Grammar review
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Grammar Review. Common Errors on the ACT. Diagnostic Preview: Subject-Verb Agreement. What is Subject-Verb Agreement? Subject-verb agreement is a grammatical rule that states that the verb must agree in number with its subject.

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Grammar Review

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Grammar review

Grammar Review

Common Errors on the ACT


Diagnostic preview subject verb agreement

Diagnostic Preview: Subject-Verb Agreement

  • What is Subject-Verb Agreement?

    • Subject-verb agreement is a grammatical rule that states that the verb must agree in number with its subject.

    • In a correct sentence, there must be correspondence of a verb with its subject in person (first, second, or third) and number (singular or plural).

    • A singular subject needs a singular verb, and a plural subject needs a plural verb.

  • In the following sentences, either a verb does not agree with its subject or a pronoun does not agree with its antecedent.

  • On your paper, write the correct form. If a sentence is already correct, write “C”.


Sentence 1

Sentence #1

Is the sentence correct?

How does it need to be corrected?

There was women, as well as men, who set out on the perilous journey into new territory.

There were women, as well as men, who set out on the perilous journey into new territory.

Women is a plural noun, and therefore, requires a plural verb.

Was is a singular verb and needs to change to the plural form werein order for the sentence to be correct.


Sentence 2

Sentence #2

Is the sentence correct?

How does it need to be corrected?

The Morenos, I think, have the best chance of winning.

C – Correct. Morenos is plural (more than one). They have the best chance of winning.

Both the subject and verb are plural and agree in number.


Sentence 3

Sentence #3

Is the sentence correct?

How does it need to be corrected?

The store, the hotel, and the airport is all in a ten-mile radius of the beach.

The store, the hotel, and the airport are all in a ten-mile radius of the beach.

Because there are three subjects in this sentence (compound subject), there must be a plural verb for the sentence to be complete.

Is is a singular verb and needs to change to the plural form arein order for the sentence to be correct.


Sentence 4

Sentence #4

Is the sentence correct?

How does it need to be corrected?

Bronzeville Boys and Girls are a collection of poems by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Bronzeville Boys and Girlsis a collection of poems by Gwendolyn Brooks.

In this sentence, the subject is collection, a singular subject.

Because are is a plural verb, it needs to be changed to the singular form isin order for the sentence to have correct agreement.


Perfect score tip

Perfect Score Tip

Take out the surrounding words and just say the subject and the verb. Other words can hide verb mistakes, but a verb that doesn’t match its subject will become clearer if you just say it after its subject.


Time for you to practice

Time for you to practice

  • Complete Exercise A on Worksheet 1

    • Rewrite subjects/verb pairs in plural (more than one) form

    • 13 minutes

  • Rapid Fire Around the Room!

  • Complete Exercise B

    • Rewrite subject/verb pairs in singular (single/one) form

    • 10 minutes

  • Trade again!

  • Complete Exercise C and turn in!


Diagnostic preview pronoun antecedent agreement

Diagnostic Preview: Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

  • A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun or another pronoun.

    • He, She, It, They, We, You, I, me, my, each, one, everyone…….

  • A noun or a pronoun that a pronoun refers to is called its antecedent.

    • A pronoun should agree in both number and gender with its antecedent.

    • Use singular pronouns to refer to singular antecedents. Use plural pronouns to refer to plural antecedents.


Examples

Examples

  • Singular: Richard Strauss composed many operas. Der Rosenkavalier is perhaps his most famous.

  • Plural: The mountain climbers believe that they will reach the summit by Friday.

  • Feminine: Does Margaret like her dance class?

  • Masculine: Arturo is doing his homework.

  • Neuter: Because the car wouldn’t start, it had to be towed.


Practice

Practice

  • In the following sentences, either a verb does not agree with its subject or a pronoun does not agree with its antecedent.

  • On your paper, write the correct form. If a sentence is already correct, write “C”.


Sentence 11

Sentence #1

Is the sentence correct?

How does it need to be corrected?

Neither of the candidates has prepared their statement.

Neither of the candidates has prepared his (or her) statement.

Neither is a singular pronoun antecedent, and therefore, requires a singular pronoun.

Their is a plural pronoun and needs to change to the singular form his/herin order for the sentence to be correct.


Sentence 21

Sentence #2

Is the sentence correct?

How does it need to be corrected?

To apply for the scholarship, a student must submit at least four samples of their work.

To apply for the scholarship, a student must submit at least four samples of his (or her) work.

student is a singular noun (antecedent), and therefore, requires a singular pronoun.

Their is a plural pronoun and needs to change to the singular form his/herin order for the sentence to be correct.


Sentence 31

Sentence #3

Is the sentence correct?

How does it need to be corrected?

A hostile crowd gathers outside the courtroom to show their disapproval of the verdict.

A hostile crowd gathers outside the courtroom to show its disapproval of the verdict.

crowd is a singular noun (antecedent), and therefore, requires a singular pronoun.

Their is a plural pronoun and needs to change to the singular form itsin order for the sentence to be correct.

Another option would be to change the verb gathers to gather if remaining plural…A hostile crowd gather outside the courtroom to show their disapproval of the verdict. *It just sounds clunky.


Perfect score tip1

Perfect Score Tip

Take out the surrounding words and just say the subject and the verb. Other words can hide verb mistakes, but a verb that doesn’t match its subject will become clearer if you just say it after its subject.


Time for you to practice1

Time for you to practice

  • Complete Exercise A on Worksheet 1

    • Underline antecedent and correct the pronoun. Write C if it is correct.

    • 11 minutes

  • Rapid Fire Around the Room!

  • Complete Exercise B & C

    • Choose the correct pronouns

    • 10 minutes

  • Rapid Fire

  • Complete Exercise A&B on back and turn in!


Pronouns in compounds

Pronouns in Compounds

  • Another common agreement or matching error concerns compounds, which are phrases that join two words with and or or.

  • Remember that when we compound a pronoun with something else, we don't want to change its form. Following this rule carefully often creates something that "doesn't sound good."

    • You would write, "This money is for me,"

    • So when someone else becomes involved, don't write, "This money is for Fred and I."


More examples

More Examples

  • In compound structures, where there are two pronouns or a noun and a pronoun, drop the other noun for a moment. Then you can see which case you want.

  • Not: Bob and me travel a good deal.(Would you say, "me travel"?)

  • Not: He gave the flowers to Jane and I.(Would you say, "he gave the flowers to I"?)

  • Not: Us men like the coach.(Would you say, "us like the coach"?)


Comparisons

Comparisons

  • Comparisons usually follow than or as:

    • He is taller than I (am tall).

    • This helps you as much as (it helps) me.

    • She is as noisy as I (am).

  • Comparisons are really shorthand sentences which usually omit words, such as those in the parentheses in the sentences above. If you complete the comparison in your head, you can choose the correct case for the pronoun.

    • Not: He is taller than me.(Would you say, "than me am tall"?)


You try

You Try:

  • The fool gave the wrong tickets to Bob and I.

    • The fool gave the wrong tickets to Bob and me.

    • Use the hint: The fool gave the wrong tickets to me.

    • I is a subject; it can’t be the object of the preposition to.

  • The coach congratulated the two starting forwards, Angela and I.

    • The coach congratulated the two starting forwards, Angela and me.

  • Us girls made the playoffs!

    • We girls made the playoffs!

    • Would you say, “Us made the playoffs!”?


Common usage mistakes bad and badly

Common Usage Mistakes: Bad and Badly

  • Bad is an adjective (modifies a noun).

    • Fido was bad.

  • In most uses, badly is an adverb (modifies a verb or adjective).

    • Fido behaved badly.

  • There seems to be a (bad, badly) telephone connection.

  • I shivered so (bad, badly) that I had trouble breathing.

  • He felt (bad, badly) about the whole affair.


Common usage mistakes good and well

Common Usage Mistakes: Good and Well

  • Good is an adjective (modifies a noun).

    • Her singing sounds good.

    • Good is describing (modifying) singing – the noun in this case.

  • Well may be used either as an adjective or an adverb.

    • As an adjective, well has two meanings: “in good health” and “satisfactory.”

    • Trish is well. (In good health)

    • All is well. (All is satisfactory)


Good and well cont

Good and Well, cont.

  • As an adverb, well means “capably.”

    • Pedro did well in the music competition. (Modifies “did”)

    • She sings well. (Modifies “sings”)

  • Shakespeare is (good, well) known for his plays.

  • I have to keep playing (good, well) or I’m going to get lapped.

  • It is (good, well) to have goals.

  • The teacher spoke (good, well) of them.


Common usage mistakes lie and lay

Common Usage Mistakes: Lie and Lay

  • Lie is a verb that means “to rest” or “to recline” or “to be in a place.”

    • It does not take a direct object.

  • Lay is a verb that means “to put (something) in place.”

    • It generally takes a direct object.

  • Forms of Lay/Lie


Examples1

Examples

  • Please lie down.

  • The packages are lying here.

  • The key lay on the shelf.

  • The old papers had lain on the desk for months.

  • Please laythe toolsdown.

  • I am layingyour packages here.

  • The boy laidthe keyon the shelf.

  • He had laidthe old papers on the desk.

  • *Note the direct objects for the verb “lay”


Lie lay practice

Lie/Lay Practice

  • The mason (is lying, is laying) the tiles on the patio.

  • A light haze (lie, lay) over the hills.

  • The cat (lay, laid) its toy on the doorsill.

  • Someone’s books (are lying, are laying) in the hall.

  • She (had lain, had laid) down for a nap.

  • (Lie, Lay) the material on the counter.

  • You (could lie, could lay) down and relax.


Who whom

Who/Whom

  • Which word to use depends on how it operates in the sentence.

    • Who: If it is the subject or a predicate nominative (a noun or pronoun that completes the meaning of a linking verb and identifies the subject)

      • Rick is the only student who earned a perfect score.

      • I don’t know who has my notebook.

    • Whom: If it is a direct object, indirect object, or an object of a preposition

      • I saw Sabrina, whom I know from school.

      • Are you the person to whom I give my essay?


You try1

You Try

  • (Who, whom) did you vote for in the election?

  • Whom did you vote for in the election?

  • Whom is the direct object of the sentence – is receiving the action.

  • Tip: reword the sentence to find the verb. In this case, it is vote. In other words, you voted for whom.


You try2

You Try

  • (Who, whom) is on the telephone?

  • Who is on the telephone?

  • Who is the subject of the sentence.

  • Tip: You can replace the pronoun Who/Whom with a proper noun and it might clarify it for you.

    • Mrs. Cady is on the telephone. This is clearly the subject of the sentence, and therefore, should be who.


You try3

You Try

  • I feel sometimes that I don’t know (who, whom) you are anymore.

  • I feel sometimes that I don’t know who you are anymore.

  • Who is a predicate nominative in the clause “who you are anymore”.


Its it s

Its/It’s

  • Its is the possessive form of it.

    • The town has not raised its tax rate in years.

    • The spider reared its legs.

  • It’s is the contraction of it is or it has.

    • It’s cold, and it’s started to snow.

    • Anyone who says grammar is easy hasn’t tried to learn all the rules; it’s hard.


You try4

You Try

  • (Its, It’s) not every day that her parents let her use the car.

  • It’s not every day that her parents let her use the car.

  • It is not every day…


Are our

Are/Our

  • Are is a form of the verb to be.

    • The students are sitting quietly at their desks.

    • The snowflakes are falling.

  • Our is the possessive of first person plural.

    • Our classroom is the hottest in the building.

    • At the end of class, Mrs. Cady will collect our assignments.


There their they re theirs

There/Their/They’re/Theirs

  • There is an adverb that designates a location, or used as an expletive at the beginning of the sentence.

    • I have not been there in a long time.

    • There is too much pepper in my soup!

    • *Where? There.*

  • Their is the possessive form of they.

    • Their apartment has a view of the river.

  • Theirs is the third person plural possessive pronoun - it replaces "their" + noun

    • Theirs is a better idea.

  • They’re is a contraction of they are.

    • They’re reading a book by Virginia Driving Haw Sneve.


Commas 1

Commas – 1

  • While Commas have many uses, the following are the MAIN uses:

    • Use commas to separate items in a series.

      • The camp counselor distributed baseballs, bats, volleyballs, tennis rackets, and bandages. [words in a series]

      • We have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. [phrases in a series]

      • I know I will pass the test if I take good notes, if I study hard, and if I get a good night’s sleep. [clauses in a series]

    • When the last 2 items in a series are joined by and, or, or nor, the comma before the conjunction is sometimes omitted when it is not needed to make the meaning of the sentence clear.

      • The entertainers sang, danced and juggled. [clear without comma]

      • John, Sue and Marian went fishing. [not clear – Is John going fishing or being addressed?]


Commas 2

Commas – 2

  • Use commas to separate two or more adjectives preceding a noun.

    • I’ve had a long, hectic, tiring day.

    • When the last adjective in a series is thought of as part of the noun, the comma before the adjective is omitted.

      • I mailed the package at the main post office. [post and office name a place and shouldn’t be separated]

      • For lunch, we had a smooth, creamy broccoli soup. [don’t separate broccoli and soup since they together name a thing]

    • The tests:

      • If you can put the word and between them logically, put a comma.

      • If the order of the adjectives can be changed sensibly, put a comma.


Commas 3

Commas – 3

  • Use commas to set off nonessential clauses and phrases.

    • Emilia Ortiz, who lives across the street from me, won a scholarship to Stanford University.

    • Kelly, waiting outside the stage door, got the band leader’s autograph.

  • Make sure the information is nonessential:

    • Test: Can the sentence exist without the information?

    • The sophomores who made the honor roll were listed in the school newspaper. [only those who made honor roll, essential=no comma]

    • Marla’s sister, who attends Stanford University, sent her a sweatshirt. [Marla has only one sister.]

    • Marla’s sister who attends Stanford University sent her a sweatshirt. [Marla has more than one sister – essential info]


Commas 4

Commas – 4

  • Use commas before conjunctions (FANBOYS), when the conjunction joins independent clauses.

    • Patrick brought the sandwiches, and Cindy brought the potato salad.

    • We got there on time, but Jeff and Maria were late.

  • Always use a comma before yet, so, or for joining independent clauses. The comma is sometimes left out before and, but, or, or nor IF the independent clauses are very short AND the sentence will not be misunderstood without it.

    • He was apprehensive, yet he was also excited.

    • The bears failed to catch any salmon, so they went away.

    • I applied for the job and I got it.


Beware

Beware

  • Don’t confuse a compound sentence with a simple sentence that has a compound verb.

    • Han brought charcoal and lighter fluid, but she forgot matches. [two independent clauses]

    • Han brought charcoal and lighter fluid but forgot matches. [one independent clause with a compound verb]


Semicolons 1

Semicolons – 1

  • Use a semicolon between independent clauses that are closely related in thought and NOT joined by FANBOYS.

    • Everyone else in my family excels in a particular sport; I seem to be the only exception.

    • The river is rising rapidly; it is expected to crest by noon.


Semicolons 2

Semicolons – 2

  • Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase.

    • Leonor is planning to become an enginer; however, she is also interested in graphic design.

    • Only two people registered for the pottery lessons; as a result, the class was cancelled.


Use semicolons before

Use semicolons before:


Semicolons 3

Semicolons – 3

  • Use a semicolon before a coordinating conjunction to join independent clauses that contain commas.

    • June sat with Tony, Pat, and me; and Josh sat with Flora, Zack, and Geraldo.

    • Searching for the house key, I found a dime, a nickel, and a penny; and John, my brother, found his lost watch.


Semicolons 4

Semicolons – 4

  • Use a semicolon between items in a series if the items contain commas.

    • In 2000, the three largest metropolitan areas in the United States were New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; and Chicago, Illinois.

    • You may turn in your book reports on Thursday, September 14; Friday, September 15; or Tuesday, September 19.


Colons

Colons (:)

  • A colon is used to mean “note what follows”:

    • Before a list of items

      • The only tools allowed in the examination area are as follows: pencils, compasses, rulers, and protractors.

    • Before a statement that explains or clarifies a preceding statement

      • He deserves a raise: He completed the project on schedule and under budget.

      • Preston slapped his forehead: He had forgotten to put oregano in the sauce.


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