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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.
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.
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.
40 Topics for an Argumentative Essay
These thirty statements may be either defended or attacked in an argument essay.
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 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.
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.
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 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 Are Figures of Speech?
The figures of speech are the various rhetorical uses of language that depart from customary construction, order, or significance.
Five Examples of Descriptive Paragraphs
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The purpose of
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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 Is an Adverb?
An adverb is the part of speech (or word class) primarily used to modify a verb, adjective, or other adverb.
Punctuating Sentences With Colons
The colon is a mark of punctuation (:) used after a statement that introduces a quotation, an explanation, an example, or a series.
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.
What Is a Complex Sentence?
A complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
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 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 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 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 a Compound Sentence?
A sentence that contains at least two independent clauses.
10 Frightful Opening Lines
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >When was the last
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Is Expository Writing?
A pedagogical term for any form of writing that conveys information and explains ideas: exposition.
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 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).
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.
A List of 100 Irregular Plural Nouns in English
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Most English nouns
Is This a Rhetorical Question?
A question asked merely for effect with no answer expected.
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.
What Is a Compound-Complex Sentence?
A sentence with two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
What Are Simple Sentences in English Grammar?
A sentence with only one independent clause.
What Are the Different Types of Third-Person...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: The
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 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 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 Conjunctions in English Grammar?
A conjunction is the part of speech that serves to connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.
What's the Difference Between Hanged and Hung?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >For centuries,
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 Diphthongs?
In phonetics, a diphthong is a vowel in which there is a noticeable sound change within the same syllable.
What Are the Subordinating Conjunctions in...
A conjunction that introduces a dependent clause.
How Do You Form the Present-Perfect in English...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Once you understand
Introductory Paragraphs: Examples and Guidelines
An introductory paragraph is the opening paragraph in a conventional essay or composition.
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.
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.
What Is the Communication Process and How Does...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: The
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.
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.
A Definition of Simile With 40 Examples
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
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.
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.
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 Pronouns in English Grammar?
A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause.
What Are Homonyms?
Two or more words that have the same sound or spelling but differ in meaning.
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 Is Concord in English Grammar?
A concord is another term for grammatical agreement between two words in a sentence.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Are Suffixes in English?
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.
Is This an Interrogative Sentence?
An interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks a question.
What Is a Gerund in English Grammar?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
Definition and Examples of Irony
Irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning.
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.
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.
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.
What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and...
Question: What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and Prescriptive Grammar?
What Are Morphemes in English?
A meaningful linguistic unit (a word or a word element) that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts.
What's So Common About Common Nouns in English?
A noun that's not the name of any particular person, place, or thing.
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.
Writing Summaries: Guidelines and Examples
A summary is a shortened version of a text that highlights its key points.
What Is Figurative Language?
Language in which figures of speech (such as metaphors, similes, and hyperbole) freely occur.
Definition and Examples of Oxymorons
An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.
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 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.
Examples of Spatial Order in Composition
In composition, a method of organization in which details are presented as they are (or were) located in space.
What Is an Independent Clause in English?
An independent clause is a group of words made up of a subject and a predicate.
What Is Situational Irony?
An occasion in which the outcome is significantly different from what was expected or considered appropriate.
What Is Metonymy?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Are Noun Phrases in English Grammar?
A noun phrase (NP) is a word group with a noun or pronoun as its head.
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.
How to Find the Subject of a Sentence
A subject is one of the two main parts of a sentence. Here we'll use examples to show you some of the different types of subjects.
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.
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.
All About Alliteration (and How to Use It)
Alliteration is the repetition of an initial consonant sound.
14 Types of Repetition in Rhetoric
In linguistics and rhetoric, repetition is an instance of using a word, phrase, or clause more than once in a short passage--dwelling on a point.
Definition and Examples of Paradox
A paradox is a figure of speech in which a statement appears to contradict itself.
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'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.
Grammar Basics: What Is an Adjective?
An adjective is the part of speech that modifies a noun or a pronoun.
What Are Consonant Clusters?
A group of two or more consonant sounds that come before, after, or between vowels. (the st in stop or in post, for example)
How to Develop and Organize a Classification...
Once you have settled on a topic for a classification essay and explored it through various prewriting strategies, you should be ready to attempt a first draft. This article will show you how to develop and organize a five-paragraph classification essay.
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 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.
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 Is Narrative Writing?
A narrative is an account of a sequence of events, usually in chronological order.
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.
Ample Examples of Assonance in English
Assonance is the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in neighboring words.
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.
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 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 Are Exclamatory Sentences?
An exclamatory sentence is a sentence that expresses strong feelings by making an exclamation.
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.
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 Present and Past Participles in...
A verbal that functions as an adjective.
Why Are Collocations Called the Wheel of...
A collocation is a familiar grouping of words, especially words that habitually appear together and thereby convey meaning by association.
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.
30 Writing Topics: Persuasion
Any one of these 30 issues may serve as the basis for a persuasive essay or speech.
What Is an Adverbial Clause?
A dependent clause used as an adverb within a sentence.
19 Awesome Examples of Hyperbole
Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect; an extravagant statement.
Examples of Adjective Clauses in English
An adjective clause is a dependent clause used as an adjective within a sentence.
Colons, Semicolons, and Dashes: What's the...
No intestinal jokes here, please. We're talking about three much-abused marks of punctuation: semicolons, colons, and dashes.
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 Different Points of View in...
The perspective from which a speaker or writer recounts a narrative or presents information.
What Are Prepositional Phrases?
Acting like adjectives and adverbs, prepositional phrases add meaning to the nouns and verbs in a sentence.
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 Homophones?
Homophones are two or more words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, origin, and often spelling.
What is Parallelism in English Grammar?
Similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses.
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 Are Some Examples of Antithesis?
In rhetoric, antithesis is the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases.
When to Use Capital Letters
Be guided (but not enslaved) by these 18 rules for capitalization in English.
What Are the 8 Parts of Speech in English?
One way to begin studying basic sentence structures is to consider the parts of speech. Here you will learn the names and basic functions of these sentence parts.
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.
What Are the Articles in English Grammar and...
In grammar, an article is a type of determiner that precedes a noun.
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 Digraphs in English?
A digraph is two successive letters that represent a single sound.
What Is Chronological Order in a Composition?
In composition, chronological order is a method of organization in which actions or events are presented as they occur (or occurred) in time.
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 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.
Ellipsis in English Grammar and Rhetoric
In grammar and rhetoric, ellipsis is the omission of one or more words, which must be supplied by the listener or reader.
What Is Word Formation?
In linguistics, the ways in which new words are made on the basis of other words or morphemes.
Imagery in Writing: Examples of Appeals to the...
Imagery is vivid descriptive language that appeals to one or more of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste).
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 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.
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