The Top 10 Grammar Tips And Tricks To Remember

Grammar is hard. That’s why we’ve written a lot of articles on the subject. We understand the rules can be complicated … and even though some may call us pedantic for caring so much about them, we like to think we’re just highlighting the wonderful quirks of the English language.

WATCH: Is The Word "Pedantic" Good Or Bad?

Either way, read on to see what we consider the top 10 grammar rules to remember. Maybe you’ll like grammar a little more afterwards.

 

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Quotation marks can be put to good use (a lot of good uses actually) …

Quotation marks (” “) are usually used for direct quotations. A quotation begins and ends with quotation marks: “I am getting worried,” she said, “that he has not called.” This signifies that someone actually said these words.

But, that’s not the only way they can be used. Click above to read more.

Commas can give you a much-needed pause …

You’ve probably heard a lot of things about the comma and may have questions about when to use it. We all do.

comma (,) signifies a short pause in a sentence. It can also divide clauses (“parts of a sentence”) or items in a list. It is often used to create division or to improve the clarity of a sentence. Click above to read more.

The em dash is a casual friend …

The em dash is an incredibly versatile punctuation mark that can be used instead of parentheses, commas, colons, or quotation marks in a sentence. The em dash () sets off a word or clause and adds emphasis.

Or, it can signal an interruption or amplification (“expanding”) of an idea. It’s also the longest of the dashes, longer than both a hyphen and an en dash. Click above to read more.

Interrupting can be fun!

Speaking of interruptions, interrupters—like this comment set off by em dashes—are squeezing into more and more sentences in contemporary writing.

They’re often the goofy/sarcastic “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” asides writers play with in nonacademic writing and online content … and we’re big fans, what can we say? Click above to read more.

Conjunctions have serious connections …

conjunction is a connecting word used to join words, phrases, sentences, and clauses. Conjunctions are often single words (andbutbecause). In some cases, they can also be phrases (in any case).

The two main types of conjunctions are subordinating and coordinating. Click above to read more.

Stay active (in voice)

In active voice, the subject performs the action of the verb.

In passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb. If you feel like you need a little more explanation than that (we know we do), click above to read more.

Modifiers like to dangle … don’t let them!

When you see a phrase in a sentence, and you can’t be sure which word it’s referring to, chances are it’s a dangling modifier.

Having nothing to modify, the phrase just “dangles” without purpose (hence its name). Modifiers usually apply to the nearest noun to them. When writers leave out the noun or noun phrase they intend to modify, the modifier may appear to refer to something else.

The results can be confusing (and sometimes hilarious). Click above to read more.

It’s OK to be in a subjunctive mood …

The subjunctive mood is a way of talking about unreal or conditional situations. You can also use it to describe desires, wishes, needs, or intentions.

You’ll often see it as the format for idioms and expressions. Click above to read more.

Gerunds have a lot of energy …

A gerund is a verb form that ends in -ing and functions as a noun in a sentence or phrase. Though a gerund may look like a verb, it doesn’t behave like one in a sentence.

A gerund can act as the subject of a sentence, as the object of a preposition, or as the object of a verb. Click above to read more.

Being irregular isn’t a bad thing …

Verbs (the action words in sentences) are grouped as either regular or irregular, based on whether they follow standard rules of conjugation.

Some common irregular verbs include gohavemakesaytake, and know. Click above to read more.

 

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