The majority of causes of trouble in this world are due to grammar
Michel de Montaigne
1533 - 92 French author
Grammar refers to the rules regarding the current standard of correctness in speech and writing. Advances in word processing software have included grammar-checking features.
Using Commas:; Do these sentences need commas?
No: Two verb phrases describing the action of the same subject do not need a comma if the conjunction separating them is "and."
Yes: Three or more verb phrases describing the action of the same subject need commas to separate them.
No: if Who Built America? was taken out of the sentence, when readers read "text," they would not know which text the writer means, so commas are not used when the title is in the sentence. (This is called a restrictive appositive.)
Practice using commas.;
Copy these sentences into word processing and insert commas where needed;
then read the explanations below.
The restaurant dessert tray featured carrot cake, coconut
cream pie, and something called death-by-chocolate.
The comma separates the items in a series.
Because I was three hours short of graduation
requirements, I had to take a course during the summer.
The comma separates an introductory phrase or dependent clause from the rest of the sentence.
The weather, according to last night's forecast, will
improve by Saturday.
The phrase "according to last night's forecast" interrupts the main clause, so it is set off by commas.
A modifier is a word or group of words;
that describes another word and makes its meaning more specific. Often modifying phrases add information about "where", "when", or "how" something is done. A modifier works best when it is right next to the word it modifies. For example, consider the modifiers in the following sentence (they are underlined for you):
The word "awesome" is an adjective (or, a one-word
it sits right next to the word "dude" it modifies.
The phrase "breaking on the shore" tells us where he rode the wave.
Thus, "breaking on the shore" is a modifying phrase
that must be placed next to the "wave" it modifies.
Below are some examples of poorly placed modifiers.
See if you can identify the problems:
Obviously twenty-five sofas were not shopping on Saturday. Because "shopping on Saturday" is meant to modify Roger, it should be right next to Roger, as follows:
Shopping on Saturday, Roger looked at twenty-five sofas.
Had the woman really received the package with her fingernails? The writer meant that she tore open the package with her fingernails.
With her fingernails, the woman tore open the package she had just received.
What's drenched according to the sentence? The waiter, the table, or the pancakes?; Actually, the pancakes were drenched:
The waiter brought the pancakes, drenched in blueberry syrup, to the table.
It sounds as if Jean was lying on the closet floor when she found her son's laundry!
Jean found her son's dirty laundry lying in a heap on the closet floor.