The dreaded G-word. Grammar!
If the mere mention of grammar hasn’t sent you fleeing for the hills, well done! This blog post will cover a three select grammar rules that can be difficult to nail down.
Introductory Clause Comma Use
I am sure you’ve heard of this comma usage rule, but how do you identify an introductory clause in order to put a comma after it?
Introductory clauses are dependent clauses (a clause that does not make sense on its own). They set the stage for the main event, the independent clause(s) of your sentences. Introductory clauses start with adverbs like “although”, “if”, and “when”.
Let’s see that in action:
Understanding that introductory clauses do not make sense independently from the main body of the sentence can help you identify them. Think of them as build up to the main point of your overall sentence.
Apostrophe usage with the word its
Apostrophes being used to illustrate a possessive are relatively simple to grasp. For singular nouns and plural nouns that don’t end in “s,” add an apostrophe and an “s.” For singular and plural nouns that do end in “s,” only add an apostrophe. For example:
- The children’s game
- James’ house
- My cat’s toy
- Claire’s flowers
- The buses’ lights
However, it can get complicated when pronouns are thrown into the mix. To follow correct grammar rules, you omit apostrophes when using a pronoun and are illustrating a possessive. For example:
- His dog NOT his’s dog
- A friend of yours NOT a friend of yours’
The word “its” is a possessive pronoun and thus does not need an apostrophe to illustrate a possessive.
The word “it’s” (with the apostrophe) is a contraction of the words “it” and “is”. For example:
- It’s cold in here.
- It’s 3:30 pm.
- It’s really busy in Prospector today.
This is a common but easily fixable mistake. Just think to yourself as you write, are you trying to convey the words “it is” or a possessive?
Let’s hope back on the ol’ independent clause train again!
Sentence fragments occur when there is no independent clause in a sentence. For example:
- When I got to the gym. I went on the treadmill.
“When I got to the gym” is not an independent clause, and is therefore not a full sentence. The first part of the sentence modifies and explains where the treadmill activity happened, so a comma is what is needed here.
Another example of a sentence fragment:
- During the First World War and just after the Battle of the Somme.
This sentence is missing some serious “so what” factor! This is a common mistake because as a writer you know exactly what you mean, but a reader is left wondering exactly what happened. Be sure to read your writing objectively. Try to distance yourself enough from your topic and ask yourself if what you are writing would make sense to a novice.
When trying to avoid sentence fragments, keeping in mind the question “so what?” is infinitely helpful in combatting the issue. When you proofread, ask that question to yourself again and again.
Let’s wrap this up
Congrats! You made it to the end of a grammar blog post! We have covered three tricky but easy to fix grammar issues. By now, you should be feeling more confident in tackling these in your own writing. Remember that tutors at the Writing Resources Center is always here if you more clarification on any of these issues!
Information for this blog post was taken from: