Grammar Agreement is when a noun/pronoun agrees with the verb or the noun with the pronoun (they are; everyone . . . he). Tense is past, present, future, etc. Voice can be active or passive as in “He killed” (active) or “He was killed (passive). Case is nominative, objective, possessive (as in who/whom or I/me/my/mine).
Formatting rules are often specified by the documentation style such as MLA or APA. Effective formatting may enhance readability. You can check capitalization rules in the dictionary Mechanics
Usage Usage guides are available in the back of many handbooks and dictionaries. Usage is mostly a matter of judgment and custom—how most people use language in certain situations.
Avoid jargon. Even words like “modify” or “verb” can be confusing. When you do use jargon like “unity,” “topic sentences,” or “diction,” keep an eye on the client to see if he or she seems to follow you. Clients who speak English as a second language (ESL) may be especially confused by words we use when discussing writing.
8 Parts of Speech Verbs Adverbs Nouns Prepositions Pronouns Conjunctions Adjectives Interjections
Verbs show action or state of being Am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been are being verbs. The being verbs plus have, has, had, shall, will, should, would, may, might, must, can,and couldare helping (auxiliary) verbs.
Texas Aggies are the keepers of many traditions. Texas A&M University has been in existence since 1876. The 12th Man stands throughout every football game.
Verbals forms of verbs used as other parts of speech gerunds are used as nouns participles are used as adjectives infinitives are used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs
Gerunds the -ing form of verbs used as nouns
retain the qualities of verbs (having objects and tense)
take on the qualities of nouns(being used in places where nouns can be used).
Going to an Aggie football game is an exciting experience. (“Going” acts as the subject.)
Participles the -ing and -ed forms of verbs used as adjectives retain the qualities of verbs (objects and tense) take on the qualities of adjectives (answers “which one,” “what kind of,” or “how many” about nouns) Formed in 1894, The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band used to be all male. Now formingat the north end of Kyle Field, the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band will step off on “Hullabaloo.”
Infinitives the “to + verb” form of verbs used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs retain the qualities of a verb (having objects and tense) can be used as nouns, adjectives (answering “which one,” ”what kind of,” or “how many” about nouns) can be used as adverbs (answering “how,” “when,” “where,” “why,” or “how much” about verbs, adjectives, or adverbs)
To get an Aggie ring is one of the most exciting experiences of a lifetime. (used as a nounsubject of the sentence) Requirements to get an Aggie ring are definite. (used as an adjective telling what kind of “requirements”) Waiting to get their Aggie ring is exciting for students with ninety-five hours. (used as an adverb telling why they are “waiting.”)
Nouns name persons, places, things, and ideas subjects of sentences direct objects of sentences subjective complements of sentences appositives objects of prepositions, infinitives, participles, or gerunds
Pronouns take the place of nouns and can be used in the same places as nouns personal relative interrogative indefinite demonstrative
Personal Pronouns Nominative case pronouns are used as subjects of sentences: I, you, he, she, it, we, they Objective case pronouns are used as direct objects, objects of prepositions, participles, gerunds or infinitives: me, you, him, her, it, us, them Possessive case pronouns show possession: my, mine, your, yours, his, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs Reflexive pronouns will never be subjects; they show action reflected back to the person named: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves
Relative Pronouns connect dependent clauses to independent clauses
who – nominative case
whom – objective case
whose – possessive case
which and that – any case
Interrogative Pronouns ask questions who – nominative case whom – objective case whose – possessive case which and what – any case
Indefinite Pronouns Do not refer to any specific person, place, thing, or idea. Often denote a quality. Singular: anybody, anything, anyone, each, either, everyone, everybody, everything, neither, nobody, no one, one, someone, something, none (none only when it means no one) Plural: all, both, few, most, some,none
Demonstrative Pronouns act as adjectives and point out this that these those (all any case)
Adverbs describe verb, adjectives, and other adverbs. They answer the questions “how,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how much.” Earlyin its history, the campus was only a fraction of its current size.
Adjectives describenouns They answer the questions “which one,” “what kind of,” and “how many” Those three cheering Aggie fans show real spirit.
Prepositions anything an Aggie can do at Kyle Field The Aggie can go over, under, around, through, beside, between, above, across, against, at, among, after, before, behind, beyond, by, down, into, from, in, near, off, to, past, through, toward, on, or up Kyle Field. About, during, for, except, throughout, until are also prepositions.
Prepositions will be adverbs if not followed by an object in a prepositional phrase In the sky above [adverb], we saw an Apache helicopter flown by a Texas Aggie. Prepositional phrases show relationships and can be used as adjective and adverbs. In the sky above the stadium[preposition above followed by the noun object stadium), we saw an Apache helicopter flown by a Texas Aggie.
Interjections express excitement should be used sparingly if at all in academic or professional writing
Conjunctions connect things coordinating subordinating
Coordinating & Correlative Conjunctions connect elements of equal value
Coordinating conjunctions: Think FANBOYS—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
Aggies enjoy the traditions of Muster andMidnight Yell.
Correlative conjunctions: either/or, neither/nor, both/and, or not only/but also
Both Muster and Midnight Yell are important events on the TAMU campus.
Subordinating Conjunctions connect dependent (adverb) clauses to independent clauses When you add any of these words to an independent clause, it becomes a dependent clause. After, although, as, as if, as _____as, because, before, if, inorder that, since, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, wherever, while
Sentences Every sentence needs at least one independent clause. Compound sentences: a coordinating or correlative conjunction joins two independent clauses. Complex sentences: a subordinating conjunction joins a dependent and an independent clause. Compound/Complex sentences: Joins both patterns.
5 Parts of Sentences Subject Verb Direct object Subjective complement Indirect object
To diagram (parse) a sentence, look first for the verb. Without a verb, there cannot be a sentence. A sentence presents a complete idea. Next look for the subject of the sentence, which tells who or what is doing the action or explains the “being” of the verb. Incoming studentslearn the Aggie traditions at Fish Camp. (Students do the action of learning.) A wildcat is one of the many traditions that they learn. (Is links wildcat to traditions.)
Objects Objects receive the action of infinitives, participles, and gerunds or show the relationship of prepositions. To win a ball game, Aggie athletes give their best. (To win is an infinitive.) Running the game ballfrom College Station to Austin before the annual game with the University of Texas, Squadron 17 maintains a tradition. (Running is a participle.) Playing ball is a favorite activity of many Aggies. (Playing is a gerund.)
Direct Objects The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band plays the Aggie War Hymn after the third quarter of every football game. Aggie War Hymn “receives” the action of the verb “play.” If the verb shows action, it may be followed by a direct object, which “receives” the action of the verb.
Indirect objects Indirect objects “receive” direct objects. Aggies show veterans respect when they remove their hats upon entering the MSC. Respect is the direct object of the sentence (receives the action of “show”).
Appositives Appositives are nouns that rename other nouns, either directly before them or directly after them. Reveille, the mascot, attends classes at TAMU. A beautiful collie dog, Reveille is an important member of A&M tradition.
Noun clauses Noun clauses can be used in the same way that nouns are used. They are introduced by a relative pronoun (who, whose, whom, which, or that) or an adverb (where, how, when, etc). Subject: Where the Aggies will play in a bowl game is the question every November. Subjective Complement: The question every November is where the Aggies will play in a bowl game. Direct Object: Every Aggie knows that Muster is held April 21. Object of a preposition: In what was once called the “holler house,” the Aggie volleyball team wins many matches. Object of an infinitive: To say that Texas A&M University is a major university is obvious.
Adjective clauses Adjective clauses can be used in the same way that adjectives are used. They will answer “which one,” “what kind of,” or “how many” about a noun. They are introduced by a relative pronoun—who, whose, whom, which, or that. The cadets, who brush Reveille daily, have a solemn responsibility to maintain TAMU traditions. The tradition that we will always remember is Bonfire.
Adverb clauses Adverb clauses can be used in the same way that adverbs are used.They will answer “how,” “when,” “where,” “why,” or “how much” about a verb, adjective, or adverb. They are introduced by a subordinating conjunction—after, although, as, as if, as ____ as, because, before, if, in order that, since, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, wherever, or while. If you are a student at Texas A&M University, you know what the 12th Man is. Students stand when the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band marches at halftime of the football games.
Independent + Independent This pattern makes the sentences compound or coordinate. The meaning of each part is fairly equal; they balance or counterpoint one another. They get roughly equal emphasis.
Dependent + Independent This pattern makes the sentence complex or subordinate. One clause is subordinate to the other, and one idea is subordinated to the other. The most emphasis tends to fall on the independent clause.
Some common errors: Long sentences are NOT run-ons. Run-ons are sentences that lack punctuation between Independent Clauses. Comma splices or fused sentences are Independent clauses joined by a comma. Fragments are sentences that lack an independent clause.
Usage: Who/Whom Most writers use “who” in all cases except for phrases like “to whom it may concern” or for other well-known phrases. I asked who it was. I asked who the book was for. I asked for whom the bell tolls.
Usage: Ending on a Preposition The rule of thumb is, end on a preposition if not doing so would sound awkward or stilted.
I asked for who the book was intended.
I asked for whom the book was intended.
I asked who the book was for. (sounds best)
Usage: Split Infinitives Splitting an infinitive means inserting a word between to and the related verb. Split infinitives as long as it sounds natural. Either way is fine.
To go quietly
To quietly go
Usage: Who, Which, & That Use who with people (formal usage) “people who I admire,” not “people that I admire” Use that in non-restrictive clauses and which or who in restrictive clauses (with commas). The writing center, which is in Evans, is open summers. The writing center that is in Evans is open Sundays, but the one that is in West Campus Library isn’t.