One of the most common errors of students is to put different ideas
together in what they think is the same sentence, when really a
separate sentence is required, as in:
This should, of course, read:
However, these two separate ideas can be formed into one complete
sentence by inserting a conjunction (joining word):
VERB AND TENSE AGREEMENT
barkedhas been diggingwas leveringhas
seenI am making
The rule is simple: the tenses should be consistent with the tense
you begin with. Note the corrections:
barkedhad been diggingwas leveringhad
seenI was making
In the following paragraph, the student has begun in the present
tense then changed to the past:
The correct version is:
SUBJECT AND VERB AGREEMENT
of the things he said is very true.
2. The dogs sees the rabbit and runs after it
3. We was shouting.
4. The boss are in her
office so everyone are working very hard.
5. A box of chocolates are sitting on the table.
6. Neither Sid nor his friends is coming to my party.
7. Rods gang are very large.
1. Some of the things he said are very true.
2. The dogs see the rabbit and run after it
3. We were shouting.
4. The boss is in her office so everyone is working very hard.
5. A box of
chocolates is sitting
on the table.
6. Neither Sid nor his friends are coming to my party.
7. Rods gang is very large.
Some common mistakes:
nouns (words which describe groups of persons, animals or
things) usually take a singular verb.
Teds family is brilliant
This football team
If you are talking about more than
one class, family, team or gang, then the verb becomes plural.
Classes 9F and 10C
Teds and Jeds families are brilliant
The football teams
pronouns like , , , , are singular and
should take a singular verb.
is going on a picnic today. singular verb
us are going on a picnic today. plural verb
When you use neither...nor in a sentence it can be difficult to decide what to do with the
verbs. If the subjects are singular use a singular verb. If one
or more subjects are plural, the verb is plural.
Neither the dog nor the cat likes the way Tom plays his violin. singular verb
Neither Ben nor his brothers like having a bath. plural verb
When a sentence has more
than one subject joined by and,
the verb should be plural.
Here comes Annie and
her sister. X
Here come Annie
and her sister.
1. to indicate possession (ownership)
that girls pen
s is added to singular nouns:
Chriss book; the
birds call; the students timetable; the girls game;
the dogs favourite food;
the flowers fragrance; the boys bicycle
is added to plural nouns:
the birds calls; the
students timetable; the
the dogs favourite food;
the flowers fragrance; the boys bicycles
s is added to a plural noun that does not end in s:
the childrens game; the
womens sporting commitments;
the mens towels; the peoples singing;
its : the cat licked its paws; the dog enjoys its meaty chunks
2. to indicate shortening of words (contraction), or that letters
or numbers have been left out
Shortening of words: couldve
(could have); shouldve (should
have); wouldve (would have);
youre (you are); its
Letters left out (often used as slang): cause
Numbers left out: 98
is possible, she said, but I will need some glue and
a pair of scissors.
believe that slugger Grieves and Herman the gut
were caught so easily.
famous speech, but soft, what light through yonder window
breaks... is an example of the romantic poetry that makes
the play famous.
The Tax Dodgers (article); The
Landlady (short story)
The Best (song); Neighbours
UNDERLINING or ITALICS
1. to indicate the titles of a books, titles of
anthologies plays, films, magazines, newspapers, works of art, musical works:
is perhaps F. Scott
Fitzgeralds most renowned novel.
Oscar Wilde wrote the play, .
starred Vivien Leigh
and Clark Gable.
and are published monthly.
and are Melbournes leading newspapers.
at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Kath saw the opera in Milan.
You can find a coy of Roald dahl's short story The Landlady
in , edited by Walter
2. to emphasise a word or phrase in a sentence:
The reality be that she was safe
We have it to ourselves,
she said smiling at him.
ON-LINE GRAMMAR GAMES AND
to grammar and writing. This is an extensive list of self-correcting
exercises and quizzes.
games. Most of these 70 games work, a few are even useful. Includes
self-correcting activities on common mistakes.
errors in English. A detailed list of common mistakes in English.
Writing tips for publishing on-line.