Grammar WorkshopEnglish 10Wednesday, August 29 - Complex Sentences
Def. - A complex sentence is composed of at least one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
A dependent clause is dependent because it begins with a subordinating conjunction (i.e. before, because, although, if, when, once, after...)
Rule - When the dependent clause comes before the independent clause that it modifies, separate the two clauses with a comma:
Ex. - After I threw the ball, John caught it.
Rule - When the independent clause comes before the dependent clause, do not separate the clauses with a comma:
Ex. - I can't help you if you won't ask me.
Tuesday, August 28 - Compound Sentences
Def. - A compound sentence is composed of two independent clauses joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction.
The coordinating conjunctions are also referred to as the FANBOYS words (For And Nor But Or Yet So).
Ex. - Rowan sold lemonade, but I sold cookies.AP LangThursday, September 6 - Colon
1. Used to Introduce a List when the colon is preceded by a noun that is explained by the list that follows the colon.
Ex. - I bought groceries: spinach, lettuce, and beets.
2. Used to Introduce a Quote, though we usually try to integrate our quotes more seamlessly in our essays.
Ex. - She gave me a compliment: "Nice pants."
3. Used to Emphasize an Idea - the first half of the sentence makes a statement, and the second half builds on it with an even more important point.
Ex. - Trees are my favorite kind of plant: maples are especially beautiful.
Wednesday, September 5 - Apostrophes
Use apostrophes to show possession.
Use apostrophes in contractions.
Use apostrophes when making plurals of lowercase letters.
one singular owner = Joe's trumpet
one singular owner ending in s = Gus's trumpet
plural owners = brothers' trumpet (multiple brothers own the same trumpet)
two singular owners of own object = Jim and Steve's trumpet
two singular owners of multiple objects separately = Jim's and Steve's trumpets (they each own their own trumpets separately)
Personal pronouns do not receive an apostrophe for possession:
That is his trumpet.
The dog broke its leg.
Compound hyphenated nouns require an 's at the end:
mother-in-law's credit card
(Sidenote: When making a compound hyphenated noun plural, add the s before the first hyphen: brothers-in-law)
The hyphen in a contraction replaces the missing letters:
cannot becomes can't
it is becomes it's
would have becomes would've
When shortening a year or decade to its last two numerals, place a hyphen at the beginning to replace the missing numerals:
1960 becomes '60
Plurals of Lowercase:
When making a lowercase letter plural, as in when you are discussing the quantity of a lowercase letter, use a hyphen:
There are too many i's in that word.
Do not use a hyphen to make years and capital letters plural.
Tuesday, September 4 - Parallel Structure
Verbs within a series must match in terms of tense.
Joe ran, I was jogging, and Pete has eaten.
Joe ran, I jogged, and Pete ate.
Thursday, August 30 - Fragments
Def. - a group words that does not operate as a complete sentence because of its lack of a subject or verb or because it does not express a complete thought.
A sentence beginning with a coordinating conjunction is also a fragment.
Ex - After we go home.
Ex - And John threw the ball.
A writer who understands the rule, and so follows it most of the time, may break the rule for added emphasis.
Ex - You can go. But I'm not.
The example above puts emphasis on the contrast of the "But".
The rule may only be broken rarely in an essay, or the reader will begin to think the writer simply doesn't know the rule at all.
Wednesday, August 29 - affect/effect; I/me; who/whom
The choice between affect and effect is determined by the word's purpose in the sentence:
affect is a verb
The Hulk was affected by the radiation.
Hint: affect is an action; affect and action both start with "a"
effect is a noun
The effect of the radiation was severe.
Hint: nouns can be modified by the article "the"; "the" ends with an "e" and "effect" begins with an "e"
For the question of when to use I/me and who/whom, the answer is about what the word's purpose is in the sentence.
Rule: I and who are both used in subject of a sentence in the same way that "he" would be:
He is coming to dinner.
I am coming to dinner.
Who is coming to dinner?
Rule: me and whom are both objects being acted upon in a sentence in the same way that "him" would be:
Sally gave the letter to him.
Sally gave the letter to me.
Sally gave the letter to whom?
The I/me issue becomes more confusing when multiple people are involved, but the rule still applies:
Sally gave the letter to John and me.
Some people try to use I instead of me in the sentence above because it sounds more formal, but it isn't correct to do so.
Last Modified on May 5, 2013