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Something to Consider
all about grammar
As a famous English teacher once remarked on his deathbed, "Dying is easy, grammar is hard." If English is your native language, you probably don't have much trouble conversing and communicating with others…
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  1. Grammar
    1. What is Grammar?
      1. Standard Edited American English
      2. The parts of speech
    2. Nouns
      1. Common nouns
      2. Proper nouns
      3. Compound nouns
      4. Collective nouns
    3. Pronouns
      1. Personal pronouns
    4. Noun numbers
    5. Adjectives
      1. Articles
    6. Verbs
      1. Adverbs
    7. Grammar Hodgepodge
      1. Prepositions
      2. Conjunctions
      3. Interjections
sample test
1. SEAE is:
a) The dialect of English spoken by most North Americans
b) The dialect of English spoken all over the world
c) The written dialect of English favored in North American textbooks, newspapers, and most business documents
d) The written dialect of English favored in personal correspondence and informal notes by North Americans

2. A noun can be a:
a) person
b) place
c) thing
d) all of the above

3. Which of the following is a variety of compound noun?
a) two words joined with a hyphen
b) two words joined together to form one word
c) two separate words that refer to one thing
d) all of the above

4. An article is a special type of:
a) noun
b) adjective
c) preposition
d) conjunction

5. True or false: Having a large vocabulary is a prerequisite for using grammar correctly.

6. True or false: The only thing an adjective can modify is a noun.

7. True or false: When modifying a noun, an adjective always comes before the noun.

8. In the sentence "The bugbears splattled their squeaky-juice," which word is most likely the verb?
a) bugbears
b) splattled
c) their
d) squeaky-juice

9. In the sentence " 'Feezlefit,' thundered Merlin to his imp, 'why is there berry juice on my scrolls?' " what part of speech is Feezlefit?
a) common noun
b) proper noun
c) compound noun
d) collective noun

10. A pronoun is a word that acts as a substitute for a:
a) noun
b) verb
c) adjective
d) adverb

11. A noun's number is always:
a) singular
b) plural
c) singular or plural
d) none of the above

12. There's a new children's show called, "Happy Shiny Fun Ball." How many adjectives are in the title?
a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4

13. Which of these can an adverb NOT describe?
a) nouns
b) verbs
c) adjectives
d) adverbs

14. What letters do almost all adverbs end with?
a) -ed
b) -en
c) -ly
d) -ing

15. Which of these pronouns is different from the others: "I," "she," "it," "they"?
a) I
b) she
c) it
d) they

Click here to see the answers.

something to consider
1. Why is grammar more important when we write than when we speak?

2. If you know nothing about a person except that he or she has poor grammar, what would you think of that person? Do you think your opinion would be justified?

3. If you had to eliminate one of the four types of nouns (common, proper, compound, collective), which one would you get rid of? Why?

4. Currently, the English language doesn't have a pronoun that means "he or she."
Example: "I've never met your friend before, but I'm sure he or she is very nice." If you had to come up with a pronoun that means "he or she," what word would you create? Do you think it would catch on? Why do you think we donít have such a pronoun?

5. Why are the verbs that are used the most often, like "to be" and "to go," usually irregular?

Back to the Top



did you know?
The grammar commonly taught in school is called "prescriptive grammar." But there are actually several different types of grammar. For example, historical grammar looks at the changes in language over the years. Functional grammar looks at how words are used and arranged in social contexts.

top ten
Top Ten Grammar Wrestlers

10. The Flying Flapjack (present participle)

9. The Mad Mean Machine (adjective)

8. Runs with Pain (verb)

7. The Forgotten Clown (past participle)

6. To Hurt (They're brothers) (infinitive)

5. Gunrocket (compound noun)

4. The Sock (noun)

3. Badly Good (adverb)

2. BAM! (interjection)

1. Renegade (no grammar relation. He's a renegade!)

adjective— A word that describes or modifies a noun or pronoun.

adverb— A word that can describe verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. To find out if a word is an adverb, see if it answers the question how, how often, when, or to what extent.

article— "a," "an," or "the." These words are considered adjectives because they give a bit of information about the noun they refer to.

conjugating— Taking a verb and seeing how it changes with different subjects.

conjunction— A word that provides a transition between sentences and parts of sentences. Some examples of conjunction are "and," "but," "or," and "therefore."

demonstrative adjective— "this," "that," "these," or "those." These adjectives point out the noun that is referred to (e.g., "This is the book I want"). They can also function as demonstrative pronouns.

grammar— A description of how words fit together in sentences.

interjection— A short word or phrase that doesn't play any grammatical role in the sentence, other than to express emotion or surprise (e.g., Wow!)

noun— A person, place, thing, or idea.

collective noun— A noun that refers to a group of nouns (e.g., family).

common nouns— Nouns that are, well, common. Another way to think of a common noun is that it's just one of a class of things (e.g., bat).

compound noun— Two nouns joined together in some way to form one noun. Compound nouns can be two separate words (e.g., bicycle trail), connected by a hyphen (e.g., twenty-three), or just one big word (e.g., classroom).

proper noun— A noun that refers to a specific person, place, or thing. All proper nouns are capitalized in English (e.g., Mrs. Pennyburg).

preposition— A word that shows other words, usually nouns, relate in terms of time and space (e.g., across, by, at, through).

pronoun— A word we substitute in the place of a noun.

demonstrative pronoun— A noun that specifies, or demonstrates, exactly which noun we're referring to. The most common demonstrative pronouns are "this," "that," these," and "those." Demonstrative pronouns are usually used to point to something.

personal pronoun— A pronoun that refers to a specific person, place, object, thing, concept or idea. The most common personal pronouns are "I," "you," "he," "she," "it," "we," and "they."

possessive pronoun— A pronoun that shows possession. The most common possessive pronouns are "my," "mine," "your," "yours," "his," "her," "hers," "its," "our," "ours," "their," and "theirs."

singular/plural information

first person singular— "I."

second person singular— "you."

third person singular— "he," "she," and "it."

first person plural— "we."

second person plural— "you all." The second personal plural is rarely used in Standard Edited American English.

third person plural— "they."

noun's number— Refers to whether a noun is singular or plural.

plural noun— A noun that refers to more than one object.

singular noun— A noun that refers to one object.

Standard Edited American English (SEAE)— The grammar used most often in the U.S. in textbooks, magazines, newspapers, business letters and memos.

verb— The action of a sentence. A verb is a word that shows an action or describes a state of being. It tells us what the nouns and pronouns are doing in our sentences.

It's never too late to improve your grammar! Give it a whirl by checking out these neat websites. Remember, you'll be leaving the Standard Deviants TV website.
Find out more about the Modern Language Association, which promotes the study of the English language.

Here's more information on how to conjugate English verbs.

Learn even more about the many parts that make up the English language.

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