English Grammar Essentials for Dummies

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-03-30
  • Publisher: For Dummies
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


English Grammar Essentials For Dummies 2nd Edition (9780730384724) was previously published as English Grammar Essentials For Dummies 2nd Edition (9781118493311). While this version features a new Dummies cover and design, the content is the same as the prior release and should not be considered a new or updated product.

The fun and easy way to learn essential grammar rules, common usage errors, and other key concepts in the English language

Understanding the rules of English is key to being an effective communicator—at work, at school, or anywhere else. If you struggle with the rules—and who hasn't—English Grammar Essentials For Dummies is the book for you. Covering just the basics you need, the book boils the rules of grammar down to the core concepts that will make you a better communicator in any and every aspect of your life.

  • Ideal for students, job hunters, adult learners, those who speak English as a second language, and anyone who wants to make a good impression
  • Covers the vital essentials needed for better written communication
  • Serves as an excellent refresher course for professionals whose primary mode of communication is increasingly electronic and written

Clear and understandable writing can be the key to success in almost any professional field. With English Grammar Essentials For Dummies, you'll master the basics with ease!

Author Biography

Wendy M Anderson is an author, editor and educator. She has taught effective communication in classroom and business environments for over 20 years. Geraldine Woods has taught grammar for over 25 years. Lesley J Ward is a founding member of the UK Society for Editors and Proofreaders.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 2

Where to Go from Here 3

Chapter 1: Grappling with Grammar 5

Grasping Grammar: Good and Proper 6

Using Aussie English 7

Having a Quick Squiz at Aussie Words 8

Choosing Levels of English 10

Impressing with formal English 10

Chatting in informal English 11

Labelling Words 12

Nouns 12

Pronouns 12

Verbs 13

Adjectives 13

Adverbs 14

Verbals 14

Determiners 14

Prepositions 15

Conjunctions 15

Chapter 2: Controlling Verbs 17

Verifying Verbs 17

Happening with action verbs 18

Being with linking verbs 18

Helping out in verb groups 20

Finding the whole verb 21

Simplifying Subjects 22

Locating the subject 22

Baring the complete subject 22

Uncovering a hidden subject 23

Commanding an implied subject 23

Making Subjects and Verbs Agree 24

Separating singles from plurals 24

Adjusting verbs to match subjects 25

Matching two subjects 27

Looking like Verbs: Verbals 28

Participating with participles 28

Naming gerunds 28

Defining infinitives 30

Chapter 3: Completing Sentences 31

Having Subject–Verb Pairs 31

Expressing Complete Thoughts 32

Creating Completeness with Clauses 33

Understanding clauses 33

Telling main from dependent clauses 34

Considering Fragments 36

Fragmented subject–verb pair 36

Fragmented ideas 37

Contemplating Complements 38

Receiving direct objects 39

Baring complete objects 40

Identifying the direct object or complement 41

Recognising indirect objects 42

Completing Linking Verbs 43

Complementing the Object 44

Chapter 4: Peaking with Pronouns 45

Matching Pronouns with Nouns 46

Avoiding Vague Pronoun Use 46

Choosing Singular and Plural Pronouns 47

Pairing Pronouns with Collective Nouns 48

Selecting Pronouns as Subjects 49

Matching more than one subject 50

Selecting pronouns as objects 51

Knowing Who or Whom 51

Comparing with Pronouns 52

Owning Possessive Pronouns 52

Reflecting on Reflexive Pronouns 53

Chapter 5: Modifying with Descriptions 55

Adding Meaning with Adjectives 55

Describing with Adjectives 56

Locating adjectives 57

Adding adjectives to nouns 57

Adding adjectives to pronouns 59

Using adjectives with linking verbs 59

Describing with Adverbs 60

Finding adverbs 60

Using adverbs to describe other describing words 61

Using adverbs to modify a complete statement 62

Misplacing Descriptions 63

Dangling a Description in Space 64

Squinting Descriptions 66

Chapter 6: Punctuating for Meaning 67

Conquering Commas 67

Using commas in lists 68

Addressing people directly 70

Noting introductory and concluding words 71

Adding extra detail with pairs of commas 72

Connecting commas with conjunctions 73

Airing All about Apostrophes 74

Using apostrophes in contractions 74

Owning apostrophes of possession 75

Simplifying Semicolons 79

Hinging complete thoughts 79

Joining with conjuncts 79

Separating in lists 80

Clarifying Colons 80

Setting up long lists 81

Setting up extracts 81

Expanding on an idea 81

Dealing with Dashes 82

Using the humble hyphen with words 82

Using the humble hyphen with numbers 83

Embracing Em and En Dashes 84

Chapter 7: Choosing Capital Letters and Numerals 87

Covering the Basics of Capitalisation 87

Speaking officially 88

Addressing family 88

Capitalising directions 89

Understanding geographical capital letters 89

Talking about history 90

Referring to times and times of year 91

Looking at titles 91

Deciding When to Use Numerals 93

Chapter 8: Avoiding Tricky Situations 95

Eliminating Sexist Pronouns 96

Choosing Between Adjectives and Adverbs 97

Choosing between good and well 98

Choosing between real and really 98

Being Clear with Even, Almost and Only 99

Understanding the Connection Between Which, That and the Comma 101

Creating Clear Comparisons 102

Controlling regular comparisons 102

Mastering irregular comparisons 104

Eradicating illogical comparisons 104

Storytelling in Past or Present Tense 105

Choosing past or present tense 105

Mixing tenses 106

Choosing between done and did 107

Using lie, lay, laid, lain 108

Matching Up Two-Part Conjunctions 109

Ending the Problem with I or Me 110

Editing Out Empty Subjects: Its, Here and There 112

Ending a Sentence with a Preposition 113

Chapter 9: Reporting Speech and Quoting Others 115

Quoting Someone Else 115

Punctuating Block Quotations 116

Joining the Dots with Ellipses 118

Putting Brackets within Quotations 119

Recording Titles 121

Writing Conversation: Quotation Marks 122

Indicating indirect speech 122

Dealing with direct speech 123

Showing a change of speaker 129

Writing someone’s thought 131

Creating Scare Quotes: Aerial Quotation Marks 132

Chapter 10: Writing with Style 133

Building Better Sentences 133

Pairing equal ideas: Coordination 133

Demoting lesser ideas: Subordination 135

Creating logic with coordination and subordination 137

Varying sentence patterns 138

Finding the Right Voice: Active and Passive 139

Creating Writing That Flows: Cohesion 143

Putting ideas in order: Sequencing 144

Connecting ideas with transition words 145

Being Absolutely Clear: Plain English 146

Avoiding word-wasting 147

Selecting the best words 148

Staying positive 149

Chapter 11: Creating More Accurate Documents 151

Summarising with Bullet Point Lists 151

Handling Addresses and Dates 153

Adding addresses 154

Dealing with the date 154

Filling in the Rules for Abbreviations 155

Stretching out acronyms 156

Clearing up initialisms 157

Ensuring Effective Emails 157

Establishing who, why and what 158

Averting potential disaster 159

Focussing on Visual Presentations 160

Presenting Perfect Bibliographies 162

Understanding author–date system versus documentary–note system 162

Defining a reference list 163

Chapter 12: Ten Solutions to the Most Common Grammar Errors 167

Adding Apostrophes (Or Not) 167

Reaching Agreement 168

Staying in the Right Tense 169

Splicing Sentences with a Comma 169

Running Sentences On 170

Fragmenting Sentences 170

Misplacing Modifiers 170

Knowing When to Use Subject and Object Pronouns 171

Selecting Prepositions 171

Confusing ‘Of’ with ‘Have’ 172

Index 173

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