Grammar Glossary Sentences Clause: a grammatical construction containing a subject and a predicate. Independent Clause ( also known as principal or main clause): a clause with a subject, verb, and object that can stand alone as a complete sentence. Dependent Clause ( also known as a subordinate clause) A clause with a subject-verb interaction that is not a sentence on its own as it is an incomplete thought. It is used to support or modify a main clause within a complex sentence. Complex sentence: a sentence composed of an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. Compound sentence: a sentence with two independent clauses joined with a coordinating conjunction ( such as and or but) or a semi-colon. Punctuation The Period: This indicates a full stop and the end of a complete thought. The Comma: Provides a pause. Commas are used to list items in a sentence, to connect ideas, and to separate and draw attention to ideas within a sentence. The Semi-colon: A more subtle pause than a comma but not a complete stop. Use it (sparingly) to join two separate independent clauses that are thematically linked. Use it when you might use “and or “or”. The Colon: It announces or proclaims something about to be listed or introduced. Can be used for suspense. Is commonly used for lists and introducing quotations within an essay. The Dash: Used to separate an idea that is an aside. Parentheses also perform this role but they are more subtle in tone. Dashes tend to be used in informal writing. Parts of Speech and Related Errors Pronoun: A word that replaces a noun. Subjective pronouns perform the action (I. he, she, we, they, who) and serve as the subject of the sentence. Objective pronouns receive the action and act as the object of a verb or preposition. (me, him, her, us, them, whom) Always ensure that you choose the pronoun form that correctly reflects its role in the sentence. Do not change this form when you include another noun. ( example:” Give that book to me.” When you add another noun, this does not change. “Give that book to Mr. Smith or me.”) Preposition: a word that shows the relationship between a noun and another object ( examples- to, over, between, with) Pronoun- Antecedent Agreement: Antecedent: the word, phrase or clause to which a pronoun refers. ( “That coat is too heavy for this weather. I need to put it away.” “Coat” is the antecedent to the pronoun “it”.) Pronouns and antecedents must agree in number. Pronouns ending in “one” and “ body” ( somebody, everyone, anyone) are treated as singular in formal language. Therefore, pronouns must be consistent and be singular as well. (“ Everyone is asked to bring his or her lunch”). Verbs Transitive verbs have an object. ( “The teacher taught her students”. “Taught” is a transitive verb as students is a direct object.) Intransitive verbs do not have an object. ( “ She typed quickly.” There is no object directly after the verb, so “typed” is intransitive. Gerund: A gerund is a verb form ending is “ing” and used as a noun ( “Swimming is my favourite activity.” In this case, swimming is a noun as it is the act of doing something. A noun or pronoun before a gerund should be in the possessive case. (“ I appreciated his editing of my essay”, not “him editing”. He possesses the action of editing.) Subject- verb agreement: A singular subject require a singular verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb. This often gets confusing in longer sentences when the distance between subject and verb is great. Example: Lisa, accompanied by her family, is going on a trip in March. (“ Lisa is going on the trip” is the main clause. The subject is singular and the verb must be, too) Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers: A modifier is a work, phrase, or clause that adds description to a sentence. If a modifier is misplaced and placed too far from the word it modifies, the meaning may be ambiguous or seem to be altered. (Example: “ The camper surprised a bear wearing pajamas”. Who was wearing the pajamas, the bear or the camper?) A dangling modifier occurs when the word being modified does not appear in the sentence. (Example: “At the age of seven, the doctor removed my tonsils.”) Was the doctor only seven when this operation occurred? The word being modified, in the case, the pronoun I, is missing from this sentence.