Glossary -- 11 Rules of Writing

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:

  • 11 Rules of Writing Rule 10
  • Guide to Grammar and Style Passive vs. Active Voice


    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:

  • 11 Rules of Writing Rule 7
  • Guide to Grammar and Style Agreement


    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:

  • Guide to Grammar and Style Apostrophe


    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:

  • Guide to Grammar and Style Conjunctions


    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:

  • Guide to Grammar and Style Dependent vs. Independent Clauses


    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:

  • Guide to Grammar and Style Dependent vs. Independent Clauses


    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:

  • 11 Rules of Writing Rule 4


    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:

  • 11 Rules of Writing Rule 9


    Participle -- A verb form used as an adjective.

    See for more information:

  • 11 Rules of Writing Rule 8


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

    See for more information:

  • 11 Rules of Writing Rule 8


    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:

  • 11 Rules of Writing Rule 10
  • Guide to Grammar and Style Passive vs. Active Voice


    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:

  • Guide to Grammar and Style Semicolon


    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.










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