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:
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.
There are two types of subject/pronoun disagreement, shifts in number and shifts in person.
Shifts in numberIts/it's
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" is the possessive form of "it." "It's" is the contraction of "it is." They are not interchangeable.
. . . .
Dropped commas around clausesHere are a few examples of restrictive and non-restrictive 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.
This clause or phrase interrupts a sentence, such as "however." Place a comma on either side of the interrupting 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.
This clause or phrase modifies the subject of the sentence but does not change the meaning of the sentence if left out.
Grammatical, Mechanical & Stylistic Problems And How To Fix Them
This handy-dandy guide to English grammar was compiled by Professor David Beach:
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.