With the more complicated “basic” elements of English grammar out of the way, let’s dive into the nitty gritty. Today’s lesson begins a mini series on parts of speech, which will help you continue to refine the way you utilize the grammar rules we’ve covered so far.
Let’s start with some of the first words we learn, nouns.
Today’s lesson is about one of the least often used punctuation marks, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to know when or how to use it. When used properly, colons can add impact, clarity, and conciseness to your writing.
You can think of them like a flashing neon sign that reads, “This is what I’m talking about,” over a section where you clarify a statement you’ve already made. They’re added right before a phrase or list that explains or adds to the sentence before it.
They only had two ways out: fight their way through a small army or risk waking a family of sleeping bears.
There are three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.
In both examples, the colon lets the reader know they’re about to be told exactly what the options are in that instance.
Our next couple of lessons will be about two seldom used but useful punctuation marks, the semicolon and the colon. When used properly, these punctuation marks can give you new ways to tweak the clarity and rhythm of your writing.
Colons and semicolons are two different things!
Although a colon and a semicolon look very similar, their uses are different. You cannot use the two punctuation marks interchangeably. You’ll see exactly why this is once you’ve completed both this lesson and the next one on use of the colon.
Commas are one of the most misused and abused punctuation marks out there. I think part of this is because we’re taught in elementary school that they indicate a pause. This is correct, but people have a tendency to take this a bit too far, including commas whenever and wherever they would pause when speaking. It’s a good enough rule of thumb to get by in a pinch, but you run the risk of overusing them when putting it to practice.
So let’s take a closer look at the comma today. When is it needed, and when is it extra?
Parentheses and brackets are punctuation marks that get misused and abused a lot, especially in the blogging world and fan fiction. If you’re going to use them, make sure you know the rules and avoid a lot of embarrassment on your part and confusion on your readers’ behalf.
First of all, please note most of the rules for parentheses apply to informal writing. They aren’t something you want to use in formal writing except for when giving annotations. For those rules, check the style guide for whichever style you are using to write your paper. The rules for brackets will apply for both formal and informal writing, but they’re almost never needed for informal writing because they apply to quoted material. I mean, how often do you use quotes in informal writing, outside of fiction?
When, where, and how should you use quotation marks in your writing? It's a question that confuses people and causes a lot of problems for them and not just when it comes to writing dialogue. Today we'll discuss the proper usage of quotation marks in fiction and non-fiction, formal and informal writing.
How do I quote someone in an essay?
First, you need to decide if you're going to quote them word for word or if you want to paraphrase what they said. If they were long winded in their explanation of something, paraphrasing might be best. Otherwise it looks like you are using the quote to bump up your word count without presenting your take on the subject, which can hurt your grade. The best quotes to use in school papers are short, to the point, and given by experts in the topic you're discussing in the paper.
Today's lesson is perhaps one of the simplest of the basics of English composition: end punctuation. The marks used at the end of a sentence should be familiar to anyone who has studied English, but when and where to use them can still cause a bit of confusion now and again. So today we will go over when to use which punctuation mark at the end of your sentences.
Have you tried to compare things only to get confused as to whether you should put more in front of the adjective or add "er" to the end of it? If so, you aren't alone. A lot of people have difficulty deciding on the proper way to use the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives. In fact, it's such a common problem, it's a frequent source of frustration for editors and English teachers alike. That's why I'm covering them in this week's Back to Basics post.
When and why should you begin a new paragraph when writing? It’s one of those basic writing skills that can still be tricky off and on for even experienced writers. While the rules are fairly simple for formal writing, the added freedom when composing fiction can cause a bit of confusion.
Once again, today’s topic is one where errors tend to make me cringe. It’s to the point where C. L. makes subject verb agreement or comparatives errors on purpose to pick at me because he finds the faces I make in response hilarious. However, these kinds of mistakes irk me for a different reason than negative concord (double negatives) like we spoke about last time.
Each language has its own unique rhythm. The spoken word has been compared to music for good reason. Listening to someone speak well or reading a bit of good writing aloud plays over the ear like a melody. In that context, grammatical errors stick out like sour notes.
At least to my ears, mistakes with subject verb agreement and comparatives sound more like a woodwind squawking than a simple wrong note.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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