Glossary of Terms and Terminology Relating Using Grammar to Enhance Clarity in Writing

  • Grammar: A formalized set of rules and principles that mandate the authorship and composition of clauses, phrases, sentences and all other words and groups of words that are used in a particular language, including the English language.
  • Noun - Pronoun agreement: Nouns and pronouns that relate to each other must, according to the rules of grammar, must be in agreement with each other in terms of the singular or plural form.
  • Pronoun Case Agreement: When a pronoun is the subject of a sentence, a pronoun that reflects back to this pronoun must also be in the form of a pronoun that is the subject of the sentence; and, similarly, if the pronoun is the object of a sentence, then the pronoun that reflects back to this pronoun must also be in the form of a pronoun that is an object.
  • Subject - Verb Agreement: The rule of grammar which mandates that the verb in a sentence is in agreement with the subject of the sentence in terms of being either singular or plural. When the subject of the sentence is singular, the verb must be in the singular form so that it is in agreement and consistent with the subject of the sentence and when the subject of the sentence is plural, the verb must be in the plural form so that it is in agreement and consistent with the subject of the sentence.
  • Present tense Verbs: Verbs with an action or a state of being that is currently happening.
  • Past tense verbs: Verbs that refer to actions or the state of being that has occurred before the present and before the future.
  • Future tense verbs: Verbs that refer to actions or the state of being that will occur in the future. Future tense verbs occur after the present and current time.
  • Tense of the Sentence - Verb Agreement: The rule of grammar which mandates that the verb in a sentence must be in agreement with the tense of the sentence which can be present tense, past tense or future tense.
  • Adjective: A part of speech that functions in a manner to modify, qualify, describe, amplify, lessen, and give more precise and exact meanings to nouns and pronouns.
  • The Proper Placement of Adjectives: The rule of grammar which mandates the sequencing and placement of adjectives when more than one adjective is used in a sentence. This sequence is listed below:
  1. Adjectives of quantity or number
  2. Adjectives of opinion
  3. Adjectives of size or dimension
  4. Adjectives of age
  5. Adjectives of shape
  6. Adjectives of color
  7. Proper adjectives referring to nationality, for example
  8. Adjectives of material
  • The Proper Placement of Adverbs: The rule of grammar which mandates the sequencing and placement of adverbs when more than one adverb is used in a sentence.
  • Adverb of manner: A type of adverb that is placed after a direct object of the sentience, if there is one, or after a verb if there is no direct object in the sentence.
  • Adverb of place: A type of adverb that is placed after the direct object of the sentence if there is one and after the verb if there is no direct object in the sentence.
  • Adverb of time: A type of adverb that can be placed at the end of the sentence or at the beginning of a sentence, although this type of adverb is most often placed at the end of a sentence.
  • Adverb of frequency: A type of adverb that can be placed directly in front of and before a main verb if there is one or after an auxiliary verb like "be" and "is".
  • A participle: An adjective that ends in "ing" or "ed".
  • Dangling participle: A participle that is erroneously placed in a sentence which leads to a reader's confusion and erroneous comprehension and understanding of the sentence.
  • Idioms: A collection or a group of words that has become somewhat acceptable in the English language because of their ongoing and consistent use, despite the fact that the group of words do not have a literal meaning.
  • Literal meaning of words: The meaning of a phrase, clause or sentence that can be logically inferred and deduced from the true dictionary accurate definitions of the words in a phrase, clause or sentence. The literal meaning of words is the opposite of the figurative meaning of words.
  • Figurative meaning of words: The meaning of a phrase, clause or sentence that cannot be logically inferred and deduced from the true dictionary accurate definitions of the words in a phrase, clause or sentence. The figurative meaning of words is the opposite of the literal meaning of words.
  • Run on sentences: Those sentences that are overly long and that have some extraneous, extra and unnecessary parts in them.
  • A sentence fragment or a part of a sentence: A piece of a sentence that does not have a complete thought, a subject that is either explicit or understood and/or a verb.

Basic Grammar Defined

Grammar, simply defined, is a formalized set of rules and principles that mandate the authorship and composition of clauses, phrases, sentences and all other words and groups of words that are used in a particular language, including the English language. Grammar dictates the rules for oral communication as well as written communication of all types. Many believe that the English language and its grammatical rules are the most difficult of all of the languages that are used throughout the globe.

Some of the most commonly tested rules of grammar include:

Noun - Pronoun Agreement

As previously discussed with the parts of speech, nouns and pronouns have singular and plural forms. These nouns and pronouns can indicate one person, one place or one thing as a singular noun or pronoun and they can also indicate more than one person, place or thing as a plural noun or pronoun.

Most common nouns form by simply take on the plural adding "s" or "es" to the singular form of the common noun. For example, these singular common nouns in their plural form are formed by adding an "s" to the singular common noun:

  • Hat - hats
  • Toy - toys
  • Subject - subject
  • Pronoun - pronouns

Similarly, other singular common nouns take on the plural form by simply adding "es" to the singular noun, as shown below:

  • Church - churches
  • Peace march - peace marches
  • Match - matches
  • Sex - sexes
  • Boss - bosses

Singular nouns that end in "sh, "ch","s","z" and "x" are transformed into their plural form by adding "es".

Some of these plural form nouns are:

  • Quiz: Quizzes
  • Buzz: Buzzes
  • Church: Churches
  • Bus: Buses

Still more nouns, such as uncountable nouns and collective nouns, do not transform into the plural form. Examples of uncountable nouns include words such as biology, chemistry, air, and information. These uncountable nouns are paired up with a singular, rather than plural, verb in grammatically correct sentences. For example, you would not say, "The information are interesting", instead, you would say, "The information is interesting".

Examples of collective nouns include words that reflect a group of people or other living animals such as committee and a flock of birds and a pride of lions, that latter two referring to groups of animals. These collective nouns, like uncountable nouns, do not transform into the plural form of these nouns. They already indicate the presence of more than one person, more than one bird and more than one lion. Collective nouns, like uncountable nouns are paired up with singular, rather than plural verbs in grammatically correct sentences. For example, you would not say, " The pride are now emerging from the edge of the jungle", instead, you would say, "The pride is emerging from the jungle."

Pronouns, because they substitute for nouns, must be also in agreement with the noun in terms of whether or not the noun is singular or plural. For example, if the noun is flock or man, the pronouns that agree with these nouns are it and he, respectively.

As previously discussed, examples of singular pronouns are "he","she","it","I" and "you"; and examples of plural pronouns are we, they, us and them.

Here is a practice question relating to noun - pronoun agreement:

  1. Select the incorrect sentence.
  2. When we learn about humanity, we will explore how it has evolved in terms of its social structures.
  3. People tend to accept conventional religious practices rather than the ones that they believe are unusual.
  4. The flock is now overhead, so grab your camera for some good photos of it.
  5. The boys wanted his toys because the toys belonged to them.

Choice D is the incorrect sentence because it is not consistent in terms of its noun - pronoun agreement. The noun in this sentence is "boys" and "boys" is the plural form of the noun, therefore, all pronouns relating to the plural of boys must also be plural.

Using the same question above, the pronoun "his" is a singular pronoun, therefore, this singular pronoun is not in agreement with the plural noun. Instead, the plural pronoun of "their" should have been used.

Choice A is a correct sentence in terms of noun - pronoun agreement because the noun in choice A is a collective noun that does not have a plural form, therefore, "humanity" and "it" are in agreement in terms of a grammatically correct sentence.

Choice B is a correct sentence in terms of noun - pronoun agreement because the noun in choice B, which is "people" is a plural noun, therefore, "they", which is a plural pronoun, is in agreement in terms of a grammatically correct sentence.

Choice C is a correct sentence in terms of noun - pronoun agreement because the noun in choice C is a uncountable noun, therefore, "flock" has no plural form; therefore, "it", as a singular pronoun, is in agreement in terms of a grammatically correct sentence.

Pronoun Case Agreement

Pronoun case agreement, simply defined, means that, if a pronoun is the subject of a sentence, the pronoun that reflects back to this pronoun must also be in the form of a pronoun that is a subject; and, similarly, if the pronoun is the object of a sentence, then the pronoun that reflects back to this pronoun must also be in the form of a pronoun that is an object.

Additionally, if a pronoun reflects back to a noun in the sentence and the noun is the subject of the sentence, any pronouns referring back to the subject noun must also be in the form of a subject pronoun; and, if a pronoun reflects back to a noun in the sentence and the noun is the object of the sentence, any pronouns referring back to the object noun must also be in the form of the object pronoun.

Here are pronouns that are used to substitute for a variety of nouns that are the subject and the object of a sentence:

  • I (subject), me (object)
  • He (subject), him (object)
  • She (subject), her (object)
  • We (subject), us (object)
  • They (subject), them (object)
  • You (subject); you (object)
  • It (subject); it (object)
  • Who (subject); whom (object)

Below are sentences that have pronoun-pronoun case agreement and noun - pronoun case agreement:

  • He was happy to buy a surprise gift for her. ("He" is the singular pronoun and the subject of the sentence and "her" is the singular pronoun and the object of the sentence.)
  • She gave the donation to the poor family members whom appreciated her kindness. ("The poor family members" is the plural object of the sentence, and "whom" is the plural object pronoun that refers back to the plural object of the sentence.)
  • The boys gave it all they had in terms of perseverance and sportsmanship. ("Boys" is the plural noun subject of the sentence and "they" is the plural pronoun subject that refers back to boys.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers was given an award by the President for its spectacular win. (The "Los Angeles Dodgers" is a collective noun that is the subject of the sentence; and "its" is a singular pronoun subject in this sentence. Please note that, in this sentence, the Los Angeles Dodgers is a thing; it is a team and not people. If however, the sentence read, "The team members of the Los Angeles Dodgers… ", the object pronoun would be their instead of its win. In other words, this alternative sentence would read in its totality as "The team members of the Los Angeles Dodgers were given an award by the President for their spectacular win." As you should see the plural subject as the subject of the sentence is in agreement with "their "as a plural pronoun.

Subject - Verb Agreement

Similar to the singular and plural forms of nouns and pronouns, verbs also have singular forms and plural forms. The rules of grammar mandate that the verb in a sentence is in agreement with the subject of the sentence in terms of being either singular or plural. When the subject of the sentence is singular, the verb must be in the singular form so that it is in agreement and consistent with the subject of the sentence and when the subject of the sentence is plural, the verb must be in the plural form so that it is in agreement and consistent with the subject of the sentence.

Below are some examples of the Subject - Verb Agreement rule of grammar:

  • Our daughter, Josephine, generously gives some of her toys to a child in need. (The subject of the sentence is "our daughter" which is a singular form of a subject, and the verb in the sentence, which is "gives", is the singular form of a verb. The singular form of "give " is "give" and the plural form of "give" is "gives". For example, "boys give" and "a boy gives".
  • Despite the efforts of the magician to trick the audience with his magical tricks, some were not fooled. ("Some" is the plural form of the subject of this sentence and "were" is the plural verb that is consistent with and in agreement with the plural subject of the sentence. The singular form of this verb would be appropriate in a similar sentence such as "That person was not tricked by the magician who tried to trick her" where "person" is the singular form of the subject of the sentence and "was" is the singular verb that is consistent with and in agreement with the singular subject of the sentence.

Verb Tense

The tense of a verb, simply stated, tells you when something is occurring or when something has or will occur. The tense of a verb can be:

Present Tense

As previously discussed above, the present tense refers to verbs with an action or a state of being that is currently happening.

Examples of present tense verbs include:

  • Is
  • Are
  • Join
  • Play
  • Die
  • Live

Examples of sentences with present tense verbs include:

  • He is a good nurse. ("is" is the present tense verb in this sentence.)
  • They are members of the Elks Club. ("are" is the present tense verb in this sentence.)
  • The American ski team are playing now in the Winter Olympic games. ("are playing" is the present tense verb in this sentence.)
  • Those plants live longer when they get less water. ("live" is the present tense verb in this sentence.)

Past Tense

Past tense verbs refer to actions or the state of being that has occurred before the present and before the future. Many past tense verbs are present tense verbs with the suffix "- ed" added to the present tense verb or simply, just a "d".

Examples of past tense verbs include:

  • Was
  • Were
  • Joined
  • Played
  • Died
  • Lived

Examples of sentences with past tense verbs include:

  • He was a good nurse. ("Was" is the past tense verb in this sentence.)
  • They were members of the Elks Club. ("were" is the past tense verb in this sentence.)
  • The American ski team played in the Winter Olympic games. ("played" is the past tense verb in this sentence.)
  • All of the cult followers died in a mass suicide. ("died "is the past tense verb in this sentence.)
  • Those plants lived longer when they get less water. ("lived" is the past tense verb in this sentence.)

Future Tense

Future tense verbs refer to actions or the state of being that will occur in the future. Future tense verbs will occur after the present and current time.

Future tense verbs include the word "will" because future tense verbs refer to actions or the state of being that will occur in the future. Future tense verbs will occur after the present and current time. For example, he will play in the game tomorrow has a future tense verb which is "will play".

Examples of future tense verbs include:

  • Will be
  • Will Join
  • Will play
  • Will die
  • Will live

Examples of sentences with future tense verbs include:

  • He will be a good nurse. ("Will be" is the future tense verb in this sentence.)
  • They will join the Elks Club. ("Will join" is the future tense verb in this sentence.)
  • The American ski team will play in the next Winter Olympic games. ("Will play" is the future tense verb in this sentence.)
  • All of us will die. ("Will die" is the future tense verb in this sentence.)
  • Those plants will live longer if they get less water. ("Will live" is the future tense verb in this sentence.)

Here are some of sentences that do NOT have Tense of the Sentence - Verb Agreement:

1. Thomas is nervous when he found out how difficult grammar really is. (The first verb in this sentence, which is "is nervous" is in the present tense and the second verb in this this sentence, which is "found", is the past tense of a verb. Both verbs, therefore, must be either changed to the present tense or the past tense or there is no agreement with the verbs.)

  • Corrected Sentence: Option 1

Thomas is nervous when he finds out how difficult grammar really is. (The first verb in this sentence, which is "is", is in the present tense and the second verb in this this sentence, which is "finds", is also the present tense of a verb. Both verbs, now, are in tense agreement.)

  • Corrected Sentence: Option 2

Thomas was nervous when he found out how difficult grammar really is. (The first verb in this sentence, which is "was" is in the past tense and the second verb in this sentence, which is "found", is also the past tense of a verb. Both verbs, now, are in tense agreement.)

2. Donna will collect sea shells while she vacationed. (The first verb in this sentence, which is "will collect" , is the future tense and the second verb in this this sentence, which is "vacationed", is the past tense of a verb. Both verbs, therefore, must be either changed to the future tense or the past tense or there is no agreement with the verbs.)

  • Corrected Sentence: Option 1

Donna collected sea shells while she vacationed. (The first verb in this sentence, which is "collected" , is the past tense and the second verb in this this sentence, which is "vacationed", is the past tense of a verb. Both verbs, now, are in agreement in terms of their tense.)

  • Corrected Sentence: Option 2

Donna will collect sea shells when she begins her vacation. (The first verb in this sentence, which is "will collect" , is the future tense and the second verb in this this sentence, which is "begins", is the future tense of a verb. Both verbs, now, are in agreement in terms of their tense.)

The Proper Placement of Adjectives

As you should recall, adjectives modify, qualify, describe, amplify, lessen, and give more precise and exact meanings to nouns and pronouns.

The rules of grammar also govern the proper placement of adjectives and adverbs in sentences, phrases and clauses. Languages around the globe differ in terms of the corrected ordering and placement of adjectives, but in the English language the order of adjectives when more than one adjective is used, is as listed sequentially below in ascending order, which means that the type of adjective below numbered 1 will be used first and the adjective numbered 2 will be placed second and after the type of adjective numbered 1, and so forth.

  1. Adjectives of quantity or number
    Examples: First, five
  2. Adjectives of opinion
    Examples: Pretty, interesting, ugly
  3. Adjectives of size or dimension
    Examples: Large, small, big, little
  4. Adjectives of age
    Examples: Old, new, ancient, modern
  5. Adjectives of shape
    Examples: Square, round, triangular, oval
  6. Adjectives of color
    Examples: Blue, green, yellow, pink, red, white, black, brown
  7. Proper adjectives referring to nationality, for example
    Examples: German, Canadian, French, Italian, Spanish
  8. Adjectives of material
    Examples: Wooden, plastic, vinyl, leather

Now, try to author and compose a sentence that has these types of adjectives in it and in the correct sequential order.

Here is one to get you thinking.

"The first, interesting, large modern day rectangular blue Swedish cloth flag started the parade."

It is suggested that you memorize the sentence above or one that you authored so you can remember the correct sequence for the placement of multiple adjectives in a sentence.

"The first (quantity), interesting (opinion), large (size) modern day (age) rectangular (shape) blue (color) Swedish (proper noun, nationality) cloth (material) flag (the noun in the sentence that is being described by the eight adjectives that came before) started the parade."

The Proper Placement of Adverbs

Similar to the grammatically correct placement of adjectives, as discussed immediately above, adverbs must also follow the rules of proper placement. As you should recall, adverbs modify, qualify, describe, amplify, lessen, and give more precise and exact meanings to verbs, other adverbs, adjectives and prepositional clauses.

Languages around the globe differ in terms of the corrected ordering and placement of adverbs, but in the English language, the order of adverbs when more than one adverb is used, is as listed sequentially below in ascending order, which means that the type of adverb below numbered 1 will be used first and the adverb numbered 2 will be placed second and after the type of adverb numbered 1, and so forth.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner, such as carelessly and carefully, are placed after a direct object of the sentience, if there is one, or after a verb if there is no direct object.

Below is the placement of an adverb of manner when there is a direct object in the sentence:

  • He performed algebraic equations carelessly. (In this sentence there is a direct object in the sentence; "equations" is the direct object, so the adverb "carelessly" follows the direct object of "equations".)

Below is the placement of an adverb of manner when there is NOT a direct object in the sentence:

  • He performed carelessly. (In this sentence there is no direct object so the adverb follows and is placed after the verb of "performed".)

Adverbs of Place

Similar to adverbs of manner, adverbs of place, like before and after, are placed after the direct object of the sentence if there is one and these adverbs and after the verb if there is no direct object in the sentence.

Below is the placement of an adverb of place when there is a direct object in the sentence:

  • She did not see Mary there. (In this sentence there is a direct object so the adverb "there" follows the direct object of "Mary".)

Below is the placement of an adverb of place when there is NOT a direct object in the sentence:

  • He stayed ahead. (In this sentence there is no direct object so the adverb follows and is placed after the verb of "stayed".)

Adverbs of Time

Adverbs of time, unlike adverbs of manner and adverbs of place, are usually placed at the end of the sentence, although, at times, adverbs of time can be placed at the beginning of a sentence.

Below is the placement of an adverb of time at the end of the sentence:

  • You will see your birthday gift tomorrow. (In this sentence the adverb of time "tomorrow" follows the verb of "see".)

Below is the placement of an adverb of time at the beginning of the sentence:

  • Tomorrow, you will see your birthday gift tomorrow. (In this sentence the adverb of time "tomorrow" is placed at the beginning of the sentence.)

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency, like always and never, are placed directly in front of a main verb if there is one; and adverbs of frequency are also placed after an auxiliary verb like "be" and "is".

Below is the placement of an adverb of frequency in front of the main verb in a sentence:

  • I never take a walk when it is dark. (In this sentence the adverb of frequency "never" is placed before the main verb of the sentence which is "take".)

Below is the placement of an adverb of frequency in front of the main verb in a sentence:

  • We are typically here all summer. (In this sentence the adverb of frequency "typically"" is placed after the auxiliary verb of the sentence which is "are".)

Now, try to author and compose a sentence that has these types of adverb in it and in the correct sequential order.

Here is one to get you thinking.

"She quickly fell behind the group today as she usually does "

It is suggested that you memorize the sentence above or one that you authored so you can remember the correct sequence for the placement of multiple adjectives in a sentence.

"She quickly (adverb of manner) fell behind (adverb of place) the group today (adverb of time) as she usually (adverb of frequency) does "

Idioms: Their Correct and Proper Use

Idioms are a collection or a group of words that has become somewhat acceptable in the English language because of their ongoing and consistent use, despite the fact that the group of words do not have a literal meaning. Idioms have figurative meanings, therefore, the meaning of an idiom cannot be inferred or deduced in the same manner that words and phrases with literal meanings do.

Many idioms are proverbs such as, "You cannot judge a book by its cover" and "The pen is mightier than the sword". These proverbs do not have literal meanings, but instead, they have figurative meanings. For example, the proverb "You cannot judge a book by its cover" does not mean that the contents of a book cannot be judged by its exterior cover. Instead, this proverb, as a proverb and an idiom, means that first impressions of people, places and things are not always accurate and they can be highly misleading. For example, a person's attire does not necessarily offer any facts or reliable information about the person, their character or their values, for example. And the proverb or idiom "The pen is mightier than the sword" has little to do with a pen or a sword. Instead, this proverb suggests that we are much more likely to convince people and succeed with others with our written or oral words rather than force.

Some commonly used idioms and their figurative meanings are listed below:

  • Idiom: Spill the beans
    Figurative meaning: Divulging a secret
  • Idiom: Kick the bucket
    Figurative meaning: Die
  • Idiom: Hit the sack or hit the hay
    Figurative meaning: Go to bed
  • Idiom: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    Figurative meaning: Having something is worth more than having to get more with effort or taking the chance of losing the "one bird" that you already have.
  • Idiom: Stuck between a rock and a hard place
    Figurative meaning: Both choices are equally difficult
  • Idiom: Cold shoulder
    Figurative meaning: Unfriendly and cold
  • Idiom: A piece of cake
    Figurative meaning: Simple and easy
  • Idiom: This situation is black or white
    Figurative meaning: A situation that is clear and unambiguous; either or
  • Idiom: Killing two birds with one stone
    Figurative meaning: Accomplishing more than one thing with a singular action
  • Idiom: Chickening out
    Figurative meaning: Opting out of something because of fear and nervousness

The use of idioms should be done sparingly for a number of reasons including the fact that some people may not be able to understand them, thus causing them to look for a literal meaning rather than the figurative meaning that the idiom has. Idioms are also viewed as trite, over used and without any fresh or new meaning.

As you are taking your TEAS examination, you may be asked to demonstrate your ability to comprehend a reading passage that contains one or more idioms. If you don't understand the idiom, you should attempt to discover its meaning by looking at the idiom in the context of the sentence, or the paragraph or the entire reading passage. Context often gives us a lot of information about not only idioms but also about words that you do not know the meaning of.

Grammatical Pitfalls

Run On Sentences

Run on sentences are those sentences that are overly long and that have some extraneous, extra and unnecessary parts in them.

As you should recall, a sentence is complete when it has a subject, understood or explicit, and a verb and it also consists of one complete thought. Sentences become increasingly more confusing and more difficult to understand when they consist of multiple complete thoughts without the use of the correct punctuation and connection that can break them up into more manageable and comprehendible sentences and/or more independent clauses.

Some of the most common corrections of run on sentences include the use of a:

  • A compound sentence instead of a run on sentence with two different thoughts and/or two different independent clauses
  • Semicolon
  • Comma
  • Conjunction
  • Conjunctive adverb with a semicolon before and after this conjunctive adverb

Below is a few run on sentences and ways they it can be corrected:

"Before we left for your summer vacation we took care of a number of things stopped the mail delivery left a house key with our neighbor."

  • Correcting this run on sentence by making several sentences:

Before we left for your summer vacation we took care of a number of things. We stopped the mail delivery. We left a house key with our neighbor.

  • Correcting this run on sentence by making a compound sentence with commas between the different thoughts:

Before we left for your summer vacation, we took care of a number of things, we stopped the mail delivery, and we left a house key with our neighbor.

  • Correcting this run on sentence by making a compound sentence with semicolons between the different thoughts or independent clauses:

Before we left for your summer vacation, we took care of a number of things; we stopped the mail delivery; we left a house key with our neighbor.

  • Correcting this run on sentence by using coordinating conjunctions:

Before we left for your summer vacation, we took care of a number of things; we stopped the mail delivery, and we also left a house key with our neighbor.

  • Correcting this run on sentence by creating a dependent clause to replace an independent clause:

Before we left for your summer vacation, we took care of a number of things including the stopping of our mail delivery and leaving the house key with our neighbor.

Most run on sentences can be avoided or corrected by simply adding the correct punctuation.

Sentence Fragments

Again, a sentence MUST minimally have a subject and a verb. Some subjects are explicit and other subjects of a sentience can be implicit and understood.

Consider these two sentences below:

  • Go!
  • You must go.

Both are sentences despite the fact that the first sentence, "Go!", has only one word and that word is a verb. Despite the fact that the first sentence has only one word and that word is a verb and the sentence has no explicit subject, this is a sentence because "you" is the understood subject of this sentence.

The second sentence, on the other hand, has an explicit subject and a verb. In the sentence, "You must go", "You" is the subject of the sentence and "go" is the verb in this sentence.

A sentence fragment or a part of a sentence, in contrast to a sentence, lacks:

  • A complete thought
  • A subject that is either explicit or understood
  • A verb

An incomplete thought can consist of a dependent phrase without a correlating independent phrase. These incomplete thoughts, which lead to sentence fragments, often occur when:

  • A person answers a question with only a dependent clause instead of answering the question with an independent and dependent clause
  • A person begins authoring or composing a compound - complex sentence and the person simply fails to or forgets to complete this sentence.

Examples of sentence fragments that result from answering a question with only a dependent clause instead of answering the question with an independent and dependent clause include those listed below:

  • Question: What did you learn about in school today?

Sentence fragment response to the above question: About sentence fragments

Corrected sentence fragment: I learned about sentence fragments.

  • Question: Why did you come home so early?

Sentence fragment response to the above question: Because it was dark

Corrected sentence fragment: I came home early because it was dark.

  • Question: When did you arrive?

Sentence fragment response to the above question: Yesterday

Corrected sentence fragment: I arrived yesterday.

  • Question: Why did the group lose that game?

Sentence fragment response to the above question: Because they were tired

Corrected sentence fragment: The group lost the game because they were tired.

  • Question: What accident happened to the kitten today?

Sentence fragment response to the above question: A fall

Corrected sentence fragment: The accident that happened to the kitten today was a fall.

Many sentence fragments inadvertently occur when the author simply fails to complete a compound-complex sentence as the writer is composing a piece of writing.

Examples of sentence fragments that result from the writer's failure to complete the composition of a compound - complex sentence:

  • Sentence fragment: At the time you arrive at the family reunion, after a long drive and a shopping errand

Corrected sentence fragment: At the time you arrive at the family reunion, after a long drive and a shopping errand, you will be exhausted.

  • Sentence fragment: After a very long and stressful day at work and the amount of child care and housekeeping you will have when you get home

Corrected sentence fragment: You must feel overwhelmed, after a very long and stressful day at work, knowing the amount of child care and housekeeping you will have when you get home.

  • Sentence fragment: In addition to the stressors of everyday life, TEAS test preparation and normal daily activities

Corrected sentence fragment: Life goes on In addition to the stressors of everyday life, TEAS test preparation and normal daily activities. OR In addition to the stressors of everyday life, life goes on.

Dangling Participles

Simply defined, a participle is an adjective that ends in "ing" or "ed". Many any grammatical errors are made with what is called a dangling participle because it includes a participle, like "running" or "tied", that is not correctly placed. Dangling participles leave the reader confused about the noun or the pronoun that the participle is intended to describe.

Here is an example of a dangling participle:

The thief escaped the law enforcement officers, still clutching the stolen television.

In the sentence above, the phrase "still clutching the stolen television" was intended by the author of this sentence to describe what the thief did, rather than what the law enforcement officers were doing. This dangling participle makes the sentence above erroneous and appearing that the law enforcement officers were "still clutching the stolen television".

Here are some grammatically incorrect sentences that have dangling participles:

  • After cracking, the cook added the eggs to the cake batter.

The dangling participle, which is "cracking", makes this sentence appear to mean that the cook, rather than the eggs, is being cracked.

Correcting dangling participles: The cook added the eggs after they were cracked.

  • Swarming around, the children saw the invasion of the flies.

The dangling participle, which is "swarming", makes this sentence appear to mean that the children, rather than the flies, are swarming.

Correcting dangling participles: The children saw the invasion of the flies swarming around.

  • After braising, the chef added the beef to the gourmet beef stew.

The dangling participle, which is "braising", makes this sentence appear to mean that the chef, rather than the beef, was braised.

Correcting dangling participles: The chef added the beef to the gourmet beef stew after it was braised.

Other Commonly Occurring Grammatical Pitfalls

Some other commonly occurring grammatical pitfalls include the improper use of homophones. As previously discussed, homophones are words that sound (phone) the same (homo) but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are not words that have a same meaning but just with a different spelling. Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

The most commonly misused homophones:

  • To, Two and Too
  • They're, There and Their
  • Whether and Weather
  • To, Two and Too

Examples of the proper use of these homophones are:

I am going to the store.

I am going to the store to buy two cakes.

I am going to the store to buy two cakes which really is too much, especially because I want to lose weight.

  • They're, There and Their

Examples of the proper use of these homophones are:

They're going to the store.

They're going there to purchase a new platter.

They're going there to purchase a new platter to replace their old one.

  • Whether and Weather

Examples of the proper use of these homophones are:

He does not know whether or not to go.

He does not know whether or not to go because the weather forecast is not good for that day.

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