The Briefest English Grammar and Punctuation Guide Ever!

The Briefest English Grammar and Punctuation Guide Ever!

Ruth Colman
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: UNSW Press
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    The Briefest English Grammar and Punctuation Guide Ever!
    Book Description:

    Now in one handy volume: the bestselling The Briefest English Grammar Ever! and The Briefest Punctuation Guide Ever! Covering the basics of English grammar and punctuation, this friendly guide is perfect for students at all levels. It clearly and simply explains how language works and functions and strips out all the jargon to make understanding punctuation easy. So if you need to sort out your verbs from your nouns and your adjectives from your adverbs, or if you aren’t sure whether a comma should go before or after a word or when to start a new sentence, then this concise, unintimidating guide is an absolute must for your bookshelf.

    eISBN: 978-1-74224-550-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
  3. PART 1: Grammar
    • Preface to the grammar guide
      (pp. 2-2)

      When English speakers begin to learn other languages they often find themselves being taught via methods that assume they have a basic knowledge of English grammar....

    • Intro
      (pp. 3-3)

      How do we identify and classify words and groups of words? Whatever the language, it’s a matter of function....

    • Sentences
      (pp. 4-5)

      Sentences are groups of words that make complete sense. When you give me a sentence I know you have told me or asked me something complete....

    • Clauses and phrases
      (pp. 6-7)

      A clause is a group of words containing one finite verb (see page 16). It is often only a section of a sentence. Here is a sentence with two clauses....

    • Words – and their functions
      (pp. 8-8)

      We classify words according to the work they do. If you’ve heard of parts of speech it simply means classes of words, grouped according to function....

    • Nouns
      (pp. 9-10)

      A noun is the name of something: a thing or a person or a place, or even a feeling or a state of mind....

    • Pronouns
      (pp. 11-13)

      Conversation would sound very strange if we had no pronouns. These are the words we use when we want to refer to people or things without continually repeating their names. If we really wanted to, we could say:...

    • Verbs
      (pp. 14-24)

      Verbs are the doing, being, having words. Their basic forms are the forms you find in the dictionary, and you can put to in front....

    • Adjectives
      (pp. 25-26)

      These are the words that describe things....

    • Adverbs
      (pp. 27-28)

      They used to say that adverbs tell how, when and where a thing is done. You’d expect, therefore, to find adverbs connected to verbs, and that’s where they mostly are, not always alongside, but still connected....

    • Prepositions
      (pp. 29-29)

      Here are all those words, usually little ones, like...

    • Conjunctions
      (pp. 30-30)

      These are words that join ideas. The ideas may be single words . . ....

    • Articles (or determiners)
      (pp. 30-31)
    • Exclamations (interjections)
      (pp. 31-31)
    • More about clauses
      (pp. 32-35)

      We’ve looked at nouns, and the work they do, and at adjectives and adverbs and the work they do. Let’s go back now to clauses, and see how a whole clause can function like a noun or an adjective or an adverb. We’ll start with noun clauses , since nouns were the first class of words we studied....

    • In conclusion …
      (pp. 35-35)

      Obviously this short guide barely scratches the surface of the subject of English grammar. You won’t find anything here about modals, subjunctives, the past perfect tense, or even countable or uncountable nouns....

  4. PART 2: Punctuation
    • Preface: What this part is and isn’t
      (pp. 37-37)

      Suddenly one day you have to produce something in writing. Is writing something you enjoy? Then you may not find it difficult....

    • Intro
      (pp. 38-39)

      If we didn’t already have a system of punctuation, someone would invent one....

    • I’m writing ordinary sentences. What punctuation marks do I need?
      (pp. 40-46)

      The beginnings of sentences seem to look after themselves. Just try to remember to start with a capital letter. It’s the rest of the sentence that may need some thought. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to end it and start a new one, or to add further sections....

    • What’s the difference between a hyphen and a dash? Aren’t they the same?
      (pp. 47-49)

      Let’s see what the Macquarie Dictionary says....

    • Capital letters can be confusing. When should I use them? When shouldn’t I use them?
      (pp. 50-54)

      Oh dear. Local advertisers and those who write public notices are using initial capitals all over the place, especially where they aren’t needed, while those who love texting have just about stopped using them altogether....

    • Please! Please tell me about apostrophes
      (pp. 55-62)

      Usually an apostrophe [ ’ ] and an s are what you need. It’s not even difficult to decide where to put the apostrophe....

    • I’m quoting something written by someone else. What are the rules?
      (pp. 63-67)

      If you’re quoting only a few words or a couple of lines, you can insert your quote straight into your own paragraph, enclosed in quotation marks (inverted commas). As with writing conversation, you can choose whether to use double quote marks [“] or single quote marks [‘], but once you have made your choice, stick to it. It’s wise to be consistent. Single quotes are generally preferred by publishers in Australia....

    • I want to write a conversation, just as it was spoken
      (pp. 68-69)

      Not many of us are going to write novels or short stories, but maybe one day we’ll want to record a dialogue. It could even be part of an assignment....

    • Lists. Are there any rules?
      (pp. 70-73)

      Everyone makes lists. Some are a bit more formal than others. Is there a right way? Are there several right ways?...

    • Not strictly punctuation, but …
      (pp. 74-79)

      We see them printed in a surprising number of different ways. Here is a recent selection, all taken from Australian newspapers. Notice not only the words and figures, but also the presence or absence of commas, and the use of capitals....

    • In conclusion
      (pp. 80-80)

      So there you have it. Punctuating your writing, in order to make it clearer and easier to read, is a sensible thing to do, and it’s really not difficult....

    • Helpful books
      (pp. 80-81)

      Most of the larger dictionaries have instructions and information on punctuation, usually at the back of the book. Particularly helpful are:...