View Single Post
Old January 4th, 2010 (9:08 AM).
ArcanineOod's Avatar
ArcanineOod ArcanineOod is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pewter City, England...
Gender: Female
Nature: Quiet
Posts: 883
Send a message via Windows Live Messenger to ArcanineOod
A Basic Grammar Guide
Approved by Alter Ego

It’s pretty much only the basics, but I’m sure it’ll help quite a lot of you who are unsure.
Credit to some of this information goes to the CGP English GCSE Revision Guide.

Part 1 – Punctuation & Apostrophes

A few terms to get started:

The full stop looks like this > .
Americans call it a period, I believe. I will call it a full stop hereafter.

This is a comma > ,

Colon > :

Semicolon > ;

Apostrophe > ‘

I’ll be explaining how to use all of them well in a bit, but first here are some grammar basics that I see people getting wrong everywhere.

if you don’t use punctuation properly just imagine how annoying it would be i mean there would be so many run on sentences all the time wouldn’t that just drive you batty i can’t believe anyone would use no punctuation that would just be so annoying so now i’m going to teach you how to use it properly okay

Capital Letters and Full Stops
This is really quite simple and basic.

~ Always start sentences with a capital letter.
~Always end a sentence with a full stop (unless it’s a question or an exclamation, in which case use a question mark or an exclamation mark respectively).
~Full stops mark a definitive pause before the next sentence starts.

Commas, Colons and Semicolons

This area of grammar is one I’m not very good at. I’ll misuse commas all the time, even though I do know the rules of how to use them properly.

The Comma
Learn these three rules.

1) Commas are used in order to separate words or groups of words to make the meaning clearer.

In the valley below, the houses all looked quite small.

If the comma hadn’t been there, you might have read it as ‘in the valley below the houses’.

2) Commas are also used to break up things in a list:
I brought cake, cola, sweets and chocolate.

3) Commas can be used to add something extra to the sentence:
The new members, who joined last night, don’t have large post counts.
This sentence would still make perfect sense without the bit between the commas.

The Colon
Again, three rules for a happy colon.

1) Colons should be used to divide sentences if the second half explains the first half:
The nursery had become very quiet: most of the toddlers had fallen asleep.

2) Colons are only to be used if the first part leads on to the second part.

3) Colons can also be used to introduce a list.

You will need: flour, eggs and milk.

The Semicolon
Two pointers this time!

1) Semicolons are used to link sentences in order to make one long sentence.

2) The two parts on either side of the sentence must be equally important.

You don’t have enough money; you can’t afford that.

Both parts are equally important and can stand as sentences in their own right.

Ellipses and Dashes

1) Ellipses are three dots: ...
2) Ellipses mark a very long pause... Longer than even a full stop.
3) Dashes do pretty much the same thing – and they’re useful for separating parts of a sentence.

Ah, the dear apostrophe. I don’t think it’s hard to learn the rules surrounding it, and once you do know them you’re good to go.

An apostrophe can be used to show one of two things:

1) Possession

The girl’s words are wise.

The apostrophe after the girl and before the s shows that the words belong to the girl. Without the apostrophe, still with correct grammar, it would look like this:

The words of the girl are wise.

Please note that when the word that is doing the owning (the girl, in the above example’s case) ends with an s, the s after the apostrophe is missed out:

The girls’ words are wise.

In the above sentence, the word girl is in the plural form; girls. (By the way, plural means that there's more than one.)
In full, the sentence would read:

The words of the girls are wise

So, because the word girls ends in an s, the apostrophe has no s after it.

2) To show a missing letter or sometimes even a whole word

That’s a wise girl

In the above sentence, the apostrophe shows that a space and the letter i are missing.
In full, the sentence would say:

That is a wise girl

When letters or words are cut out, this is called contraction.

Commonly contracted words:
  • We are
  • I will not
    I won't
  • I would
  • I had
  • It is
  • They are
  • Who is
  • Do not
  • Does not
  • Can not

NB - An apostrophe should never be used to show a plural.
If you are going to put something into the plural, then for goodness' sake please don't add an apostrophe!

The plural of TM is not TM's.
It is TMs.
Just add an s.
Of course, not all plurals only require an s. Some are irregular, and I will put more about them later.

As with nearly every rule, there is an exception:


You know the rules about apostrophes showing possession? It chucks them out of the window.
It is is still contracted to it’s, but that’s all it’s means. When it comes to possession, you just add an s on the end.
It’s = It is
Its = belonging to 'it' (when not given a gender)
Make sure you don't mix these two up!

That's it for part one. Part two may be a while.
Reply With Quote