Category: Grammar and Mechanics

Order of Adjectives

An adjective is a word that describes a noun. In English, adjectives need to go in a particular order in order to make sense. They usually follow the following pattern: opinion, size, physical quality, shape, age, color, origin,...

Read More

Capitalization

Capitalizing the first letters of words is a tradition in English that comes from German. In traditional German, all nouns are capitalized. The Idea behind capitalizing Letters is that it makes the important Things in a Sentence...

Read More

Comparatives and Superlatives

Comparatives are words that are used to (as the name suggests) compare things. Words like: bigger, longer, taller, faster, slower, shorter, and smaller are comparatives. Superlatives are those things that you find in high school...

Read More

Ellipses

And so it went… Ellipses are usually used to show that words have been left out of quotes, but occasionally they are used in dialogue to show a trailing off or…something. Don’t put any spaces around them; they go right up...

Read More

Verb Tenses

One of the most difficult things for fledgling writers and English learners is verb tenses. Most memoirs and fiction stories are written in the past tense for the obvious reason that we tend to tell stories about things that...

Read More

Misplaced Modifiers

Adjectives and adverbs (words that modify nouns and verbs [respectively]) need to be close to the word that they modify. If you put too many words between a word and its modifier, you might confuse the reader. Incorrect:...

Read More

Homophones

Because English is a hybrid language of Old German, Latin (via French), some Greek, and a smattering of others, there are a few words that have different meanings, but sound the same. We call these words “homophones” and they...

Read More

Modal Verbs – an Overview

Modal verbs can be used for a number of purposes, including giving advice, making requests, and expressing degrees of certainty. The grammar of modals is fairly simple, but the vocabulary can be confusing, because many of the same modals are used for several different purposes.

Read More

Was/Were

Hypothetically speaking, if you were to write about something that might possibly happen in the future, you would use the verb “were” and not the verb “was.” Incorrect: “I know I would if I w[as] free—only I don’t want to be...

Read More

Subject/Verb Agreement

Ensuring that verbs agree with their subjects is a problem that less-experienced writers frequently have and, while it sounds complicated at first, the truth is that it’s a fairly simple problem to fix. In English, (and Latin...

Read More

Punctuation: The Basics

Punctuation doesn’t have to be complicated. If you can put periods at the ends of declarative sentences, question marks at the ends of questions, and the occasional comma between dependent and independent clauses, then you’ll be...

Read More

Article Use (a, an, the…)

Using articles appropriately is one of the most difficult grammatical points in English to master. It is not necessarily essential in speech, but it’s something that should be checked for when writing.

Read More

Names of Nationalities and Languages

Be careful to use the correct adjective and noun forms to describe nationalities and languages. These are more complicated in English than in many languages. See the lists here: https://www.espressoenglish.net/english-vocabulary-countries-nationalities-and-languages/.

Read More
Loading