The following is a guide originally produced for studying for the Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation, and Diction exam given by the College of Communication at the University of Alabama.
The guide is organized along the topic listed below. Click on any of these topics to take you to that part of the guide.
Sentences. A sentence is a group of words with a subject and a verb that expresses a complete thought. The four types of sentence structures are simple, complex, compound and compound-complex. Sentences may also be classified by their content: declarative, interrogatory, imperative and exclamatory.
Sentence errors. Some of the most common errors that occur with the use of sentences are sentence fragments, comma splices (or run-on sentences), errors in agreement, and lack of parallelism.
Word choice. Choosing the correct word to use in the correct context is an important part of knowing how to use the language. You should understand the subtleties of the language in order to make the correct choices.
Spelling and plurals. A student must know how to spell certain words. In this section, we give you some of the basic rules for spelling and a list of words you should know.
Parts of speech. Knowledge and understanding of the eight parts of speech should be a part of any student’s knowledge.
Phrases. Students should be able to recognize infinitive, appositive and participial phrases.
Punctuation. In this section, we give you some of the rules for using commas, colons, semi-colons, and periods.
|Commas (,), semicolons (;), colons (:) and periods (.) are among the most common forms of punctuation.
Commas are used to separate items in a series (red, white and blue) and to set off parts of a sentence (After the rain had stopped, John ran to the store). They are also used arbitrarily, as in separating elements in a date (Nov. 15, 1980).
Semicolons are used to separate independent clauses in the same sentence.
The period (.) is most often used to end sentences, but it has other uses, such as ending abbreviations (Mr.). The question mark (?) is used to end interrogative sentences, and the exclamation point (!) ends sentences and expressions of excitement.
Copyright © 2002 Jim Stovall
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