Quick and simple checks you can use to improve your grammar and punctuation:

This is a live post, so to speak, and I will update this when I have new info or improvements to make.

I will keep this info as short as possible, hence the term cheat sheet, (it’s not actually cheating :), and if you’re looking for detailed info and explanations on these topics I would recommend searching out other sources.


ACTIVE VOICE:

Example:

  • Passive voice: The rats were eaten by zombies.
  • Active Voice: Zombies ate the rats.

 

If you can insert “by zombies” after the verb and it makes sense, you have passive voice. (This doesn’t work one hundred per cent of the time, but is a good guide to go by). (Credit for this to Rebecca Johnson @johnsonr)

Example:

  • Passive voice: John was chased by zombies. (Sentence correct, but passive voice.)
  • Active Voice: Zombies chased (by zombies) John. (This sentence doesn’t make sense if you put ‘by zombies’ after the verb.)

 

Another Example:

  • Passive Voice: The meal was made (by zombies).
  • Active Voice: Rita made (by zombies) the meal.

COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS:

Coordinating conjunctions come between two clauses in order to connect them.

Example: John and Jane walked to the zoo.

Example: His palms were sweaty, but he hid them out of sight.

Use the term FANBOYS to remember the seven conjunctions.

  • F: For
  • A: and
  • N: Nor
  • B: But
  • O: Or
  • Y: Yet
  • S: So

PUNCTUATION CATEGORIES:

Stoppers: Full stop or period, comma.
Linkers: Semicolon, colon, dash
Intruders: Comma pair, dash pair, bracket pair
Intoners: Exclamation and question marks

Other Marks
• Apostrophes. (Note: This is used to form contractions and to form the possessive case. It’s never used to form a plural.)
• Hyphens.
• Quotation marks.
• Slash.
• Ellipsis.


PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE TENSE:

  • Past 
  • Present
  • Future

 

All three tenses have four different forms – noted below:

  • Simple
  • Continuous
  • Perfect
  • Perfect continuous

 

Tenses Table

http://the-language-corner.com/news/english-tenses-12-tense-review/

 

If you need to check on the different forms of a word – wordhippo has a useful tool to find out:  What is the past tense of…

 


SENTENCES:

A sentence is an independent clause or the combination of independent and dependent clauses.

An independent clause is a group of words that contain a verb and a subject that make a complaint idea/concept.

E.g: The fox jumped over the fence. (Subject is ‘fox’ and ‘verb’ is jumped).

A dependent clause is a group of words that cannot be understood by themselves and are missing the main idea/concept. They require part (an independent clause) of a sentence to make sense.

E.g: The red fox, that was being chased by a hound, jumped over the fence.

The dependent clause here is “that was being chased by a hound” – This in itself does not make sense and needs the independent clause “The red fox jumped over the fence” for it to make sense and form a complete sentence.

To check if a part of a sentence is a dependent or independent clause, simply cover-up either part to see if they make sense by themselves or if they need additional info. (This is known as the Cover-Up Trick).


 


THERE ARE FOUR SENTENCE STRUCTURES:

1. Simple
2. Compound
3. Complex
4. Compound-Complex

1. Simple sentence: A simple sentence is a single idea and consists of a single independent clause.

E.g: The fox ran away.

2. Compound sentence: A compound sentence is composed of at least two independent clauses with a conjunction. It does not require a dependent clause.

E.g: The fox ran away and it hid in a bush.

3. Complex sentence: A complex sentence has one or more dependent clauses (also called subordinate clauses). But a dependent clause cannot stand as its own, so complex sentences must also have at least one independent clause.

E.g: The fox jumped over the gate, with a majestic stride.

4. Compound-complex sentence: A sentence with two or more independent clauses, plus one or more dependent clauses.

E.g: The fox jumped over the gate, with a majestic stride and a glint of freedom in its eye.


TRADITIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH

1. Noun: Naming words (just person, places or things) (a chance) ((Note – Professor Geoffrey Pullum has stated a noun can be more than just a naming word).
2. Pronoun: Noun substitute (their last chance)
3. Verb: Doing or being word (they lost the chance)
4. Adjective: Describes nouns or pronouns (fat chance)
5. Adverb: Describes adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs (a very slim chance; she danced divinely)
6. Article: Specifies definiteness or indefiniteness of a noun (the dance; a good chance)
7. Conjunction: Joining word (a slim chance and a very slim chance)
8. Preposition: A word that positions (at the dance)
9. Interjection: Conveys emotion or sentiment (Wow! What a dance!)