#GrammarSeries – Pronouns are more important than you think

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Can you imagine a world without pronouns? It sure will be full of repetitions.

Pronouns are words that stand in place of nouns like “Sola” in the example below.

Imagine reading a book completely devoid of pronouns. It will sound like this:

Sola went home from school this afternoon. After Sola got home, Sola quickly raced up the stairs to greet Sola’s mother before stepping into Sola’s room.

Books will be all shades of awkward if this is how they are being written. Thank God for pronouns.

We would be looking at Possessive pronouns today.

Possessive pronouns, like the name suggests, are used to show possession or ownership of properties, things as well as people. Examples are; yours, mine, hers, theirs, his, ours, its.

It is very vital to note here that these possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes like her’s or our’s.

Here are a few examples:

The lady is mine.

That dog is ours.

The field belongs to Ogunleyes. Therefore, it is theirs.

Its cage was beyond redemption.

My name is Precious. What is yours?

That lovely dress is hers.

The leather belt is his.

 

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#GrammarSeries – The relationship between subjects and verbs

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For today’s grammar series, it’s going to be all about subjects and verbs.

To make your writing comprehensible and coherent, you need to understand that there should not be any form of divorce between subjects and verbs in sentences. Two rules are needed for this understanding.

Rule 1

Singular subjects go with singular verbs.

Rule 2

Plural subjects go with plural verbs.

Examples are as follows:

The boys are on their way to the party (the subject here is ‘The boys’ while the verb is ‘are’).

This sentence would sound pretty awkward if it was rendered as “The boys is on their way to the party” because the plural subject should go with a plural verb and not the other way round.

That toddler jumps up and down all the time (the subject here is ‘That toddler’ while the verb is ‘jumps’).

Again, this sentence would have been really awkward if it was rendered as “That toddler jump down all the time” because singular subjects should go with singular verbs and not the other way round.

Stick around for more on the grammar series next week!

 

#GrammarSeries – The truth about adjectives

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Hello there Sparkle Writer! It is going to be all about the adjectives today. In simple terms, adjectives are the oxygen of your writing. They breathe life into your writing. They tell us or give us more information about nouns.

This will help you understand better.

The man came yesterday versus The tall man came yesterday.

In the example above, the adjective tall gives us a clearer picture of the kind of man being referred to in the sentence. 

There are times that you would like to use more than one adjective to describe a particular noun and this sometimes leads to confusion as to which should be placed before the other. Well, not to worry, we have got you covered.

There is an order that adjectives should follow in sentences.

If we want to use the adjectives tall, young and handsome to describe the noun ‘man, the order will be as follows:

The tall handsome young man is in the living room.

The reason is simple. The adjective ‘tall’ is a general opinion adjective meaning it could be used to describe almost any kind of noun so it comes first. The adjective ‘handsome’ is a specific opinion adjective meaning it is reserved for specific kinds of nouns like a man or boy and not an animal. The adjective ‘young’ refers to the age of the man therefore it comes last in the order.

So the order goes like this: general opinion adjectives, specific opinion adjectives, adjectives of size (big, small), shape (circles, diamond, spherical), age (young, old), colour (red, black), nationality (Nigerian, British), and material (golden, woolen, and leather).

Look at these examples 

The tall handsome young black Nigerian man is here to see you.

My father has a big black Irish leather bag.

We hope you got it!

 

 

#GrammarSeries – How to space with a punctuation

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We are back with another grammar rule. Don’t worry if you’ve been making this mistake before, it’s time to learn and do better next time. This time we are learning about how to space properly with punctuation marks. 

Rule 1

With a computer, use only one space following periods, commas, semicolons, colons, exclamation points, question marks, and quotation marks. The space needed after these punctuation marks is proportioned automatically

Rule 2

Use no spaces on either side of a hyphen. A lot of people make this mistake, hopefully you won’t after reading this. Look at this example to undertsand better. 

Example:
We borrowed twenty-three sheets of paper.

We hope you put what you’ve learnt today into practice. Until next week, keep your grammar in check! 

#GrammarSeries – Answers to the commonly confused words quiz

 

Thank you to everyone who answered the commonly confused words quiz that was posted a week ago.  

Without wasting time let’s just go straight to the answers. If you got them right, this is the time to find out.  

1. The roll-top desk was made by an exceptionally skilled artisan.
b) artisan

An artisan is a worker in a skilled trade. An artist practices a creative art such as painting, sculpting, or writing.

2. Drink, drank, (have) drunk are the principal parts of the verb “to drink.”
a) principal

As an adjective, principal means “first in order of importance.” Principle is a noun that means “a fundamental truth,” or “a rule or a belief that governs one’s behavior.”

3. Pliny the Elder died in the eruption of Vesuvius.
b) Elder

As an adjective, elder is sometimes interchangeable with older, as in “Jane is Sally’s elder sister.” Capitalized, Elder is used to distinguish between two family members of different generations, as in Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger.

4. Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
b) duel

Used historically, a duel is a ritualized killing contest between two men armed with deadly weapons. Dual is an adjective meaning “consisting of two parts.”

5. I saw the detective clench his fists, but he refrained from striking the suspect.
b) clench

When speaking of ones’ fingers, clench means to make a fist. One can also clench other body parts. To clench one’s teeth is to press them closely together. Clinch means to embrace or grapple at close quarters.

We hope to bring more fun grammar questions for you to answer! You can read thias week’s Grammar Post here. You can bet we have something fun for you to learn today! 

#GrammarSeries – Arrange these words in the right order

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Our #GrammarSeries is gaining a lot of traction and we love it! If you answered last week’s questions please check the answers posted in the sequel. Today we want to test how well you can arrange your words.

The sentences given below are taken from a story, but they are jumbled. That means they are not arranged in their proper order. Rearrange them in their logical sequence.

1. The young man sold his share of the property and left for another country.

2. The father tried to dissuade his son, but he wouldn’t listen to his father whom he regarded as old and ignorant.

3. Years went by. The younger son began to get restless because he was unhappy with his lot.

4. He led a luxurious life and spent a lot of money on gambling.

5. They were living together happily.

6. Soon all his money was gone and he became a pauper.

7. Once there lived a rich farmer.

8. He went to his father and asked for his share of the property.

9. So the father gave him a third of his property.

10. He had two sons.

Don’t forget to leave your answers in the comment section so we can read them. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

#GrammarSeries – Commonly confused words quiz

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If you’ve been following us for a while then you will know we have talked about commonly confused words and how knowing what each word means will help you use it well.

Today we have a quiz to test your knowledge on this subject. If you need to refresh, read the post again. 

In each sentence, choose the correct word from the pair of similar terms (If both words possibly can be correct, choose the more plausible one).

1. The roll-top desk was made by an exceptionally skilled ________.
a) artist
b) artisan

2. Drink, drank, (have) drunk are the ________ parts of the verb “to drink.”
a) principal
b) principle

3. Pliny the _______ died in the eruption of Vesuvius.
a) older
b) Elder

4. Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a _______.
a) dual
b) duel

5. I saw the detective ________ his fists, but he refrained from striking the suspect.
a) clinch
b) clench

Leave your answers in the comment box and we’d let you know if you are right! 

#GrammarSeries – When to use ‘due to’ and ‘because’

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Hello Grammar lovers! We are here to share something new with you. We hope you are just as interested as we are. 

Today we are talking about the correct way to use ‘due to’ and ‘because’ in a sentence. 

There’s a traditional way and a rebel way. The traditional view is that you should use “due to” only as an adjective, usually following the verb “to be”

Look at this example, if you say, “The cancellation was due to rain,” the words “due to” modify “cancellation.

That sentence is a bit stilted, but it fits the traditionalist rule.

If you wanted to be more casual, you could say, “It was canceled because of rain.” You are however not allowed to say, “It was canceled due to rain” because “due to” doesn’t have anything to modify. It’s acting like a preposition in that sentence, and purists argue that “due to” is an adjective; it shouldn’t be a compound preposition.

We hope this explains it properly. Until next time remember to keep your grammar in check. 

#GrammarSeries: Commas and Quotations – The do’s and don’ts

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Most of us use commas to introduce quotations which is not wrong. This is because, in most types of dialogue, the quoted material stands apart from the surrounding text. In grammatical terms, it’s “syntactically independent.” 

You can use commas when a quotation is interrupted by a phrase like, “he said” or “she said.” In fact, you use two commas. For example;

“What the king dreams,” [Ned] said, “the Hand builds.”

“Bran,” [Jon] said, “I’m sorry I didn’t come before.”

In certain cases, you can skip the comma when introducing a quotation. 

First, skip the comma if the quotation is introduced by a conjunction like “that,” “whether,” or “if.” Following that guidance, you might write sentences like this:

My sister is constantly reminding people that “winter is coming.” 

Mr Chris  wonders whether “we’ve grown so used to horror we assume there’s no other way.”

My teacher said that “a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” 

Second, ask yourself whether the quotation blends into the rest of the sentence—or, speaking grammatically, if it’s a syntactical part of the surrounding sentence. If the quotation blends in, the comma comes out. 

Here are two examples:

It was the third time he had called her “boy.” “I’m a girl,” Arya objected.

Fat Tom used to call her “Sara Underfoot” because he said that was where she always was.

 

 

#GrammarSeries- The difference between Breath and Breathe

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Do you know that there is a marked difference between the word Breath and Breathe? It is really simple. 

Breath is a noun. It is the air taken into the lungs and then let out.

Example: The instructor in my class kept on saying, “Take a deep breath” until the end of the session.

On the other hand, ‘Breathe’ is a verb. It is the act of inhaling and exhaling.

Example: “Stop hyperventilating and just breathe,” she said.

See you next week!