Grammar Guide

Grammar Guide


Nouns are naming words; they name a person, place, thing, quality, emotion, or idea. They can be a single word, a phrase, or a clause.

Example: You must pass a test before becoming a driver.

Example: Whoever made the mess in the kitchen has to clean it up.

Nouns take many forms:

Nouns function in several ways:

Example: My brother’s dog is a black and tan setter.

Example: Clinton Anderson will run a clinic on natural horsemanship in April.

Example: The coach threw the team a surprise party.

Example: The hospital announced it would hold a class for new parents.

Example: George Washington is known as the Father of Our Country.


Pronouns are naming words used in place of nouns. They can be singular or plural, and function in several ways.

Personal Pronouns:

I, you, he, she, it, we, they

me, you, him, her, it, us, them

my, mine, your(s), his, her(s), its, our(s), their(s)

Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns: myself, yourself, itself, himself, herself, oneself, ourselves, yourself, themselves.

Example: We finished the project ourselves without help from the teacher.

Example: The skateboarder hurt himself when he fell.

Demonstrative, Relative, and Interrogative Pronouns:

Example: These are my dogs.

Example: The Swensons, whose house is for sale, are moving to Kentucky.

Example: Who ran the fastest mile in the race today?

Extended and Indefinite Pronouns:

Example: The coach will give a trophy to whoever finishes the tournament.

Example: Anyone can learn to swim.


Verbs denote the action or state of being of the subject, or link the subject to the action or state of being.

Example: Bob and Marion climbed the steep hill.

Example: Deanna Roberts is the best student at Lincoln High School.

Example: John remained calm when the dog barked at him.

Example: Susan has gone to bed for the night.


Adjectives modify nouns; they describe, change, limit, transform, or qualify. They answer the questions Which one? What kind? and How many? They may be placed before or after a noun (or pronoun), or after a state of being verb or a linking verb.


Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs; they describe, change, limit, transform, or qualify. They answer the questions How? When? Where? and To what extent?. They are often formed by adding –ly to a word.

Period, exclamation, and question marks

Sentences end in a punctuation mark that helps the reader determine what kind of sentence it is.

Example: Supper will be ready in twenty minutes.

Example: What time do I have to go to bed tonight?

Example: Wow! Look how far he hit the ball!


Commas show a break in the action or create a pause in the sentence.

Example: James wanted to go to the movies, but Denise wanted to stay home.

Example: Diane likes peas, Judy likes corn, and David likes carrots.

Example: You will need a tent, sleeping bag, flashlight, and compass for the camping trip.

Example: While driving home from work, Jennifer found a lost dog.

Example: Tired and hungry, the dog still wagged his tail.

Example: There was, after all, an opportunity to take a nap.

Example: Mrs. Anderson, who was my fifth grade teacher, has a beautiful flower garden.

Example: Theodore, I told you to go wash your hands.

Semicolon and colon

The semicolon and colon are used to show a relationship to what was previously stated. They are stronger than a comma, but not as strong as a period.

Example: Dancers who never miss class usually do well in the recital; however, students need to practice at home, too.

Example: Don and Renee are going on a cruise in two weeks; they are sailing to the Caribbean.

Example: Bring the following to the beach: sunglasses, a towel, a bathing suit, and sun block.

Example: Ladies and Gentlemen:

Example: Tony smiled broadly as he walked in the door: He had just bowled a perfect game.


Parentheses enclose material that interrupts the flow of the sentence.


To pass the exam, you need to (1) pay attention in class, (2) take notes, and (3) study the textbook.

It is important (according to some people) to eat organic food.

Quotation marks

Quotation marks indicate direct speech. They are also used to indicate titles of poems, essays, plays, and stories.


“No, I'm not going to the game today,” he said.

“I can't,” she said, “I have to work.”

Robert Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

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