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g Easier!Making Everythin 2nd EditionrammarGhsilgEnLearn to: Get down to basics with the rules ofEnglish grammar Improve your writing and verbalcommunication skills Brush up on your proofreading abilities Improve your grades and/or test scoresGeraldine WoodsAuthor, English Grammar WorkbookFor Dummies

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English GrammarFORDUMmIES2ND‰EDITIONby Geraldine Woods

English Grammar For Dummies, 2nd EditionPublished byWiley Publishing, Inc.111 River St.Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774www.wiley.comCopyright 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, IndianaPublished by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, IndianaPublished simultaneously in CanadaNo part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form orby any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior writtenpermission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to theCopyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600.Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley& Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions.Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for theRest of Us!, The Dummies Way, Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way, Dummies.com, Making EverythingEasier, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission.All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associatedwith any product or vendor mentioned in this book.LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NOREPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OFTHE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BECREATED OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIESCONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THEUNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OROTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OFA COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THEAUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATIONOR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE.FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVECHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ.For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer CareDepartment within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.For technical support, please visit www.wiley.com/techsupport.Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print maynot be available in electronic books.Library of Congress Control Number: 2009942323ISBN: 978-0-470-54664-2Manufactured in the United States of America10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

About the AuthorGeraldine Woods began her education when teachers still suppliedink wells to their students. She credits her 35-year career as anEnglish teacher to a set of ultra-strict nuns armed with thick grammar books. She lives in New York City, where with great difficultyshe refrains from correcting signs containing messages such as“Bagel’s for sale.” She is the author of more than 40 books, including English Grammar Workbook For Dummies, Research Papers ForDummies, College Admission Essays For Dummies, and The SAT 1Reasoning Test For Dummies.DedicationI dedicated the first edition of English Grammar For Dummies to myhusband and son, who were then — and remain — the hearts ofmy life. Since the first edition was published, I’ve acquired two newhearts: my daughter-in-law and granddaughter. This book is dedicated with great love to all of them.Author’s AcknowledgmentsI owe thanks to my colleagues in the English Department of theHorace Mann School, who are always willing to discuss the finerpoints of grammar with me. Keeping me up to date on technology and language were Gresa Matoshi, Eliza Montgomery, SamSchalman-Bergen, and. I appreciate the work of Susan Hobbs andMartha Payne, editors whose attention and intelligence guided mywriting. Any errors that remain are mine alone. I also appreciatethe efforts of Lisa Queen, my agent, and of Stacy Kennedy, Wileyacquisitions editor.

Publisher’s AcknowledgmentsWe’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at http://dummies.custhelp.com.For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974,outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:Acquisitions, Editorial,and Media DevelopmentProject Editor: Susan HobbsComposition ServicesProject Coordinator: Sheree MontgomeryAcquisitions Editor: Stacy KennedyLayout and Graphics: Ashley Chamberlain,Joyce Haughey, Erin ZeltnerCopy Editor: Susan HobbsProofreader: Nancy L. ReinhardtAssistant Editor: Erin Calligan MooneyIndexer: Potomac Indexing, LLCEditorial Program Coordinator: Joe NiesenTechnical Editor: Martha PayneEditorial Manager: Jennifer EhrlichEditorial Supervisor and Reprint Editor:Carmen KrikorianEditorial Assistant: David Lutton,Jennette ElNaggarArt Coordinator: Alicia B. SouthCover Photos:Cartoons: Rich Tennant(www.the5thwave.com)Publishing and Editorial for Consumer DummiesDiane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer DummiesKristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director, Consumer DummiesEnsley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, TravelKelly Regan, Editorial Director, TravelPublishing for Technology DummiesAndy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General UserComposition ServicesDebbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services

Contents at a GlanceIntroduction . 1Part I: Getting Down to Basics:The Parts of the Sentence . 7Chapter 1: I Already Know How to Talk. Why Should I Study Grammar?. 9Chapter 2: Verbs: The Heart of the Sentence . 17Chapter 3: Relax! Understanding Verb Tense . 29Chapter 4: Who’s Doing What? How to Find the Subject . 43Chapter 5: Having It All: The Complete Sentence . 55Chapter 6: Handling Complements . 73Part II: Avoiding Common Errors . 83Chapter 7: Do You Feel Bad or Badly? The Lowdownon Adjectives and Adverbs . 85Chapter 8: Small Words, Big Trouble: Prepositions . 101Chapter 9: Everyone Brought Their Homework: Pronoun Errors . 109Chapter 10: Just Nod Your Head: About Agreement . 121Part III: No Garage, but Plenty of Mechanics . 135Chapter 11: Punctuation Law That Should Be Repealed: Apostrophes. 137Chapter 12: Quotations: More Rules Than the Internal Revenue Service . 151Chapter 13: The Pause That Refreshes: Commas . 169Chapter 14: Useful Little Marks: Dashes, Hyphens, and Colons . 185Chapter 15: CAPITAL LETTERS . 195Chapter 16: New Media, New Grammar Rules. 207Part IV: Polishing Without Wax —The Finer Points of Grammar . 219Chapter 17: Pronouns and Their Cases . 221Chapter 18: Fine-Tuning Verbs . 235Chapter 19: Saying What You Want to Say: Descriptive Words and Phrases . 253Chapter 20: Good, Better, Best: Comparisons . 265Chapter 21: Parallels Without the Lines . 281

Part V: Rules Even Your Great-Aunt’sGrammar Teacher Didn’t Know . 295Chapter 22: The Last Word on Verbs . 297Chapter 23: The Last Word on Pronouns . 309Chapter 24: The Last Word on Sentence Structure . 323Part VI: The Part of Tens . 343Chapter 25: Ten Ways Two to Improve Your Proofreading . 345Chapter 26: Ten Ways to Learn Better Grammar . 349Index . 353

Table of ContentsIntroduction . 1About This Book . 2How to Use This Book . 2What You Are Not to Read . 2Foolish Assumptions . 2How This Book Is Organized . 3Part I: Getting Down to Basics: The Parts of the Sentence . 3Part II: Avoiding Common Errors . 4Part III: No Garage, but Plenty of Mechanics . 4Part IV: Polishing Without Wax — The Finer Points of Grammar . 4Part V: Rules Even Your Great-Aunt’sGrammar Teacher Didn’t Know. 5Part VI: The Part of Tens . 5Icons Used in This Book . 5Where to Go from Here . 6Part I: Getting Down to Basics:The Parts of the Sentence . 7Chapter 1: I Already Know How to Talk.Why Should I Study Grammar? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Deciding Which Grammar to Learn . 9Distinguishing between the Three Englishes . 10Wanna get something to eat? Friendspeak . 11Do you feel like getting a sandwich? Conversational English . 12Will you accompany me to the dining room? Formal English. 12Using the Right English at the Right Time . 13Thumbing Your Way to Better Grammar . 14Relying on Computer Grammar Checkers Is Not Enough . 15What’s Your Problem? Solutions to Your Grammar Gremlins . 15Chapter 2: Verbs: The Heart of the Sentence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17Linking Verbs: The Giant Equal Sign . 17Being or linking — what’s in a name?. 18Savoring sensory verbs . 19Completing Linking Verb Sentences Correctly . 21Placing the Proper Pronoun in the Proper Place . 23

viiiEnglish Grammar For Dummies, 2nd EditionLights! Camera! Action Verb! . 24Getting by with a Little Help from My Verbs . 25Pop the Question: Locating the Verb . 26Forget To Be or Not To Be: Infinitives Aren’t Verbs . 27Chapter 3: Relax! Understanding Verb Tense. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29Simplifying Matters: The Simple Tenses. 29Present tense . 30Past tense . 30Future tense . 31Using the Tenses Correctly . 32Present and present progressive . 32Past and past progressive . 33Future and future progressive . 33Perfecting Verbs: The Perfect Tenses . 34Present perfect and present perfect progressive . 35Past perfect and past perfect progressive. 35Future perfect and future perfect progressive. 36Using Present Perfect Tense Correctly . 36Forming Present and Past Participles of Regular Verbs . 37Just to Make Things More Difficult: Irregular Verbs . 38“To be or not to be” is a complete pain . 38Irregular past and past participles . 40Chapter 4: Who’s Doing What? How to Find the Subject . . . . . . . . . . .43Who’s Driving the Truck? Why the Subject Is Important . 43Teaming up: Subject and verb pairs . 44Compound subjects and verbs: Two for the price of one . 44Pop the Question: Locating the Subject–Verb Pairs . 45What’s a Nice Subject Like You Doing in a Place Like This?Unusual Word Order . 46Find That Subject! Detecting You-Understood . 48Searching for the Subject in Questions . 49Don’t Get Faked Out: Avoiding Fake Verbs and Subjects . 49Finding fake verbs . 50Watching out for “here” and “there” and other fake subjects . 50Choosing the correct verb for “here” and “there” sentences . 51Subjects Aren’t Just a Singular Sensation:Forming the Plural of Nouns . 51Regular plurals . 51The -IES and -YS have it . 52No knifes here: Irregular plurals . 53The brother-in-law rule: Hyphenated plurals . 54

Table of ContentsChapter 5: Having It All: The Complete Sentence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55Completing Sentences: The Essential Subjects and Verbs . 55Complete Thoughts, Complete Sentences . 58Combining Sentences . 60Connecting with coordinate conjunctions . 61Attaching thoughts: Semicolons . 62Boss and Employee: Joining Ideas of Unequal Ranks . 63Choosing subordinate conjunctions . 64Employing Pronouns to Combine Sentences . 66Steering Clear of Fragments . 68Oh, Mama, Could This Really Be the End? Understanding Endmarks . 70Chapter 6: Handling Complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73Springing into Action Verb Complements . 74Receiving the action: Direct objects. 74Rare, but sometimes there: Indirect objects . 76No bias here: Objective complements . 76Finishing the Equation: Subject Complements . 77Pop the Question: Locating the Complement . 78Pop the Question: Finding the Indirect Object . 80Pronouns as Objects and Subject Complements . 81Part II: Avoiding Common Errors . 83Chapter 7: Do You Feel Bad or Badly? The Lowdownon Adjectives and Adverbs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85Clarifying Meaning with Descriptions . 85Adding Adjectives. 86Adjectives describing nouns . 87Adjectives describing pronouns . 87Attaching adjectives to linking verbs .

ing English Grammar Workbook For Dummies, Research Papers For Dummies, College Admission Essays For Dummies, and The SAT 1 Reasoning Test For Dummies. Dedication I dedicated the first edition of English Grammar For Dummies to my husband and son, who were then — and remain — the hearts of my life.

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