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Monday, April 30, 2012

Comparisons


Grammar Rule #1: ADJECTIVES compare two items by adding the word more or the suffix –er.

Almost all one-syllable adjectives add the suffix –er.
Examples: faster, kinder, poorer

·      If a one-syllable adjective ends in –e, drop the e before adding –er.
Example: wise à wiser

·      If a one-syllable adjective ends in –y, change the y to i before adding –er.
Example: dry à drier

·      Some one-syllable adjectives that end in a single vowel followed by a single consonant need to double the final consonant before adding –er.
Example: red à redder

Most two-syllable adjectives add the word more.
Examples: more patient, more famous

·      Some two-syllable adjectives add –er. Just shrug and memorize them. Apply the same rules as above if they end in -e or -y.
Exampleshumble à humbler, happy à happier

Almost all adjectives with three or more syllables add the word more.
Examples: more expensive, more intelligent

Never use both –er and more with an adjective.
Example: more faster = incorrect

Make sure you compare only two items with adjectives using more or -er.
Examples:
Chicago is larger than Cowtown. (comparison of two cities = correct)
Chicago is larger than the other cities in Illinois. (comparison with multiple cities = incorrect)

Sam is taller than his brother. (comparison of two brothers = correct)
Sam is taller than his brothers. (comparison of more than two brothers = incorrect)

Grammar Challenge: Your Turn! Which word is correct?
1. The turtle is (slower, more slow) than the hare.
2. Sam is (funnier, more funny) than Suzy.
3. Andy is (shorter, more short) than the other family members.
4. The eagle is (fiercer, more fiercer) than the owl.
5. Toast without butter is (dryer, drier) than a cracker.
6. Angie is (diligenter, more diligent) than Beth.
(Answers are below.)

WEDNESDAY: ADJECTIVES COMPARING MORE THAN TWO ITEMS.

Answers:
1. slower
2. funnier (one of those you shrug at and memorize)
3. incorrect comparison of more than two items
4. fiercer
5. drier
6. more diligent

How did it go? Any questions?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hyphens


Grammar Rule #7: Hyphens harness numbers in phrasal adjectives.
Don’t confuse numbers used in phrasal adjectives with simple fractions (see Grammar Rule #4). Fifth is not the same as the simple fraction 1/5.

Remember that phrasal adjectives are hyphenated before the noun but not after (see Grammar Rule #6).

Examples:
third floor (third is not the simple fraction 1/3)
She lives in a third-floor apartment. (positioned before the noun apartment)
BUT: Her apartment is on the third floor. (not positioned before a noun)

half mile (half is not the simple fraction 1/2)
He ran a half-mile race. (positioned before the noun race)
BUT: He ran a half mile in the race. (not positioned before the noun race)

fourth to last (fourth is not the simple fraction 1/4)
He was the fourth-to-last contestant. (positioned before the noun contestant)
BUT: He placed fourth to last. (not positioned before any noun)

Grammar Challenge: Your Turn! Which words need hyphens?
1. Our second place team hopes to win first place.
2. The fifth tallest man in the world towered above the 
fifth smallest.
3. She lives in a four story building.
4. He is my fourth brother.
5. I bought a three inch high sculpture.
6. The sculpture is three inches high.
(Answers are below.)

HYPHEN RULES RUN MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY THIS WEEK.

Answers:
1. Our second-place team hopes to win first place.
2. The fifth-tallest man in the world towered above the
fifth smallest.
3. She lives in a four-story building.
4. He is my fourth brother. (no phrasal adjective)
5. I bought a three-inch-high sculpture.
6. The sculpture is three inches high. (no hyphens)

How did you do this time? Any questions?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hyphens


Grammar Rule #6: Hyphens harness compound adjectives to function as a unit.

1. In the context of this rule, compound adjectives are often referred to as phrasal adjectives. Phrasal refers to the fact that two or more adjectives are functioning as a unit instead of as independent words. The hyphen clarifies this unity.

Examples:
Fido is a well fed dog. (He’s fed and healthy—two independent descriptions.)
Fido is a well-fed dog. (He gets plenty of food—one description.)

Johnny is a pink skinned baby. (He’s a skinned baby, poor thing, that is pink—two independent descriptions.)
Johnny is a pink-skinned baby. (His skin is pink rather than another color—one description.)

2. Hyphens are used with phrasal adjectives positioned in front of the noun. Phrasal adjectives positioned after the noun, however, usually don’t require hyphens to clarify that they are a unit.

Examples:
Fido is a dog that is well fed.
Johnny is a baby that is pink skinned.

3. Two exceptions (of course):        
  • A phrasal adjective that begins with an adverb ending in “ly” is not hyphenated because the adverb supplies clarity. 

       Example: a softly spoken word

       However, if more words are added to the phrase, hyphens are        needed to identify the phrase as a unit.

       Example: a not-so-softly-spoken word 

  •   A phrasal adjective that begins with a proper name is not hyphenated because the proper name supplies clarity. 

       Example: the West Point reunion 

TOMORROW: Numbers in phrasal adjectives.

Grammar Challenge: Your Turn! Which words need hyphens?
1. Sam prefers freeze dried coffee to Starbucks. Ick.
2. I have a dark haired daughter and another who is red headed.
3. He owns three frequently mowed lots.
4. Her never clearly enunciated words were hard to understand.
5. The well dressed salesman was successful.
6. We attended our nephew's Kinder Care graduation.
7. Jane works at a video game store to pay off her house that is not debt free.
(Answers are below.)

HYPHEN RULES RUN MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY THIS WEEK.

Answers:
1. Sam prefers freeze-dried coffee to Starbucks. Ick.
2. I have a dark-haired daughter and another who is red headed.
3. He owns three frequently mowed lots. (no hyphens)
4. Her never-clearly-enunciated words were hard to understand.
5. The well-dressed salesman was successful.
6. We attended our nephew's Kinder Care graduation. (no hyphens)
7. Jane works at a video-game store to pay off her house that is not debt free.

How did you do? Any questions?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hyphens


Grammar Rule #5: Hyphens hang on to prefixes and suffixes.
Always use a hyphen with the prefixes all-, ex-, self-, and with the suffix -elect.

Examples:
all-out effort, all-state, all-star, all-around
ex-mayor, ex-lawyer, ex-husband
self-made, self-confident, self-deprecating
pastor-elect, mayor-elect, president-elect

Always use a hyphen to attach prefixes to proper nouns and to proper adjectives (identified by their capitalization).

Examples:
with proper nouns: pro-America, anti-West
with proper adjectives: un-American, anti-European, trans-Atlantic


  • Most suffixes don't require hyphens: penniless, handful, kindness. Nevertheless, there are many exceptions, and you should check a dictionary if you aren't sure of the spelling.

  • Likewise, many prefixes don’t require hyphens, such as postmodern, antibiotic, reconstitute. However, just as many do require them, so, again, check your dictionary.

  • Some prefixes require hyphens for ease of reading, such as anti-intellectual  (adjacent identical vowels), or for distinction in meaning, such as re-creation and recreation.

The Chicago Manual of Style has five pages listing 107 terms that always/sometimes do/don't use hyphens. Unless you have a photographic memory, you will need a dictionary or awful good luck. I say, get a life, get a dictionary.

Grammar Challenge: Your Turn!  Which words need hyphens?
1. Good spelling requires an all out effort at memorization.
2. I am all out of gasoline.
3. The mayor elect is not lacking in self confidence.
4. Will the bookbinder re cover Susan's book?
5. She was pro Russia in spite of the cold war.
6. I need an anti biotic after a long flight.
7. The ex champion was once an all star.
(Answers are below.)

HYPHEN RULES RUN MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY THIS WEEK.

Answers:
1. Good spelling requires an all-out effort at memorization.
2. I am all out of gasoline. (no hyphen)
3. The mayor-elect is not lacking in self-confidence.
4. Will the bookbinder re-cover Susan's book? (the hyphen clarifies that Susan wants her book covered again)
5. She was pro-Russia in spite of the cold war.
6. I need an antibiotic after a long flight. (one word, no hyphen)
7. The ex-champion was once an all-star.

How’d it go? Any questions?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hyphens


Grammar Rule #3: Hyphens hitch up compound numbers.
Use a hyphen to write out compound numbers from 21 through 99.

Examples:
She is thirty-eight, and her husband is ninety-two. 
When he dies, she inherits one million sixty-five thousand dollars.

Grammar Rule #4: Hyphens hitch up simple fractions.
Use a hyphen to write out simple fractions (they are part of a whole).

Simple fractions can function as nouns, adverbs, and adjectives.

Examples:
1/2, 1/3: He can eat one-half of the pizza, but one-third is all I can eat. (used as a noun)

3/4: He’s three-fourths done already. (used as an adverb)

2/3: Most elections require a two-thirds majority. (used as an adjective)

Grammar Challenge: Your Turn!  Which examples are correct?
1. I started aging at fifty-two.
2. She has one hundred fifty two dollars in her pocket.
3. He read one fourth of the book and quit.
4. He is my fourth brother.
5. He is carving thirty two miniature sculptures.
6. His chore is three fourths finished.
(Answers are below.)

HYPHEN RULES RUN MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY THIS WEEK.

Answers:
1. Compound number is hyphenated = correct.
2. Compound number is not hyphenated = incorrect.
3. Simple fraction is not hyphenated = incorrect.
4. No compound number or fraction in the sentence = correct as is.
5. Compound number is not hyphenated = incorrect.
6. Simple fraction is not hyphenated = incorrect.

How did you do?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hyphens






Grammar Rule #1: Hyphens hunker down.
On your keyboard, the hyphen key is tapped once, to look like this: -
If you tap twice, you have an em dash, which looks like this: —

Do not put a space on either side of a hyphen. It should always hunker down between two words, like this: word-word.

Examples
I have a toll-free number. (correct)
I have a toll—free number. (em dash = incorrect)
I have a toll - free number. (space on either side = incorrect)

Grammar Rule #2: Exception to hyphens hunkering down.
When the second part of a hyphenated word or compound word is omitted (because it shares the second part with a word immediately following), use a space after the hyphen. 

Examples
Instead of first-place and second-place winners, you can correctly write first- and second-place winners.

Instead of northwest and southwest avenues, you can correctly write north- and southwest avenues.

BUT: for overpaid and overrated employees, you cannot write overpaid and –rated employees (because the second part of the words must be the same, not the first part).

Grammar Challenge: Your Turn!  Which examples are correct?
1.   She lives in a third - floor apartment.
2.   It’s located on a north-south street.
3.   Her grandfather and –mother own the building.
4.   They take care of her three-year-old son while she’s at work.
5.   She shares a half—day job with her brother.
6.   The job is only a five- to ten-minute walk from her building.
(Answers are below.)

MORE HYPHEN RULES COMING TUESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.

Correct answers are the even numbers. How did you do?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Parts of Speech


Grammar Rules: Basic definitions.

Traditionally, there are eight parts of speech. The torture of grammar is wreaked on them.

1. Noun: names a person (man, sister), place (city, beach), thing (mug, animal), or idea (freedom, strength).

2. Pronoun: replaces a noun (he, who, some, which).

3. Adjective: modifies (describes) a noun or pronoun (happy, the).

4. Verb: shows action (eat, hope), links (is, seem), helps (should, may).

5. Adverb: modifies (describes) a verb, adjective, or another adverb (happily, not).

6. Preposition: shows how a noun or pronoun is related to another word (on, through).

7. Conjunction: joins words, phrases, or clauses (and, but).

8. Interjections: an exclamatory word not related to other words in a sentence (oh, yay).
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