Modifiers that Dangle

What is wrong with each of the following sentences? Slipping on the ice, my glasses were broken. Having been raised in a barn, it is difficult for him to choose the right fork. Expressing your thoughts clearly impressed the selection committee. People who read grammar columns frequently make fewer mistakes. To get ahead these days, … More Modifiers that Dangle

Spot the Errors

Of the following twelve sentences, only three are correct. Can you spot the errors? Cats often pester Bruno’s dog, so he always carries pepper spray. Reading often improves concentration. Mildred, along with the other members of the Ti Chi club, were invited to attend the annual Ti Chi hot dog eating competition. My three brothers-in-law’s … More Spot the Errors

Punctuation Essential and Nonessential Clauses

  Clauses beginning with who, which, that   Nonessential clauses are set off by commas; essential clauses are not set off by commas.   Examples:   Nonessential clause:  My mother, who was Italian, made great pasta.   Because I had only one mother, the clause “who was Italian” doesn’t identify her, so it’s nonessential. I … More Punctuation Essential and Nonessential Clauses

Verbs that Link and Verbs that Don’t

If asked to define a verb, most people would say it’s an action word, which is true.  Jump, run, sleep, snore—these verbs express actions. They’re action verbs.  But not all verbs are action verbs; some are linking verbs. You can probably get through life just fine without understanding the difference between action verbs and linking … More Verbs that Link and Verbs that Don’t

Grammar/Usage Quiz

Revise the following sentences to make them more concise: There were a lot of cars that were damaged by vandals last night. High-quality footwear designed specifically for winter weather conditions greatly enhances the ambulatory navigation of icy surfaces. Answers: 1. Vandals damaged many cars last night. 2. Good winter boots make walking on ice easier. … More Grammar/Usage Quiz

Pronoun Case Exercise

Choose the correct word: The concoction was prepared by Dr. Jekyll and (me/I/myself). Why anybody would want to be (he/him) is beyond me. If you could be someone else, (who/whom) would you like to be? The President’s wife is more intelligent than (he/him), but who isn’t? Was it (we/us) they were talking about? Let (I/me) … More Pronoun Case Exercise

Commas and Semicolons

Commas or Semicolons Deciding whether to use a comma or a semicolon can be very stressful. You can reduce the stress by learning how to punctuate compound sentences and series. Look at these sentences: Colbart hates grammar. He often skips grammar class. Both are independent clauses. They’re called independent clauses because they can stand on … More Commas and Semicolons

Subjunctive

Subjunctive Mood Choose the correct word: 1. If I (was/were) you, I wouldn’t bury that cat until it’s dead. 2  I wish I (was/were) rich. 3  If she (was/were) in town, we didn’t see her. 4  It is essential that  she (is/be) on time. I move that the project (is/be) terminated. Answers: 1. were  2. … More Subjunctive