Language Arts

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How to Locate the Verb in a Sentence

A scientific study by a blue-ribbon panel of experts found that 90 percent of all the errors in a sentence occurred because the verb was misidentified. Okay, there was no study. But it is true that when [more…]

Simple Verb Tenses in English

English has three simple tenses: present, past, and future. These simple tenses show actions or states of being at a point in time, but don’t always pin down a specific moment. Past, present, and future [more…]

How to Use Progressive Verb Tenses in English

English progressive verb tenses describe ongoing actions in the present, past or future. What’s the difference between each pair of simple tense forms? Not a whole lot unless you are a grammarian. People [more…]

How to Use Perfect Verb Tenses in English

Although native English speakers use perfect verb tenses every day, they may not know it. If you are studying English grammar, these three tenses — present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect — may [more…]

Using Common Adverbs in Writing

Adjectives aren’t the only descriptive words in English. Adverbs are another type of description. Most often adverbs describe verbs by providing more information about the action, but they can also describe [more…]

Choosing between Adjectives and Adverbs

If you want to pass your English grammar test or sound like you know what you are talking about at work, you should know the difference between adjectives and adverbs so you can select the form you need [more…]

Avoiding Common Mistakes with Adjectives and Adverbs

Some English adjectives and adverbs, for example, even, almost, only, just, nearly are very flexible and can be placed almost anywhere in a sentences. But it is very easy to make mistakes with these adverbs [more…]

What Is a Preposition?

In English you use prepositions to connect nouns or between nouns and pronouns. Imagine that you encounter two nouns: elephant and book. You can use prepositions in many ways to connect the two nouns to [more…]

Avoiding Common Preposition Problems

Prepositions are small words but they give English speakers big headaches. Some common preposition problems include choosing between different from and [more…]

Using Prepositions with Pronouns

In English the biggest problem with pronouns is that only some pronouns are allowed to act as objects of prepositions; they’re called object pronouns. Use the wrong pronoun as the object of a preposition [more…]

How to Use Pronouns to Combine Sentences

There are many ways to combine sentences in English. One useful trick for combining short sentences legally involves using the pronoun connection. Using pronouns to combine sentences is second-nature to [more…]

How to Avoid Writing Sentence Fragments

In formal writing, or if you are writing to impress someone, such as your English grammar instructor or your boss, you should avoid using sentence fragments. They lack the clarity of complete sentences [more…]

How to Punctuate Sentences with Endmarks

Endmarks include periods (.), question marks (?), exclamation points (!), or ellipsises ( . . .). You use these punctuation marks to show that a sentence has come to an end. When you speak, your body language [more…]

How to Use Direct Objects in Sentences

In English, direct objects area a type of complement. You often use object complements in a sentence that has an action verb. No action verb needs a complement to be grammatically legal. But an action-verb [more…]

How to Use Indirect Objects in Sentences

Say your English grammar teacher asks you to define an indirect object. You can really impress her by telling her that it is a complement and is considered indirect because the action doesn’t flow directly [more…]

When to Use Objective or Subjective Complements in Sentences

In English, objective and subjective complements fill out your sentences. Objective complements aren’t major players in a sentence. They simply provide more detail about the object of a sentence. Subjective [more…]

Adding Adjectives to Make Your Writing More Descriptive

If your English teacher wants you to make your writing more descriptive, you need to learn how to use adjectives. Adjectives add information about number, color, type, and other qualities about the nouns [more…]

How to Use Articles in English

Not all languages use articles as often as English does. If you ran a computer program that sorted and counted every word in this book, you’d be on the fast track for membership in the Get-a-Life Club. [more…]

How to Show Possession with Proper Nouns

Because companies, stores, and organizations also own things, you need a way to express possession. In English, these proper nouns — whether they are singular or plural — require you to use apostrophes [more…]

How to Show Possession for Nouns That End in S

Singular nouns that end in s present special problems. Imagine that your last name is Woods (and you teach English grammar). Your name is singular, because you are only one person. When students talk about [more…]

How to Avoid Common Apostrophe Errors with Pronouns

English supplies pronouns for ownership. Some possessive pronouns are my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.Here’s a rule so important — and so often broken — that you should consider tattooing it on [more…]

How to Use Apostrophes to Form Contractions

In English you can use contractions to shorten a word by removing one letter or more and substituting an apostrophe in the same spot. For example, chop [more…]

How to Punctuate Quotations in Statements

To write proper English, you need to follow all the punctuation rules, even the illogical ones. Punctuation with quotations gives many people problems. Here you look at the proper punctuation for statements [more…]

How to Punctuate Quotations with Question Marks

English grammarians have devised a special set of rules for punctuating quotations that are questions. Pop quiz: Does the question mark go inside or outside of the quotation mark? Well, the answer is, [more…]

Punctuating Quotations with Exclamation Points and Semicolons

In English, the rules for using quotation marks with exclamation points follow the same general rules as question marks. And although you aren’t likely to use quotation marks with semicolons, in case you [more…]

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