The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, 11/E

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  • Edition: 11th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-02-10
  • Publisher: Wiley

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


A revised and updated new edition of the bestselling workbook and grammar guide

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is a concise, entertaining workbook and guide to English grammar, punctuation, and usage. This user-friendly resource includes simple explanations of grammar, punctuation, and usage; scores of helpful examples; dozens of reproducible worksheets; and pre- and post-tests to help teach grammar to students of all ages. Appropriate for virtually any age range, this authoritative guide makes learning English grammar and usage simple and fun. This updated Eleventh Edition reflects the latest updates to English usage and grammar and features a fully revised two-color design and lay-flat binding for easy photocopying.

  • Clear and concise, easy-to-follow, offering "just the facts"
  • Fully updated to reflect the latest rules in grammar and usage along with new quizzes
  • Ideal for students from seventh grade through adulthood in the US and abroad

For anyone who wants to understand the major rules and subtle guidelines of English grammar and usage, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation offers comprehensive, straightforward instruction.

Author Biography

JANE STRAUS (1954 - 2011) was an educator and best-selling author with extensive experience teaching English to adult learners. She created The Blue Book because she found no resources that explained English rules "in plain English." Straus also created the popular website

LESTER KAUFMAN is publisher of He married Jane Straus in 1987, eventually retiring from his career in government to help with her website.

TOM STERN is a veteran reporter and columnist. In 2012, his bimonthly newspaper column on English grammar and usage won a first-place award in the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest.

Table of Contents



About the Authors



1 Grammar 1

Finding Nouns, Verbs, and Subjects 1




Using verbs to find subjects

Multiple subjects and verbs in a sentence


You as an understood subject

Subject and Verb Agreement 4

Singular vs. plural verbs

Finding subjects before phrases beginning with of

With or, either. . .or, and neither. . .nor

With and

With interrupting expressions

With portions such as percent, fraction, part, etc.

With here and there

With distances, periods of time, sums of money, etc.

With collective nouns

The subjunctive mood

Clauses and Phrases 9

Independent clauses

Dependent clauses


Pronouns 9

Subject pronouns

Object pronouns

Subject and verb agreement with who, that, and which

Subject and verb agreement with anyone, someone, each, etc.

Following than or as

Possessive pronouns

Its vs. it’s

Reflexives: the self pronouns

Consistency with singular pronouns

Pronouns linked with nouns by and or or

Who vs. Whom 16

Whoever vs. Whomever 18

Who, That, Which 19

Adjectives and Adverbs 20

Adjectives modifying nouns and pronouns

Adverbs modifying verbs, adjectives, and adverbs

When to add -ly

Sense verbs: taste, smell, look, feel

Good vs. well

Comparisons such as -er vs. -est and more vs. most

This, that, these, and those

Prepositions 24

Ending a sentence with a preposition

Avoiding extra prepositions

Like vs. as

Of vs. have

Different from vs. different than

In vs. into

Effective Writing 26

Concrete vs. vague language

Active vs. passive voice

Clumsy construction

Double negatives

Parallel construction

Misplaced and dangling modifiers


2 Punctuation 31

Periods 31

With complete sentences

With abbreviations at the end of a sentence

Question marks and exclamation points replace periods

Commas 31

To separate three or more items

To separate adjectives

With independent clauses

With introductory words

To set off interrupting expressions

With names

With dates

With city and state

With Jr. and Sr.

With degrees and titles

With dependent clauses

With nonessential words, clauses, and phrases

To introduce or interrupt quotations

To separate statements from questions

To separate contrasting parts of a sentence

With introductory words when they are followed by a series of items

With etc.

Semicolons 35

To replace a period in two closely linked sentences

With words such as namely, however, therefore, etc., when they

introduce a complete sentence

To avoid confusion where commas already exist

With sentences that have multiple clauses

Colons 36

To introduce a series of items

Directly following a verb or preposition

With lists

With two independent clauses where the second explains the first

With long quotations

After the salutation in a business letter

Quotation Marks 37

Use of double quotation marks

With titles of magazines, books, plays, etc.

With periods and commas

Use of single quotation marks

Spacing between single and double quotation marks

With slang, technical terms, and other nonstandard expressions

With quoted material of more than one paragraph

Parentheses and Brackets 38

Parentheses and brackets are not interchangeable

Parentheses for clarification and asides

Parentheses with complete sentences

Parentheses and subject agreement

Commas with parentheses

Brackets are interruptions

Use of [sic]

Use of brackets with quotations

Apostrophes 40


Singular possession

Nouns ending in s

Plural possession

With regular nouns

With irregular nouns

With names

With compound nouns

To show joint possession


With initials, capital letters, and numbers

With time or money

With personal pronouns

Apostrophes vs. single quotation marks

False possessives

With nouns ending in y

Hyphens 43

Between words

With compound adjectives

With compound verbs and compound nouns

With very and -ly adverbs

With ages

For clarification

With spans of time, distance, or other quantities

With compound numbers

With spelled-out fractions

With double last names

With prefixes and suffixes

Prefixes with proper nouns or proper adjectives

Prefixes with double vowels

With self, ex, and all

With re

With suffixes

Suffixes with double letters

Use a dictionary

Dashes 47

Words between dashes are not part of the subject

In place of other punctuation


Ellipses 48

Three-dot method

With omitted words or sentences

To express hesitation, changes of mood, etc.

Question Marks 49

With direct questions

Replacing periods

Indirect and rhetorical questions

With sentences that are half statement and half question

With quotation marks

Exclamation Points 49

To show emotion, emphasis, or surprise

Replacing periods

Formal business writing

Justifiable use

3 Capitalization 51

Beginning a document or sentence

Proper nouns and adjectives derived from proper nouns

Unique, formal names

Official names

Titles vs. occupations

Titles in direct address

Kinship names


Geographic regions vs. points of the compass

The before proper nouns

First word of quotations

Course titles

Art movements

Lists following colons

Titles of books, plays, films, songs, etc.

4 Writing Numbers 56

Using figures vs. spelling out

Compound numbers



Large numbers




5 Confusing Words and Homonyms 59

Imply vs. infer

Lay vs. lie

Their vs. there vs. they’re

Hundreds more words and homonyms that perplex and confound

6 Quizzes 115

Grammar Pretest 115

Finding Nouns, Verbs, and Subjects—Quiz 1 116

Finding Nouns, Verbs, and Subjects—Quiz 2 117

Subject and Verb Agreement—Quiz 1 117

Subject and Verb Agreement—Quiz 2 118

Pronouns—Quiz 1 119

Pronouns—Quiz 2 119

Who, Whom, Whoever, Whomever—Quiz 1 120

Who, Whom, Whoever, Whomever—Quiz 2 121

Who, Whom, That, Which—Quiz 1 121       

Who, Whom, That, Which—Quiz 2 122.

Adjectives and Adverbs—Quiz 1 122

Adjectives and Adverbs—Quiz 2 123

Prepositions—Quiz 1 123

Prepositions—Quiz 2 124

Affect vs. Effect—Quiz 1 124

Affect vs. Effect—Quiz 2 125

Lay vs. Lie—Quiz 1 125

Lay vs. Lie—Quiz 2 126

Advice vs. Advise—Quiz 1 126

Advice vs. Advise—Quiz 2 127

Their vs. There vs. They’re—Quiz 1 127

Their vs. There vs. They’re—Quiz 2 128

More Confusing Words and Homonyms—Quiz 1 128

More Confusing Words and Homonyms—Quiz 2 129

Effective Writing—Quiz 1 129

Effective Writing—Quiz 2 130

Grammar Mastery Test 131

Punctuation, Capitalization, and Writing Numbers Pretest 132

Commas and Periods—Quiz 1 134

Commas and Periods—Quiz 2 135

Semicolons and Colons—Quiz 1 135

Semicolons and Colons—Quiz 2 136

Question Marks and Quotation Marks—Quiz 1 137

Question Marks and Quotation Marks—Quiz 2 138

Parentheses and Brackets—Quiz 1 138

Parentheses and Brackets—Quiz 2 139

Apostrophes—Quiz 1 139

Apostrophes—Quiz 2 140

Hyphens Between Words—Quiz 1 140

Hyphens Between Words—Quiz 2 141

Hyphens with Prefixes and Suffixes—Quiz 1 141

Hyphens with Prefixes and Suffixes—Quiz 2 142

Capitalization—Quiz 1 142

Capitalization—Quiz 2 143

Writing Numbers—Quiz 1 143

Writing Numbers—Quiz 2 144

Punctuation, Capitalization, and Writing Numbers Mastery Test 144

7 Answers to Quizzes 146

Grammar Pretest 146

Finding Nouns, Verbs, and Subjects—Quiz 1 147

Finding Nouns, Verbs, and Subjects—Quiz 2 148

Subject and Verb Agreement—Quiz 1 148

Subject and Verb Agreement—Quiz 2 149

Pronouns—Quiz 1 149

Pronouns—Quiz 2 150

Who, Whom, Whoever, Whomever—Quiz 1 151

Who, Whom, Whoever, Whomever—Quiz 2 151

Who, Whom, That, Which—Quiz 1 152       

Who, Whom, That, Which—Quiz 2 152.

Adjectives and Adverbs—Quiz 1 152

Adjectives and Adverbs—Quiz 2 153

Prepositions—Quiz 1 154

Prepositions—Quiz 2 154

Affect vs. Effect—Quiz 1 154

Affect vs. Effect—Quiz 2 155

Lay vs. Lie—Quiz 1 155

Lay vs. Lie—Quiz 2 156

Advice vs. Advise—Quiz 1 156

Advice vs. Advise—Quiz 2 156

Their vs. There vs. They’re—Quiz 1 157

Their vs. There vs. They’re—Quiz 2 157

More Confusing Words and Homonyms—Quiz 1 158

More Confusing Words and Homonyms—Quiz 2 158

Effective Writing—Quiz 1 159

Effective Writing—Quiz 2 160

Grammar Mastery Test 162

Punctuation, Capitalization, and Writing Numbers Pretest 164

Commas and Periods—Quiz 1 165

Commas and Periods—Quiz 2 166

Semicolons and Colons—Quiz 1 166

Semicolons and Colons—Quiz 2 167

Question Marks and Quotation Marks—Quiz 1 168

Question Marks and Quotation Marks—Quiz 2 168

Parentheses and Brackets—Quiz 1 169

Parentheses and Brackets—Quiz 2 170

Apostrophes—Quiz 1 170

Apostrophes—Quiz 2 171

Hyphens Between Words—Quiz 1 171

Hyphens Between Words—Quiz 2 171

Hyphens with Prefixes and Suffixes—Quiz 1 172

Hyphens with Prefixes and Suffixes—Quiz 2 172

Capitalization—Quiz 1 172

Capitalization—Quiz 2 173

Writing Numbers—Quiz 1 174

Writing Numbers—Quiz 2 174

Punctuation, Capitalization, and Writing Numbers Mastery Test 175


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