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Grammar & Composition: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Definition and Examples of Prepositions in...
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence.
What Are the Basic Sentence Structures?
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 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.
Five Examples of Descriptive Paragraphs
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The purpose of
50 Writing Topics for a Narrative Essay or Speech
At least one of these 50 topic suggestions should remind you of a particular incident that you can relate in a clearly organized narrative essay.
40 Topics for an Argumentative Essay
These thirty statements may be either defended or attacked in an argument essay.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 Consonant?
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.
20 Memory Tricks to Help You Spell Words...
The most effective memory devices tend to be the ones we make up ourselves (and the sillier they are, the better). But it would be hard to beat these 20 classic spelling mnemonics.
What Is a Compound Sentence?
A sentence that contains at least two independent clauses.
10 Words to Avoid in Formal Writing
According to the conventions of Standard English, the 10 words in this list should generally be avoided in reports, essays, and other kinds of formal writing.
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 Verbs in English and How Do You Use...
A verb is the part of speech (or word class) that describes an action or occurrence or indicates a state of being.
What Is a Compound-Complex Sentence?
A sentence with two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
What Is Expository Writing?
A pedagogical term for any form of writing that conveys information and explains ideas: exposition.
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 Are Predicate Nominatives in English...
Predicate nominative is the traditional term for a noun, pronoun, or other nominal that follows a linking verb. The contemporary term for a predicate nominative is subject complement.
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.
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).
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.
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 Simple Sentences in English Grammar?
A sentence with only one independent clause.
Descriptive Writing: 40 Topic Ideas
Descriptive writing calls for close attention to details. To help you get started, here are some topic suggestions for a descriptive paragraph or essay.
What Are the Subordinating Conjunctions in...
A conjunction that introduces a dependent clause.
What Is a Gerund in English Grammar?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
What Is a Helping Verb?
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.
40 Topic Suggestions for a Compare-And-Contrast...
To write an effective comparison and contrast, keep in mind that your subjects should be logically comparable and your composition should have a clear purpose. The 40 topic suggestions listed here are offered as starting points to help you discover some fresh ideas on your own.
What Are Conjunctions in English Grammar?
A conjunction is the part of speech that serves to connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.
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 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.
Introductory Paragraphs: Examples and Guidelines
An introductory paragraph is the opening paragraph in a conventional essay or composition.
How Do You Form the Present-Perfect in English...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Once you understand
What Is Situational Irony?
An occasion in which the outcome is significantly different from what was expected or considered appropriate.
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.
What Is the Communication Process and How Does...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: The
A Definition of Simile With 40 Examples
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
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 Is Syntax?
(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 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.
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.
What Are Present and Past Participles in...
A verbal that functions as an adjective.
What Are Homonyms?
Two or more words that have the same sound or spelling but differ in meaning.
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.
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.
What Are Pronouns in English Grammar?
A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause.
Is This a Rhetorical Question?
A rhetorical question is a question asked merely for effect with no answer expected.
What Are Suffixes in English?
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.
What Are Diphthongs?
In phonetics, a diphthong is a vowel in which there is a noticeable sound change within the same syllable.
Definition and Examples of Dependent Clauses in...
A group of words that has both a subject and a verb but (unlike an independent clause) cannot stand alone as a sentence.
200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs
Homonyms, homophones, and homographs are words that are easily confused because they look alike or sound alike (or both) but have different meanings. These charts--which list some of the most common homonyms, homophones, and homographs--should help you recognize the differences between many commonly confused words.
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 Irony
Irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning.
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.
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 Are Parallel Structures in Writing?
Two or more words, phrases, or clauses that are similar in length and grammatical form.
What Is Figurative Language?
Figurative language is language in which figures of speech (such as metaphors, similes, and hyperbole) freely occur.
What Are Periodic Sentences in English Grammar?
A long and frequently involved sentence, marked by suspended syntax, in which the sense is not completed until the final word--usually with an emphatic climax.
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.
Ample Examples of Assonance in English
Assonance is the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in neighboring words.
What Is an Independent Clause in English?
An independent clause is a group of words made up of a subject and a predicate.
Make Your Writing Grow With Cumulative Sentences
An independent clause followed by a series of subordinate constructions that gather details about a person, place, event, or idea.
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 Is Metonymy?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
Definition and Examples of Oxymorons
An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.
Is This an Interrogative Sentence?
An interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks a question.
A List of 100 Irregular Plural Nouns in English
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Most English nouns
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.
50 Writing Topic Ideas for Process Analysis
You'll find that it's not too difficult to develop a paragraph or essay through process analysis if you've chosen a topic that you know quite well. These 50 prompts are meant to help you to discover that topic.
The Uses of Dialogue in Fiction, Nonfiction,...
(1) A verbal exchange between two or more people. (2) A conversation reported in a drama or narrative.
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's the Difference Between Hanged and Hung?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >For centuries,
Examples of Adjective Clauses in English
An adjective clause is a dependent clause used as an adjective within a sentence.
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.
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 distinguish.
What Are the Different Points of View in...
The perspective from which a speaker or writer recounts a narrative or presents information.
A Guide to Understanding Prefixes in the...
A letter or group of letters attached to the beginning of a word that partly indicates its meaning.
What Is the Oxford (or Serial) Comma?
The Oxford (or serial) comma is the comma that precedes the conjunction before the final item in a list of three or more items:
What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and...
Question: What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and Prescriptive Grammar?
What Is an Adverbial Clause?
A dependent clause used as an adverb within a sentence.
Definition and Examples of Anaphora in Rhetoric
Anaphora is a rhetorical term for the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses.
40 Interesting Topics for a Paragraph, Essay,...
If you're asked by your writing instructor to compose a paragraph or essay developed with examples, these 40 topic suggestions should help you get started.
Definition and Examples of Paradox
A paradox is a figure of speech in which a statement appears to contradict itself.
What is Parallelism in English Grammar?
Similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses.
What Is Narrative Writing?
A narrative is an account of a sequence of events, usually in chronological order.
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.
Writing Summaries: Guidelines and Examples
A summary is a shortened version of a text that highlights its key points.
Grammar Basics: What Is an Adjective?
An adjective is the part of speech that modifies a noun or a pronoun.
What Are Noun Phrases in English Grammar?
A noun phrase (NP) is a word group with a noun or pronoun as its head.
What Are the Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement in...
Subject-verb agreement is the correspondence of a verb with its subject in person and number.
99 Examples of 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. Alongside quotations from Plato, Ovid, and Shakespeare you'll find fresh figures from the likes of Tom Robbins, Eminem, and Rita Mae Brown.
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.
15 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.
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.
All About Alliteration (and How to Use It)
Alliteration is the repetition of an initial consonant sound.
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, by identifying 10 types of verbs, we'll briefly consider some of their more common functions as well.
What Are the Articles in English Grammar and...
In grammar, an article is a type of determiner that precedes a noun.
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.
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.
What Are Prepositional Phrases?
Acting like adjectives and adverbs, prepositional phrases add meaning to the nouns and verbs in a sentence.
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.
25 Examples of Absolute Phrases in English
A group of words that modifies an independent clause as a whole.
Examples and Uses of the Passive Voice in English
A type of sentence or clause in which the subject receives the verb's action.
What Are Extended Metaphors?
An extended metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things that continues throughout a series of sentences in a paragraph or lines in a poem.
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.
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
Subjects, Verbs, and Objects: The Basic Parts...
Here you will learn how to identify and use subjects, verbs, and objects--which together form the basic sentence unit.
These Examples of Litotes Aren't So Bad
Litotes is a figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.
What's So Common About Common Nouns in English?
A noun that's not the name of any particular person, place, or thing.
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.
What Is Tone in Writing?
Tone is a writer's attitude toward subject, audience, and self.
What Are Direct Quotations?
A direct quotation is a report of the exact words of an author or speaker.
22 Great Examples of Personification
Personification is a figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities.
What's So Proper About Proper Nouns in English?
A proper noun is a noun belonging to the class of words used as names for unique individuals, events, or places.
What Are Past Participles in English?
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 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 Are Homophones?
Homophones are two or more words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, origin, and often spelling.
What Is Coherence in Composition?
The logical connections that readers or listeners perceive in a written or oral text.
Sometime, Some time, and Sometimes: What's the...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The adverb sometime
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.
What Is Diction?
(1) Choice and use of words in speech or writing. (2) A way of speaking, usually assessed in terms of prevailing standards of pronunciation and elocution.
Infinitives in English Grammar
An infinitive is a verbal that can function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.
What Are Adverb(ial) Phrases in English?
An adverb phrase is a word group with an adverb as its head.
Definition and Examples of Communication
The process of sending and receiving messages through verbal or nonverbal means--speech (oral communication), writing (written communication), signs, signals, or behavior.
What Are Exclamatory Sentences?
An exclamatory sentence is a sentence that expresses strong feelings by making an exclamation.
claim (argument)
A claim is an arguable statement.
Definition and Examples of the Figure of Speech...
Synecdoche is a figure of speech is which a part is used to represent the whole or the whole for a part.
What Are the Different Types of Phrases in...
A small group of related words within a sentence or a clause.
What Is a Syllogism in Logic?
In logic, a syllogism is a form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.
What Is Intonation in English Speech?
In linguistics, the use of changing vocal pitch to convey grammatical information or personal attitude.
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.
What Are Coordinating Conjunctions in English?
A conjunction that joins two similarly constructed and/or syntactically equal words or phrases or clauses.
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.
What Does It Mean to Write in the First-Person?
Find out the meaning and uses of the first-person point of view in English.
Definitions and Discussions of Grammar in English
Grammar is the systematic study and description of a language.
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