What Is a Subordinate Clause?

A subordinate clause is a clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence; it merely complements a sentence’s main clause, thereby adding to the whole unit of meaning. Because a subordinate clause is dependent upon a main clause to be meaningful, it is also referred to as a dependent clause.

Whether you use the term subordinate or dependent to describe the clause, this clause’s function is clear: it provides informational support to the main event of the sentence. Continue reading “What Is a Subordinate Clause?”

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Alright or All Right—Which Is Correct?

People are often surprised to learn that alright is not an accepted spelling of all right. Although the one-word spelling of alright is seen in informal writing, teachers and editors will always consider it incorrect. To use the expression with impunity, it is best to spell it as two words: all right.

It’s possible that you stared at your paper in wonder the first time your English teacher marked alright as an incorrect spelling. Continue reading “Alright or All Right—Which Is Correct?”

What Is a Coordinating Conjunction?

A coordinating conjunction is a word that joins two elements of equal grammatical rank and syntactic importance. They can join two verbs, two nouns, two adjectives, two phrases, or two independent clauses. The seven coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.

Meet the Key Players: FANBOYS

The best way to remember the seven coordinating conjunctions is by using the acronym FANBOYS:

Continue reading “What Is a Coordinating Conjunction?”

Lies Your English Teacher Taught You: Prepositions

Guest post from Brent Calderwood

Writing is like painting. You have to know the rules before you can start experimenting with them. Think about it: Picasso had to paint a lot of pictures of horses with four legs before he started putting noses on people’s foreheads. It’s the same way with words. Good authors are playful and innovative with the English language, but they had to learn the basics first. Continue reading “Lies Your English Teacher Taught You: Prepositions”

What Are Personal Pronouns?

A personal pronoun is a short word we use as a simple substitute for the proper name of a person. Each of the English personal pronouns shows us the grammatical person, gender, number, and case of the noun it replaces. I, you, he, she, it, we they, me, him, her, us, and them are all personal pronouns.

Personal pronouns are the stunt doubles of grammar; they stand in for the people (and perhaps animals) who star in our sentences. Continue reading “What Are Personal Pronouns?”