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Leerah’s Guides: Grammar
At it’s core, English grammar is really rather simple and structured. It is not hard to master. However, I have seen so many roleplayers forget about grammar when writing paras and GIF chats, so I feel that this guide is really rather essential. Thankfully, English grammar is quite simple. These five basic grammar topics can easily be recognized and fixed. Trust me, they will help you write better. So, without further ado…
Agreement is really rather simple. It’s consistency in numbers, gender, tense and parts of speech. It tends to come easily for a native speaker of English.
This is an example of an incorrect usage of agreement - “If one has an appreciation for things of beauty, you will certainly enjoy leafing through Rose’s new catalog of art objects.” This is incorrect because there pronoun doesn’t agree. The writer of this sentence first used third person (one), and then used second person (you). Therefore, the sentence could either be written as -
- "If you have an appreciation for things of beauty, you will certainly enjoy leafing through Rose’s new catalog of art objects."
- "If one has an appreciation for things of beauty, they will certainly enjoy leafing through Rose’s new catalog of art objects."
Parallel structure is using the same patterns of words in a sentence. It shows that they have the same level of importance, and typically uses coordinating conjunctions such as ‘and’ or ‘or’. For example, an incorrect usage of parallel structure would be -
- "Waverly likes to write, talking and playing guitar.
First, the writer uses the ‘to’ structure and then moves onto the ‘ing’ structure, making it inconsistent. This does not make sense, as sentences must be consistent. You can phrase this sentence in two ways to make it correct -
- "Waverly likes writing, talking and playing guitar."
- "Waverly likes to write, talk and play guitar."
Verb Tense Consistency
There are three tenses - past tense, present tense and future tense. In a sentence (and typically in a writing piece), you must stay in the same tense. You can’t flip-flop from tense to tense within the sentence. Here is an incorrect usage of verb-tense consistency -
- When the student asked a question, the instructor replies with the answer.As you can see, the sentence first uses past tense, and then uses present tense. Since it is in the same situation and time period, it is impossible that this sentence can use two different tenses. These are two ways to phrase this sentence correctly -
- "When the student asked a question, the instructor replied with the answer."
- "When the student asks a question, the instructor replies with the answer."
A run-on is not just a sentence that goes on and on forever. You may think that is what the definition is, but it isn’t. It is a sentence that has at least two parts, both of which could stand alone with no problem, that have not been connected properly. Here is an example of a run-on sentence.
- "It is Lilo’s birthday today, she ate some birthday cake for breakfast, after that she went out to climb a tree."
The sentence is not connected properly because there is nothing to connect the two parts of the sentence to each other. One way to fix it is to make the two parts separate sentences. Here is another way to correctly phrase this sentence -
- "It is Lilo’s birthday today, so she ate some birthday cake for breakfast. After that, she went out to climb a tree."
Fragments are basically incomplete sentences. Typically, they are pieces of a sentence that have been disconnected from other pieces of the sentence. Here is an example of a fragment -
- "I don’t have my homework today. Because my dog ate it. And that is why I can’t turn it in."
The ‘because’ and ‘and’ in this phrase should not be made into separate sentences. This is why, ‘And there you have it’ and ‘Because I said so’ are fragments. They are both pieces of the sentence that fit in with the first part of the phrase. This is because both ‘because’ and ‘and’ are connectors, and cannot stand alone as the first part of a sentence. Therefore, the sentence should be phrased like this -
- "I don’t have my homework today because my dog ate it, and that is why I can’t turn it in."
So, there you have it! See? It is rather simple!