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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fun Grammar Rules 3


What other "fun" grammar rules can you think of? (Like "Never say 'never'" for example.)


Read these "Grammar Rules" and try to find out what's wrong with each one.

1. Consult the dictionery to avoid mispelings.
2. To ignorantly split an infinitive is a practice to religiously avoid.
3. Last but not least, lay off clich├ęs.
4. Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.
5. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
6. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!
7. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
8. Write all adverbial forms correct.
9. Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
10. If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.


1. PROBLEM: "dictionary" and "misspellings" are spelled wrong.
CORRECT FORM: Consult the dictionary to avoid misspellings.
2. PROBLEM: "To ignorantly split" and "to religiously avoid" are split infinitives. This is where a word is inserted between "to" and the verb in an infinitive.
CORRECT FORM: To split an infinitive ignorantly is a practice to avoid religiously.
3. PROBLEM: "Last but not least" is a cliche. Try a simple "finally."
CORRECT FORM: Finally, lay off cliches.
4. PROBLEM: A semi-colon is used to divide two closely-related sentences; in the sentence below, we need one after "properly," and we DON'T need one before the conjunction "and."
CORRECT FORM: Use the semicolon properly; always use it where it is appropriate, and never where it isn't.
5. PROBLEM: Conjunctions join two things; if one is at the start of a sentence, it's not joining anything! Yet the sentence below starts with "And," a conjunction.
CORRECT FORM: Don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
6. PROBLEM: Even one exclamation mark (!) indicates strong emotion; using more than one is typical for high school girls writing notes to each other, but it's not appropriate in formal writing.
CORRECT FORM: Don't overuse exclamation marks!
7. PROBLEM: A pronoun and the word it refers to should not be too far apart. Compare the corrected sentence and the original to help you understand the problem.
CORRECT FORM: Place pronouns as close as possible to their antecedents, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words.
8. PROBLEM: Most of the time, adverbs end in "-ly," but in casual speech, people sometimes leave this off. It should be used (when appropriate) in written communication. (Some adverbs, like "fast," do NOT end in "-ly.")
CORRECT FORM: Write all adverbial forms correctly.
9. PROBLEM: Irregular verbs can be difficult. "Sneak" is in fact a regular verb, so the correct forms of "sneak" are sneak, sneaked, sneaked. But an "irregular" form, "snuck," has been used so often that it is now listed in some dictionaries.
CORRECT FORM: Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have sneaked in the language.
10. PROBLEM: "Hyperbole," or exaggeration, is overstating something, or saying it too strongly. In the sentence below, we can be sure the speaker HASN'T said something "a thousand times."
CORRECT FORM: As I've told you many times, resist hyperbole. (One of many possible corrections.)


Try to think of more examples of "wrong" use of the rules above; then write some correct sentences. For example:

#1 (wrong): "I have finished all my homework accept science."
#1 (right): "I have finished all my homework except science."

#8 (wrong): "He ran quick."
#8 (right): "He ran quickly."

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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