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Grammar & Composition: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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.
What Are the Most Common English Prefixes?
Understanding the meanings of the common prefixes can help us deduce the meanings of new words. This table defines and illustrates 35 common prefixes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
5 Delightful Examples of Descriptive Paragraphs
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The purpose of
What Are Simple Sentences in English Grammar?
A simple sentence is a sentence with only one independent clause.
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 Preposition?
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.
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 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 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.
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 a Metaphor?
We speak and write and think in metaphors every day. They can't be avoided: metaphors are baked into our language. Here are some examples.
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 a Compound Sentence?
A compound sentence is a sentence that contains at least two independent clauses.
How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph
In this project, you will begin by selecting one of your belongings and then drafting a list of details that describe it. Next, you will put these details into sentences and organize the sentences into a paragraph. Finally, you will revise the paragraph to make sure that it is unified and clearly organized.
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.
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 Is the Communication Process and How Does...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition The
Is This an Interrogative Sentence?
An interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks a question.
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 in English Grammar?
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 Complex Sentences in English Grammar?
A complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
40 Topic Suggestions for an Argumentative Essay...
These thirty statements may be either defended or attacked in an argumentative essay or speech.
What Are the Subordinating Conjunctions in...
A conjunction that introduces a dependent clause.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Introductory Paragraphs: Examples and Guidelines
An introductory paragraph is the opening paragraph in a conventional essay or composition.
I Love Exclamatory Sentences!
An exclamatory sentence is a sentence that expresses strong feelings by making an exclamation.
What Is an Independent Clause in English?
An independent clause is a group of words made up of a subject and a predicate.
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 Conjunctions in English Grammar?
A conjunction is the part of speech that serves to connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.
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.
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.
What Is Expository Writing?
Expository writing is a pedagogical term for any form of writing that conveys information and explains ideas: exposition.
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.
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 Homonyms?
Homonyms are two or more words that have the same sound or spelling but differ in meaning.
200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs
These charts list some of the most common homonyms, homophones, and homographs in English.
What Are the Articles in English Grammar and...
In grammar, an article is a type of determiner that precedes a noun.
50 of the Most Commonly Used Contractions in...
In this table you'll find 50 of the most frequently used contractions in English.
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.
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 Diphthongs?
In phonetics, a diphthong is a vowel in which there is a noticeable sound change within the same syllable.
What Is a Determiner in English Grammar?
A determiner is a word or a group of words that introduces a noun.
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.
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 Form the Present-Perfect in English...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Once you understand
Definitions and Discussions of Grammar in English
Grammar is the systematic study and description of a language.
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.
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.
10 Quick Tips to Improve Your Writing
Whether we're composing a blog or a business letter, an email or an essay, we should aim to respond clearly and directly to our readers' needs and interests.
What Is a Gerund in English Grammar?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition A verbal
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 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 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 the Characteristics of a Good...
An introduction is the opening of an essay or speech. Typically it identifies the topic, arouses interest, and prepares for the development of the thesis.
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.
7 Secrets to Success in English 101
English 101 should be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding courses in your college life. But to succeed in anything, it helps to be prepared.
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.
Definition and Examples of Communication
Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages through verbal and/or nonverbal means.
What Are the Different Types of Third-Person...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: The
50 Examples of Blended Words
A blend is a word formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two or more other words.
What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and...
Question: What Is the Difference Between Descriptive and Prescriptive Grammar?
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
A List of 100 Irregular Plural Nouns in English
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Is This a Rhetorical Question?
A rhetorical question is a question asked merely for effect with no answer expected.
What's So Common About Common Nouns in English?
A common noun is a noun that's not the name of any particular person, place, or thing.
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 Is the Literal Meaning of 'Literal'?
Literal meaning is the most obvious or non-figurative sense of a word or words; language that is not perceived as metaphorical or ironic.
What Is Phonetics?
Phonetics is the branch of linguistics that deals with the sounds of speech and their production, combination, description, and representation by written symbols.
What Is an Abstract Noun?
An abstract noun is a noun that names an idea, event, quality, or concept.
What Are Coordinating Conjunctions in English?
A coordinating conjunction is a conjunction that joins two similarly constructed and/or syntactically equal words or phrases or clauses.
What Are Present and Past Participles in...
A participle is a verbal that functions as an adjective.
250 Topics for Familiar Essays
If you're stuck for a topic for your next essay, here are 250 suggestions to get you started.
The 200 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in English
A list of 200 of the most commonly misspelled words in English.
Composing With Cumulative Sentences
A cumulative sentence is a main clause followed by a series of subordinate constructions that gather details about a person, place, event, or idea.
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 Rhetorical Situation?
A rhetorical situation is the context of a rhetorical act, made up of a rhetor, an issue, and an audience.
What Is English Composition?
Definitions, discussions, and examples of written compositions in English.
What Is an Adjective?
An adjective is the part of speech that modifies a noun or a pronoun.
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.
A Definition of Simile With 40 Examples
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition A figure
Writing Summaries: Guidelines and Examples
A summary is a shortened version of a text that highlights its key points.
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.
25 Grammatical Terms That We Should Have...
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 Are the Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement in...
Subject-verb agreement is the correspondence of a verb with its subject in person and number.
What Is Figurative Language?
Figurative language is language in which figures of speech (such as metaphors, similes, and hyperbole) freely occur.
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.
What Are Periodic Sentences in English Grammar?
A periodic sentence is a long and frequently involved sentence, marked by suspended syntax, in which the sense is not completed until the final word.
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 a Narrative Essay?
A narrative is an account of a sequence of events, usually in chronological order.
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 Characteristics of Academic Writing?
Academic writing refers to the forms of expository prose used by university students and researchers to convey a body of information about a particular subject.
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 Predicate Nominatives in English...
Predicate nominative is the traditional term for a noun, pronoun, or other nominal that follows a linking verb.
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 Different Points of View in...
Point of view is the perspective from which a speaker or writer recounts a narrative or presents information.
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 Compound Nouns in English?
A compound noun is made up of two or more nouns that function as a single noun.
Affirmative Sentences in English Grammar
Affirmative sentence is a traditional grammatical term for any statement that is positive, not negative.
What Are Context Clues (and What Are They Good...
A context clue is information that appears near a word or phrase and offers direct or indirect suggestions about its meaning.
Which Style Manual Is Right for You?
This list of 28 standard style guides for students, researchers, and professionals is updated annually.
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.
Base Forms of Verbs in English
The base form of a verb is the simplest form of a verb, without a special ending; it is the form listed in the dictionary.
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.
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.
How to Write an Effective Narrative Essay
This assignment will give you practice in composing a narrative essay based on personal experience--sometimes called a personal statement.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
Personal Pronouns in English Grammar
A personal pronoun is a pronoun that refers to a particular person, group, or thing.
Examples of Balanced Sentences in English
A balanced sentence is made up of two parts that are roughly equal in length, importance, and grammatical structure.
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.
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.
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.
50 Quick Writing Prompts
If you're stuck for something to write about, use these hints, snippets, cues, and clues to prod your memory and get started.
What Is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is the process of independently analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information as a guide to behavior and beliefs.
What Is a Thesis Statement in an Essay or Speech?
A thesis is the main idea of an essay, report, speech, or research paper, often written as a single declarative sentence.
Definition and Examples of Verbals in English
A verbal is a verb form that functions in a sentence as a noun or a modifier rather than as a verb.
What Is Pragmatics?
Pragmatics is concerned with the use of language in social contexts and the ways in which people produce and comprehend meanings through language.
What Are Collective Nouns in English (and How...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
Examples of Different Types of Outlines in...
An outline is a plan for--or a summary of--a writing project or speech.
Word Stories: The Surprising Origins of...
The study of word histories (etymology) can be entertaining and thought-provoking. Find out some of the many ways in which new words have entered (and continue to enter) the English language.
What Is Tone in Writing?
Tone is a writer's attitude toward subject, audience, and self.
What Is a Dialect?
A dialect is a regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary.
Types of Word Formation in English
In linguistics, word-formation refers to the ways in which new words are made on the basis of other words or morphemes.
What Is Coherence in Composition?
The logical connections that readers or listeners perceive in a written or oral text.
Examples and Uses of the Passive Voice in English
Passive voice refers to a type of sentence or clause in which the subject receives the verb's action.
Observations on Morphology, the Study of Word...
Morphology is the branch of linguistics (and one of the major components of grammar) that studies word structures, especially in terms of morphemes.
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