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A Complete Grammar Guide for Essay Writing

Your essay must be free of grammatical errors for a couple of reasons. First, grammar mistakes can make your write-up difficult to interpret. Plus, they can mess up the context of the paper. On top of that, making too many grammatical errors can damage your reputation.

That’s why Grammar blunders are a total no-go when it comes to essay writing. Speaking of which, this interesting guide to grammar is all about helping you craft a perfect essay without any grammar slips. So, let’s get started.

Everything You Need to Know About Perfecting Grammar in Essay Writing

This is a comprehensive grammar writing guide that has all the details on grammar you need for essay writing.

What is Grammar?

Grammar is basically a set of rules that guide how to structure sentences. Its purpose is to make sure the reader can understand what the writer is communicating. So, students need to have a good understanding of grammar when writing essays. Still wondering why is grammar important in writing? Well, just keep on reading as your doubts will wipe out.

Breaking Down the Components of Grammar

When it comes to grammar, the first things that come to mind are parts of speech, which are:

Noun: It is a word or group of words that is used to identify the subject in a sentence.

Verb: It is a word that describes action in a sentence. Every sentence must have a verb to complete its meaning.

Adjectives: A word or group of words that we use to modify or describe a noun or pronoun.

Adverbs: It is something that modifies the verb and adjective.

Prepositions: A word that expresses a relation of one clause or element to the other. (Such as ‘is, are, of).

Conjunctions: A word that is used to connect two sentences.

Rules of Good Grammar – Grammar Guide

You may be familiar with the terms “good grammar” and “bad grammar”. Grammatical errors like incorrect word order, subject-verb agreement, and other miscues make up bad grammar. They are also sometimes termed as common grammatical errors. Ensure to follow these rules if you want your essay writing to stay in the realm of good grammar:

Subject-verb agreement

This is one of the very common grammar mistakes in English. To avoid that, remember that:

– A singular subject has a single verb

– A plural subject has a plural verb

Examples:

  • Single Subject

Incorrect: Albert walk daily

Correct: Albert walks daily

Explanation: The noun Albert is single. Therefore, it will take a single form of a verb walk, which is walks.

  • Plural Subject

Incorrect: The cookies is well baked.

Correct: The cookies are well baked.

Explanation: The noun cookies is plural. Hence, it will take the plural form of a word, which is ‘are.’

Some Tips and Tricks for Achieving Correct Subject-Verb Agreement 

Since subject-verb agreement is one of the common grammatical errors, therefore keep in mind that: 

  • When the word joins singular subjects ‘and’, they become plural. Hence, it would take a plural verb.

Incorrect: Shawn and Mitchell both are good players in football.

Correct: Shawn and Mitchell both are good players in football.

  • When you have to use indefinite pronouns like anyone or somebody, use singular verbs with them.

Incorrect: Anybody can has good writing skills. 

Correct: Anybody can have good writing skills.

  • If a noun is accompanied by a quantifier, the singularity or plurality of the verb depends on whether or not the noun is countable.

For Countable Noun:

Incorrect: Some assignments was rejected.

Correct: Some assignments were rejected.

For Uncountable Noun

Incorrect: Some air flow through the small hole in the window

Correct: Some air flows through the small hole in the window

Note: Quantifier includes any, most, some, and all.

  • When you use neither – nor, not only – but also, or either – or, the verb in such sentences has to agree with the subject close to it.

Incorrect: Neither the principal nor the teachers is in favor of an off day tomorrow., 

Correct: Neither the principal nor the teachers are in favor of an off day tomorrow

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

A pronoun must match the noun it is referring to. Let’s say if you write, “He went to the store,” you’re implying one person. Hence, you will ensure the pronoun “he” matches the noun you’re referring to. Similarly, if you say “They went to the store,” you’re implying more than one person. Here, “they” must match the noun.

Number Agreement

As a general rule, use a single pronoun, if the subject is referring to is single. Similarly, use plural pronouns if the subject it is referring to is plural.

Correct: He is walking in the park. (The singular antecedent “She” is matching with the singular pronoun “She.”)

Incorrect: They is going to the park.

Plural antecedent should replace plural pronouns.

Correct: They are going to the park. (Plural antecedent “They” matches with the plural pronoun “They.”)

Incorrect: He are going to the park.

Gender Agreement

Pronouns need to match up with the nouns they’re referring to in terms of gender. He is used for masculine, she for feminine, and it for neutral.

Correct: John is working as he is very determined.

Correct: Victoria is studying; she is very focused.

Correct: The cat is playing; it is very quiet.

Person Agreement

Pronouns must agree in person with their antecedents. There are three persons in English: first person (I, we), second person (you), and third person (he, she, it, they).

Correct: I am going to the party.

Correct: You are invited to the party.

Correct: She is bringing a gift to the party.

Some Examples of Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Incorrect Agreement – Number

Although the dog is barking, but they are wagging their tails.

“The dog” is singular, but “they” and “their” are plural. It should be: The dog is barking, but it is wagging its tail.

Incorrect Agreement – Gender

Alex is an active student; he always takes part in extracurricular activities.

The correct sentence would be: Alex is an active student; he always takes part in extracurricular activities.

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Correct Usage of Commas 

In English, commas are used for a bunch of different things. Like for separating elements in a sentence. Showing a pause, and more. Here are some examples of proper comma usage:

To separate items in a list

You can use commas for separating three or more items in a list. 

Example: I will buy pencil, rubber, and erasers. 

To set off Introductory Phrases 

Place a comma after introductory words or phrases at the beginning of a sentence.

Example: After the exam, I will join the gym. 

Example: In the evening, she always walks. 

To Separate two Independent Clauses 

You need to use a comma before coordinating conjunctions, like but, or, nor, and so on. 

Example: I wanted to watch a cricket match, but I couldn’t get a ticket.

Example: She likes running, and he loves reading. 

To Set Off Non-Important Elements

You can use commas to separate nonessential clauses, phrases or words in a sentence. 

Example: My friend, who works in New Jersey, is visiting next week.

Example: The book, which was a gift, is my favorite.

Separating Items in an Address or Date

Commas are used to separate parts of an address or date.

Example (address): She lives at 123 Main Street, New York, NY.

Example (date): The meeting is scheduled for September 15, 2023, at 2:00 PM.

Direct Address

When addressing someone directly, use a comma to set off the name or title.

Example: John, can you pass the salt?

Example: Mr. Smith, please take a seat.

Before “and” or “but” in a Series

Use a comma before “and” or “but” when it joins two independent clauses.

Example: She wanted to go, and he agreed.

Example: They were tired, but they kept going.

With Adjectives

Use a comma between two or more adjectives that modify the same noun.

Example: It was a big, beautiful garden.

Example: He wore a red, white, and blue shirt.

In Quotations

Commas are used to set off dialogue or quoted material.

Example: She said, “I’ll be there in a minute.”

Example: The famous line from the movie is, “May the Force be with you.”

With Dates and Numbers

Use commas to separate thousands and millions in numbers.

Example: The population of the city is 1,234,567.

Example: The event took place on June 5, 2022.

Avoid Homophones Errors 

Homophones can be tricky. They’re words that sound the same but have different meanings and sometimes different spellings. When someone makes a mistake and uses the wrong homophone, it can cause confusion or incorrect usage in their speech or writing. Here are some common examples:

Their, They’re, and There

“Their” is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership by a group.

Example: That’s their car.

“They’re” is a contraction of “they are.”

Example: They’re going to the store.

“There” is an adverb indicating a place or existence.

Example: The book is over there.

Homophone error: “Their going to the store” (incorrect) instead of “They’re going to the store” (correct).

Your and You’re

“Your” is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership.

Example: Is this your book?

“You’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Example: You’re coming to the party, right?

Homophone error: “Your coming to the party” (incorrect) instead of “You’re coming to the party” (correct).

Its and It’s

“Its” is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership by an object or animal.

Example: The cat chased its tail.

“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.”

Example: It’s raining outside.

Homophone error: “The dog wagged it’s tail” (incorrect) instead of “The dog wagged its tail” (correct).

Two, To, and Too

“Two” is a number.

Example: I have two tickets.

“To” is a preposition indicating direction or a verb-infinitive marker.

Example: I’m going to the store.

“Too” means also or excessively.

Example: I want to go too.

Homophone error: “I want to go to” (incorrect) instead of “I want to go too” (correct).

Whose and Who’s

“Whose” is a possessive pronoun asking about ownership.

Example: Whose bag is this?

“Who’s” is a contraction of “who is” or “who has.”

Example: Who’s coming to the meeting?

Homophone error: “Who’s bag is this” (incorrect) instead of “Whose bag is this” (correct).

Grammar Rules for Students 

Word order is super important in English because it sets the structure and meaning of sentences. It’s what makes sure we’re communicating clearly, cohesively and effectively. Generally, English follows the subject-verb-object (SVO) pattern, but there are variations we can use to show different meanings. Let’s dig into learning the grammar rules for students with examples emphasizing the importance of word rules in English. 

Clarity and Comprehension

Sticking to the rules of word order is like sticking to the important English grammar rules. Plus doing that makes it easier for people to understand your message. English speakers are used to certain word order patterns, so it’s important to follow them.

Example: “The cat chased the dog” (SVO order) is clear and straightforward.

Subject-Verb Agreement

The order of the words in a sentence is important when it comes to showing that the subject and verb agree with each other. The subject usually appears before the verb, which helps make sure the grammar is right.

Example: “She plays the piano” (subject “She” agrees with the verb “plays”).

Modifiers and Descriptions

The way you arrange words lets you put modifiers like adverbs and adjectives in the right spot to give more info about nouns and verbs.

Example: “The tall, dark man quickly ran” (adjectives “tall” and “dark” describe “man,” and the adverb “quickly” modifies “ran”).

Questions and Negations

Correct word order is essential for forming questions and negations.

Example (question): “Did you eat lunch?” (Inversion of subject and auxiliary verb)

Example (negation): “She does not like spicy food.” (Placement of “not” after the auxiliary verb)

Emphasis and Focus

Changing word order can alter the emphasis and focus of a sentence.

Example: “I saw a movie yesterday” (neutral emphasis)

Example: “Yesterday, I saw a movie” (emphasizing “yesterday”)

Subordination and Complex Sentences

Word order is crucial for forming complex sentences and indicating subordination.

Example (subordination): “Because it was raining, we stayed indoors.”

Example (complex sentence): “Although she was tired, she finished her work.”

Tense and Aspect

Correct word order is essential for expressing verb tenses and aspects.

Example (simple past tense): “She danced at the party.”

Example (present continuous tense): “They are playing soccer.”

Narrative Structure

Word order helps maintain the logical flow and coherence of narratives.

Example: “First, they arrived at the airport. Then, they checked in and boarded the plane.”

Cultural and Stylistic Considerations

Different cultures and writing styles have their own rules about word order, so it’s important to understand and abide by them in order to communicate effectively.

Example: In some poetry, word order may be rearranged for artistic purposes, but the intended meaning remains clear through context and creative language use.

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Different Types of Sentences in English

Knowing the different types of sentences in English is really important for effective communication and writing. For instance, sentences can be broken down into various categories depending on their purpose and structure. Here’s a closer look at the different types of sentences in English with examples.

Declarative Sentences

Purpose: Statements are being made or declared, giving you information and opinions.

Structure: Declarative statements usually follow a pattern of subject-verb-object.

Example: “She is going to the store.”

Interrogative Sentences

Purpose: Interrogative sentences are used to ask questions.

Structure: Interrogative sentences often begin with a question word (who, what, when, where, why, how) or an auxiliary verb (is, are, do, does, can, etc.), followed by the subject and the main verb.

Example: “Where are you going?”

Imperative Sentences

Purpose: Imperative sentences give commands, make requests, or offer invitations.

Structure: Imperative sentences typically begin with the base form of a verb (without a subject).

Example: “Please pass the salt.”

Exclamatory Sentences

Purpose: Exclamatory sentences express strong emotions or excitement.

Structure: Exclamatory sentences often begin with “What” or “How” and end with an exclamation point.

Example: “What a beautiful sunset!”

Conditional Sentences

Purpose: Conditional sentences express hypothetical or conditional situations, indicating what would happen under certain conditions.

Structure: Conditional sentences consist of two clauses: the conditional (if) clause and the result (main) clause.

types of sentences

Free Online Tools to Remove Grammatical Mistakes

There are a bunch of free online tools out there that can help you make sure your writing is free of any grammar errors. They’re really great for making sure your essays, emails, reports, and other written materials are clear and error-free. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular free online tools to remove grammatical mistakes online.

Grammarly

Features: Grammarly is one of the popular grammatical tools and spelling checker that catches a bunch of errors, like grammar goofs, punctuation slip-ups, spelling mistakes, sentence structure issues, and style blunders.

Usage: You can access Grammarly online through your web browser, or you can get their browser extension. They also have a plugin for Microsoft Word.

Free Version: Grammarly has a free option with basic grammar and spelling checks, and if you want even more help with your writing, you can upgrade to the premium version.

ProWritingAid

Features: ProWritingAid is an awesome writing tool that checks your work for grammar, style, readability, and more – giving you tips on how you can make it even better.

Usage: It can be used online or as a browser extension. It also integrates with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other writing platforms.

Free Version: ProWritingAid has a basic, free version that offers basic grammar and style checks. If you want the more advanced features, you have to pay for a subscription.

Ginger

Features: Ginger is a super handy AI-based writing tool that can help you find mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. It even has a feature to help you reword things.

Usage: You can use Ginger either online or as an extension for your browser. Plus, if you’re always on the go, they’ve got a mobile app so you can proofread while you’re out.

Free Version: Ginger has a free version with basic grammar and spelling checks, and you can upgrade for more features.

Hemingway Editor

Features: This editor helps you make your writing clearer and easier to read – it’ll point out sentences that are too complicated, show you when you’re using passive voice too much, and give you ideas on how to simplify things.

Usage: Use to simplify the sentences and correct grammatical errors in a document.

Free Version: You can get it for free if you use it online, but if you want to use it offline, there’s a paid desktop version, too.

LanguageTool

Features: LanguageTool is an open-source grammar and style checker that supports multiple languages. It checks for grammatical errors, spelling, and style issues.

Usage: You can use LanguageTool online, or you can install browser extensions for various browsers. It also offers a desktop version.

Free Version: LanguageTool offers a free version with basic grammar checks. Premium features are available.

Scribens

Features: Scribens is a free, multilingual grammar checker that identifies grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. It offers style suggestions as well.

Usage: You can use Scribens online without the need for any downloads or installations.

Free Version: Scribens is entirely free to use.

Reverso

Features: Reverso not only checks grammar and spelling but also offers contextual suggestions, translations, and examples of word usage.

Usage: It can be used online, and Reverso’s browser extension provides real-time corrections as you type.

Free Version: Reverso offers a free version with basic grammar and spelling checks.

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Take Away

Having a good understanding of grammar is key to writing an effective essay. This guide went over the basics, from how to make sentences to proper verb usage. Adopting these techniques in this grammar guide can help in making your essay clearer and more accurate.

It’s not just about avoiding errors; it’s about expressing your ideas clearly. Whether you’re writing a persuasive essay, a descriptive story, or something analytical, having a good foundation in grammar will make your writing stand out and make your essays more effective.

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