement - a word, phrase, or clause that is necessary to complete the meaning of a given expression. Complements help add meaning or a story to the subject and verb of a sentence, for example. There are five types of Complements: Direct Object - The direct object receives the action of the verb and is usually a noun or pronoun. Tip: Ask yourself "Who" or "What" to identify the direct object in a sentence. Billy drank lemonade. (Lemonade is the direct object) Object Complement - An object complement follows and modifies or refers to a direct object. It can be a noun, pronoun, adjective, or phrase. Billy painted his kitchen yellow. (Kitchen is the direct object. Yellow is the object complement) Indirect Object - An indirect object comes between the verb and the direct object and answers the question "to whom?" or "for whom?" Billy passed Joey the lemonade. (Lemonade is the direct object. Joey is the indirect object) Predicate Adjective - A predicate adjective is an adjective that comes after a linking verb to describe the subject, answering the question "what?" Linking verbs are verbs like: to be, feel, remain, taste, stay, etc The juice tasted sweet. (Sweet is the predicate adjective. Tasted is the linking verb) Predicate Nominative - A predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun that also comes after the linking verb, but it renames the subject and answers the question "who?" or "what?" That short man is my cousin. (Cousin is the predicate nominative) References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  5. This week we discuss the rules of thumb for dealing with Compound Subjects, especially in how they relate to last week's topic on Subject-Verb Agreement. Compound Subjects - Two or more individual nouns or noun phrases connected by "and" , "or", or "nor" to form a single, longer noun phrase. They can cause confusion with the subject-verb agreement. Example: spaghetti and meatballs is a compound subject, but it is also considered a singular unit, and thus gets a singular verb. Some Rules of Thumb for Compound Subjects: Subjects joined by "And" use a plural verb. (except as noted above where the compound subject is considered a singular unit such as: spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese). Example: Cats and dogs play together. Singular subjects joined by "or" or "nor" use a singular verb. Example: Neither the cat nor the dog likes spiders. Plural subjects joined by "or" or "nor" use a plural verb. Example: Neither the cats nor the dogs like spiders. Verbs agree with the subject closest to them but only if you have one singular and one plural subject. Example: The cat and dog plays with the boy. The cats and dogs play with the boy. Cats and dogs live together. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  6. Welcome to Week 7 of our Grammar Guide. This week is all about Point of View. We aren't talking about the arguing thing though (thankfully). We are looking at this in how it relates to rules of grammar and how it gets applied in writing. First up, let's talk about the Grammar Point of View: Grammar has three points of view: First person - The speaker of the sentence (I/We) Second Person - The person spoken to (you) Third Person - The person or thing spoken about (he, she, it, they) Point of View is also used to describe how a narrative (story) is told. Fiction stories most commonly have Third Person Limited or First Person Points of View. So, lets dive in: Narrative Point of View - When we tell stories, the story has a voice. The voice of the story is the Narrative Point of View. There are generally considered 5 Narrative Points of View (that also overlap on the first 3 with Grammar Point of View): First Person - The story is told through the eyes of the character (I did...) and is limited to that character's thoughts and feelings. This is the most common POV other than Third Person Limited. Second Person - The narrator is speaking to you, the reader. This is not common in fiction. It is common in non-fiction such as speeches and advertising. Third Person - Omniscient - Narrator is all seeing and all knowing. They can (and do) flit all between characters' thoughts and motivations. This was very common in older writing but has fallen out of favor in recent decades. Third Person - Limited (sometimes called limited omniscient)- Narrator relays outside events but can also see thoughts and motivations of the main character. Changing character point of view can occur, but there is usually a break or chapter change to indicate switching of characters. Third Person Limited is the most common point of view other than First Person. Third Person - Objective - Narrator relays events of only what can be seen. You do not see any characters' thoughts or motivations in this view. This is most common in news articles. One of the things that can trip us up as writers is switching points of view midstream or "author voice" intruding. An example is when you are in third person limited as a point of view and suddenly telling what another character thinks or feels. Eh? You can share how the narrating character might think another character feels or thinks, but unless you go full omniscient, this is a writing error. One oddity that is not common is the "Breaking of the fourth wall" as it is called in television. This is where a character in the action turns and speaks to you the reader (or watcher). Kevin Spacey in "House of Cards" did this. Deadpool does this in all his iterations. It's not all that common in fiction writing and can upend a reader if they aren't expecting it. Hope this helps! Let us know what you think below and see you next week!
  7. Welcome to Grammar Guide 14! This week we are discussing Subject and Verb Agreement. In this day of endless agreements, isn't it good to know that we are focusing on making sure that our words are lining up properly? There is only one rule in Subject-Verb Agreement, but, being the English language, we need to make this complicated. Verbs must agree with subjects in number and in person. First up, we need to discuss Indefinite Pronouns. Each, everybody, everyone, everything and no one use a singular verb All, any, most, some can be singular or plural depending on what they are referring to. Verb should match the subject in number. Some examples: Title of books, movies, and songs - Always Singular The Cannonball Run is a funny movie. Prepositions and prepositional phrases - Depends - Ignore the preposition or preposition phrase The box of mozzarella sticks was in the freezer. (box is singular) Indefinite pronouns - Singular pronouns = singular verbs and plural pronouns = plural verbs Somebody owns that house. Many of us own that house. Amount - as a single unit like: time, money or food - Always singular Fifty dollars is the price. Half the apple is eaten. Collective nouns - singular for collective noun conveying unity; plural for collective noun conveying plurality The United States has diverse geography. The faculty were all insane ideologues. What about the oddballs? There are few oddball words out there in English. For example scissors and pants. Scissors and pants are both plural unless you insert "a pair of" and then you are singular. Can you think of any more examples of oddballs? Post them in your reply. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  8. Last week we started to discuss sentences. This week, we continue. Sentences are made up of two parts. Subjects and Predicates. Subjects - The person, place, or thing that is the topic of the setence-- along with the words that describe it. Predicate is what the person, place, or thing is doing or what condition it is in -- along with the words that modify it. Implied Subject - Imperative sentences often have an implied subject. "Go fly a kite!" The implied subject is You, as in "You go fly a kite!" The young man danced wildly. ("The young man" is the subject. "danced wildly" is the predicate. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  9. This week we dig deeper into the structure of writing: sentences. Sentence - made up of one or more words that express a complete thought in a statement, question, request, command, or exclamation Fragments - look like a complete sentence, but often does not complete a thought. Often, these fragments are subordinate (or dependent ) clauses. Fragment Example: Because he was tired. This is a subordinate clause that is an incomplete thought. Sentence: Because he was tired, the man took a nap. Subordinate clauses like "because he was tired" need independent clauses like "the man took a nap." Sentences come in 4 flavors: Simple - Expresses one complete thought with one independent clause and no dependent clauses The man took a nap. Compound - Has two independent clauses - joined by a conjunction or semicolon - and has no dependent clause The man took a nap, and the cat jumped on his head. Complex - Has one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses Because he was tired, the man took a nap. Compound-Complex - Has at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. Because he was tired, the man took a nap, and the cat jumped on his head. And that wraps another guide. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  10. Welcome to week 11 of our Grammar Guide. This week is all about interjections. Interjections typically show up in dialog. Interjections are used to express emotion such as surprise, displeasure and other strong emotions. Interjections are typically abrupt as an aside or interruption and most often appear in dialog. Hey! Wow! Yuck! A strong interjection will typically have an exclamation point ! as punctuation. However, you will see them with a period if the reaction is more subdued. Whoa. Some suggestions on Interjections: Use them sparingly. Like the exclamation point, you should limit your use of interjections as they can quickly tire out the reader and lose their impact when overused. Sometimes, you can use !@#$@ to stand in for more... salty... interjections. Any word type can work as an Interjection Verb: Run! Noun: Dog! Adjective: Great! Some words are only interjections. Some examples: Oops! Ouch! Oh! Shh! Ahh! Listen! Don't over do the interjections. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  11. Welcome to our ninth week examining Grammar. This week, we are hopping on Prepositions. Preposition - connects a noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence to show the relationship between the two. It often indicates position such as: above, below, over, under, or beneath. Joey went up the stairs. ( up connects went and stairs) = verb and noun connected Sally sat in the corner. (in connects Sally and corner) = two nouns connected Ending Sentences with a Preposition Most of us had this grammar rule smacked into our faces when we were children. It is more frowned upon in formal writing, but it is still allowed. More importantly for story writers, dialog often has sentences ending in prepositions. For example: "Whom are you talking about?" or "Don't look so put upon!" Not Always What they Appear Some prepositional words can be used in other parts of grammar. The word alone does not a preposition make. For example. The pirate flag went up the pole. (Up is a preposition here connecting went and pole) The pirate flag was up. (Up is an adjective here modifying flag) Some Prepositions There are many prepositions. Here are a few: Above, below, up, down, among, as, at, away, between, over, under, through, next, inside, outside, around, onto, unto, via, within, without, and aside. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  12. This week we are back to where the action is... verbs! English is the Rube Goldberg Machine of languages and it has a lot of oddities. One of those is this whole concept of regular vs irregular and verb forms. This also ties in with Grammar Guide 6's topic of Verb Tenses. Be sure to check that out as well, if you missed it. Verbs have 5 Forms: Infinitive - the basic form of the verb ➡️ walk Simple Present - Used when the action is happening right now or or happens regularly ➡️ walk Simple Past - Used to discuss actions that happened in the past or existed before now ➡️ walked Present Participle - used in forming continuous tenses, typically by adding -ing ➡️walking Past Participle - used in forming perfect and passive tenses and sometimes as an adjective ➡️ walked Regular Verbs For a regular verb, you form a simple past or past participle by adding -ed to the infinitive form of the verb. Example: walk ➡️ walked Irregular Verbs For an irregular verb, you often change words Example: do ➡️did, done There are over 200 irregular verbs in the English language. Unfortunately, they are some of our most common words and the only thing you can do is memorize them. Here are a few: There are a lot more, post some below that aren't on the list! References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  13. Welcome to the next topic in our fun Grammar Guide series. This week are are hopping into the fun world of English Verb Tenses. English has three basic verb tenses: Past - actions that occurred in the past Present - actions that are occurring at the moment Future - actions that will occur in the future. In English, these 3 basic verb tenses each have 4 aspects and this means, (if you're keeping up with the math), 12 verb tenses. Simple - actions that are usual or repeated Progressive - actions that are ongoing Perfect - actions that are completed Perfect Progressive - actions that will be completed at a definitive time Examples: Past Simple - I walked to the library Progressive - I was walking to the library Perfect - I had walked to the library Perfect Progressive - I had been walking to the library. Present Simple - I walk to the library. Progressive - I am walking to the library. Perfect - I have walked to the library. Prefect Progressive - I have been walking to the library. Future Simple - I will walk to the library. Progressive - I will be walking to the library. Perfect - I will have walked to the library. Perfect Progressive - I will have been walking to the library. Important Take Away In English, only two verb tenses can be formed from the verb by itself: past and present. All other tenses require a form of have, will, or be as a helping or auxiliary verb. Cool Tip from the Infographic Guide to Grammar - Test your verb tenses by starting your intended sentence with Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow, to check your past, present, and future tenses respectively. "Today, I walk to the library." "Yesterday, I walked to the library." "Tomorrow, I will walk to the library" References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  14. Welcome back! Last week we covered Adverbs and had a great little chat. We also touched on a way to spot "Show vs Tell" using adverb tells. This week, we hit pronouns. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, usually for added variety and to avoid repetition. Pronouns come in 8 different classifications, almost all of which make good "Words of the Day": Personal - represent people, places or things Examples: I, me, you, he, she, they, her, it, we, us, them, they, him I walked the dog. He barked at the cat. She ran away from the barking dog. Possessive- shows ownership yours, mine, hers, his, theirs, ours "That human is mine," said the cat. That dog is ours. Demonstrative - Points to something this, that, those, these These cats have fur. Those cats don't have fur. Relative - relate one part of the sentence to the other who, whom, which, that, whose The boy who was horny hooked up with a friend. Reflexive - emphasize or reflect back to someone or something else myself, himself, herself, yourself, etc You must look at yourself in the mirror. Indefinite - refers to a non-specific number to replace the noun(s) All, any, everybody, everything, few, many, etc Nobody was at work. Everyone stayed home. Reciprocal - express mutual action each other, one another The boys yelled to each other across the playground. Interrogative - asks a question who, what, whom What can I do in an emergency? Thanks for checking out this week's blog. Drop some comments below. Are you finding these topics useful? References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  15. Last week we covered verbs, and now it is time for adverbs. Adverbs Adverbs tell us more about a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Most adverbs end in -ly, but not all of them. Some Common Adverbs that Don't End in -ly quite, now, very, fast, never, well Adverbs Answer Questions Examples: Adverbs modifying verbs The zombie staggered slowly towards the brains. Adverbs modifying adjectives Cats have very twitchy whiskers. Adverbs modifying other adverbs Cats can walk remarkably quietly when then are stalking something. Bonus Round - Show Vs Tell As writers, our editors and beta readers are no doubt constantly telling us "Show, don't tell!" Adverbs are the tell for telling. He walked slowly down the street. He walked happily down the sidewalk They walked quickly into the office. Adverbs tell you details about the verbs action. In this case walked. Sometimes, you want to just say something (and that's fine). An intermediate step is to change up your verbs... He shuffled down the street... he skipped down the sidewalk... they scurried into the office. You're still telling, mostly, but you are being more efficient at it. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  16. Welcome back to week 3 of Back to Basics! Thank you for the great comments on our first two features! This week is all about the action (and everyone knows action sells)... verbs! Verbs are words that indicate action or states of being. Types of Verbs Action Verbs - verbs that show movement or change. Billy jumped onto the wagon. Verbs of Being - verbs that express a state, usually a form of "to be" The boy was hungry. Linking Verbs - Verbs that connect parts of a sentences and are often hidden forms of "to be". If you can swap verb without changing meaning, it is a linking verb. The tea tasted sour. = The tea was sour. Auxiliary Verbs - Verbs that express more about the main verb by altering the tense, mood, or voice (example: passive vs. active). You can join the team vs. You must join the team. Transitive vs. Intransitive Actions verbs that require a direct object to complete its meaning. Action verbs that do not require a direct object acted upon are intransitive. Transitive Verbs push, cuddle, hug, shine Billy hugged Joey. Intransitive Verbs gallop, march, limp The horse galloped. Some verbs swing both ways depending on the sentence structure: Transitive She opened the window. He closed the lid. Intransitive The window opened. The lid closed. Forms of Be am, being, been, is, are, was, were References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  17. Wow! Thanks for all the replies on week 1! Ready for Week 2 of the Grammar Guide? This week is Back to Basics: Adjectives An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun to give more information about a person, place, or thing. Adjectives answer such things as: which one? what kind? how many? There are few different kinds of adjectives: Articles Can be definite or indefinite and they point out or refer to a person, place, or thing Definite article: the Example : the book Indefinite article: a, an Example: a book Demonstrative Emphasizes the importance of the person, place, or thing (always followed by the noun/pronoun) Examples: this, that, these, those Indefinite Used to describe a group including an unknown number Examples: many, less, neither, some Possessive Describes who has or owns something Examples: my, your, his, her, its, our, their Interrogative Begins a question ❓ Examples: what, which, whose Proper Formed from a proper noun and requires a capital letter Examples: French pastries, Mexican tacos, Japanese animation And there you have it! Next week we jump into the active world of verbs. Let us know what you think below and if you want to play around with the home game, give an adjective that isn't used often. References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
  18. Welcome to a brand new weekly writing feature: Grammar Guide. If you are anything like me, you have probably not put much thought into the structure of language since you first learned it in the early days of your education. (What used to be called grammar school). As an adult now playing in the writing space, it has become a more pressing concern. Understanding how things go together makes it easier to bend things to your will. If you don't remember the terms Interrogatives, Articles, Subordinating Conjunctions, Participles (and when they can and can't dangle), or the good old Oxford Comma, then this is the place you should be. But to get that jumble we have to build a solid base. And the base starts with the humble noun. What is a noun? This is the simple one of course: A Person: 👦 A Place: 🏖️ A Thing: 🚲 An Idea: 💡 A Noun is a label for a person, place, thing, or idea. A noun can perform the action in a sentence or is be acted upon in a sentence. There are some different types of nouns as well: Common Noun- nonspecific person, place or thing such as city Proper Noun- Specific person, place or thing such as New York City Concrete Noun - a noun you can experience with your senses such as music or fog Abstract Noun- a noun that is an idea, feeling or a state of being such as bravery, or exhaustion Irregular Noun- a noun that has a plural with an irregular spelling other an -s or -es such as scissors, mice, or thieves. Count Noun- a noun you can count such as bike or coat Non-Count Noun- a noun you can't count such as food or snow Collective Noun- a noun that represents a collection or group such as a pride or a herd Possessive Noun- a noun used to show ownership such as dad's truck. Attributive Noun- a noun acting as an adjective to another noun such as bacon in bacon cheeseburger. Bacon is an attributive noun modifying cheeseburger. And there you have it. Next week we jump into the exciting world of adjectives. Let us know what you think below and if you want to play around with the home game, give an example of each of the different types of nouns below. This week is an easy exercise, but these get tougher as you go along. (Such as examples of subordinate clauses or predicate nominatives) References: Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
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