Grammar

  1. How Long Should My Paragraph Be?

    There isn’t really a required number of sentences to make a paragraph, but there are some guidelines you might want to consider. A typical paragraph consists of 3 to 6 sentences. Paragraphs are meant to express a central idea. They can be made of any number of sentences as long as they meet the structural requirements. The basic structure of a paragraph has three parts: …

  2. 5 Types of Nouns that You Use All the Time

    Nouns come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. The major ones are common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, possessive nouns, and collective nouns. A noun is a person, place, or thing. The category of thingsmay sound super vague, but in this case it means inanimate objects, abstract concepts, and activities. Phrases and other parts of speech can also behave like nouns, and be …

  3. Active vs. Passive Voice: Hear and Be Heard

    First, a quick overview, in case all you need is a reminder: In active voice, the subject performs the action of the verb. In passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb. If you feel like you need a little more than that, keep reading. Passive Voice The subject of a sentence is the person or thing that sentence is about. You can …

  4. Irregular Plural Nouns: People Change, but Aircraft Don’t

    Irregular plural nouns are nouns that become plural in a way other than adding -s or -es to the end. It can be tough to remember which nouns are irregular, but here are a few guidelines for how to handle the ones that are. Regular Nouns First off, a noun is a person, place, or thing. Nouns are singular when they represent one item and …

  5. Don’t Leave Us Dangling, Modifier!

    When you see a phrase in a sentence, and you can’t be sure which word it’s referring to, chances are it’s a dangling modifier. Having nothing to modify, the phrase just “dangles” without purpose (hence its name). Modifiers usually apply to the nearest noun to them. When writers leave out the noun or noun phrase they intend to modify, the modifier may appear to refer …

  6. Wish You Were Here, Subjunctive Mood!

    The subjunctive mood is a way of talking about unreal or conditional situations. You can also use it to describe desires, wishes, needs, or intentions. You’ll often see it as the format for idioms and expressions. Unreal Situations The most common use of the subjunctive mood to express imaginary or hypothetical situations. It’s often used in if clauses. To show the subjunctive mood, you should …

  7. It’s Time to Talk About Infinitives

    An infinitive is the most basic form of a verb. You’ll usually see it with the word to, as in to eat or to think. An infinitive phrase is an infinitive plus complements and modifiers. To eat vegetables daily and to think about a solution are infinitive phrases. While infinitives themselves are verbs, infinitive phrases can be used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. Adverbial Infinitives …

  8. Creating Rhythm and Balance with Parallelisms

    When writers use very similar wording across several sentences or lines of poetry, it’s known as parallel sentence structure. Doing this creates rhythm and balance. Parallel sentence structures are also known as parallelisms. Simple parallelisms may be as short as words or phrases. More complex ones may combine entire clauses or sentences. Parallel sentence structures can highlight aspects of stories and poems in many ways. …

  9. All About Prepositional Phrases

    Prepositional phrases are the kinds of things you use all the time without thinking about them. They’re groups of words that begin with a preposition and end with an object. Prepositions are words like about, across, after, for, and in. You’ll see them in simple prepositional phrases, like about zebras, after school, and with friends. Objects of Prepositions When we say object, we mean the …

  10. 4 Ways to Structure Your Sentences

    The four types of sentence structures are simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. The quantity and arrangement of clauses determines the makeup of each type of sentence structure. A clause is a grouping of words with both a subject and a verb that can (but doesn’t always) form a sentence. If the clause can form a complete thought on its own, it’s considered an independent clause. …