Conley Academy is usually a pretty chill, low-drama, relatively grammar-crime-free place. Are you wondering why? Could this be because its median age is 74 and it's composed entirely of retirement condos? No. Is it because it is a police state wherein every citizen cowers in fear? Never! Conley Academy is a zen wonderland because it's chockerblock full of grammar-tragedy-averting superheroes. They repair subject-verb disharmony, eliminate comma splices with their swords of grammar justice, and generally make themselves useful. We're also told they also make a mean banana bread. Mmmm…banana bread.
In the unlikely event that grammar doesn't already jazz your socks off, know this: it is an essential component to fantastic writing skills, speaking correctly, and it may even score you that dream job or a hot date. It's true! Success tastes likes subject-verb agreement. And strawberries.
Throughout this course you will put your grammatical wit to the test in readings, activities, discussion board debates, and beyond-quirky creative writings. You'll answer such questions as "What does world peace truly mean, if you are a subject or a verb?" and "Exactly how does one undingle a dangle?" You will fight for truth, justice, and agreement everywhere. Dig your cape out of the laundry hamper and pull your boots out of storage—it's time to avenge the wrongs of grammar lovers everywhere.
- An independent clause doesn't need you or anyone else to make it a complete sentence. It expresses its own complete thought, thank you very much. Dependent clauses, on the other hand, need an independent clause to complete them. They are clingy, probably due to a traumatic past breakup.
- Subjects and verbs have to agree on everything, buy each other best friend necklaces, and wear matching outfits…by which we mean they have to reflect the same gender and number.
- The primary job of a verb tense is to tell when and for how long an action happened. It's second job is the night shift at the Quickie Mart, but it doesn't like to advertise that.
- Pronouns step in and take the place of tired-out nouns whenever they can't bear to repeat themselves even one more time.
- Modifiers like adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases exist solely to gussy up nearby nouns or verbs into their descriptive finest. And to bake us little cakes upon demand. They always want to be as near to the thing they are modifying as possible.
- The four basic sentence types are simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. The best writers use a variety of them all, and never leave fragments behind as collateral damage. That's just rude.
- Comma splices are evil and happen when you try to join two independent clauses with only a comma instead of a comma+conjunction. Death to the comma splices.
- Restrictive clauses/appositives narrow down information about a noun, while nonrestrictive clauses/appositives merely add extra, tangential information about a noun and require commas on either side to notify us of that fact. We mostly don't hate them.
- Apostrophes cannot ever make anything plural. Ever.
- Wordiness happens when you use too many words or the passive voice to say the same thing repetitively in different ways. It hurts readers' brains and hearts, and so should be abolished like pop quizzes right after lunch break on Mondays.
By the end of this unit, you should be able to
- identify proper and improper grammar usage and its potential impact on your, um, future job prospects.
- identify and handily create hot subject-verb agreement worthy of its own reality TV show.
- use varied and fabulously punctuated sentences in writing—whether those writings discuss walnuts or the debt ceiling is up to you.
- identify and vanquish the nasty comma splices, fragments, and run-ons that make other, lesser writers look like chumps.
- use a comma with finesse; that is, appropriately and with confidence.