Grammar For Dummies!

April 18, 2017

There are lots of rules regarding grammar, and whilst some people find it hard to follow, others try to advocate what rules they feel everyone needs to know. Below are some wacky grammar rules that are not entirely practical, but instead are built for those who insist that most of the population are ‘grammatically ignorant’. Enjoy!


Rule 1 — Order of Adjectives

If you have more than one adjective to describe a noun, there is a specific order you put them in, or else the clause will sound very awkward.

That order is: Opinion — size — age — shape — colour — origin — material — purpose — noun.

The most common example of this is: the lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife.

If you put any of those adjectives out of order, the phrase will sound extremely confusing.


Rule 2 — Types of Dashes

The Em Dash (—): It is called the Em Dash because it has the same width as the capital letter (M). Used to a replace comma, parentheses, or colon. In place of a comma, the Em dash is use to emphasize a sentence. In place of parentheses, it is considered less formal. They are also intrusive and will draw more attention to the parenthetical content. In place of a colon, they are used to emphasize the conclusion of your sentence.

Example #1: In place of a comma: Of course, I'll sign the agreement — as long as it's in my favor.

Example #2: In place of parentheses: My husband's nephews—sons of his late sister — are very smart boys.

Example #3: In place of a colon: After months of deliberation, the jurors reached a unanimous verdict — guilt.

The En Dash (–): Formed by using two hyphens (), because it is rare to see it in a modern keyboard. It has the same width as the small letter (n). It is used to replace versus. It also shows dates and time. It shows range and span; don’t use an en dash with words such as “from” or “between.”

Example #1: Replacement of versus: Trump - Clinton debate.

Example #2: Dates and time: The opening hours of the office are 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Example #3: Dates and time: 1st of November 2017 becomes 1–11–2017.

Example #4: Range and span: Please read pages 9–20.


Rule 3 — Apostrophe Use

’s — Contraction of is, or to show singular ownership in a active example.

Example #1: She’s an Environmentalist.

Example #2: That is Michael’s Account.

s — Used to pluralize, or to show singular ownership in a passive example.

Example #1: He love cats.

Example #2: That pencil case is hers


s’` — Used to show plural ownership.

Example: The girls’ phones were confiscated.

Tip: When the subject ends in -s, use s’


Rule 4 — Practice or Practise?

Practice: (Noun, prak-tis) Four definitions: 1) Systematic training by multiple repetitions. 2) Translating an idea into action. 3) Exercise of a profession. 4) A custom, or knowledge of how something is usually done.

Example #1: Practice makes perfect.

Example #2: Gandhi's ideas of non-violence, if put into practice, would make the world a much better place.

Example #3: I took over his practice when he retired.

Example #4: It is the Indian practice to eat with the hand itself.

Practise: (Verb, Prak-tis) Five definitions. 1) (Performing arts) To engage in a rehearsal. 2) Learn by repetition. 3) (Jobs, Profession) To carry out, engage in. 4) Make use of, obey, follow. 5) Engage in, perform.

Example #1: We stayed back in school to practise the song.

Example #2: I practise German pronounciation every day.

Example #3: I do not intend to practise medicine.

Example #4: My family practises Hinduism.

Example #5: It would be nice if everyone practised random acts of kindness every day.


Rule 5 — The Rule of Only

Okay, this one’s a bit complicated. Let me explain.

First, the word ‘only’ is built to limit the possibilities of your action to the word that comes after it. For example, if I can only eat chocolate, in grammatical sense, that means I can only eat chocolate, and I can do nothing else with it because the word ‘only’ has limited my choices. I can not throw it, I can not touch it, I can not even choke on it because it has limited the possibility so I can only eat it. 

If someone wanted to say I can eat nothing other than chocolate, they need to say I can eat only chocolate, thereby limiting the possibility of me eating anything else. So only is a modifier we misuseconstantly, as its outcome changes depends on where we place it.

 

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