English Skills: Resources

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This video and interactive learning resource, “Writing in English – Comma Splices & Four Easy Ways to Fix Them” – walks students through the basics of comma splice identification and shows strategies for correcting errors.

An interactive lesson on “Identifying Incorrect Sentences” from Wisc-Online in which users learn to identify run-on sentences, comma splices, and sentence fragments.  In-lesson quizzes reinforce material as the lesson progresses.

This resource covers most grammar fundamentals and includes a section on “Avoiding Comma Splices and Fused Sentences.”  Hyperlinks within the page provide additional information about related terms students may also need to know in order to fully comprehend the main lesson.

A number of helpful links from the Grammar Bytes website relating to sentence fragments, including “Understanding Subordinate Conjunctions and Subordinate/Dependent Clauses” and an “Overview of Sentence Fragment Types.”  Students can also complete a set of self-assessment exercises to see how well they have mastered identifying and correcting sentence fragments.

This webpage, “Sentence Fragments,” from Capital Community College begins with an overview of sentence fragments and possible causes of sentence fragments and follows up this material with two interactive quizzes.  The first quiz asks students to correct passages containing sentence fragments and to then compare their corrections to a sample provided by the site.  The second is a multiple choice quiz that asks students to identify fragments and run-on sentences.

The Grammar Bytes site has a number of resources, including a PowerPoint about Subject-Verb Agreement as well as several online exercises and handouts.

See: Grammar Bytes: Subject Verb Agreement

Capital Community College’s site provides an easy-to-read overview of subject-verb agreement. See: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/sv_agr.htm

CCC also hosts three online quizzes:

Quiz One: Fill in the Blank/Sentences: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/cgi-shl/quiz.pl/sv_agr_quiz.htm

Quiz Two: Fill in the Blank/Sentences: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/svagr2.htm

Quiz Three: Fill in the Blank/Essay Excerpt: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/svagr3.html

For a comprehensive overview of Subject-Verb agreement, try this presentation by Candice Chovenec Melzov at University of Houston-Victoria. Requires Flash. See: https://www.uhv.edu/ac/workshops/subjectverb/

Grammar Bytes provides numerous resources for explaining Pronoun-Antecedent agreement, including this page that is clear and easy to scroll down and read:

See: http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/pronounagreement.htm

And several online exercises and handouts (scroll down until you get to Pronoun Reference):

See: http://www.chompchomp.com/exercises.htm

The Online Writing Lab, hosted by The Learning Center at D’Youville College, has two interactive exercises that are easy to use:

See:  http://depts.dyc.edu/learningcenter/owl/exercises/agreement_pa_ex1.htm

The Wisconsin Technical College System website—WISC.COM—hosts two interactive exercises (contains advertisements):

See: http://www.wisc-online.com/Objects/ViewObject.aspx?ID=WCN2401

 An easy-to-follow online exercise can be found at this Pearson/ABLongman site: http://wps.ablongman.com/long_aaron_lbch_6/47/12154/3111494.cw/index.html

The Writing Center at Methodist University has created a handout about misplaced modifiers from a PowerPoint slide show. These slides may be viewed online or projected as well as printed out.

http://www.methodist.edu/writingcenter/handouts/DD%20Workshop%2004%20Dangling%20and%20Misplaced%20Modifiers.pdf

 The concept of misplaced modifiers is often difficult to explain. Richard Nordquist at About.Com has collection of wonderful examples from professional writers that are both entertaining and instructive. They would make a good starting point for discussion of the topic.

http://grammar.about.com/od/mo/g/mismodterm.htm

The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin has provided a list of what they refer to as: “The best misplaced and dangling modifiers of all time”: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CommonErrors_BestMod.html

 Towson University’s Online Writing Support site explains some of the most common errors in terms of misplaced and dangling modifiers. After each section, there is a link to a quiz.

http://www.towson.edu/ows/moduledangling.htm

 This online exercise from the publisher Pearson/Longman asks students to select which sentence in a set of three is correct: http://wps.ablongman.com/long_mcwhorter_pws_1/46/11927/3053445.cw/content/index.html

 And here is a full list of online and print exercises from the Pearson/Longman site:

http://wps.ablongman.com/long_fowler_lbh_10/45/11769/3012964.cw/-/3034352/index.html

 This interactive quiz from  Grammar Bytes provides students with three sample sentences and asks them to choose the one without the error:

 http://www.chompchomp.com/modifiers03/modifiers03.htm

 Richard Nordquist at About.Com  has posted 10 sentences that need to be rewritten. He also provides an answer key. Tip: Print out the exercise and distribute to students and then review Nordquist’s answers in class.

http://grammar.about.com/od/grammarexercises/a/Practice-In-Placing-Modifiers-Where-They-Belong.htm

The Online Writing Lab, hosted by The Learning Center at D’Youville College, has a series of exercises that cover what they refer to as the Six Most Commonly Misunderstood Comma Rules:  http://depts.dyc.edu/learningcenter/owl/comma_placement.htm

Capital Community College’s site provides a paragraph assignment that tests a writer’s knowledge of where to place commas:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/comma_quiz.htm

Finally, this humorous list of comma errors from Rhonda Bracey, at CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd. demonstrates that comma placement is important:

http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/a-light-hearted-look-at-how-punctuation-can-change-meaning/

This entertaining video from Grammar Bytes about apostrophe use can be found at YouTube. Follow this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fE0IBPtbY2o

Another entertaining video—actually an animated short—created by Jay Stewart is also found on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOtMa2JyfXk

 A good overview of 12 apostrophe rules can be found at Jane Straus’s site for her book, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation:

http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/apostro.asp

 The Methodist University’s Writing Center has created a two-page handout that covers basic apostrophe rules:

http://www.methodist.edu/writingcenter/handouts/About%20Apostrophes.pdf

 The University  of Oxford’s Learning Institute can created a two-page handout about apostrophes:

http://www.learning.ox.ac.uk/media/global/wwwadminoxacuk/localsites/oxfordlearninginstitute/documents/pdg/managingyourself/6_grammar_-_apostrophe.pdf

 The Apostrophe Protection Society is a UK group that posts photographs of apostrophe misuse taken by their members and visitors to their site. Very entertaining:

http://www.apostrophe.org.uk/page9.html

 Although this is not an academic site, momcomm provides a colorful overview of the most common apostrophe errors:

http://www.momcomm.com/2012/08/5-apostrophe-mistakes-that-drive-your-readers-batty/

The Writing Kit has posted an interactive slide show that they call a tutorial. It both explains apostrophe use/misuse and also tests viewers on what they have learned:

http://www.writing-kit.com/apostrophes/

 The Learning Center at D’Youville College has created four online exercises (with answers) that ask students to determine which sentence, in a pair of sentences, is punctuated correctly:

http://depts.dyc.edu/learningcenter/owl/exercises/apostrophes_ex1.htm

The Writing Center at the University of Richmond has an extensive list of commonly confused words that includes a definition and a sample sentence for each word:

http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/conford.html

Richard Nordquist at About.com has a printable quiz (with an answer key) that covers the most confused word pairs:

http://grammar.about.com/od/choosingthecorrectword/a/RQcomconfusions.htm

Capital Community College’s site has an extensive section on commonly confused words, including several online quizzes:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/notorious2.htm#quizzes

Composition and Creative Writing instructor Vincent Crampton has created a Zombie-themed video overview of how to be a more concise writer. This is well-produced and entertaining:

http://vimeo.com/65570732

Capital Community College’s website features a comprehensive overview of concise writing and provides tips on how to avoid wordy sentence constructions. Quizzes can be found at the bottom of the page:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/concise.htm

Idaho State University has developed a 2-page handout about avoiding wordy sentence constructions:

http://www.isu.edu/success/writing/handouts/wordiness.pdf

The Writing Center at Wisconsin University compiled a list of one-word replacements for commonly-used wordy phrases:

http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_wordyphrases.html

Purdue’s OWL site has three separate exercises that can be printed out. Exercises 1 and 2 contain wordy sentences while Exercise 3 is an extended passage that requires revision. Answers are also provided. Tip: Print and distribute the handout first and then review the answers online.

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/6/9

Capital Community College has an online exercise that asks students to re-write sentences and compare them against the website’s revisions:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/wordy_quiz.htm

The Australian site, 4 Syllabus, has a nice set of short exercises that can be easily cut-and-pasted into a printable handout. Student revisions can later be compared with the website’s versions:

http://www.4syllables.com.au/resources/web-writing-exercises/cut-unnecessary-words/