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Grammar & Composition: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What Are the Top 20 Figures of Speech?
Though there are hundreds of figures of speech, here we'll focus on just 20 of the most common figures.
400 Topic Suggestions for Essays and Speeches
Coming up with a good topic can be one of the hardest parts of composing a paragraph or essay. These 400 topic suggestions should make that job a little easier.
13 Engaging Ways to Begin an Essay
A good introduction lets readers know what your essay is about and encourages them to keep reading. Here are 13 opening strategies accompanied by examples from a wide range of professional writers.
100 Awfully Good Oxymorons
Oxymorons are often found in literature, but as shown by this list of 100 awfully good examples, they are also part of our everyday speech.
40 Topic Suggestions for an Argumentative Essay...
These thirty statements may be either defended or attacked in an argumentative essay or speech.
50 Topic Suggestions for a Narrative Paragraph,...
At least one of these 50 topic suggestions should remind you of a particular incident that you can recount in a clearly organized narrative essay.
5 Delightful Examples of Descriptive Paragraphs
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The purpose of
Were, We're, and Where: What's the Difference?
Here are some commonly confused words in the English language. Here's an explanation of their differences, along with examples.
What Are Figures of Speech?
The figures of speech are the various rhetorical uses of language that depart from customary construction, order, or significance.
What Is an Adverb?
An adverb is the part of speech (or word class) primarily used to modify a verb, adjective, or other adverb.
The Basic Parts and Structures of English...
One of the keys to good writing is understanding the countless ways in which these basic sentence structures can be combined and arranged.
What Are the Most Commonly Used Contractions in...
In the table below you'll find some of the most frequently used contractions in English.
What Are Some of the Most Common English...
Understanding the meanings of the common suffixes can help us deduce the meanings of new words that we encounter.
Tell Me What Imperative Sentences Are
An imperative sentence gives advice or instructions or expresses a request or command. Read these examples of imperative sentences.
What Is a Thesis Statement?
A thesis statement is a sentence in an essay, report, or speech that identifies the main idea and/or central purpose of the text.
What Is a Preposition?
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence.
40 Topic Suggestions for a Comparison and...
These 40 topic suggestions for a comparison and contrast essay should serve as starting points to help you discover some fresh ideas on your own.
What Are the Most Common English Prefixes?
Understanding the meanings of the common prefixes can help us to deduce the meanings of new words that we encounter. The table on this page defines and illustrates 35 common prefixes.
What Is Expository Writing?
Expository writing is a pedagogical term for any form of writing that conveys information and explains ideas: exposition.
What Are Clauses in English Grammar?
A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate. A clause is either independent or dependent.
What Is a Noun?
A noun is traditionally defined as the part of speech (or word class) that names or identifies a person, place, thing, quality, or activity.
What Are the Consonants in English?
A consonant is a speech sound that's not a vowel; a letter of the alphabet that represents a speech sound produced by a constriction of the speech organs.
How to Write a Professional Email
Email remains one of the most common forms of written communication in the business world--and the most commonly abused. Follow these 10 tips to keep your messages clear, concise, professional, and polite.
40 Topic Suggestions for a Descriptive...
Descriptive writing calls for close attention to details. To help you get started, here are some topic suggestions for a descriptive paragraph or essay.
Definition and Examples of Metaphors in English
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an implicit comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common.
40 Topic Suggestions for a Cause-and-Effect...
Some of the following topic suggestions emphasize causes; others focus on effects. But keep in mind that these two approaches are closely related and not always easy to tell apart.
What Is a Compound Sentence?
A compound sentence is a sentence that contains at least two independent clauses.
What Is a Metaphor?
Some metaphors are so common that we may not even notice that they are metaphors. Take the familiar metaphor of life as a journey, for example.
Introductory Paragraphs: Examples and Guidelines
An introductory paragraph is the opening paragraph in a conventional essay or composition.
What Is a Compound-Complex Sentence?
A compound-complex sentence is a sentence with two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
What Are Present and Past Participial Phrases...
A participial phrase is a word group consisting of a present or past participle and any modifiers, objects, and complements.
What Are Complex Sentences in English Grammar?
A complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
What Are Verbs in English and How Do We Use Them?
A verb is the part of speech (or word class) that describes an action or occurrence or indicates a state of being.
What Is the Communication Process and How Does...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: The
50 Topic Suggestions for an Essay Developed by...
These 50 prompts are meant to help you discover a topic for an essay or speech developed by process analysis.
Is This a Rhetorical Question?
A rhetorical question is a question asked merely for effect with no answer expected.
How Do You Form the Present-Perfect in English...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Once you understand
What Are Declarative Sentences?
A declarative sentence is a sentence in the form of a statement (in contrast to a command, a question, or an exclamation).
What Are Simple Sentences in English Grammar?
A simple sentence is a sentence with only one independent clause.
Definition and Examples of Rhetorical Analysis
Rhetorical analysis is a form of criticism that employs the principles of rhetoric to examine the interactions between a text, an author, and an audience.
What Are the Eight Parts of Speech?
One way to begin studying basic sentence structures is to identify the parts of speech. Here you will learn the names and basic functions of these sentence parts.
Examples of Prepositional Phrases in English...
A prepositional phrase is a group of words made up of a preposition, its object, and any of the object's modifiers.
What Are the Different Types of Third-Person...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: The
What Are Appositives in English Grammar?
An appositive is a noun, noun phrase, or series of nouns placed next to another word or phrase to identify or rename it.
Examples of Cause and Effect in Paragraphs and...
Cause and effect is a method of paragraph or essay development in which a writer analyzes the reasons for (and/or the consequences of) an action, event or decision.
60 Writing Suggestions for an Extended...
Abstract and controversial ideas can be clarified through extended definitions. These 60 concepts can be defined in various ways and from different points of view.
Examples of Noun Clauses in English Grammar
A noun clause is a dependent clause that functions as a noun (that is, as a subject, object, or complement).
Definitions and Examples of the Eight Parts of...
A traditional term for the categories into which words are classified according to their functions in sentences.
What Is Narrative Writing?
A narrative is an account of a sequence of events, usually in chronological order.
What Is a Gerund in English Grammar?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
What Are Diphthongs?
In phonetics, a diphthong is a vowel in which there is a noticeable sound change within the same syllable.
What Are Conjunctions in English Grammar?
A conjunction is the part of speech that serves to connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.
A Definition of Simile With 40 Examples
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
What Are Homonyms?
Homonyms are two or more words that have the same sound or spelling but differ in meaning.
Examples of Alliteration in Prose and Poetry
Alliteration is the repetition of an initial consonant sound.
What Are the Subordinating Conjunctions in...
A conjunction that introduces a dependent clause.
How to Find the Predicate in a Sentence
A predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence. Here we'll use examples to show you some of the different types of predicates.
40 Topic Suggestions for an Essay or Speech...
If you're asked by your instructor to compose an essay or speech developed with examples, these 40 topic suggestions should help you get started.
200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs
These charts list some of the most common homonyms, homophones, and homographs in English.
Suffixes in English Grammar
A suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word or root, serving to form a new word or functioning as an inflectional ending.
A List of 100 Irregular Plural Nouns in English
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Most English nouns
What Are Pronouns in English Grammar?
A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause.
What Are Subordinate Clauses in English Grammar?
A subordinate clause is a group of words that has both a subject and a verb but (unlike an independent clause) cannot stand alone as a sentence.
99 Metaphors for Love
As this rich collection of 99 metaphors demonstrates, love has been compared to everything from a jewel and a fevered dream to a snowmobile and an exploding cigar.
Observations on the Nature of Language
Language is a human system of communication that uses arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.
Examples of Effective Topic Sentences
A topic sentence is a sentence, sometimes at the beginning of a paragraph, that states or suggests the main idea (or topic) of a passage.
How Do You Define a Sentence?
A sentence is the largest independent unit of grammar: it begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
Examples of Process Analysis in Composition
Process analysis is a method of paragraph or essay development by which a writer explains step by step how something is done or how to do something.
A List of 30 Common Word Roots in English
Expand your vocabulary by studying this list of 30 of the most common Greek and Latin root words.
What Are Vowels and Vowel Sounds in English?
A vowel is a letter of the alphabet (a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y) that represents a speech sound created by the relatively free passage of breath through the larynx and oral cavity.
Prefixes in English Grammar
A prefix is a letter or group of letters attached to the beginning of a word that partly indicates its meaning.
Knit Wits, Going Pottie, and Just Falafs: Shop...
Enjoy our collection of punny shop names, from a liquor store named Boo's to a portable-toilet rental service called (get ready) Oui Oui Enterprises.
What Are Predicates in English Grammar?
A predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence or clause, modifying the subject and including the verb, objects, or phrases governed by the verb.
250 Topics for Familiar Essays
If you're stuck for a topic for your next essay, here are 250 suggestions to get you started.
What Are the Parts of Speech?
One way to begin studying basic sentence structures is to consider the parts of speech. Learn the names and basic functions of these sentence parts.
What Is an Adjective?
An adjective is the part of speech that modifies a noun or a pronoun.
What Is the Figure of Speech Known as Apostrophe?
Apostrophe is a rhetorical term for breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing.
pragmatics (language)
A branch of linguistics concerned with the use of language in social contexts and the ways in which people produce and comprehend meanings through language.
How Many Different Kinds of Grammar Are There?
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.
What Are Helping Verbs in English?
A helping verb (or auxiliary) is a verb that comes before the main verb in a sentence. Together the helping verb and the main verb form a verb phrase.
What Are the Articles in English Grammar and...
In grammar, an article is a type of determiner that precedes a noun.
What Is a Figure of Speech?
(1) In common usage, the opposite of a literal expression. (2) In rhetoric, a type of figurative language that departs from conventional order or significance.
What Is Figurative Language?
Figurative language is language in which figures of speech (such as metaphors, similes, and hyperbole) freely occur.
What Are Morphemes in English?
A morpheme is a meaningful linguistic unit (a word or a word element) that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts.
What Is Syntax?
Syntax is (1) the study of the rules that govern the ways words combine to form phrases, clauses, and sentences; (2) the arrangement of words in a sentence.
What Are Noun Phrases in English Grammar?
A noun phrase (NP) is a word group with a noun or pronoun as its head.
Writing Summaries: Guidelines and Examples
A summary is a shortened version of a text that highlights its key points.
What Is a Report?
A document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audience and purpose.
Subjects, Verbs, and Objects: The Basic Parts...
Here you'll learn how to identify and use subjects, verbs, and objects--which together form the basic sentence unit.
What Is a Thesis in an Essay?
The main idea of an essay, report, speech, or research paper, often written as a single declarative sentence.
What Is Proposal Writing?
In business writing, a proposal is a document that offers a solution to a problem or a course of action in response to a need.
What Are Predicate Nominatives in English...
Predicate nominative is the traditional term for a noun, pronoun, or other nominal that follows a linking verb.
Ways of Correcting Run-on Sentences
In prescriptive grammar, a run-on sentence is two independent clauses that have been run together without a conjunction or punctuation mark between them.
Is This an Interrogative Sentence?
An interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks a question.
How to Use Apostrophes Correctly
The apostrophe may be the simplest and yet most frequently misused mark of punctuation in English. Here we'll review six guidelines for using the mark correctly.
What Should You Include in Meeting Minutes?
The official written record of a meeting.
600 Commonly Confused Words in English
In our Glossary of Usage you'll find more than 300 sets of commonly confused words--with links to definitions, examples, usage notes, and exercises.
What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and...
Question: What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and Prescriptive Grammar?
Ample Examples of Assonance in English
Assonance is the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in neighboring words.
300 Classic Essays and Speeches
From the works of Francis Bacon to those of Martin Luther King, Jr.: more than 300 of the greatest essays and speeches composed by British and American authors.
Definition and Examples of Oxymorons in English
An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.
30 Writing Topics: Persuasion
Any one of these 30 issues may serve as the basis for a persuasive essay or speech.
Examples of Adjective Clauses in English
An adjective clause is a dependent clause used as an adjective within a sentence.
What Are the Marks of Punctuation?
Punctuation is the set of marks used to regulate texts and clarify their meanings, principally by separating or linking words, phrases, and clauses.
What Are Present and Past Participles in...
A participle is a verbal that functions as an adjective.
How Many Types of Verbs Are There in English?
Generally, it makes more sense to define a verb by what it does rather than by what it is. Here we'll consider some of the more common functions of verbs.
What Are Prepositional Phrases?
Acting like adjectives and adverbs, prepositional phrases add meaning to the nouns and verbs in a sentence.
Are There Rules for Writing Paragraphs?
A paragraph is a group of closely related sentences that develop a central idea.
Definition and Examples of Irony
Irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning.
Organizational Strategies: Chronological Order
In composition, chronological order is a method of organization in which actions or events are presented as they occur (or occurred) in time.
Examples and Uses of the Passive Voice in English
A type of sentence or clause in which the subject receives the verb's action.
Definition and Examples of Dependent Clauses in...
A dependent clause is a group of words that has both a subject and a verb but (unlike an independent clause) cannot stand alone as a sentence.
What Are Contractions in English?
A contraction is a shortened form of a word or group of words, with the missing letters usually marked by an apostrophe.
inflectional morpheme (words and word parts)
In English morphology, a suffix that's added to a word to assign a particular grammatical property to that word.
What Are Bound Morphemes in English?
A bound morpheme is a morpheme (or word element), such as a prefix or suffix, that cannot stand alone as a word.
What Is Verb Tense in English Grammar?
In grammar, tense is the time of a verb's action or state of being, such as present or past. future.
What Is English Composition?
Definitions, discussions, and examples of written compositions in English.
Definition and Examples of Communication
Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages through verbal or nonverbal means.
Affirmative Sentences in English Grammar
Affirmative sentence is a traditional grammatical term for any statement that is positive, not negative.
What Is Discourse Analysis?
Discourse analysis is the study of the ways in which language is used in texts and contexts.
What's the Difference Between Hanged and Hung?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >For centuries,
Past Participles in English Grammar
The past participle is the third principal part of a verb, created by adding -ed, -d, or -t to the base form of a regular verb.
What Are Modifiers in English Grammar?
A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that functions as an adjective or adverb to limit or qualify the meaning of another word or word group.
What Are Auxiliary (or Helping) Verbs in...
An auxiliary is a verb that determines the mood, tense, or aspect of another verb in a verb phrase.
What Does It Mean to Write in the First-Person?
The first-person point of view relies on first-person pronouns to relate the thoughts, experiences, and observations of a narrator.
What Are the Different Points of View in...
Point of view is the perspective from which a speaker or writer recounts a narrative or presents information.
Examples of Different Types of Outlines in...
An outline is a plan for--or a summary of--a writing project or speech.
The Uses of Dialogue in Fiction, Nonfiction,...
Dialogue is (1) a verbal exchange between two or more people, or (2) a conversation reported in a drama or narrative.
What Are Some Examples of Subjects in English...
In grammar, the subject is the part of a sentence or clause that commonly indicates (a) what it is about, or (b) who or what performs the action.
Organizational Strategies: Spatial Order
In composition, spatial order is a method of organization in which details are presented as they are (or were) located in space.
Definition and Examples of Metonymy
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
What Is an Adverbial Clause?
A dependent clause used as an adverb within a sentence.
Definitions and Discussions of Grammar in English
Grammar is the systematic study and description of a language.
Definition and Examples of Paradox
A paradox is a figure of speech in which a statement appears to contradict itself.
What Are Direct Quotations?
A direct quotation is a report of the exact words of an author or speaker.
The 200 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in English
A list of 200 of the most commonly misspelled words in English.
What Is Affixation (And How Can You Use it to...
In linguistics, affixation is the process of adding a morpheme (or affix) to a word to create either (a) a different form of that word, or (b) a new word with a different meaning.
What Is Narration in Composition and Speech?
In writing or speech, narration is the process of giving an account of a sequence of events, real or imagined.
I Love Exclamatory Sentences!
An exclamatory sentence is a sentence that expresses strong feelings by making an exclamation.
What Is Linguistic Register?
A register is one of many styles or varieties of language determined by such factors as social occasion, purpose, and audience.
Which Words in a Title Should Be Capitalized?
Style guides disagree on which words to capitalize in a title (of a book, article, essay, movie, song, or video game). Here's a basic guide to the two most common methods: sentence case and title case.
What Are the Basic Rules of Punctuation?
Understanding the principles behind the marks of punctuation should help us use the marks consistently in our own writing
What Is an Independent Clause in English?
An independent clause is a group of words made up of a subject and a predicate.
What's an Adjective Phrase in English Grammar?
A word group with an adjective as its head. This adjective may be accompanied by modifiers, determiners, or qualifiers.
Observations on Morphology, the Study of Word...
The branch of linguistics (and one of the major components of grammar) that studies word structures, especially in terms of morphemes.
Model Place Descriptions: Four Descriptive...
In each of these four paragraphs, the author uses precise descriptive details to evoke a distinctive mood as well as convey a memorable picture.
What Is Grammar?
The more we are aware of how grammar works, the more we can monitor the meaning and effectiveness of the way we and others use language.
14 Varieties of Repetition in Rhetoric
In rhetoric, repetition is an instance of using a word, phrase, or clause more than once in a short passage. Here you'll find examples of 14 varieties.
What Are the Functions of the Present Tense in...
In English grammar, the present is a verb tense that expresses action in the present time, indicates habitual actions, or expresses general truths.
When to Use Capital Letters
Be guided (but not enslaved) by these 18 rules for capitalization in English.

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