Grammar & Usage

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What Are Parts of Speech in the English Language?

Languages are made up of separate parts of speech, which all work together to create meaningful conversations. Here’s a list of the top eight parts of speech, with examples to show you how you use them [more…]

English Grammar: The Parts of a Sentence

To make a proper sentence, you need a subject and a verb — all other components of the sentence are just icing on the cake! Here’s how to break down the parts of a sentence: [more…]

Tips for Verb Tenses in the English Language

Verb tense conveys when the action you’re describing took place — the past, present or future. Here’s a list of the grammatical terms for different verb tenses.      [more…]

How to Use Pronouns in English Grammar

Pronouns are important for many reasons, as outlined by the following tips. You can use pronouns to stand in as subjects or objects, or to show possession. Here are some tips for getting your head around [more…]

Tips for English Language Subject–Verb Agreement

Matching the right subject to your verb can be tricky when you're writing in English. Here are some basic tips to help you work out which verbs are singular and which verbs are plural. [more…]

How to Use Endmarks, Apostrophes and Commas in Written English

Punctuation makes a huge difference in the meaning of a sentence, so it’s vital that you understand how to use it correctly. Endmarks, apostrophes and commas are all key to clear communication in English [more…]

English Grammar For Dummies Cheat Sheet (Australia/New Zealand Edition)

Correct grammar is not just for people over 50 or those annoying picky English teachers — everyone needs to be able to communicate clearly and succinctly. But so many rules exist; how do you avoid getting [more…]

Pre-Submission Basic Grammar and Style Primer for Children's Book Manuscripts

Although many publishing houses have their own in-house style or grammar guides stipulating how to treat serial commas or ellipses or em dashes, the following primer will guarantee you a manuscript that’s [more…]

How Phoneticians Measure Speech Melody

Phoneticians transcribe connected speech by marking how words and syllables go together and by following how the melody of language changes. Many phoneticians indicate pauses with special markings [more…]

How Phonetics Can Help You Understand Speech and Language Problems

Phoneticians use the International Phonetic Alphabet(IPA) to distinguish sound substitutions (one speech sound switched for another) from distortion (slurring or mistiming) errors. This information is [more…]

10 Cutting-Edge Phonetics Trends of the Future

Phonetics has come a long way since the good ol' days of Daniel Jones and his colleagues in London at the turn of the century. Technology and mass communication have revolutionized the field of phonetics [more…]

What Produces Speech: Your Speech Anatomy

A source-filter system produces human speech. Speech begins with a breathy source. The airflow beginning at the lungs causes sound to be produced through vibration and hissiness at the larynx [more…]

How Consonants Are Formed: The Manner of Articulation

You make consonants by completely or partially blocking airflow during speech. You can do this in different ways: you can completely block airflow, push air through a groove or slit to make a hissing sound [more…]

How Vowels Are Formed: Some Basic Vowel Types in Phonetics

You make vowels in a different way than consonants. Vowels don't involve air blockage, but instead require a more continual sound flow and sound shaping. Phoneticians describe vowel production in terms [more…]

Phonetics For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Phonetics is the scientific study of speech sounds. Phoneticians are interested in how people produce and understand speech sounds. Using symbols from the [more…]

Phonetics and Spectrograms: Putting Sounds on Paper

Spectrograms make speech visible and are one of the most popular displays used by phoneticians, speech scientists, clinicians, and dialectologists. A spectrogram is a readout that shows frequency on the [more…]

Known Errors in Phonetics For Dummies

To make sure the information in Phonetics For Dummies is technically correct and as clear as possible, the author reviewed the title again after publication. The errata document clarifies some points and [more…]

Putting Together Sentence Essentials

The basic unit of expression, a sentence is more than just a string of words. Here's what you need to put together a proper, complete sentence: [more…]

Writing Stylish Sentences

When it comes to writing stylish sentences, you have many choices. You can go vintage or opt for the latest thing to hit the runway as long as you don't violate the rules of grammar. Here are some points [more…]

New Media, New Grammatical Errors

Texts, tweets, instant messages, e-mails, and visual presentations featuring bulleted lists are relatively new on the scene, and the grammatical rules governing them are still evolving. Nevertheless, most [more…]

5 Things to Check for Grammatical Perfection

Looking over a piece of writing before you sign off on it is a good habit to form. Remember to check these common spots that attract trouble: [more…]

1,001 Grammar Practice Questions For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As the old cliché says, "practice makes perfect," and while you're on the road to grammar perfection, a quick glance at the rules for proper grammar usage may help. Review some basic — and important — [more…]

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