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English Grammar - Sentence Structures

Here we will practice building effective sentences. After reviewing the basic parts of speech, we'll work with more advanced structures: adjective and adverb clauses, appositives, participial phrases, and absolutes. Finally, we will focus on ways to correct some common problems (fragments and run-ons) to ensure that our sentences are clear and complete.
  1. Grammar Questions & Answers (45)
  2. Sentence Structures (51)
  3. Verb Forms (25)

What Is Grammar?
"Descriptive grammar" refers to the structure of a language as it is actually used by speakers and writers. "Prescriptive grammar" refers to the structure of a language as certain people think it should be used.

Ten Types of Grammar
So you think you know grammar? That's all well and good, but which type of grammar do you know? Consider these ten varieties of grammar--and take your pick.

W. Nelson Francis on the Three Meanings of Grammar
In this excerpt from the article "Revolution in Grammar," W. Nelson Francis points to some of the problems that occur when usage (which he calls "Grammar 3") is confused with either mental grammar ("Grammar 1") or descriptive grammar ("Grammar 2").

Why Does Grammar Matter?
From the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), a lucid and sensible position statement on the value of teaching grammar in American schools.

Why Should We Study English Grammar?
In "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language," David Crystal opens his chapter on "Grammar Mythology" with a list of six good reasons to study grammar.

What Works in Teaching Grammar
In her book "Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing," Constance Weaver delivers on her promise to offer a text that's "more comprehensive, more reader friendly, and more concretely focused on teachers' practical needs." To help you decide whether you'd get along with Dr. Weaver, here are her 12 principles for teaching grammar.

100 Key Grammatical Terms
Drawn from our extensive Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms, this collection provides a quick review of the basic terminology used in the study of traditional English grammar. For a more detailed examination of the word forms and sentence structures introduced here, click on any of the terms to visit a glossary page, where you will...

Grammar Basics: Sentence Parts and Sentence Structures
One of the keys to good writing is understanding the countless ways in which basic sentence structures can be combined and arranged. Let's begin by identifying those basic sentence structures and considering how to use them effectively.

Top 25 Grammatical Terms You Should Have Learned in School
If you're in the mood to brush up on your grammar, this page is for you: brief definitions and examples of 25 of the most common grammatical terms.

What Is Sentence Combining and How Does It Work?
Find out about sentence combining--a friendly (and generally more effective) alternative to traditional grammar instruction. Then begin developing your sentence-combining skills here at About.com Grammar & Composition.

Introduction to Sentence Combining
An introduction to the basic principles and methods of sentence combining.

What Are the Parts of Speech?
"Part of speech" is the common name for a word class--a category into which words are placed according to the work they do in a sentence. Here you'll be introduced to the eight traditional parts of speech.

Notes on Nouns
Welcome to our latest roundup of facts, figures, and wild hunches concerning the English language. In this article we turn our attention to nouns.

Notes on Verbs
In this edition of Language Notes, we turn our attention to the most active part of speech: verbs.

Notes on "Do"
As an auxiliary verb, "do" is sometimes called an "empty" verb or a "dummy operator" because it has no meaning of its own. But do have some respect for this dummy. As we'll see, "do" stays busy. Here are ten things you can do with the verb "do."

Notes on Prepositions
One of the traditional parts of speech and a member of a closed word class, a preposition is a word or phrase that shows the relationship between other words and phrases in a sentence. Here are brief answers to some frequently asked questions about prepositions.

Notes on Coordinating Conjunctions
In this edition of Language Notes, we turn our attention to coordinating conjunctions: short grammatical words connecting words, phrases, or clauses that are roughly equal in form and function.

Notes on THE Definite Article
In this edition of Language Notes, we look at (and listen to) the most commonly used word in English--formally known as the definite article.

"Oh, Wow!": Notes on Interjections
Find out why interjections (from "ah" to "zounds") are regarded as the outlaws of English grammar.

Cohesion and Conciseness Strategies: Using Pronouns Effectively
In this example (with a practice exercise), you will see how pronouns can be used to maintain the cohesion of a paragraph while eliminating excessive repetition.

Twelve Types of Questions in Casablanca
To illustrate the various ways that questions can be framed in English, here are 12 memorable exchanges from the classic film "Casablanca."

Why the Adverb Is Not Our Friend
Without a doubt, the adverb is both the poor stepchild and the Rodney Dangerfield of the parts of speech, enduring the scorn of writers and critics alike.

Plural Forms of English Nouns
Most nouns in English change from singular to plural with the addition of "-s" or "-es." It's the few hundred exceptions that can be perplexing. Here we illustrates some of these rule-breakers with two versions of the poem "The English Lesson."

A 19th Century College Entrance Exam in English Grammar
In 1870, students who had applied to Illinois Industrial University (now the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) were required to take this entrance exam in English.

Sir Hornbook, by Thomas Love Peacock
Thomas Love Peacock's mock-heroic ballad "Sir Hornbook" (1813) is intended to "teach grammar by representing parts of speech as figures of chivalric romance."

A National Grammar Day Grammar Quiz
To mark National Grammar Day on March 4, we offer this short quiz on English grammar--not usage or prescriptive grammar, but what David Crystal calls "the structural foundation of our ability to express ourselves."

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