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Writing: Checking for Grammar

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Writing: Checking for Grammar Revision

Why is Grammar Important?

Grammar is how words fit together and are structured

Getting your grammar right will make your writing clearer and stops a lack of clarity from impacting your grade.

So let’s have a look at how to check for grammar…

Sentence Rules


A Clause Reminder…


Before we dive into sentence structure, let’s go over some clause basics

Independent clause: An independent clause stands alone by itself. The previous sentence is a good example of one. It makes sense without any additional help.

Subordinate clause: This is a clause embedded in a compound or complex sentence. It does not make sense by itself, but usually adds more detail to the original independent clause. 

 

For example:

‘We couldn’t go to work, as there was too much snow.’

 


Sentence Types


There are three main types of sentences to be aware of and use: simple, compound, complex.

Again, vary your sentence types often to make sure your work is interesting and not repetitive.

 


Simple Sentence


A simple sentence is a complete independent clause.

They can be used to convey information, set a formal tone, or create dramatic effect in writing.

However, it’s important to not overuse simple sentences as it can lead to a lack of complexity or detail in your writing.

 

Examples:

“Fatma let them continue with their singing.

Mateo took the train.”

 

As you can see, these sentences stand alone, meaning they are independent clauses.

 

They mainly have a single subject,Fatma’ and ‘Mateo’.


Compound Sentence


A compound sentence is a connection of two independent clauses joined with a conjunction, like ‘and’ or ‘but’.

You can use these to join two related sentences, and add extra flair to your writing.

The second clause adds to the first, giving the reader more detail.

 

Examples:

“Mohammed went to the shop for he had run out of bread.

I like coffee and Sophie likes herbal teas.

Gabriel went to work, but Helma went to the party and Lukas went to fix his car.”

 

As you can see by the third example, two clauses can be joined with conjunctions.


Complex sentence


A complex sentence contains a major clause and a minimum of one clause that cannot stand independently: a subordinate clause.

Remember conjunctions

Complex sentences often use conjunctions like ‘because’ or ‘even though’ to introduce their subordinate clause.

There can be more than one subordinate clause

 

Examples:

‘I went to the art gallery because I was in town anyway.’ 

‘Whenever Inaya was sad, her father cooked her favourite meal.’

‘The bird squawked when the car drove past it.’

 

Here, more detail can be added to an independent clause…

 

For Example:

‘I went to the art gallery’

‘The bird squawked’

‘Her father cooked her favourite meal’.

The ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’, and ‘when’ questions that the subordinate clause is too simple to explain, can be explained instead through complex sentences.

 

For Example:

‘Because I was in town anyway’

‘When the car drove past’

‘Whenever Inaya was sad’

 


 

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Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

In your answer you need to use the correct form of verbs with the correct subject

The subject of the sentence is the person, place, or thing that is performing the action of the sentence. 

The verb is the ‘doing‘ word of the sentence, outlining the action being performed. 

 

Getting the right agreement between the verb and subject – so pairing the right ones together – is the basis of a good grammatical sentence!

For example, using plural verbs to agree with plural subjects, and using singular verbs to agree with singular subjects makes perfect sense. 

 


 

Let’s take a look at some examples now…

 

Singular subject -s  Singular verb +s
She Sings
Elephant Chases
Detective Searches

 

 

Plural subject +s Plural verb -s
Girls Sing
Elephants Chase
Detectives Search

 


 

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Word Classes

Being able to vary your sentence openers, and making a sophisticated word choice makes your writing interesting to the reader.

 


 

  • Nouns and pronouns. There are different categories of what nouns or pronouns can refer to.

Pronouns: pronouns refer more specifically to people e.g. she/her/he/him/they/them.

 

Nouns can refer to the following…

 

A Place: London, the jungle.

A Thing: car, laptop, train, tablecloth.

An Idea: hope, fear, love, freedom of expression.

 


 

  • Adjectives describe the nouns or pronouns used in a sentence. They can be positive and negative, and change the tone of the writing through description.

 

For example: ‘the angry man’, ‘the massive crowd’, ‘the grey, rumbling clouds made the air chilly‘.

 


 

  • Comparative adjectives have ‘more’ or ‘less’ in front of the adjective, and make comparisons with other subjects.

 

For example: Faster’, ‘louder’.

 


 

  • Superlative adjectives are a type of comparative, which describe words to the highest possible degree.

 

For example: ‘curliest’ ‘fastest’.

 


 

Adverbs

…are words that change or modify a verb, adjective or even another adverb.

They can tell the reader: where, when, what, how, why and to what extent something happens.

 

For example: 

‘nearby’ 

‘weekly’

‘tonight’

‘almost’

‘frequently’

‘hardly’

‘dangerously’

‘safely’

‘surprisingly’

You’ll notice they often end in ‘ly’

 


 

Verbs

are words conveying an action, like run‘, ‘dance‘, ‘sin‘, ‘cycle, but don’t fall into the trap of only using simple verbs in your writing.

Verbs can be used to suggest possibility, also known as modal verbs: ‘might‘, ‘could‘ etc.

Verbs can also be used to help the subject, ironically known as helping or auxiliary verbs, ‘am’. ‘have’, ‘be‘.

 


 

Conjunctions

…are words which are used to join two clauses.

For example:

‘but’

‘since’

‘and’

‘although’

 


 

Prepositions

…are words which inform the reader where or when something ison’ ‘after’.

 


 

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Common Mistakes

Tenses 

Using tenses incorrectly, or switching tenses half way through a sentence is incorrect use of grammar.

 


 

Here are some examples of correct uses of tense:

Past tense:

waited, crept, ran, danced

 

Present tense:

waits, creeps, runs, dance, dances

 

Future tense:

will wait, will creep, will run, will dance

 

The past tense here is regular, where only ‘ed’ is added onto the present tense verbs.

 


 

Here are some examples of the present tense and the irregular past tense of the word, where ‘ed‘ is not used

 

Drive – Drove

See – Saw

Arise – Arose

Awake – Awoke

Become – Became

 


Passive vs Active Voice 


 

In the passive voice, the subject is having the verb done to it.

The reader is focused on the experience of the action.

 

E.g.

The statue was knocked over by me 

A letter was written by Velma

 


 

Active voice the subject does the verb, the reader is focused on the action itself

 

E.g. 

I knocked over the statue

Velma wrote a letter

 


 

What voice is used in the image below?

If you figured out (or guessed) active voice then you are correct! Well done

 


 

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