Since it began in 2006, About.com Grammar & Composition has grown to well over 4,000 pages. Unfortunately, finding the page you're looking for can be a challenge, so the aim of this article is to help you navigate the site.
The best starting point is usually the search box near the top-right of each page. As long as we're using the same terms, the About.com search engine is fairly effective. (If you're ever misdirected, click the back button on your browser and try again with a related term.)
Somewhat less helpful are the four horizontal tabs at the top of (almost) every page:
- Grammar & Composition (the site home page)
- Words & Sentences
- Paragraphs & Essays
- Style & Figures of Speech
For a full site directory, look for the vertical list of 13 categories, beginning with "Writing Tips" and ending with "Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary." Sometimes the list is labeled "Browse Topic" and located near the top-left of a page. Other times it's called "By Category" and found near the bottom. (On the home page, the same list appears in both spots under different headings.) If you have patience and an adventuresome spirit, this directory should eventually steer you to the information you're seeking.
Frequently Visited Sections
Finally, if you're baffled by these navigational aids, here's a straightforward collection of 12 of the most frequently visited sections of About.com Grammar & Composition.
- The Grammar & Composition Blog
A fresh blog post appears on the Grammar & Composition home page every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Readers are encouraged to respond by clicking on the "comments" link at the end of each post. (To review posts going back to January 2007, visit the Archive of Grammar & Composition Blogs.)
- The Weekly Grammar & Composition Newsletter
Delivered every Monday by email, the Grammar & Composition Newsletter provides links to the previous week's blog entries and to other recently posted articles, essays, and exercises. To receive the newsletter, enter your email address in the "sign up" box near the top-right of any page on the site.
- The Grammar & Composition Forum
The Grammar & Composition Forum is a place where you can ask and answer questions concerning points of English grammar and usage. To join the conversation, simply go here, click on "Register," fill in the few required items, and hit "I accept."
- Glossary of Grammatical & Rhetorical Terms
What started out as a modest glossary has evolved into one of the Web's most extensive collections of language-related terms in English--over 1,600 words and counting. In addition to definitions and examples for each entry, you'll find observations from a wide range of authorities and detailed cross-references. The Glossary of Grammatical & Rhetorical Terms is updated daily.
- Classic Essays and Speeches
Many instructors of composition, speech, and creative nonfiction rely on our collection of over 200 Classic British and American Essays and Speeches. One or two pieces are added every week, and some are accompanied by study questions.
- Sentence Combining Exercises
An alternative to traditional methods of grammar instruction, sentence combining gives students practice in manipulating a variety of sentence structures. Start with the article What Is Sentence Combining and How Does It Work? At the bottom of that page you'll find links to the 22 building and combining exercises on this site.
- Exercises and Quizzes
In the category of Exercises and Quizzes, you'll find links to dozens of tests and exercises that offer additional practice in correctly and effectively using words, composing sentences, and developing paragraphs and essays.
- Writers on Writing
In the 60 articles collected in Writers on Writing: Advice From the Pros, professional authors share their thoughts on topics that cover all stages of the writing process and many aspects of the writing life.
- A Scrapbook of Styles
These brief excerpts from essays, short stories, autobiographies, and novels--most of which were published over the past 50 years--illustrate some of the key stylistic traits of their well-known authors. You'll find more than 100 passages in A Scrapbook of Styles.
- Rhetoric and Style
Among other resources at Rhetoric and Style, you'll find dozens of articles that examine and illustrate the figures of speech--from Love Is a Metaphor to the Ten Greatest Hyperboles of All Time.
- Topic Suggestions for Essays and Speeches
This section is for students who find that coming up with a good topic is the hardest part of the composing process. The prompts and suggestions at 400 Writing Topics are organized into 11 broad categories.
- Commonly Confused Words
To view our ever-expanding collection of confusables (with examples and exercises), go to the Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words.
Final word of warning. The auto-generated lists of "Related Articles" and "Related Searches" found on many pages are often comically unrelated to anything else on the site.
Thank you for visiting About.com Grammar & Composition. If you still can't find what you're looking for, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Richard Nordquist
About.com Guide to Grammar & Composition