Grammar

  1. Say What? Direct Questions vs. Reported Dialogue

    A direct question is when you ask a question by speaking directly (e.g. “How are you doing today?”). Reported dialogue is when you report what someone else says (e.g. “Joan asked how you’re doing today.”). Reported dialogue usually uses the third person point of view. Direct Questions Direct questions usually include interrogative pronouns or adverbs. Interrogative pronouns and adverbs include words like as who, what, …

  2. When to Use Definite vs. Indefinite Articles

    Articles are a unique type of adjectives that indicate which noun (person, place, or thing) you’re talking about. The only definite article in English is the, and it refers to a specific noun. Indefinite articles (a or an) refer to nouns more generally. Indefinite Articles Indefinite articles refer to non-specific nouns. Think “I need a pen” or “I want an orange.” In both cases, we …

  3. Getting to Know Predicate Nominative and Predicate Adjective

    In general, a predicate completes a sentence by providing information about what the subject is or does. The subject of a sentence is who or what is doing the action. The predicate explains the action. There’s often a linking verb (like is or became) in between the two. A predicate nominative is a noun that completes the linking verb in a sentence. Predicate adjectives complete …

  4. Coordinating Between Independent and Dependent Clauses

    You might have seen these terms floating around. Clauses are the building blocks of sentences. They’re groups of related words (phrases) that contain both a subject and a verb. When a clause can stand alone as a complete sentence with a clear meaning, it’s considered independent. If it only makes sense when you join it with another clause, it’s dependent (or subordinate). For example, “in …

  5. 3 Action-Packed Types of Verbs

    Verbs do a lot of things. There are 3 types of verbs: verbs of being, linking verbs, and action verbs. Most verbs are either action or linking verbs, depending how they’re used in a sentence. Verbs of Being Verbs of being demonstrate a state of existence. Yes, your yoga teacher was right: you can just be. The major verbs of being are to be and …

  6. 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: …

  7. 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 …

  8. 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 …

  9. 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 …

  10. 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 …

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