Simple Study Guides

For Writing, Math, Essays, SAT, ACT and more...

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Active Voice -- A sentence style in which the subject performs the action. Usually preferable to passive voice unless the passive is specifically called for.

Active Voice example: The lightning struck the tree.
Passive Voice example: The tree was struck by lightning.

See for more information:

 

 

Adjective -- A word or group of words that describe or modify a noun.

example: The slow, meandering creek sang a gentle song.

 

Agreement -- A singular noun or pronoun must take a singular verb, and a plural noun or pronoun must take a plural verb.

See for more information:

 

 

Apostrophe -- A punctuation mark ( ' ) used to show possession. Also used in contractions, which should be avoided in formal prose.

possession example: "That was Jack's favorite coffee mug."
contraction example: "You shouldn't have dropped it."

See for more information:

 

 

Appositive -- A noun or pronoun set beside another noun or pronoun to modify it. Usually accompanied by modifiers.

example: An experienced backpacker, she left no trace of where she had camped.

 

Clause -- A group of words containing both a subject and a predicate.

Independent Clause example: The hobo passed through town unnoticed.
Dependent Clause example: As the hobo passed through town...

 

Conjunction -- A word that joins words or phrases (i.e. and, but, or).

example: I'll pass on the pork and beans, but I'd love some pizza or ziti.

See for more information:

 

 

Dependent (Subordinate) Clause -- A clause that can not stand alone as a sentence and must be combined with an independent clause.

Independent Clause example: The hobo passed through town unnoticed.
Dependent Clause example: As the hobo passed through town...

See for more information:

 

 

Independent Clause -- A clause that can stand alone as a sentence.

Independent Clause example: The hobo passed through town unnoticed.
Dependent Clause example: As the hobo passed through town...

See for more information:

 

 

Introductory Phrase -- A group of words that cannot stand alone found at the beginning of a sentence.

example: Hoping to improve his writing, he never went to sleep before jotting down a page of random thoughts.

See for more information:

 

 

Nonrestrictive Phrase -- A subordinate clause that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence but adds a relevant detail.

Nonrestrictive Phrase example: I gave a few coins to the street musician, who gave me a smile back.
Restrictive Phrase example: I gave a few coins to the street musician who played the sweetest song.

 

Noun -- A word that represents a person, place, thing, or idea.

example: A noun is a word that represents a person, place, thing, or idea.

 

Parallel Construction -- A sentence construction where equal parts are expressed using similar grammatical forms. Each part of speech in each idea has a counterpart in the next idea.

See for more information:

 

 

Participle -- A verb form used as an adjective.

See for more information:

 

 

Participial Phrase -- A phrase containing a participle and any modifiers.

See for more information:

 

 

Passive Voice -- a sentence style in which the action is performed on the subject. Usually inferior to the active voice unless specifically called for.

Active Voice example: The lightning struck the tree.
Passive Voice example: The tree was struck by lightning.

See for more information:

 

 

Predicate -- The part of a sentence that tells what the subject does or has done to it.

example: I always forget the difference between a verb and a predicate.

 

Pronoun -- A word used as a substitute for a noun (known as the antecedent).

example: The pronoun is a lonely word; it must always be paired with an antecedent.

See for more information:

  • Guide to Grammar and Style Pronoun

 

 

Restrictive Phrase -- A subordinate clause that is essential in specifying something about the thing it modifies.

Nonrestrictive Phrase example: I gave a few coins to the street musician, who gave me a smile back.
Restrictive Phrase example: I gave a few coins to the street musician who played the sweetest song.

 

Semicolon -- a punctuation mark (;) used to separate independent clauses or items in a series.

See for more information:

 

 

Sentence Modifier -- A word or phrase that is not the subject or predicate but adds to the meaning of the sentence.

 

Subject -- The thing in the sentence that is being discussed. Usually a noun or a noun phrase.

example: The butterfly had a short but beautiful existence.

 

Verb -- A word that expresses action or being.

example: A verb is a word that expresses action or being.