All the Grammar Rules you need :Because Most of the Research Shows that You Can’t Really Teach it Anyways
Why Grammar Matters • It can make you (right or wrong) look stupid. • Nuff said.
Grammar Affects Meaning Dear John: I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours? Jane
Grammar Affects Meaning Dear John: I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be? Yours,Jane
Clauses • The smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition. Consists of a subject (person, place, or thing and a predicate(modifies the subject, expresses what is true of the subject, must contain a verb) • Superman is a lame hero. • Subject= “Superman” • Predicate= “is a lame hero” • Verb= “is”
Independent Clause (complete sentence) • A clause that can stand on its own. • A clause that needs no other part to express a full thought. • Also known as a “simple sentence.” • Spider-Man is awesome. • The Avengers movie was cool. • These are complete thoughts. They can stand independently on their own.
Dependent Clause • A clause that contains a subject and a verb, however can not stand on its own (hence they are dependent) • They serve to augment an independent clause • When Mass Effect 3 came out, I was in line on the first day. • “I was in line on the first day” = independent clause • “When Mass Effect 3 came out” = dependent clause • “Mass Effect 3” = subject • “came out” = verb
Key to Comma Usage • Is entirely based on knowing how to link dependent and independent clauses. If you can tell the difference between the two, and if you know a few comma rules, then commas become easy.
Comma Rule #1 • Commas separate items in a series (3 or more) • The Avengers consist of Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk. • Dr. Who flies in a time machine, uses a sonic screwdriver, and wears a nice suit. • Parallel Structure: • Note in the second example that the items in the list have a parallel structure of present tense verb/adjective/noun. All items in a list should contain the same grammatical structure.
Comma Rule #2 • Commas connect two independent clauses when there is a coordinating conjunction • I tried to get into Twilight, but I can’t ignore how much it sucks. • Mario got tired of saving the princess, so he finally gave up and left her with the evil lizard. • Coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet
Comma Splices • Comma splices occur when you mash two independent clauses together without the conjunction • Wrong • The rare Star Wars figurine is only five hundred dollars, I’m going to buy it. • 2 Fixes • The rare Star Wars figurine is only five hundred dollars. I’m going to buy it. (make it two sentences) • The rare Star Wars figurine is only five hundred dollars, so I’m going to buy it. (add the conjunction)
Comma Rule #3 • When an independent clause begins with a marker word, it becomes dependent and therefore needs a comma. • When Adam Sandler makes a movie, I am almost certainly not going to like it. • Even though online game players can technically camp out to kill re-spawners, it doesn’t mean they should. • Marker words: after, although, as, because, before, even if, even though, if, in order to, since, though, unless, until, when, whenever, while
Comma Rule #4 • Use a comma to set off introductory elements • According to some people, the Hulk has never had his own good movie. • Before going to school, little Jimmy likes to practice his headshot skills in Call of Duty. • Somewhere in his closet, Tim still has mountains of baseball cards from his youth. • How to tell if it’s an introductory element • The phrase modifies the entire thought (as in the Hulk example) • It’s an adverbial clause (it has a subject and verb but modifies a verb) • “School” is a subject/”going to” is a verb and together it’s modifying the “has” in the second part of the sentence.
Comma Rule #5 • Use a comma to set off parenthetical elements: a part of the sentence that could be removed without changing the essential meaning or grammatical flow • If someone wants to buy me an iPad, and why wouldn’t you, I would not be opposed. • Mary Jane, Spider-Man’s ex-wife, is now a sadly underused character. • If someone wants to buy me an iPad, and why wouldn’t you, I would not be opposed. • Mary Jane, Spider-Man’s ex-wife, is now a sadly underused character.
Comma Rule #6 • Use commas to separate coordinating adjectives (adjectives that appear in sequence to modify the same noun) • Rule of Thumb: if saying “and” aloud between the adjectives sounds correct then use a comma. If it sounds strange then no comma is needed • Batman is a rich, mysterious character. (rich and mysterious sounds right) • The Hulk is a large green monster. (you probably don’t need to say large and green)
The Semicolon ; • Links two very closely related independent clauses • Aquaman is lame; he talks to fish. • Between independent clauses (with a comma) linked with a transitional phrase • I once got a perfect score at Pac-Man; of course, I can’t prove it. • Zombies can eat as many brains in a night as they want; of course, this may lead to indigestion.
Verb Tenses Must Stay Consistent • Present • Past • Future • I went to the website but find that it’s no longer there • Insert tab A into slot A. After doing so, be sure the fit was secured. • Billy was watching Mad Men. Then he inexplicably goes out for a cigarette.
Use Active Voice • The opposite (passive voice) occurs when the subject is acted upon instead of acting. This is bad. • The shield was thrown by Captain America. • The lasso of truth was pulled out by Wonder Woman. • The series finale of Breaking Bad was watched by millions of people. • Passive voice sounds weird and usually leads to a longer, more awkward sentence than needed.
Pronoun and Antecedent Must Agree • Pronoun- word that stands in for another (he, she, it, them, their) • Antecedent- the noun or noun phrase that comes before the pronoun and is the thing the pronoun is referring to • They must agree in gender and number • Neither Wolverine or Cyclops knew what to do with their new recruit. • The pronoun should agree with the closer antecedent when “or” is used. The proper word would be “his.” • The team frequently changed its mind throughout the brainstorming process. • The team is a collection of people (plural), so the correct word is “their”
The Dangling Modifier • A clause that hangs at the beginning or ending of a sentence. However, the element that the clause is supposed to be modifying is not in the sentence. • Looking out across the concert hall, the Cannibal Corpse fans wear a lot of black. • Correction: Looking out across the concert hall, we noticed that the Cannibal Corpse fans wear a lot of black.
Vague Pronouns • After putting the disk in the cabinet, Mabel sold it. • Take the stereo out of the car and fix it. • The supervisors told the workers they would receive a bonus. • The candy dish was empty, but we were tired of eating it anyway. • Although Mrs. Smith was wealthy, she made poor use of it. • I didn’t go to class, which was really stupid. • Meg called Howard yesterday to explain why she had not attended the meeting the day before. This made Howard very angry.
Confused Words • There: location; as in over there • Their: possessive; as in their car • They’re: a contraction; they are • Your: possessive; your car • You’re: a contraction; you are • Its: belonging to; the bike fell to its side • It’s: contraction; it is • Affect: a verb; something gets affected • Effect: a noun; something has an effect; effects are produced
Lame Words/Phrases • Thing • Very, Really, Basically • It was • A lot • I Feel (you don’t feel opinions) • Due to the fact that • The reason why is because • And also