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GRAMMAR REVIEW. CAPITALIZATION The first word of every sentence. The first-person singular pronoun, I .

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
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  • The first word of every sentence.
  • The first-person singular pronoun, I.
  • The first, last, and important words in a title. (The concept "important words" usually does not include articles, short prepositions (which means you might want to capitalize "towards" or "between," say), the "to" of an infinitive, and coordinating conjunctions. This is not true in APA Reference lists (where we capitalize only the first word), nor is it necessarily true for titles in other languages. Also, on book jackets, aesthetic considerations will sometimes override the rules.)
  • Names of relationships only when they are a part of or a substitute for a person's name. (Often this means that when there is a modifier, such as a possessive pronoun, in front of such a word, we do not capitalize it.)
    • Let's go visit Grandmother today. Let's go visit my grandmother today.
    • I remember Uncle Arthur. I remember my Uncle Arthur. My uncle is unforgettable.


  • Proper nouns
    • Specific persons and things: George W. Bush, the White House, General Motors Corporation.
    • Specific geographical locations: Hartford, Connecticut, Africa, Forest Park Zoo, Lake Erie, the Northeast, the South End. However, we do not capitalize compass directions or locations that aren't being used as names: the north side of the city; we're leaving the Northwest and heading south this winter.


    • Names of celestial bodies: Mars, Saturn, the Milky Way. Do not, however, capitalize earth, moon, sun, except when those names appear in a context in which other (capitalized) celestial bodies are mentioned. "It is further from Earth to Mars than it is from Mercury to the Sun.”
    • Names of newspapers and journals. Do not, however, capitalize the word the, even when it is part of the newspaper's title: the Hartford Courant.
    • Days of the week, months, holidays. Do not, however, capitalize the names of seasons (spring, summer, fall, autumn, winter). "Next winter, we're traveling south; by spring, we'll be back up north."
    • Historical events: World War I, the Renaissance, the Crusades.
    • Races, nationalities, languages: Swedes, Swedish, African American, Jewish, French, Native American. (Most writers do not capitalize whites, blacks.)
    • Names of religions and religious terms: God, Christ, Allah, Buddha, Christianity, Christians, Judaism, Jews, Islam, Muslims.
    • Names of courses: Economics, Biology 101. (However, we would write: "I'm taking courses in biology and earth science this summer.")
    • Brand names: Tide, Maytag, Chevrolet.


Directions: Correct the capitalization errors in the following sentences. Circle the letters that need to be capitalized.

EXAMPLE: do we need to bring snacks to practice tuesday?

“when are we going to the grand canyon?” said mindy.

in the spring we need to visit my grandma in new mexico.

when the students arrive in washington, d.c., they will visit senator brown.

next fridayjenn is bringing her brother to volleyball practice.

you need to go south on popular street until you come to a brick restaurant.



  • Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the main clause that follows.
  • Use commas to set off an interrupter from the sentence that it divides.
  • Use a comma to separate a concluding element from the main clause that precedes it.
  • Use a comma to joining two main clauses linked by a coordinating conjunction.
  • Use a comma to separate items in a series.

COMMAS: Directions: Choose the option that will fix the comma error.

  • 1. During lunch, at the campus cafeteria, Mildred noticed the dirty tables, the overworked cashiers, and the exorbitant price for a watery soda.
  • A. Should you remove the comma after lunch?
  • B. Or should you remove the comma after cashiers?
  • 2. The slimy smelly lettuce on my burrito made me ask the manager to return my 99 cents.
  • A. Should you add a comma after slimy?
  • B. Or should you add a comma after burrito?
  • 3. Sitting in the atrium, Marcus chatted pleasantly with a pretty student from his chemistry class, but then he had to leave suddenly, because he noticed that he had only thirty seconds to get to Professor Spottke’s English class on time.
  • A. Should you remove the comma after atrium?
  • B. Or should you remove the comma after suddenly?


4. "Don't eat that pizza," warned Lisa. "It's over two weeks

old ", she then explained.

A. Should the comma after pizza follow the quotation marks?

B. Or should the comma after old precede the quotation


5. Fifteen uncooked popcorn kernels, and a few grains of salt littered the front of Robert's shirt as he slouched in the theater seat.

A. Should you add a comma after fifteen?

B. Or should you remove the comma after kernels?



Modifiers are just what they sound like—words or phrases that modify something else. Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something you didn't intend them to modify. For example, the word only is a modifier that's easy to misplace.

INCORRECT: Covered in wildflowers, Serena pondered the hillside's beauty.

CORRECT: Covered in wildflowers, the hillside amazed Serena.

INCORRECT: The dealer sold the BMW to the buyer with the leather, heated seats.

CORRECT: The dealer sold the BMW with the leather, heated seats to the buyer.



A phrase actually doesn’t modify anything; the thing/ person/concept being described is missing.

INCORRECT: While taking out the trash, the sack broke.CORRECT: While Jamie was taking out the trash, the sack broke.

INCORRECT: Standing on the balcony, the ocean view was magnificent.CORRECT: Standing on the balcony, we had a magnificent ocean view.


MISPLACED MODIFIER: Directions: Determine whether the sentences below contain a mistake with a modifier. Fix any problems that you find.

  • 1. Emma Sue was delighted when Mr. Nguyen returned her perfect calculus test with an ear-to-ear grin.
  • 2. Scrubbing the tile grout with bleach and an old toothbrush, the mildew stains began to fade.
  • 3. To finish by the 3 p.m. deadline, the computer keyboard sang with Sylvia's flying fingers.

Misplaced Modifiers

4. Perched on the curtain rod, the parakeet watched Rocky the cat slink behind the living room sofa.

5. Rapping the pencil on the edge of the desk, the fourth cause of the French Revolution would not come to mind.



Refers to sentences that follow the same structure.

Not Parallel:Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.

Parallel:Mary likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle.

Not Parallel:The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner.

Parallel:The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.


PARALLEL STRUCTURE: Directions: Determine whether the sentences below contain errors in parallel structure. Fix any problems you find.

  • 1. Monica brewed espresso, steamed milk, and told jokes as she prepared Mike’s latte.
  • 2. Natasha tried holding her breath, chewing a piece of gum, and poking her belly, but she could not quiet her empty stomach, which rumbled during the chemistry exam.
  • 3. In the restroom, Taryn was brushing her hair, freshened her lip-gloss, and took deep breaths, trying to work up the courage to walk to her first speech class.


4. Celine looked behind the toilet, in the laundry basket, and checked under the bed, but she could not find Squeeze, her nine-foot albino python.

5. Not only did Malinda squeal at the sight of the beautiful bouquet, but she also was tearing open the box and eating chocolates all the way to the restaurant.


Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

PronounA pronoun is a substitute for a noun. It refers to a person, place, thing, feeling, or quality but does not refer to it by its name.

Ex: he, she, they, we…

Antecedent An antecedent is the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers, understood by the context.


AgreementA pronoun must agree with its antecedent in three ways:

Person, Number (singular or plural), and Gender

*Certain words are ALWAYS singular, even though they may seem plural.

EX: anybody, each, everybody, somebody, someone


If a person wants to succeed in corporate life, he or she has to know the rules of the game.

Everyonewho went on the field trip was supposed to bring his or her permission form.


PRONOUN/ANTECEDENT: Directions: In each sentence highlight the antecedent. Make necessary corrections to the pronoun, not the antecedent.

  • Nobody knows that eating chocolate-broccoli muffins is a good way to provide their bodieswith vitamin C.
  • 2. The troupe of knife jugglers shocked their audience when a
  • butcher knife accidentally decapitated the head of an old woman's
  • poodle.
  • 3. Either the grill crew or the manager must give their permission for
  • you to return that half-eaten double cheeseburger.

Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement

4. Both the computer monitor and the refrigerator door have its shiny surface smeared with dog snot from our curious puppy Oreo.

5. After feeding several quarters into the gumball machine, a person learns that they havelittle chance of receiving the miniature camera in the display.





Subject-Verb Agreement

1. When the subject of a sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns connected by “and,” use a plural verb.

She and her friends are at the fair.

2. When two or more singular nouns or pronouns are connected by “or,” or “nor,” use a singular verb.

The book or the pen is in the drawer.

3. When a compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the verb.

The boy or his friends run every day.

His friends or the boy runs every day.






5. Do not be misled by a phrase that comes between the subject and the verb. The verb agrees with the subject, not with a noun or pronoun in the phrase.

Oneof the boxes isopen

The peoplewho listen to that music arefew.

The team captain, as well as his players, isanxious.

6. The words each, each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, and no one are singular and require a singular verb.

Eachof these hot dogs is


Everybodywho has taken

classes knowsMr. Jones.


SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT: Directions: Choose the correct verb form for the sentences below.

  • 1. The dead trees and peeling paint, along with the broken windows and flapping shutters, __________ everyone believe that evil spirits haunt the deserted Sinclair house.
  • A. makes B. make
  • 2. Those sharks circling your boogie board __________ hungry enough to bite.
  • A. looks B. look
  • 3. Agnes never loses a single possession. Everyone knows what belongs to her, for each pen, pencil, and paperclip __________ a tiny flag attached with Agnes' full name on it.
  • A. has B. have.
  • 4. Asteroids and comets slamming into Earth __________ Marge; she tries to remain under the protective cover of her roof as much as possible.
  • A. worries B. worry
  • 5. Someone—perhaps Emmanuel or Paul—__________ the right soda to serve with earthworm lasagna.
  • A. knows B. know

THERE/THEIR/THEY’RE: Directions: Fill in the blanks with the appropriate choice—their, there, or they're.

  • 1. Unable to tolerate the dust one moment longer, Elizabeth spent the afternoon cleaning the living room tables and shelves. Now ___________________ slippery with furniture polish, glowing in the sunlight that spills through the open window.
  • 2. "Oh, no! _________________ are lima beans on my plate!" screamed Noel before he fainted with a thud on the dining room floor.
  • 3. Nothing makes Diane’s cat Big Toe Joe happier than a laundry basket full of fresh warm towels. __________________ he will sleep, purring in contentment and shedding long white hair on the clean terry cloth.


4. Mrs. O'Shea spent the day steam cleaning the living room floor. Now her children can hardly find the kitchen without ___________________ trail of dirty footprints leading the way.

5. Dolly hates dogs more than snakes or cockroaches. She believes that canines are loathsome creatures because __________________ only goal in life is to kill her front lawn with urine.



When you cite according to MLA, watch punctuation:

When George speaks of the dream, he explains, “ ‘Well,

it’s ten acres…’” (Steinbeck 56).

Quote introduced with comma since evidence fits within flow of sentence

Quotes, then a single quote b/c you are lifting words that are spoken

End punctuation has single, then double quotes to indicate that you are done copying words that are spoken

There is no comma between author’s last name and page #. Also, end punctuation goes after citation



Another example:

At the end of the novel, George prepares to kill Lennie: “George raised the gun and his hand shook, and he dropped his hand to the ground again” (Steinbeck 105).

Quote introduced with a colon since evidence does not fit within flow of sentence

Remember that you need to rely on the LITERARY PRESENT!!!

Note that just regular quotation marks are used to indicate where you start and where you end the copied words

No comma between author’s last name and page #. Also, end punctuation belongs AFTER citation


QUOTES/CITATIONS: Fix errors related either to quote integration or to citations (MLA format). *Citing Shakespeare assumes dialogue, so no need for extra quotes.

  • 1. When Macbeth delivers his “Tomorrow” soliloquy he is resigned “It is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/Signifying nothing (Shakespeare V.v.26-28).”
  • 2. In Fahrenheit 451 Clarisse asks Montag, “ ‘Are you happy?’” (Bradbury, 7)
  • 3. In Of Mice and MenLennie said “I done another bad thing” after he killed Curley’s wife. (Steinbeck).


4. After the death of his dog, Candy is distraught “ ‘I ought to have shot that dog myself, George.’” (Steinbeck 61).

5. In Act I of Macbeth, the witches present a paradox “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” (Shakespeare I.i.10).