Words & Sentences
- All About Words
- Parts of Speech and Word Classes
- Building Sentences
- Sentence Combining Exercises
- Punctuating Words & Sentences
All About Words
Learn to use words correctly, effectively, and imaginatively.
- What Is Language?
- Commonly Confused Words
- Six Common Myths About Language
- Etymology: Word Stories
- Key Dates in the History of English
- Neil Postman's Exercise in Etymology
- Words That May Not Mean What You Think They Mean
- Tips to Cut the Clutter
- Ten Good Small Words
- Common Redundancies
- Commonly Misspelled Words
- Denotations and Connotations
- Copyediting Terms
- Spelling Rules
- 200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs
- Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary
- 200 Expressions That Tick You Off
- Weird, Witty, and Wonderful Language-Related Terms
- Top 20 Figures of Speech
- What Are Clichés and Why Are We Supposed to Avoid Them?
Parts of Speech and Word Classes
Learning the names and functions of the traditional parts of speech probably won't make you a better writer. But you will gain a basic understanding of the English language, which will help you follow the other lessons here at About.com Grammar and Composition. And those lessons will help you to improve your writing.
- The Basic Parts of Speech
- Word Classes
- Ten Types of Verbs
- Notes on Verbs
- What Is the Difference Between a "Weak Verb" and a "Strong Verb"?
- What Is Verbing?
- Notes on Nouns
- What Is an Appositive?
- Notes on Prepositions
- Is It Wrong to End a Sentence With a Preposition?
- Notes on THE Definite Article
- What Is a Sentence Adverb?
- What Is a Double Genitive?
- What Is a Present Participle?
- What Is the Difference Between the Present Progressive and Present Participle?
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, then, by identifying those basic sentence structures and considering how to use them effectively.
- What Is Grammar?
- Why Does Grammar Matter?
- Basic Sentence Structures
- The Basic Parts of Speech
- 24 Grammatical Terms That We Should Have Learned in School
- 100 Key Grammatical Terms
- Ten Types of Grammar
- Exercise in Using Specific Descriptive Details in Sentences
- Sentence Building With Adjectives and Adverbs
- Sentence Building with Prepositional Phrases
- Sentence Building With Coordinators
- Sentence Building with Adjective Clauses
- Sentence Building with Appositives
- Sentence Building with Adverb Clauses
- Sentence Building with Participial Phrases
- Sentence Building with Absolutes
- Sentence Building with Noun Phrases and Noun Clauses
Sentence Combining Exercises
Sentence combining calls on you to experiment with different ways of developing sentences and paragraphs. A detailed knowledge of formal grammar isn't required to complete these exercises.
- What Is Sentence Combining and How Does It Work?
- Introduction to Sentence Combining
- Exercise #2: "New York Is a City of Things Unnoticed"
- Exercise #3: Martha's Departure (Adjectives & Adverbs)
- Exercise #4: Nervous Norman (Basic Modifiers)
- Exercise #5: The San Francisco Earthquake (Coordination)
- Exercise #6: Rolling Along With Mr. Bill (Adjective Clauses)
- Exercise #7: Out of the Ice Age (Adjective Clauses)
- Exercise #8: How Teachers Make Children Hate Reading (Cause & Effect)
- Exercise #9: The Kitchen (Description)
- Exercise #10: Mrs. Bridge (Narration)
- Exercise #11: My Home of Yesteryear (Participial Phrases)
- Exercise #12: Orwell's "A Hanging" (Various Structures)
- Sentence Recombining: The Flood, by John Steinbeck
Punctuating Words & Sentences
Understanding the principles behind the common marks of punctuation should help us to follow the conventions consistently in our own writing.
- Basic Rules of Punctuation
- A Brief History of Punctuation
- Punctuation Matters: A "Dear John" Letter and a Two Million Dollar Comma
- End Punctuation: Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points
- Punctuation Practice: Using End Marks of Punctuation
- Guidelines for Using Commas Effectively
- Creating Sentences With Commas: A Sentence Imitation Exercise
- Review Exercise: Adding Commas to a Paragraph
- What Is the Oxford (or Serial) Comma?
- How to Use the Semicolon
- Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes
- Creating Sentences With Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes
- Review Exercise: Using Commas and Semicolons Correctly
- Guidelines for Using Apostrophes Correctly
- Guidelines for Using Quotation Marks Effectively
- Review Exercise: Punctuating Sentences Correctly