Word Traveler: Learning Grammar Rules

This feature is for all word lovers as well as those studying for the SAT and seeking to learn new vocabulary.

We have all had the experience of being told we made a mistake in grammar. Did you wonder how you were supposed to know what was wrong or how to fix it? English is very tricky and loaded with rules - and exceptions. We are taught grammar early in our schooling, but we need refreshers over time and good reference sources to look up our questions.

The key question of grammar is "How can you organize a sentence so it will get across exactly the meaning you want?" First, you have to know the parts of a sentence like subject, predicate, clause, phrase, and then the parts of speech like noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. If you know the way a word is used, you are more likely to understand what it means. Then, if you use it correctly when you speak or write, people are more likely to know what you mean.

The best grammar resources offer organized instruction, many many examples of usage, and tests or quizzes for improving your knowledge. There are Web sites on grammar such as the English-Zone.Com, books such as The Gregg Reference Manual: A Manual of Style, Grammar, Usage, and Formatting (Gregg Reference Manual) 10th Edition, workbooks like English Grammar Workbook For Dummies, and software such as English Grammar In Use with Answers and CD ROM: A Self-study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Students of English.

Though punctuation, spelling, and capitalization are often included in style manuals, they are actually part of grammar, too.

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