If you are uncertain about your use of a grammar rule, it is best to check the rule and then check your work. Use the resources on this page to learn more about different grammar rules and to determine whether your grammar usage is correct. You may also submit your writing to the ASC for review before turning in your assignment.
Here, you will find a number of common grammar mistakes frequently seen in writing. One way to test your understanding of a particular grammar rule is to intentionally break the rule by writing an incorrect sentence. Then, use the information and example we provide for each concept, and write the sentence correctly.
You may also use the following links to explore different grammar exercises and games to test your knowledge!
A run-on sentence occurs when two or more independent clauses (or complete ideas) are incorrectly connected or strung together. Run-on sentences can be fixed by properly connecting the ideas or separating the different independent clauses into two sentences.
Example of a run-on sentence:
There are three different ways to fix a run-on sentence:
Quick tip: use the mnemonic device “FANBOYS” to help you remember the different coordinating conjunctions: “For – And – Not – But – Or – Yet – So”
Use a semi-colon to separate two independent clauses.
Use a colon after a complete sentence to introduce a word, phrase, clause, list, or quotation.
Also, the colon is used to separate two independent clauses when the second explains or illustrates the first. In such usage, the colon functions in much the same way as the semicolon. As with the semicolon, do not capitalize the first word after the colon unless the word is ordinarily capitalized.
Affect with an “a” means "to influence," as in “The rain affected Amy's hairdo.” Affect can also mean, roughly, "to act in a way that you don't feel," as in “She affected an air of superiority.”
Effect has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but the meaning "a result" seems to be at the core of the definitions. For example, "The effect was eye-popping," or "The sound effects were amazing," or "The rain had no effect on Amy's hairdo."
"Then" has an element of time; it can mean "next" or "at that time." "Than" conveys a comparison.
Contrary to popular opinion, further and farther do not have the same meaning. Basically, further refers to something that is additional, and farther refers to actual distance between objects. Here are some easy-to-understand definitions and examples of how to use these two words.
Further is defined as something that is additional, such as a longer distance or time period. It is used when there is no knowledge of the actual physical distance or time difference.
Farther refers to a physical distance that has been measured. When used as an adjective, it refers to when one object is farther away than the other, requiring a measurement of the distance from one common point to both objects. When used as an adverb, it refers to when an action results in a greater distance.
Quick Usage Trick:
If you cannot replace "further" with "additional" in a sentence, you are using it incorrectly.
Unfortunately, further tends to be used by many people for all situations, whether or not the actual distance is known. Remember, you need to measure to use "farther," but you use "further" in all other situations.
Things that are unceasing or exist without interruption are continuous.
Things that occur frequently or recur intermittently are continual. The continual action does not happen ceaselessly, but it does happen regularly.
Here is the deal: some people may argue that the rules are more complex and flexible than this, but to make things as simple as possible: remember to use that before a restrictive clause and which before everything else.
A restrictive clause is part of a sentence that you cannot get rid of because it specifically restricts some other part of the sentence.
The phrase “that have a secure attachment” restrict the kind of children you are talking about. Without this phrase, the meaning of the sentence would change. Without this phrase, you would be saying that all children separate easily from their caregivers. Note that you do not need commas around the words that have a secure attachment relationship.
A nonrestrictive clause is a phrase that can be left off without changing the meaning of the sentence. You can think of a nonrestrictive clause as being additional information. Also, note that nonrestrictive clauses are usually surrounded by, or preceded by, commas.
Lie and lay are most often confused where lie means to recline and lay means to put down. But the distinction is simple: Lay needs an object – something to be laid, while lie cannot have an object. For example, you might lay a book on the table, lay a sweater on the bed, or lay a child in her crib. When you feel tired at the end of the day, you may lie down. But you cannot lie a book anywhere, and you cannot lay down (no object) at the end of the day.