Parts of Speech

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Choosing between Singular and Plural Pronouns

English pronouns are either singular or plural. Singular pronouns replace singular nouns, which are those that name one person, place, thing, or idea. Plural pronouns replace plural nouns — those that [more…]

When to Use Their, They’re, and There

A lot of English speakers have trouble distinguishing between the homonyms their, they’re, and there. Although they sound the same they have entirely different meanings. [more…]

How to Match Pronouns to Pronoun Antecedents

Most of the time, determining whether a pronoun should be singular or plural is easy. Just check the noun that acts as the antecedent, and bingo, you’re done. But sometimes a pronoun takes the place of [more…]

How to Choose Verbs for Two Subjects

In English it is pretty easy to make sure your verbs and subjects agree. Basically you check to ensure that singular subjects have singular verbs and plural subjects have plural verbs. But what kind of [more…]

Subject-Verb Agreement in Questions

Just to make subject-verb agreement complicated, English grammar shuffles a sentence around to form questions and often throws in a helping verb or two. More bad news: questions are formed differently [more…]

Making Subjects and Verbs Agree in Negatives Statements

In English some present-tense negative statements are formed by adding do or does, along with the word not, to a main verb. The not squeezes itself between the helper [more…]

Avoiding Common Subject-Verb Agreement Mistakes with Pronouns

Although making your subjects and verbs agree is pretty easy in English, there are a few common mistakes people make when the subjects of the sentences are pronouns. For example, five pronouns change from [more…]

How to Use Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns show possession. Not the movie head-twisting-backwards kind of possession, but the kind where somebody owns something. Possessive pronouns include [more…]

Dealing with Pronouns and Gerunds

The rule concerning possessive pronouns and gerunds is broken so often that it may be a losing battle. However, the rule isn’t completely useless, like many of the other rules that people break. Moreover [more…]

How to Improve Your Writing with Active Verbs

Unless you’re trying to hide something, or unless you truly don’t know the facts, you should make your writing as specific as possible. Specifics reside in active voice. In English, using active verbs [more…]

Adding Meaning with Strong Verbs

To add meaning and detail to your sentences, use strong verbs. You can also water down your writing with blah, weak verbs. So why doesn’t everybody use strong verbs? The trouble is too many people don’t [more…]

Choosing a Verb Tense When Summarizing Speech

When you are telling a story, you may what to summarize someone else’s speech. Although you can use just about any verb tense to do so, in English different tenses create a different experience for your [more…]

Expressing Eternal Truths in Present the Tense

Some things are always true. For example, the earth has always been round and two plus two always equals four. English speakers use the present tense to discuss these eternal truths. Look at the following [more…]

How to Choose Subject Pronouns

In English, a subject is the person or thing that is doing the action or being talked about in the sentence. You can’t do much wrong when you have the actual name of a person, place, or thing as the subject [more…]

How to Pick Pronouns for Comparisons

Even very correct English speakers tend to take shortcuts, by chopping words out of their sentences and racing to the finish. This practice is evident in comparisons and can lead you to make a mistake [more…]

Using Pronouns as Direct and Indirect Objects

Many people have trouble choosing the correct pronouns for direct and indirect objects. English pronouns that may legally function as objects include me, you, him, her, it, us, them, whom, [more…]

How to Avoid Vague Pronoun References

You can improve your writing a lot by taking care not to use vague pronoun references. One pronoun may refer to one noun. A plural pronoun may refer to more than one noun. But no pronoun may refer to a [more…]

How to Select Pronouns for Collective Nouns

Collective nouns (committee, team, squad, army, class,and the like) refer to groups. How do you choose a pronoun to refer to that committee, squad, or team? When the group is acting as a unit — doing the [more…]

How to Use Verbals in Writing

In grammar, the new, improved blend of two parts of speech is a called a verbal. Verbals are extremely useful hybrids. Verbals come in three forms: gerunds, infinitives, and participles. [more…]

Spice Up Boring Sentences with Clauses and Verbals

Using clauses and verbals helps you vary your sentence structure and that makes your writing interesting. You should read your writing aloud from time to time to check how it sounds. The old saying, variety [more…]

How to Avoid Dangling Participles

Descriptions must have something to describe. However, to English speakers participles that function a descriptions tend to cause as many problems as a double-date with an ex. Participles look like verbs [more…]

How to Avoid Dangling Infinitives

If you dangle your infinitives, the grammar police are sure to come knocking on your door. English speakers commonly dangle infinities and believe it or not it really changes the meaning of their sentences [more…]

How to Write Clear Descriptions

To write clear descriptions, think about real estate. Location, location, location! That’s what real estate agents say matters, and it’s also what grammarians declare. Learn to avoid placing descriptions [more…]

How to Form Common Comparatives in English

English has two ways of creating comparisons, but you can’t use them together and they’re not interchangeable. You can add -er or -est or use more, more [more…]

Making Irregular Comparisons in English

Whenever English grammar gives you a set of rules that make sense, you know it’s time for the irregulars to show up. Not surprisingly, then, you have to create a few common comparisons without [more…]

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