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Language Arts Non-negotiables
This is the "Grammar & Punctuation" page of the "Research Guide" guide.
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Last Updated: Oct 27, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Grammar & Punctuation Print Page

Brain Pop Grammar




Passive Voice


Who vs. Whom


Blue Book of Grammar (with videos)

Videos on Usage

  1. Subjects and Verbs
  2. Subject and Verb
  3. Singular V. Plural Verbs
  4. Verbs After "Or"
  5. Subject and Verb Agreement
  6. Pronouns as Subjects
  7. Here and There
  8. Sums of Money & Periods of Time with Verbs
  9. Verbs with Portion Words - Part 1
  10. Verbs with Portion Words - Part 2
  11. Subject Pronouns
  12. Object Pronouns - Part 1
  13. Object Pronouns - Part 2
  14. Subject and Object Pronouns When You Need to Mentally Complete a Sentence
    Part 1
  15. Subject and Object Pronouns When You Need to Mentally Complete a Sentence
    Part 2
  16. The "Self" Pronouns - Part 1
  17. The "Self" Pronouns - Part 2
  18. Who vs. Whom - Part 1
  19. Who vs. Whom - Part 2
  20. Whoever vs. Whomever - Part 1
  21. Whoever vs. Whomever - Part 2
  22. Who vs. That vs. Which - Part 1
  23. Who vs. That vs. Which - Part 2
  24. Adjectives and Adverbs - Part 1a
  25. Adjectives and Adverbs - Part 1b
  26. Adjectives and Adverbs - Part 2a
  27. Adjectives and Adverbs - Part 2b
  28. Good vs. Well - Part 1
  29. Good vs. Well - Part 2
  30. -er vs. -est - Part 1
  31. -er vs. -est - Part 2
  32. This, That , These, and Those
  33. Prepositions - Part 1a
  34. Prepositions - Part 1b
  35. Prepositions - Part 2
  36. Effect vs. Affect
  37. A vs. An
  38. Commas - Part 1a
  39. Commas - Part 1b
  40. Commas - Part 2a
  41. Commas - Part 2b
  42. Commas - Part 3a
  43. Commas - Part 3b
  44. Colons & Semicolons with Sentences
  45. Colons & Semicolons with Lists
  46. Colons with Tabular Form
  47. Quotation Marks with Periods and Commas
  48. Quotation Marks with Question Marks
  49. Apostrophes - Part 1a -- With Contractions
  50. Apostrophes - Part 1b -- With Contractions
  51. Apostrophes - Part 2
  52. Apostrophes - Part 3a
  53. Apostrophes - Part 3b
  54. Apostrophes - Part 4a -- With Names
  55. Apostrophes - Part 4b -- With Names
  56. Apostrophes - Part 5
  57. Hyphens - Part 1
  58. Hyphens - Part 2
  59. Hyphens - Part 3
  60. Hyphens - Part 4a
  61. Hyphens - Part 4b
  62. Capitalization - Part 1
  63. Capitalization - Part 2
  64. Capitalization - Part 3
  65. Capitalization - Part 4a
  66. Capitalization - Part 4b
  67. Writing Numbers - Part 1
  68. Writing Numbers - Part 2

Grammar Rules

Punctuation Rules

Capitalization Rules

 Commonly Confused Words

 Rules for Writing Numbers


Grammar Non-Negotiables

1-----Form plurals with s or es (No apostrophe!!!!!)  

            Examples: boy…boys   tomato…tomatoes 

2-----Form possessives with an apostrophe (nouns: singular or plural)


·       boy’s (The boy’s dog was lost.)

·       boys’ (The boys’ clubhouse was dirty.)

3-----Do not confuse a possessive with a contraction

Example: its for it’s

4-----Match pronouns with the nouns they replace: gender, number


·       Jane…she…herself

·       reader…he or she…himself or herself…

·       teachers…they…them…themselves

·       Everyone” is a singular pronoun.  You cannot use it to replace a plural noun!)

5-----Do not confuse words that sound alike or look similar


·       their, there, they’re       

·       witch, which               

·       loose, lose

6-----Do not switch verb tense without good reason

(Be sure to write about literature in present tense.)

7-----Use active, not passive, voice


·       The boy threw the ball.  =active voice

·       The ball was thrown by the boy.  = passive voice

8-----Do not end phrases, clauses, or sentences with a preposition

9-----Use semi-colon and colon correctly

10-----Avoid slang, dialect, colloquial, and trite language 

11-----Apply the rules of capitalization

12-----Indicate titles of literature correctly  


·       Use “quotation marks” for essays, short stories and poems.

·       Use italics for novels, plays, films, anthologies.

19-----Use MLA documentation format precisely



The following are areas of focal correction that teachers will teach rules, provide practice, and assess in appropriate domains:

1-----Use commas when required

·       series of adjectives or phrases

·       two independent clauses joined by conjunction

·       non-essential information

·       introductory material

·       addresses

2-----Omit needless words            


·       “throughout the entire novel”

·       “in the year 1492” 

3-----Form sentences correctly and create a variety of sentence structures and lengths.                                                                                 

  • Use parallel sentence structure  
    • With and, but, or, nor, yet
    • With both…and, either…or
  • Do not use sentence fragments or run-on sentences
  • Participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the sentence subject

            INCORRECT example:  Being in bad shape, I could buy the car inexpensively.

            CORRECT example:  Being in bad shape, the car was inexpensive.

  • Combine sentences
  • Avoid expletive constructions (There is… or it is…)
  • Use coordination for relationships and subordination or emphasis.

4-----Use who versus whom correctly. Quick test: If you can substitute “him,” use “whom.”

5-----Use which, and that correctly

6-----Do not use misplaced or dangling modifiers

·       Example of misplaced modifier:  He served steak to the men on paper plates. (Did he serve steak to the men who were on paper plates? Or, did he serve steak on paper plates to the men?) 

·       Example of dangling modifier: Passing the building, the vandalism became visible. (Did the vandalism pass the building?  If not, who is passing the building?)  


(Edited from a document by Carol Rohrbach, former SDST Language Arts Chair)




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