Final Study Guide
Test is on Monday (6/6) at 10:15am in Straub 156
1. Subject/Sentence Structure
○ Subject: the person or thing doing an action or being described
● The subject is always a noun or a pronoun
○ Verb: the action or word linking the subject to the description (engine of a sentence)
○ Object: the person or thing an action is done to
● The object is always a noun or pronoun too, but it can neverbe the subject ○ Things to remember/tricks:
● Sentence= subject + verb + complete thought
● If you are having trouble identifying the noun in the sentence find the verb and ask and see what is being done to it or what it is describing
■ Example: The animal is running towards the mountains.
✓ What is running? the animal is, so the animal is the
○ Types of verbs:
● Action verbs:
■ Indicate the subject is doing something
■ This includes transitive and intransitive verbs
● Linking verbs:
■ Describe the condition of the subject
■ This includes all “to be” verbs: am, is are, was, were, and been
○ Helping verbs:
● Additional verbs that help provide a slightly different meaning or indicate the time that something has taken place.
● They always appear before the verb that they are helping
■ Am, are, is, was, were
■ be, been, being
■ Can, shall, will
■ Could, should, would
■ Do, does, did
■ Had, has, have
■ May, might, must
● Verbs can help show time by their tense
● Present, Past, and Past Participle
● Difference between “lay” and “lie” Don't forget about the age old question of What is the principal energy of electron configuration?
Lay: to put
Lie: to go
■ Quick trick: replace the verb with place and placed to determine
○ Verb imposters:
● Gerunds: words ending in “ing” that are really nouns: usually the subject or the object in a sentence
● Infinitives: combination of “to” and a verb: always a noun, adjective, or adverb
3. SubjectVerb Agreement
○ Basic rule to remember: singular subjects take singular verbs and plural subjects take plural verbs
○ Singular nouns that end in “s”
● Some nouns that end in “s” and seem to be plural are actually singular: aerobics, checkers, news, gymnastics, mathematics, measles, physics. Don't forget about the age old question of What are the four fundamental units to physics?
○ Plural nouns that do not end in “s”
● Some nouns that are plural that don’t end in “s”: men, women, children, etc.
■ These are generally easier to catch
● These are harder: ones ending in “a”
■ Criteria (plural)Criterion (singular)
■ Curricula (plural)Curriculum (singular)
■ Media (plural)Medium (singular)
■ Symposia (plural)Symposium (singular)
■ Sometimes data is used as both singular and plural.
○ Subjects that can be singular or plural depending on how it’s used
● Indefinite pronouns:
■ ALWAYS single: anyone, everyone, much, no one, someone, each ■ ALWAYS plural: both, few, many, several
■ Depends on use: all, any, most, none, some
✓ the word is singular when what it is referring to is singular
and plural when it is referring to something that is plural.
● The number vs. a number
■ The number is singular
■ A number is plural
4. Personal Pronouns
○ Pronouns can be…
● A subject: She is the lead caller for the fundraiser.
● An object: My little brother stood next to him to help with the
● Possessive: His baseball cap was too tight for his head. Don't forget about the age old question of Who developed a systematic approach to rhetoric through developing four proofs?
Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of hybridization?
*There are neverany apostrophes in possessive pronouns
○ Rules to remember:
● Avoid starting a sentence with an objective pronoun.
● Don’t put a pair of objective pronouns or an objective pronoun paired with a noun at the beginning of a sentence.
■ If you’re starting a sentence, it doesn’t matter how many pronouns you havechances are the objective choice would be wrong. Don't forget about the age old question of How do you calculate production function in mpl?
● Never join a nominative pronoun (subject) with an objective pronoun (object) with a conjunction (and, or, nor, but).
● The pronoun in a prepositional phrase are always either objective or possessive; they cannot be nominative.
● The pronouns in a nonessential phrase are always either objective or possessive; they cannot be nominative.
● When there are two possible possessive pronoun choices shown in the pronoun list, use the first one when a noun follows immediately after the pronoun. Use the second choice if there is no noun.
● The pronoun that comes immediately before a gerund must be possessive, not objective.
○ We or Us?
● To make sure to pick the correct one, simply remove the noun and the right choice will be very apparent.
○ Who vs Whom
● Who is nominative: if the word in question has its own verb
● Whom is objective: if the word in question doesn’t have its own verb ○ Reflexive pronouns
● Used when a pronoun is doing something to itself or to emphasize another noun or pronoun in a sentence.
■ Myself, yourself, yourselves, itself, himself, herself, themselves,
ourselves. If you want to learn more check out How do you calculate grams to moles?
■ Cannot be substitutes for objective pronouns.
5. Adjectives and Adverbs
● Adds something extra to a sentence
● Includes gerunds and infinitives
● 2 types:
■ Descriptiveprovides more info
■ Limitingmakes it clear what the writer means in regards to which one
● Work with verbs, adjectives and other adverbs
● Answers some basic questions:
■ How: The child wore his uniform reluctantly.
■ When: The child wore the shirt for his class picture yesterday.
■ Where: The child lives upstairs from me in my apartment
■ To what extent: The child was quite angry about the whole ordeal. ✓ Conjunctive adverbs:
i. Link together two independent clauses
○ Good and well:
● Example: It was all good.
■ Was is a linking verb so good is an adjective
● Example: She did well on the test.
■ Did is an action verb
○ Less/amount and fewer/number:
● If you can count it, use fewer/number (does it end in a “s”, people, etc.) ● If you can’t count it, use less/amount
○ Almost never end a sentence with a nominative pronoun.
● Here’s the exception: when comparing two things
■ Example: He is a better writer than I (am).
■ Example: I like pizza more than he (does).
● You can add the verb to the end to determine the right pronoun to use. 6. Clauses, Phrases, Conjunctions, and Fragments
● A clausehas a subject and verb. It comes in two types:
■ Independent can stand alone, but doesn’t have to
✓ Contains a complete thought
✓ It can be apart of a longer sentence that may include one or
more independent clauses
✓ You NEED an independent clause to have a sentence.
■ Dependent cannot stand alone.
✓ Don’t have a complete thought
○ Subordinating Conjunctions
● The word at the beginning of a dependent clause that makes it dependent and not independent.
● Common subordinating conjunctions:
■ After, although, as, as if, because, before
■ Even if, even though, if, if only, now that, once
■ Since, so that, than, that, thought, unless
■ Until, when, whenever, where, wherever, while
● Sometimes relative pronouns are used instead of a subordinating
○ Coordinating Conjunctions
● Join sentence parts of equal importance (independent clauses)
● FANBOYS= For And Nor But Or Yet So
● If part of a sentence doesn’t have a subject and verb, then it is either a phrase or a fragment.
● A phrase contains words that work together to provide a more complete picture that what one word alone could paint.
● Types of phrases:
■ Noun phrases: a noun and everything that modifies it
■ Verb phrases: a verb and everything that modifies it
■ Prepositional phrases: a preposition and its objects
■ Verbal phrases: a gerund, infinitive, or participle and its objects
● Remember: phrases never contain the subject of the sentence and they should not stand alone as sentences.
● Try to avoid using fragments unless you are quoting dialogue.
● The one major exception to the rule that to stand alone as a complete sentence requires a subject, verb, and complete thought.
● When you repeat words, phrases, or thoughts.
● The best way to avoid poor sentence construction is to avoid
procrastination. Having time to edit is the key to success.
○ Comma Splice or RunOn Sentences
● It is grammatically incorrect to use a comma alone to separate two independent clauses.
○ Passive Voice
● A type of sentence construction that relies heavily on helping verbs and places the object of the sentence before the verb; it is considered a weak sentence majority of the time.
○ Dead Constructions
● Defined as sentences that begin with “there is/was” or “it is/was” when “there” and “it” don’t add any info to the sentences
● They make identifying the subject of the sentence hard.
○ Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers
● When you separate adjectives and adverbs from the word they are meant to modify
○ Parallel Sentence Structure
● Balance is important in sentence structure
● Try to keep tenses the same throughout and keep verbs and nouns in check.
● 4 simple rules:
■ If a sentence ends with something that already has a period, don’t use another period to end the sentence
■ Choose one sentenceending punctuation mark only.
■ When using quotation marks, the period ALWAYS goes inside ■ If a quote is NOT at the end of a sentence, don’t use a period to end it; instead use a comma
○ Question Marks
● Direct vs. Indirect Questions
■ Direct questions usually begin with who, what, when, where, why, or how.
■ Indirect questions: just try to see if there is a direct question or if it’s a statement that happens to include words like “asked” or
● Questions in Quotation Marks
■ If what is quoted is a question, put the question mark inside the last quotation mark.
■ If what is quoted is not a question, put it outside the last quotation mark.
○ Exclamation Marks
● 2 simple things to remember:
■ Use them sparingly
■ Never use more than one at a time or pair them with other
sentenceending punctuation marks
● Latin for omission so only use when there is something missing ● Used commonly when you leave out a part of a long quote or when quoting someone who trailed off or was interrupted.
● Commonly used to:
■ Separate dependent and independent clauses
■ Separate independent clauses with with coordinating conjunctions ■ Separate items in a list
■ Set off long introductory phrases
■ Help avoid confusing word placement
● Rules to remember:
■ Don’t use just a comma to separate independent clauses (comma splice)
■ Never separate subjects and their verbs
✓ If a noun has more than one verb, there should not be a
comma between it and its verb(s)
■ Know where to put commas with quotation marks
✓ Commas ALWAYS go inside the quotation marks
✓ When introducing a quote (an independent clause), you
need to precede it with a comma and capitalize the first
letter of the quote.
✓ When introducing only a partial quote, you do NOT
precede it with a comma, nor do you capitalize the first
■ Don’t omit a comma after long introductory phrases
✓ A comma is almost always needed after a long introductory
phrase, one with more than just a few words.
■ Oxford Commas
✓ The comma between the nexttolast and last items in a list
✓ Use your judgement on whether to include it or not
✓ Appositive: a word or group of words that further identifies
or defines a noun
✓ If the appositive is essential to the noun, don’t use commas.
✓ If the appositive is NOT essential to the noun, use commas.
● Joins independent clauses and separates items that have internal commas ● Joining independent clauses.
● Separating items in a list:
■ When the items themselves have commas, use semicolons to
● When using conjunctive adverbs use a semicolon before the adverb and a comma afterwards
● Is used to introduce something, including an independent clause, a long list, or a quote with more than one sentence
● When you aren’t sure if a word is hyphenated look it up in the dictionary. ■ Remember that when adding a prefix to a word, you use a hyphen.
● Dashes are used to separate nonessential information from a sentence. ○ Parenthesis
● Always use in pairs
● Parenthesis often interrupt the flow of a sentence so use them sparingly ○ Quotation Marks
● Only use when you are quoting someone, or are showing speech
● It’s (it is) going to be a long day.
● Shouldn’t (should not) you take an umbrella?
● It wasn’t (was not) the best of times; it wasn’t the worst of times. ● We’ve (we have) come a long way since the invention of the first computer.
● The rain started making its presence known at noon.
● Jolene’s guitar is the one painted purple.
● Taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility.
● Greece’s economic issues nearly led to a recession in Europe. ○ As a general rule if there isn’t another word after an apostrophe s reevaluate the use of that apostrophe s
○ General Rules:
● Never use an apostrophe to make a noun plural
■ Plural words that drive people nuts (these are correct)
✓ Nonos or noes
✓ Yes yesses
✓ ID IDs
✓ DVD DVDs
✓ iPod iPods
✓ A A’s (this is an exception to the rule)
○ If it’s confusing to not have an apostrophe or if it’s
a single letter you can use an apostrophe
● Make nouns plural first, then possessive
● The show possession for a singular word that ends in an s or s sound, use the apostrophe and another s.
● Gray Area
■ Some singular nouns, especially proper nouns, especially where there are other s and z sounds involved, look and sound odd and klunky when you add another s, so try to rewrite the sentence
● If a noun or pronoun comes immediately before the thing it possesses, use an apostrophe s. If the word “belong” or something meaning “belong” appears in the sentence, don’t use apostrophe s.
● Contractions require an apostrophe and it goes where the letter (or number) has been removed
● Limit your use of ‘s to make a noun contractions, especially when what follows the noun is a gerund.
● An apostrophe following a personal pronoun signifies contraction not possession.
● Possessive personal pronoun
● They NEVER take an apostrophe s
10. Word Choice
○ Poser Words, Slang, Lingo
● Try to avoid using words that you may use while talking or texting, but won’t look good in a professional piece (i.e. slang, lingo, etc.)
● Avoid “poser words”
✓ Alot a lot
✓ Alls all
✓ Anyways anyway
✓ Conversate converse
✓ Coulda, could of could have
✓ Gonna going to
✓ Gotta have to
✓ Ginormous Enormous
✓ Nother another
✓ Orientate orient
✓ Selfdepreciating selfdeprecating
✓ Supposably supposedly
✓ Wanna want to
○ Words that don’t mean what you think they do
● Commonly misused words:
■ Alright this is an interjection
■ Anxious actually means frightened and not eager or excited
■ Bring vs. take if something is moved toward the object, use bring and if it is moved away, choose take
■ Chronic means longterm
■ Constant occurs continuously over a period of time
■ Engulfed means to swallow up in or as in a gulf
■ Enormity means evil, not big
■ Irony the incongruity between what is expected and what actually happens
■ Peruse skimming something
■ Since since refers to the passage of time
■ Whether use when there are two or more alternatives
○ Textingrelated word problems
● Avoid using & unless it is part of a business name. Spell out the word and every time.
● Don’t substitute @ for at, about or approximately. Spell those words out completely.
● Don’t use numeric substitutions for words. It’s to and for not 2 and 4. It’s great, not Gr8.
● One word sentences may work in texting, but they are almost always wrong in formal writing. Make sure your sentences include a subject, a verb, and a complete thought.
● Completely spell out words all the time. That includes using all the vowels.
● Completely spell out the names of states. Do not use the postal abbreviations.
● When referring to the President of the United States or any other significant governmental figures, include their titles.
● Include apostrophes in contractions. Im, dont and theres are all incorrect. ● Capitalize the first words of sentences (including those in quotation marks inside other sentences).
● Capitalize proper nouns (names, place names, brands, companies, etc.) ● Do not capitalize most other words. Don’t randomly capitalize nouns because you’re not sure whether they’re proper or not. When you’re not sure, check a dictionary
● In formal writing, avoid using all caps for emphasis, choose bold face or underlining instead.
○ Choosing Words Wisely (general rules)
● Use “fresh” words that aren’t overused
● Use metaphors, similes, personification, and analogies
● Use powerful action verbs
● Use words that create a mental picture for the reader
● Use words with layers of meaning
● Limit clichés and slang
● Be concise
● Use words correctly
● Avoid redundancy
○ Words and phrases to avoid
● Awfully (as an adverb, e.g. “awfully pretty”)
● Being as I
● Have got
● Pretty (as an adverb, e.g. “pretty awful”)
● “Up” added to verbs such as call, meet, and think
11. Sensitivity and Style
○ Avoid use of language that is:
● Prejudiced against people you don’t consider attractive
● Demeaning to any group
○ Always pay attention to how you describe people
○ Unless there’s a similar word for both genders avoid using words like “cougar” ○ Respect everyone’s gender identity
● Use gender neutral nouns/phrases
○ Unless there is a reason to do so, don’t include gender, race, age, or sexual orientation
○ Don’t assume sexual orientation
12. AP Style
● Use figures for numbers about 9; spell out numbers under 10
✓ Use figures for ages, sums of money, time of day,
percentages, years, days of the month, temperature, and
✓ Using numbers for age
i. She is 23 yearsold.
ii. She is a 23yearold.
● Spell out numbers when they begin sentences
● DO NOT use Roman numerals except when part of a title or name ● Fractions standing alone are spelled out
● Use commas with four or more figures except in dates
● Titles preceding names
● Specific regions, but not point of the compass
● Holidays and special or historic events
● Names of religions and nouns to designate a Supreme Being ● Formal names of schools and departments
● Spell out words completely
● DO NOT use a comma between a person’s name and Jr. or Sr. ● Use quotation marks with titles of books, poems, plays, films, songs, and articles. DO NOT use them with newspapers or magazines
● Use apostrophes to form the plural of single letters, but not figures or multiple letters
● Use a hyphen to distinguish the meaning of different words spelled the same way
● Put a space on either side of an em dash