Friday, March 8, 2013

Handy Guides To Avoiding Mistakes In Grammar

Handy Guides To Avoiding Mistakes In Grammar

I don't usually blog about grammar--I'll leave that to the professionals--but today I came across these guides that I thought were well written and easy to understand.


Avoiding Common Mistakes


The first guide to grammar is called Avoiding Common Grammar Mistakes and was written for students at George Mason University. Here is a sample:
Comma splices
A comma splice is where a comma is used to join two independent clauses which should be separated by a period. An independent clause can stand on its own as a sentence. Do not simply use a comma everywhere a reader would pause.

Subject/pronoun disagreement
There are two types of subject/pronoun disagreement, shifts in number and shifts in person.
Shifts in number
This phrase means the shifting between singular and plural in the same sentence. Be consistent.

Shifts in person
This error occurs when the person shifts within the sentence from first to second person, from second to third person, etc.
Its/it's
"Its" is the possessive form of "it." "It's" is the contraction of "it is." They are not interchangeable.
.  .  .  .
Dropped commas around clauses
Place commas around words, phrases, or clauses that interrupt a sentence. Do not use commas around restrictive clauses, which provide essential information about the subject of the sentence.
Interrupting clause
This clause or phrase interrupts a sentence, such as "however." Place a comma on either side of the interrupting clause.

Restrictive clause
This clause or phrase provides essential information about the subject of the sentence. Without this clause or phrase, the meaning of the sentence changes.

Non-restrictive clause
This clause or phrase modifies the subject of the sentence but does not change the meaning of the sentence if left out.
Here are a few examples of restrictive and non-restrictive clauses.


Grammatical, Mechanical & Stylistic Problems And How To Fix Them


This handy-dandy guide to English grammar was compiled by Professor David Beach:
Who/whom
Use "who" when it can be replaced by a subject proper noun, and "whom" when it can be replaced by an object proper noun.
John kissed Mary. John = subject, Mary = object Whom did John kiss? Who kissed Mary?

Dmitri gave the book to Phyllis. To whom did Dmitri give the book? Who gave the book to Phyllis?

I've been testing out Grammarly and I'm curious whether any of you have used the program. If so, did you find it useful?

What was the most useful grammar tip you've ever received?

Other articles you might like:

- Beware Alibi Publishing, John Scalzi Warns: "This is the worst book contract I have ever encountered"
- Amanda Palmer's TED Talk: The Art Of Asking
- Stephen King Board On Jeopardy Tonight (March 5, 2013)

Photo credit: "jack johnson:while we wait (sleep through the static)" by visualpanic under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

4 comments:

  1. Every writer MUST own a copy of CMOS...an old copy is just as good, because the sections dealing with grammar are indispensable.

    If you write...don't own a CMOS...buy a used copy of CMOS on eBay for a couple bucks.


    [Chicago Manual of Style...he shouts in iritation *grin*]

    ReplyDelete
  2. "What was the most useful grammar tip you've ever received?"

    1. Strunk & White, _The Elements of Style_

    2. To learn and understand English grammar, study German.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strunk & White was the one I had to get when I want to school. (Don't mean to dis CMOS ;)

      Well, I guess I need to start learning German!

      Delete

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