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Writing Aids Teacher’s Manual

Grammar & Composition Notebook




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English grammar

Parts of Speech

An Adjective modifies or describes a noun or pronoun.  

  • To find an adjective, look at the noun or pronoun and ask what kind, which one, how many, how much or whose.  
  • Adjectives usually come before the noun they are describing.
  • A possessive noun or pronoun should be labeled as an adjective because it modifies a noun. Ex. Monarch’s throne

Types of Adjectives

  • Proper adjectives need to be capitalized like proper nouns.  Ex. Roman government.
  • A, an, and the are article adjectives and are always adjectives. They point to nouns in the sentence.
  • Predicate adjectives are in the predicate but describe the subject.  Linking verbs link the subject to the predicate adjective. Ex. The orator was entertaining. Be careful not to confuse a predicate adjective with a predicate nominative which renames the subject.

Comparative Adjectives

  • Adjectives can be used to compare.  There are three degrees of comparison.
  • The positive degree is used when comparing one person or thing. 
  • The comparative degree is used when two people or things are being compared.  To change the positive degree into the comparative degree add -er to a one-syllable words. For words with more than two syllables use the word more.
  • The superlative degree is used when comparing more than two people or things. To change the positive degree into the superlative degree add -est to a one-syllable words. For words with more than two syllables use the word most. Ex. brave, braver, bravest. Ex. valuable, more valuable, most valuable

An Adverb is a word that modifies or describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb

  • Adverbs modify verbs most of the time.  
  • An adverb that modifies a verb may be before or after the verb or in the middle of the verb phrase. Find the verb and ask how, when, where and to what extent. 
  • When adverbs modify adjectives or other adverbs they come right before the adjective. Find the word that is being modified and ask the questions: how, when, and where.
  • The adverbs that normally define to what extent are: not, so, very, too, quite, rather, somewhat, extremely, really, terribly, and very.
  • Most “-ly” words are adverbs, but some adjectives end in -ly. Remember an adjective modifies a noun and an adverb modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb. Beware the imposters.
  • Ex. Mother was sweetly singing to her baby.     Singing how? Sweetly

The king seldomly talks to the peasants.           
Talks when? Seldomly

The farmer held the produce up to examine it.
Held where?  Up

The soup was too hot to eat.
To what extent? Too


A Conjunction is a word or word group that joins together, words, phrases or clauses.

The most common conjunctions are Coordinating conjunctions which allows you to join words, phrases, or clauses of equal grammatical type.  for, and, nor, but, or yet, so =  FANBOYS. Remember, if a coordinating conjunction combines two independent clauses, use a comma before the conjunction. IC, and IC

Subordinating conjunctions join independent and dependent clauses together. because, since, as, although, though, while, whereas, after, as, as if, before, if, once, that, when, while, where, whereas, wherever.   Remember, when a sentence starts with a subordinating conjunction, use a comma before the start of the independent clause. DC,IC  

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that work together. Either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also, whether/or


An Interjection is an exclamatory word that is not grammatically related to other words in the sentence. An interjection can stand alone and usually expresses a strong feeling or emotion rather than meaning. It usually comes at the beginning of the sentence.  Use an exclamation point with a strong interjection and capitalize the first word after.  Use a comma after a mild interjection and do not capitalize the first word after.

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that work together. Either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also, whether/or


A Noun names a person, place, thing or idea.

Ex: Person: Romans, philosopher, barbarian            

Place: Rome, city, room, harbor    

Thing: scaffold, artifact, dock                                      

Idea: happiness, honesty, peace

A or AN: Use “A” before words beginning with a constant and “AN” before words beginning with a vowel.  Ex. A trader    An atom

Helpful Hint: A, An, and The are article adjectives or noun markers.  When you see one ask “what” to find the noun.

A Common Noun does not name a particular person, place, thing, or idea.

Ex. barbarian, city, artifact, honesty

A Proper Noun names a particular person, place, thing or idea. A Proper Noun is capitalized.

Ex. Hittite, Rome, Pantheon 

A Singular Noun names one person, place, thing or idea.

Ex. jury, tool, city,  

A Plural Noun names more than one person, place, thing, or idea.

Ex. Romans, atoms, cities, philosophers 

A Possessive Noun shows ownership or possession.

A Singular Noun shows possession by adding an apostrophe (‘) and a ‘s’.

Ex. Senator’s vote

A Plural Noun ending in ‘S’ shows possession by adding an apostrophe (‘).

Ex. Senators’ vote

A Plural Noun that does not end in ‘S’ shows possession by adding an apostrophe (‘) and a ‘s’.

Ex. Men’s vote

Nouns perform various jobs in a sentence.  Subject nouns, direct objects, indirect objects, object of the preposition, and a predicate nominative are the different ways a noun can be used in a sentence.


A Preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun and another word within the sentence. It may tell where something is or when something happened.

The Object of the Preposition is the noun or pronoun that follows the preposition.

A Prepositional Phrase begins with a preposition and includes the object of preposition and anything that modifies it.A prepositional phrase is a modifier. A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that functions as an adjective or adverb to describe or provide information about another word or phrase within the sentence.  When a prepositional phrase modifies an adverb it is called an adverb phrase. It answers the questions how, when or where.


A Pronoun takes the place of a noun in a sentence.

  • The Nominative Case is the subject and everything referring to the subject. It names or renames the subject. Use ‘I’ last with another noun or pronoun.   ‘You’ is always used first.
  • The Objective Case is the direct object, indirect object or object of the preposition. Objective case pronouns can come after action verbs as indirect or direct objects or following a preposition. 
  • The Possessive Case shows possession or ownership.
  • ‘You’ does not change form from the nominative to objective case, or from singular to plural.
Nominative CaseObjective CasePossessive Case
First Person (refers to the speaker)I, weme, usMy, mine, our, ours
Second Person (refers to the person spoken to)youYouYour, yours
Third Person (refers to the person spoken of)He, she, it, theyHim, her, it, themHis, her, hers, its, their, theirs

The Antecedent is the word the pronoun takes the place of.

  • The antecedent may not be in the same sentence as the pronoun. It may be in a prior sentence.  When using a pronoun if it’s not clear who or what the antecedent is, use the noun.

A Verb is a word or phrase that shows action, links another word to the subject or helps another verb.

  • An action verb describes what the subject is doing or thinking. Ex: The soldier wore armor.
  • A linking verb links the subject to a word that renames or describes it. Ex. The armor is a protective covering.
  • A helping verb or auxiliary verb helps another verb and forms a verb phrase. The helping verb always comes before the main verb. Ex. The armor is made of metal. 
Linking or Helping VerbsLinking VerbsHelping VerbsHelping Verbs
These are the “Be” verbs. They can be used as helping or linking verbs.These verbs can be used as linking or action verbs. When in doubt, remember that if you can replace the linking verb with a “be” verb then it’s a linking verb.These can be used as  verbs or action verbs.These are always helping verbs.
be                   being
have              do
has                does
had               did
might  should
must    would

Subject-Verb Agreement

  • A singular verb is used with a plural subject, I, or you. A plural verb ending in -s is used with a singular subject. Ex. The centurion recruits soldiers. Or The centurions recruit soldiers. 

Verb Tense

  • Present Tense Verb is either alone or ends with -s. A 

Past Tense Verb ends with -ed. Ex. The Centurion recruits soldiers.  The centurion recruited soldiers.  Use the “be” verb am, is, and are for present tense and was and were for past tense.