Language Arts 8th Grade

What We've Learned This Year.... By Erin Guidry

Chapter One: The Sentence

Sentences

A sentence is a word group that contains a subject and a verb that expresses a complete thought. A sentence fragment is a word group that looks like a sentence but does not contain both a subject and a verb or does not express a complete thought.

Example: SENTENCE- Sean was chosen captain of the soccer team.

SENTENCE FRAGMENT- was a well known ragtime pianist. {this has no subject}

Subject

A subject tells whom or what the sentence is about. The complete subject consists of all the words that tell whom or what the sentence is about. The simple subject is the main word or word group that tells whom or what the sentence is about. A compound subject consists of two or more connected subjects that have the same verb.


Examples:

SUBJECT- The kitten with the white paws is called Boots.

COMPLETE SUBJECT- The cat who has sharp nails clawed me.

SIMPLE SUBJECT- Someone in this room is about to get a big surprise!

COMPOUND SUBJECT- Keisha and Todd worked a big jigsaw puzzle.

Predicate

The predicate of a sentence tells something about the subject. The complete predicate consists of a verb and all the words that describe the verb and complete its meaning. The simple predicate, or verb, is that main word or word group that tells something about the subject. A compound verb consists of two or more verbs that have the same subject.


Examples:

PREDICATE- The dog ran around the yard quickly.

COMPLETE PREDICATE- Under a large bush sat the tiny puppy.

SIMPLE PREDICATE {VERB}- The dog is jumping to get the bird.

COMPOUND VERB- The dog barked and growled at the stranger.

Types of Sentences

A declarative sentence makes a statement and ends with a period. An imperative sentence gives a command or makes a request. Most end with a period. A strong command ends with an exclamation point.

An interrogative sentence asks a question and ends with a question mark.

An exclamatory sentence shows excitement or strong feeling and ends with an exclamation point.


Examples:

DECLARATIVE- I have a laptop.

IMPERATIVE- Go grab my computer out of its bag.

INTERROGATIVE- Who is on my laptop?
EXCLAMATORY- Yay, my computer case is in!

Chapter Two: Parts of Speech Overview

Nouns

A noun is a word or word group that is used to name a person, place, thing, or an idea. A compound noun is made up of two or more words used used together as a single noun. A common noun names any one of a group of persons, places, things, or ideas. A proper noun names a particular person, place, thing, or idea. A concrete noun names a person, place, or thing that can be perceived by one or more of the senses. An abstract noun names an idea, a feeling, a quality, or a characteristic. A collective noun is a word that names a group.


Examples:

NOUN- Person: lady, Place: store, Thing: milk, Idea: loyalty

COMPOUND NOUN- basketball (basket--ball)

COMMON NOUN- store

PROPER NOUN- Super One

CONCRETE NOUN- popcorn

ABSTRACT NOUN- love

COLLECTIVE NOUN- pack

Pronouns

A pronoun is a word used in place of one or more nouns or pronouns. A personal pronoun refers to the one speaking , the one spoken to, or the one spoken about. A reflexive pronoun refers to the subject and functions as a complement or an object of a preposition. An intensive pronoun emphasizes a noun or another pronoun. A demonstrative pronoun points out a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. An interrogative pronoun introduces a question. A relative pronoun introduces a subordinate clause. An indefinite pronoun refers to a person, a place, a thing, or an idea that may or may not be specifically named.


Examples:

PRONOUN- he, she, they, themselves

PERSONAL PRONOUN- i, me, my, we, us, yours, he, him, his

REFLEXIVE AND INTENSIVE PRONOUN- myself, ourselves, himself, herself

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN- this, that, these, those

INTERROGATIVE PRONOUN- what, which, who, whom, whose

RELATIVE PRONOUN- that, which, who, whom, whose

INDEFINITE PRONOUN- all, both, everybody, few, more, neither, other, several

Adjective

An adjective is a word used to modify a noun or a pronoun.


Example:

ADJECTIVE- The strong lock would not open.

Chapter 3: Parts of Speech Overview

Verb

A verb is a word used to express action or a state of being. A helping verb helps the main verb express action or state of being. Together, a main verb and a helping verb make up a verb phrase. An action verb is a verb that expresses either physical or mental activity. A linking verb connects the subject to a word or word group that identifies or describes the subject. A transitive verb is a verb that expresses an action directed toward a person, place, thing, or idea. An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, and adjective, or another adverb.


Example:

VERB- The bird drifted high in the sky.

HELPING VERB and VERB PHRASE- The bird has been nesting her eggs in that tree.

ACTION VERB- The bird makes the nest very durable.

LINKING VERB- The bird is one of the many animals that can fly.

TRANSITIVE VERB- Joel held the baby birds after they had hatched.

ADVERB- The birds hatched nearby.

Preposition

A preposition is a word that shows the relationship of a noun or pronoun, called the object of the preposition, to another word. All together, the preposition, the object of the preposition, and any modifiers of the object are called a prepositional phrase.


Example:

PREPOSITION- The package under the tree is mine.

OBJECT OF THE PREPOSITION- The package under the tree is mine.

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE- The package under the tree is mine.

Conjunction

A conjunction is a word used to join words or groups of words. Correlative Conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that join words or word groups that are used in the same way.


Example:

CONJUNCTION- and, but, nor, for, or, so, yet

CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTION- {read down below}

both...and

either...or

neither...nor

whether...or

not only...but also

Interjection

An interjection is a word used to express emotion.


Example:

wow, ah, oh, aha, well

Chapter 4: Compliments

Compliment

A compliment is a word or a word group that completes the meaning of a verb.


Example:

COMPLIMENT- Marlene brought sandwiches.

Direct and Indirect Objects

A direct object is a noun, pronoun, or word group that tells who or what receives the action of the verb. An indirect object is a noun, pronoun, or word group that sometimes appears in sentences containing direct objects.


Example:

DIRECT OBJECT- Mr. Ito greets whoever comes into the skate shop.

INDIRECT OBJECT- Luke showed the class his collection of skate boards.

Subject Complements, Predicate Nominatives, and Predicate Adjectives

A subject complement is a word or word group that completes the meaning of a linking verb and that identifies or describes the subject. A predicate nominative is a word or word group that is in the predicate ad that identifies the subject or refers to it. A predicate adjective is an adjective that is i the predicate and that describes the subject.


Example:

SUBJECT COMPLEMENT- The lemonade tastes sour.

P.N.- Is the winner whoever drinks the most lemonade?

P.A.- The lemonade tastes sweet.

Chapter 5: The Phrase

Phrase

A phrase is a group of related words that is used as a single part of speech and that does not contain both a verb and it's subject. A prepositional phrase includes a preposition, a noun or pronoun called the object of the preposition, and any modifiers of that object. A prepositional phrase that modifies a noun or a pronoun is called an adjective phrase. A prepositional phrase that modifies a verb, an adjective or an adverb is called adverb phrase.


Example:

PHRASE: Saturday became a cool wet afternoon.

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE: I waited for a while.

ADJECTIVE PHRASE: The pie is very delicious and extremely expensive.

ADVERB PHRASE: We made sure our picnic was around the sun.

Verbals and Verbal Phrases

A verbal is a word that is formed from a verb but is used as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. A participle is a verb form that can be used as a adjective. A participle phrase consists of a participle and any modifiers or complements the participle has. The entire phrase is used as an adjective.


Example:

VERBAL: participles, gerunds, and infinitives.

PARTICIPLE: The smiling child waved.

PARTICIPIAL PHRASE: Seeing itself in the mirror, the child seemed quite bewildered.

Gerund and Gerund Phrase

A gerund is a verb form ending in -ing that is used as a noun. A gerund phrase consists of a gerund and any modifiers or complements the gerund has. the entire phrase is used as a noun.


Example:

GERUND: Skiing down that slope was fun.

GERUND PHRASE: The townspeople heard the loud clanging of the fire bell.

Infinitive and Infinitive Phrases

An infinitive is a verb form that can be used as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Most infinitives begin with to. An infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive and any modifiers or complements the infinitive has. The entire phrase may be used as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.


Example:

INFINITIVE: The best time to visit Florida is December through April.

INFINITIVE PHRASE: We lay in the hot sun to get a nice tan.

Appositive and Appositive Phrases

An appositive is a noun or a pronoun placed beside another noun or pronoun to identify or describe it. An appositive phrase consists of an appositive and its modifiers.


Example:

APPOSITIVE: The astronaut, Neil Armstrong, was the first person to walk on the moon.

APPOSITIVE PHRASE: Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, inserted an American flag on the top.

Chapter 6: The Clause

Clause, Independent Clause, and Subordinate Clause

A clause is a word group that contains a verb and its subject and that is used as a sentence or as part of a sentence. An independent (or main) clause expresses a complete thought and can stand by itself as a complete sentence. A subordinate (or dependent) clause does not express a complete thought and cannot stand by itself as a complete sentence.


Example:

CLAUSE: When she lived in Paris [incomplete thought]

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE: The sun set an hour ago [ this whole thing is an independent clause]

SUBORDINATE CLAUSE: what she saw [not a complete thought]

Adjective Clause and Adverb Clause

An adjective clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a noun or pronoun. An adjective clause is usually introduced by a relative pronoun. A relative pronoun relates an adjective clause to the word or words the clause modifies. An adverb clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. An adverb clause is introduced by a subordinating conjunction-a word that shows the relationship between the adverb clause and the word or words that the clause modifies.


Example:

ADJECTIVE CLAUSE: Pizza, which most people love, is not very healthy.

RELATIVE PRONOUN: The pizza, which we ate last night, is cold and hard now.

ADVERB CLAUSE: Whether you like it or not, you have to eat the pizza.

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION: She will wash the dirty dishes once her roommate finishes eating.

Noun Clause

A noun clause is a subordinate clause that is used as a noun. A noun clause may be used as a subject, as a complement (such as a predicate nominative a direct object, or an indirect object), or as an object of a preposition. The word that introduces a noun clause often has a grammatical function within the clause. Sometimes the word that introduces a noun clause is omitted but understood.


Example:

NOUN CLAUSE: Whoever thought of that idea is a genius!

Chapter 7: Sentence Structure

Sentence Structure

The structure of a sentence refers to the kinds and number of clauses it contains. The four kinds of sentences are simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.


*Definitions Below*

Simple Sentence

A simple sentence contains one independent clause and no subordinate clauses. A simple sentence may contain a compound subject, a compound verb, and any number of phrases.


Example:

SIMPLE SENTENCE: The hairstylist gave Latrice a new look.

Compound Sentence

A compound sentence contains two or more independent clauses and no subordinate clauses. The independent clauses are usually joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction: and, but, for, nor, or, so, or yet. The independent clauses in a compound sentence may also be joined by a semicolon or by a semicolon or by a semicolon, a conjunctive adverb, and a comma.


Example:

COMPOUND SENTENCE: The whistle blew, the drums rolled, and the crowd cheered.

Complex Sentence

A complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one subordinate clause. Independent clauses can be interrupted by subordinate clauses.


Example:

COMPLEX SENTENCE: When I watch Martha Graham's performances, I feel like studying dance.

Compound-Complex Sentences

A compound-complex sentence contains two or more independent clauses and at least one subordinate clause.


Example:

COMPOUND-COMPLEX: Yolanda began painting only two years ago, but already she has been asked to show one of her paintings at the exhibit that is scheduled for May.

Chapter 8: Agreement

Number

Number is the form a word takes to indicate whether the word is singular or plural. When a word refers to one person, place, thing, or idea, it is singular in number. When a word refers to more than one person, place, or thing, or idea it is plural in number.


Example: The dogs play.

Singular: The dog plays.

Plural: The students arrive.

Agreement of Subject and Verb

A verb should agree in number with its subject.

1. Singular subjects take singular verbs.

2. Plural subjects take plural verbs.

In a verb phrase, the first helping verb agrees in number with the subject.


Example:

Singular: The car comes to an sudden stop.

Plural: The dolphins leap playfully in the channel.

Problems in Agreement: Phrases and Clauses Between Subjects and Verbs

The number of a subject is not changed by a phrase or clause following the subject.


Example: The lights on the Christmas tree create a festive atmosphere.

Problems in Agreement: Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite Pronoun - a pronoun that does not refer to a definite person, place, thing, or idea.

1. The following Indefinite pronouns are singular: anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, nothing, no one, one, somebody, someone, and something

2. The following indefinite pronouns are plural: both, few, many, and several

3. The indefinite pronouns all, any, more, most, none, and some may be singular or plural, depending on their meaning in a sentence.


Example:

1. Everyone was invited to the celebration.

2. Many of the students walk to school.

3. All of the fruit looks ripe.

Problems in Agreement: Compound Subjects

1. Subjects joined by and usually take a plural verb. Most compound subjects joined by and name more than one person or thing and take plural verbs. A compound subject that names only one person or thing takes a singular verb.

2. Singular subjects joined by or or nor take a singular verb. Plural subjects joined by or or nor take a plural verb.

3. When a singular subject and a plural subject are joined by or or nor, the verb agrees with the subject nearer the verb


Example:

1. Last year a library and a museum were built in our town.

2. A pen and a pencil is needed for this test.

3. Neither the manager nor the employees want to close the store early.

Other Problems Agreement

1. When the subject follow the verb find the subject and make sure the verb agrees with it

2. The contractions don't and doesn't should agree with their subjects.

3. A collective noun may be either singular or plural depending on its meaning in a sentence.

4. An expression of an amount (a measurement, a percentage, or a fraction for example) may be singular or plural, depending on how it is used.

5. Some nouns that are plural in form take singular verbs.

6. Even when plural in form, the title of a creative work (such as a book, song, movie or painting) or the name of a country, city, or organization generally takes a singular verb.

7. A verb agrees with its subject but not necessarily with a predicate nominative


Example:

1. Here is my seat.

2. These gloves don't fit.

3. Tomorrow the science class is taking a field trip to the planetarium.

4. Three years seems like a long time.

5. Economics is my sister's favorite subject.

6. Cedar Rapids is a manufacturing center in the Midwest.

7. The best time to visit is weekday mornings.

Agreement of Pronoun and Antecedent

1. A pronoun should agree in both number and gender with its antecedent.

2. use a singular pronoun to refer to two or more antecedents joined by or or nor.

3. Use a plural pronoun to refer to two or more antecedents joined by and

4. Some indefinite pronouns are plural, some are singular and some may be either.

a. Use a singular pronoun to refer to anybody anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, and nothing.

b. The following indefinite pronouns are plural: both few, many, and several.

c. The indefinite pronouns all, any, more, most, none, and some may be singular or plural, depending on their meaning in a sentence.

5. Either a singular or a plural pronoun may be used to refer to a collective noun, depending on the meaning of the sentence.

6. An expression of an amount may take a singular or plural pronoun, depending on how the expression is used

7. Some nouns that are plural in form take singular pronouns

8. Use a singular pronoun to refer to the title of a creative work (such as a book, song, movie, or painting).

9. Use a singular pronoun to refer to the name of a country, city, or organization.


Example:

1. Bryan lost his book.

2. Julio or Van will bring his football.

3. My mother and father send their regards.

4a. Each of the birds built its own nest.

4b. Were both of the concerts canceled, or were they just rescheduled?

4c. All of the casserole looks burned, doesn't it?

5. The first group will give its presentation next Friday.

6. Ten dollars is all I need. I think I can earn it over the weekend.

7. Singular: I spilled the molasses and had to clean it up.

Plural: Please hand me the scissors when you are finished with them.

8. After reading "Neighbors," I recommended it to Juanita.

9. The Knights of Pythias expects its members to maintain high moral standards.

Chapter 9: Using Verbs Correctly

The Principal Parts of a Verb

The four principal parts of a verb are the base form, the present participle, the past, and the past participle.


Examples:

I sing in the school Glee Club.

We are singing at the music festival tonight

Mahalia Jackson sang spirituals at Carnegie Hall.

We have sung all over the state.

Regular Verbs and Irregular Verbs

A regular verb forms its past and past participle by adding -d or -ed to the base form. An irregular verb forms its past and past participle in some other way than by adding -d or -ed to the base form.


Examples:

Regular: She used to work in the library.

Irregular: Carlos went to the shopping mall.

Verb Tense

The tense of the verb indicates the time of the action or state of being expressed by the verb.

Past - existing or happening in the past

Present - existing or happening now

Future - existing or happening in the future

Past Perfect - existing or happening before a specific time in the past

Present Perfect - existing or happening sometime before now; may be continuing now

Future Perfect - existing or happening before a specific time in the future


Example:

Melissa has saved [present perfect] her money, and now she has [present] enough for a guitar.


The scouts had hiked [past perfect] five miles before they stopped [past] for lunch.


The executive will have seen [future perfect] there report by next and will make [future] a decision

Verb Tense: Conjugating and Progressive Form

Listing the different forms of a verb in the six tenses is called conjugating a verb.


Each of the six tenses has an additional form called the progressive form, which expresses continuing action or state of being. The progressive is not a separate tense but rather another form of each of the six tenses.


Only the present and the past tenses have another form, called the emphatic form which is used to show emphasis. In the present tense, the emphatic form consists of the helping verb do or does and the base form of the verb. In the past tense, the emphatic form consists of the verb did and the base form of a verb.


Examples:

Present Progressive am, are, is writing

Past Progressive was, were writing

Future Progressive will, shall be writing

Present Perfect Progressive Has, have been writing

Past Perfect Progressive had been writing

Future Perfect Progressive will, shall have been writing


Present Emphatic do, does writ

Past Emphatic did write

Verb Tense: Consistency of Tense

Do not change needlessly from one tense to another.


When describing events that occur at the same time, use verbs in the same tense.


When describing events that occur at different times, use verbs in different tenses to show the order of events.


Examples:

INCONSISTENT:

When we were comfortable, we begin to do our homework.

CONSISTENT:

When we were comfortable, we began to do our homework.

Verb Tense: Active Voice and Passive Voice

A verb in the active voice expresses an action done by its subject. A verb in the passive voice expresses an action done to its subject.


Examples:

ACTIVE VOICE:

The school librarian has formed a book club.

PASSIVE VOICE:

A book club has been formed by the school librarian.

Special Problems with Verbs

Sit and Set - the verb sit means "to rest in an upright, seated position" or "to be in a place." Sit seldom takes an object. The verb set means "to put (something) in a place." Set usually takes an object.


Lie and Lay - The verb lie means "to rest," "to recline," or "to be in a place." Lie does not take an objet. The verb lay means "to put (something) in a place." Lay usually takes an object.


Rise and Raise - The verb rise means "to go up" or "to get up." Rise does not take an object. The verb raise means "to lift up" or "to cause (something) to rise." Raise usually takes an object.


Examples:

The napkins are lying next to the plates.

The servers are laying extra napkins beside every plate for the barbecue.

The soldiers lay very still while the enemy passed.

The soldiers laid a trap for the enemy.

Rip Van Winkle had lain asleep for twenty years.

Rip Van Winkle had laid his gun on the ground.


My neighbors rise very early in the morning.

Every morning they raise their shades to let the sunlight in.

Sparks rose from the flames of the campfire.

The breeze raised sparks high into the air.

The senators have risen from their seats to show respect for the chief justice.

The senators have raised a number of issues.

Chapter 10: Using Pronouns Correctly

Case

Case is the form that a noun or pronoun takes to show its relationship to other words in a sentence.


There are three cases: nominative, objective, and possessive.


Example:

NOMINATIVE CASE: The singer received a standing ovation. [subject]

OBJECTIVE CASE: The audience gave the singer a standing ovation. [indirect object]

POSSESIVE CASE: Many of the singer's fans waited outside the theater.

Case: Nominative

Nominative case pronouns - I, you, he she, it, we, and they - are used as subjects of verbs and as predicate nominatives.


The subject of a verb should be in the nominative case.


A predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun that is in the predicate and that identifies or refers to the subject of the verb. A personal pronoun used as a predicate nominative follows a linking verb, usually a form of the verb be (am, is, are, was, were, be, or been).


The predicate nominative should be in the nominative case.


Examples:

SUBJECT: I like classical music. [I is the subject of like]

PREDICATE NOMINATIVE: The last one to leave was he. [He follow the linking verb was and identifies the subject one]

Case: Objective Case

Objective case pronouns - me, you, him, her, it, us, and them - are used as direct objects, indirect objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.


A direct object is a noun, pronoun, or word group that tells who or what receives the action of the verb. A direct object should be in the objective case.


Indirect objects often appear in sentences containing direct objects An indirect object tells to whom or what or for whom or what the action of the verb is done. An indirect object usually comes between an action verb and its direct object.


An indirect object should be in the objective case. Indirect objects do not follow prepositions. A noun or pronoun that follows a preposition is called the object of the preposition. Together, the preposition, its object, and any modifiers of that object make a prepositional phrase. An object of a preposition should be in the objective case.


Examples:

DIRECT OBJECT: Evan surprised them. [Them tells whom Evan surprised]

INDIRECT OBJECT: Coach Mendez gave them a pep talk. [Them tells to whom Coach Mendez gave a pep talk]

OBJECT OF A PREPOSITION: When did you mail the package to them? [Them is the object of the preposition to]

Case: Possessive Case

The personal pronouns in the possessive case - my mine, your, yours his, her, hers, its our ours, their, theirs-are used to show ownership or possession.


The possessive pronouns mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs are used as parts of a sentence I the same ways in which pronouns in the nominative and the objective case are used


The possessive pronouns my, your, his, her, its, our and their are used before nouns to show ownership or possession.


Example:

SUBJECT: Your car and mine need tuneups.

PREDICATE NOMINATIVE: This jacket is hers.

DIRECT OBJECT: We painted ours yesterday.

INDIRECT OBJECT: Ali gave theirs her complete attention.

OBJECT OF A PREPOSITION: Next to yours, my bonsai crabapple tee looks puny.

Special Pronoun Problems

Who and Whom - The use of who or whom in a subordinate clause depends on how the pronoun functions in the clause.


Example:

Do you know who they are?

Mayor Neiman, whom I have met, is intelligent.

Appositives and Reflexive Pronouns

An appositive is a noun or pronoun placed next to another noun or pronoun to identify or describe it. A pronoun used as an appositive is in the same case as the word to which it refers.


Reflexive pronouns such as himself and themselves can be used as objects. Do not use the nonstandard forms hisself and theirselfs or theirselves in place of himself and themselves.


Example:

APPOSITIVE: Every student except two, him and her, joined the archaeological dig.

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS:

Nonstandard: The mayor voted for hisself in May's election.

Standard: The mayor voted for himself in May's election.

Chapter 11: Using Modifiers Correctly

Modifiers: Adjective or Adverb?

A modifier is a word or word group that makes the meaning of another word or word group more specific. Two parts of speech are used as modifiers: adjectives and adverbs.


If a word in the predicate modifies the subject of the verb use the adjective form. If it modifies the verb use the adverb form.


Example:

ADJECTIVE: Greyhounds are fast dogs.

ADVERB: Greyhounds run fast.

Good and Well

Good is an adjective. It should be used to modify a noun or a pronoun. Good should not be used to modify a verb.


Well may be used either as a adjective or as an adverb. As an adjective, well has two meanings: "in good health" or "satisfactory."


Feel good and feel well mean two different things. Feel good means "to feel happy or pleased." Feel well means to "to feel healthy."


Example:

NONSTANDARD: Paula does good in all her school subjects.

STANDARD: Paula does well in all her school subjects.

Comparison of Modifiers

The two kinds of modifiers - adjectives and adverbs - may be used to compare things. There are three degrees of comparison are the positive the comparative and the superlative.


The three degrees of comparison are the positive, the comparative, and the superlative.


Example:

This building is tall. [no comparison]

This building is taller than that one. [one compared with one]

This building is the tallest one in the world. [one compared with many]

Regular Comparison

Most one-syllable modifiers form the comparative degree by adding --er and the superlative degree by adding --est


Two-syllable modifiers form the comparative degree by adding --er or using more and form the superlative degree by adding --est or using most.


Modifiers that have three or more syllables form the comparative degree by using more and the superlative degree by using most.


To show a decrease in the qualities they express, modifiers form the comparative degree by using less and the superlative degree by using least.


Example:

Positive: sharp

Comparative: sharper

Superlatives: sharpest

Irregular Comparison

The comparative and superlative degrees of some modifiers are not formed by the usual methods.


Example:

Positive: good

Comparative: better

Superlative: best

Use of Comparative and Superlative Forms

Use the comparative degree when comparing two things. Use the superlative degree when comparing more than two.


Examples:

COMPARATIVE: The second problem is harder than the first.

SUPERLATIVE: Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.


Include the word over or else when comparing one member of a group with the rest of the group.


Example:

NONSTANDARD: Jupiter is larger than any planet in the solar system. [Jupiter is one of the planets in the solar system and cannot be larger than itself]


A double comparison is the use of both -er and more (or less) or both -est and most (or least) to form a degree of comparison.


Examples:

NONSTANDARD: The Asian elephant is more smaller than the African elephant.

STANDARD: The Asian elephant is smaller than the African elephant.



STANDARD: Jupiter is larger than any other planet in the solar system.

Double Negative

A double negative is the use of two negative words to express one negative idea.


Example:

NONSTANDARD: We don't have no extra chairs.

STANDARD: We have no extra chairs.

STANDARD: We don't have any extra chairs.

Placement of Modifiers: Misplaced Modifier

A modifier that seems to modify the wrong word in a sentence is called a misplaced modifier.


Place modifying words, phrases, and clauses as near as possible to the words they modify.


Examples:

MISPLACED: My aunt has almost seen all of the documentaries directed by Camille Billops.

CORRECT: My aunt has seen almost all of the documentaries directed by Camille Billops.

Placement of Modifiers: Dangling Modifer

A modifier that does not clearly modify another word or word group in as sentence is called a dangling modifier.


Example:

DANGLING: While vacationing in Mexico, snorkeling in the bay was the most fun.

CORRECT: While vacationing in Mexico, we had the most fun snorkeling in the bay.

Prepositional Phrases

A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, a noun or pronoun called the object of the preposition, and any modifiers of that object.


A prepositional phrase used as an adjective should generally be placed directly after the word it modifies.


Example:

MISPLACED: This book describes Nat Turner's struggle for freedom by Judith Berry Griffin.

CORRECT: This book by Judith Berry Griffin describes Nat Turner's struggle for freedom.


A prepositional phrase used as an adverb should be placed near the word it modifies.


Example:

MISPLACED: Spanish explorers discovered gold along the river that runs near my house during the 1500s. [Did the river run near my house during the 1500s?]

CORRECT: During the 1500s, Spanish explorers discovered gold along the river that now runs near my house.

CORRECT: Spanish explorers discovered gold during the 1500s along the river that now runs near my house.


Avoid placing a prepositional phrase in a position where it can modify either of two words.


Example:

MISPLACED: Emily said before sunset it might get colder. [Does the phrase modify said or might get?]

CORRECT: Emily said it might get colder before sunset. [The phrase modifies might get]

CORRECT: Before sunset Emily said it might get colder. [The phrase modifies said]

Chapter 12: A Glossary of Usage

About the Glossary

A glossary is an alphabetical list of special terms or expressions with definitions, explanations, and examples.


The label nonstandard identifies usage that is suitable only in the most casual speaking situations and in writing that attempts to re-create casual speech.


Standard English is language that is grammatically correct and appropriate in formal and informal situations.


Formal identifies usage that is appropriate in serious speaking and writing situations.


The label informal indicates standard usage common in conversation and in everyday writing such as personal letters.


Example:

Formal: angry

Informal: steamed

A, An

Use a before words beginning with a consonant sound. Use an before words beginning with a vowel sound.


Examples:

He dis not consider himself a hero.

Market Avenue is a one-way street.

An oryx is a large antelope.

We waited in line for an hour.

Accept, Except

Accept is a verb that means "to receive." Except may be either a verb or preposition. As a verb, except means "to leave out" or "to exclude"; as a preposition, except means "other than" or "excluding."


Examples:

I accept your apology.

Children were excepted from the admission fee.

Mark has told all his friends except Trenell.

Affect, Effect

Affect is verb meaning "to influence." Effect used as a verb means "to bring about." Used as a noun, effect means "the result of some action."


Examples:

The bad punt did not affect the outcome of the game.

The government's reforms effected great changes.

Read more about the effects of pollution.

Ain't

Avoid using this word in speaking and writing; it is nonstandard English.

All Ready, Already

All ready means "completely prepared." Already means "previously."


Examples:

The mechanic checked the engine parts to make sure they were all ready for assembly.

We have already served the refreshments.

All Right

Used as an adjective, all right means "unhurt" or "satisfactory." Used as an adverb, all right means "well enough." All right should be written as two words.


Examples:

Linda fell off the horse, but she is all right. [adjective]

Your work is all right. [adjective}

You did all right at the track meet. [adverb]

A Lot

A lot should always be written as two words.


Example:

Her family donated a lot of money to the Red Cross.

Among

See between, among

Anyways, anywheres everywheres, nowheres, somewheres

Use these words without the final s.


Example: I did not go anywhere [not anywheres] yesterday.

As

See like, as.

As If

See like, as if, as though.

At

Do not use at after where.


Example:

NONSTANDARD: Where is your saxophone at?

STANDARD: Where is your saxophone?

Bad, Badly

Bad is an adjective. Badly is an adverb


Examples:

The fish smells bad. [Bad modifies the noun fish]

The parrot recited the poem badly. [Badly modifies the verb recited]

Because

See reason. . . because.

Between, Among

Use between when referring to two things at ta time, even when they are part of a group containing ore than two.


Example:

In homeroom, Carlos sits between Bob and me.


Use among when referring to a group rather than to separate individuals.


Example:

We saved ten dollars among the three of us.

Bring, Take

Bring means "to come carrying something." Take means" to come carrying something." Think of bring as related to come and take as related to go.


Examples:

Bring your skateboard when you come to my house this weekend.

Please take these letters with you to the post office when you go.

Bust, Busted

Avoid using these words as verbs. Use a form of burst or break or catch or arrest.


Examples:

The bubbles burst [not busted] when they touched the ceiling.

The officer arrested [not busted] the thief.

Could Of

Do not write of with the helping verb could. Write could have. Also avoid ought to of, should of, would of, might of, and must of.


Example:

Reva could have [not could of] played the piano.

Doesn't, Don't

Does"t is the contraction of does not. Don't is the contraction of do not. Use doesn't not don't, with he, she, it, this, that, and singular nouns.


Examples:

He doesn't [not don't] know how to swim.

The price doesn't [not don't] include this.

Effect

See affect, effect.

Everywheres

See anyways, etc.

Except

See accept, except.

Fewer, Less

Fewer is used with plural words. Less is used with singular words. Fewer tells "how many"; less tells "how much."


Examples:

Do fewer plants grow in the tundra than in the desert?

Do desert plants require less water?

Good, Well

Good is an adjective. Do not use good as an adverb. Instead, use well.


NONSTANDARD: Nancy sang good at the audition.

STANDARD: Nancy sang well at the audition.


Examples:

I felt good [happy] when I got and A on my report.

Chris stayed home because he did not feel well [healthy] yesterday.

Had of

See could of.

Had Ought, hadn't ought

The verb ought should not be used with had.


Examples:

NONSTANDARD: Eric had ought to help us; he hadn't ought to have missed our meeting yesterday.

STANDARD: Eric ought to help us; he oughtn't to have missed the meeting yesterday.

Hardly, Scarcely

The words hardly and scarcely convo negative meanings. They should not be used with another negative word to express a single negative idea.


Examples:

I can [not can't] hardly read your handwriting.

We had [not hadn't] scarcely enough food.

He, She, It, They

Do not use an unnecessary pronoun after a noun. This error is called the double subject.


Examples:

NONSTANDARD: Annika Sorenstam she is my favorite golfer.

STANDARD:: Annika Sorenstam is my favorite golfer.

Hisself

Himself is nonstandard English. Use hisself.


Example:

Ira bought himself [not hisself] a new silk tie.

How Come

In informal situations, how come is often used instead of why. In formal situations, why should be used.


Examples:

INFORMAL: How come Nori's not here?

FORMAL: Why is Nori not her yet?

Kind, Sort, Type

The words this, that, these, and those should agree in number with the words kind, sort, and type.


Examples:

Whitney likes this kind of music.

Those kinds of math problems are easy.

Kind Of, Sort Of

In informal situations, kind of and sort of are often used to mean "somewhat" or "rather." In formal English, somewhat or rather is preferred.


Example:

INFORMAL: He seemed kind of embarrassed.

FORMAL: He seemed somewhat embarrassed.

Learn, Teach

Learn means "to acquire knowledge." Teach means "to instruct" or "to show how."


Examples:

I am learning how to type

My father is teaching me how to type.

Leave, Let

Leave means "to go away" or "to depart from." Let means "to allow" or "to permit."


Examples:

NONSTANDARD: Leave her go to the concert.

STANDARD: Let her go to the concert.

STANDARD: Let's leave on time for the concert.

Less

See fewer, less.

Lie, Lay

See Page 249.

Like, As

In informal situations, the preposition like is often used instead of the conjunction as to introduce a clause.. In formal situations, as is preferred.


Example:

I looked up several words in my dictionary, as [not like] our teacher had suggested.

Like, As If, As Though

In many informal situations, the preposition like is used for the compound subordinating conjunction as if or as though. In formal situations, as if or as though is preferred.


Examples:

They behaved as if [not like] they hadn't heard him.

You looked as though [not like] you knew the answer.

Might Of, Must Of

See could of.

Nowheres

See anyways, etc.

Of

Do not use of after other prepositions such as inside, of, and outside.


Examples:

He quickly walked off [not off of] the stage.

She waited outside [not outside of] the school.

What is inside [not inside of} this cabinet?

Ought to of

See could of.

Real

In informal situations, real is often used as an adverb meaning "very" or "extremely." In formal situations, very or extremely is preferred.


Examples:

INFORMAL: My mother is expecting a real important telephone call.

FORMAL: My mother is expecting a very important telephone call.

Reason . . . Because

In informal situations, reason. . .because is often used instead of reason. . .that. However, in formal situations, you should use reason. . .that.


Examples:

INFORMAL: The reason I did well on the test was because I had studied hard.

FORMAL: The reason I did well on the test was that I had studied hard.

Rise, Raise

See page 251.

Scarcely, Hardly

See hardly, scarcely.

Should Of

See could of.

Sit, Set

See page 247.

Some, Somewhat

Do not use some for the adverb somewhat.


Examples:

NONSTANDARD: My fever has gone down some.

STANDARD: My fever has gone down somewhat.

Somewheres

See anywheres, etc.

Sort

See and, sort, type.

Sort Of

See kind of, sort of.

Take

See bring, take.

Teach

See learn, teach.

Than, Then

Than is a subordinating conjunction; then is an adverb telling when.


Examples:

Great Danes are larger than Dobermans are.

I finished my reading. Then I wrote some letters.

That

See who, which, that.

That There

See this here, that there.

Their, There, They're

Their is the possessive form of they. There is used to mean "at that place" or to being a sentence. They're is a contraction of they are.


Examples:

Their team won the game.

We are planning to go there during spring vacation.

They're the best players on the team.

Theirself, Theirselves

Theirself and theirselves are nonstandard English. Use themselves.


Example:

They cooked themselves a special dinner.

Them

Them should not be used as an adjective. Use those.


Example:

Please put those cans in the recycling bin.

This There, That There

The words here and there are not necessary ofter this and that.


Example:

Do you like this shirt or that one?

This Kind, Sort, Type

See kind, etc.

Try and

In informal situations, try and is often used instead of try to. In formal situations, try to should be used.


Example:

INFORMAL: Try and be on time for the party.

FORMAL: Try to be on time for the party.

Well

See good, well.

When, Where

Do not use when or where incorrectly in writing a definition.


Example;

NONSTANDARD: An infomercial is where a TV program is actually a long advertisement.

STANDARD: An infomercial is a TV program that is actually a long advertisement.

Where

Do not use where for that.


Example:

I read that Sue won the tournament.

Who, Which, That

the relative pronoun who refers to people only; which refers to things only; that refers to either people or things.


Examples:

Kim is the only one who got the right answer.

My bike, which has ten speeds, is for sale.

He is the one person that can help you.

This is the ring that I want to buy.

Who's, Whose

Who's is the contraction of what is or who has. Whose is used as the possessive form of whoI or as an interrogative pronoun.


Examples:

I wonder who's keeping score.

Who's been using my computer?

Do you know whose baseball glove this is?

Whose is this?

Without, Unless

Do not use the preposition without in place of the subordinating conjunction unless.


Example:

My mother said that I can't go to the game unless I finish my homework first.

Would Of

See could of.

Your, You're

Your is the possessive form of you. You're is the contraction of you are.


Examples:

Your dinner is on the table.

You're one of my closest friends.