Grammar Review TECM 4190 Dr. Lam
Grammar importance • Gives editors the “language” to discuss suggestions with writers • Allows editors to rely on objective evidence and not “feel” • Provides editors with authority
Parts of Speech • Traditional definitions of parts of speech are semantic • Semantic definitions use word meaning to define parts of speech • A noun is a person, place, or thing • But what happens when this definition breaks down? • E.g., Running makes you healthy.
If not semantic, then what? • Use structural tests to determine parts of speech! • To move past semantic categorization, we can identify parts of speech using syntax and morphology • Morphology studies word formation (structurally) • Morpheme=smallest semantic unit in language • E.g., refund [re + fund]
Nouns • Can be pluralized and can take a possessive suffix (Derivational suffixes) • Teacher; Teachers; Teacher’s • Can be formed from verbs and adjectives (Inflectional suffixes) • e.g.; -ment, -tion, -hood; • Expectation; Excitement; Hardship • Can be preceded by a determiner (syntactic distribution) • The teacher; an expectation; the hardship
Verbs • Can be made past tense (inflection suffixes) • She walks; She walk-ed • Can follow auxiliaries and modals (syntactic distribution) • She has been walking • Can be negated with not or un (syntactic distribution) • She did not walk • The latch was left unhooked
Adjectives • Can take comparative/superlative forms (Inflectional suffixes) • Tall; taller; tallest; • willing; more willing; most willing
Adverbs • Often take the suffix –ly (Derivational suffix) • Quickly; • Can’t appear between a determiner and a noun (syntactic distribution) • The quickly fox
Practice! • The establishment of regulations will increasesafety. • An emotionalresponse is expected when hearing news like that. • Hearing is the hardestpart.
Sentence Structure • All sentences must have a subject and a predicate • Subject=noun or something noun-y • Predicate=something about the subject but MUST be a verb • The computer crashed.
Verbs and Sentence patterns • Verb determines the relationship between subject and rest of predicate • Transitive, intransitive, linking, or to be
Transitive Verbs • Must contain a direct object (result of the transitive verb) • Answers “what?” or who?” • The cyclist has taken performance enhancing drugs.
Intransitive Verbs • Does not require a complement, but can take modifiers (adverbial modifiers, which are often prepositional phrases) • Usually can terminate a sentence. • His computer crashed. • His computer crashed on Sunday after 5:00pm. • His computer crashed suddenly.
Linking Verbs and to be • Linking- often verbs of “sense”; require a complement (subject complement that is either ADJ or NP) • John appeared worried. • The food tasted terrible. • To be: is, am, are, was, were, etc. • John is the head of IT.
Modifiers • Modifying phrase= phrase that functions as an adjective or adverb • Called “adverbial” or “adjectival” • These phrases can be prepositional phrases, noun phrases, infinitive phrases, participial phrases, and appositive phrases
Modifiers and their functions Identify the phrase type (preposition, noun, etc.) and then identify the phrases function (adverbial, adjectival, or direct object) • The car received its emissions certification. • The car, an Acura, arrived from the warehouse. • The salesman working on Fridays sold me the car.
Modifiers and their functions • The car received its emissions certification. (Noun phrase; direct object of “received”) • The car, an Acura, arrived from the warehouse. • An Acura (appositive phrase; adjectival modifying “car”) • From the warehouse (preposition; adverbial modifying “arrived” • The salesman working on Fridays sold me the car. (participial phrase; adjectival modifying “salesman”)
Common Grammatical Errors • Subject-verb agreement • Faulty predication • Dangling modifier • Misplaced modifier • Pronoun-antecedent agreement error • Ambiguous pronoun referent • Pronoun case error • Tense error • Tense sequence error
Subject-Verb Agreement • Subjects and verbs must agree in number • Singular subjects must be paired with singular verb forms • The chair of the universities decides on the final budget. • Plural subjects must be paired with plural verb forms • The chairs who serve on the committee decide on the final budget.
Subject-Verb Agreement Special Considerations • Collective nouns (can be treated as either singular or plural) • The committee decides on the budget. (Singular entity) • The faculty decide on their course schedules. (Collection of individuals) • Expletive structures (There is/There are)- Use NP following the verb • There are twenty variables in the equation. • There is a variable in the equation.
Faulty Predication • Subjects and predicates must work together logically too • Faulty: A book I read believes that there is only one way to analyze the data. • Fixed: The author believes… • Agents can still be non-human though • The study revealed that… • The report explains…
Other common causes for faulty predication • Misuse of linking verbs or to be • Faulty: The use of SPSS is the best program for analyzing quantitative data. • Fixed: SPSS is the best program for analyzing quantitative data.
Misplaced Modifiers: What are they? • A modifying word or phrase in the wrong place • In English, modifiers usually precede the noun they modify • Textbook: p. 143-144
Here are some basic examples • Billy ate a cold dish of cereal for breakfast. • Which word is being modified? • Which word should be modified? • Only three tacos for $2.89! • Which word is being modified? • Which word should be modified?
Do these revisions make more sense? • Billy ate a dish of cold cereal for breakfast. • Which noun is being modified? • Which noun should be modified? • Three tacos for only $2.89! • Which noun is being modified? • Which noun should be modified?
Generally… • A misplaced modifier results in two possible meanings or a meaning the author didn’t intend
The dog was chasing the boy with the spiked collar. • The dog with the spiked collar was chasing the boy.
I almost failed every art class I took. • I failed almost every art class I took.
Dangling Modifiers • A modifying phrase that attaches to an NP that doesn’t appear in the sentence • Often starts with –ing VP • Dangling: Running for the bus, my book fell in the mud. • Fixed: Running for the bus, I slipped and my book fell in the mud.
Practice Locate the misplaced or dangling modifier; Determine what it is modifying; Fix the problem • On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon, watched by nearly a fifth of the world's population. • After seeing the benefits of reduced employee turnover, absenteeism, and lateness, onsite daycare is being provided more frequently as a perk for working parents. • Cost-efficient and convenient, many of today's corporate employees are being trained through computer-assisted instruction. • Having submitted the conference registration form after the deadline, special permission by the chairperson was needed before she could give her presentation.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement • Pro-forms substitute for whatever phrase they replace • Singular pronouns should have singular antecedents • Every student should complete his or her report by Monday. • Plural pronouns should have plural antecedents. • All students should complete their reports by Monday.