Introduction to grammar - Dr. Lam`s Current Courses

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Transcript Introduction to grammar - Dr. Lam`s Current Courses

Grammar Review
TECM 4190
Dr. Lam
Grammar importance
• Gives editors the “language” to discuss suggestions
with writers
• Allows editors to rely on objective evidence and not
• Provides editors with authority
Parts of Speech
• Traditional definitions of parts of speech are
• Semantic definitions use word meaning to define
parts of speech
• A noun is a person, place, or thing
• But what happens when this definition breaks down?
• E.g., Running makes you healthy.
• E.g., Running quickly, John barely escaped the vampires.
If not semantic, then what?
• Use structural tests to determine parts of speech!
• To move past semantic categorization, we can
identify parts of speech using syntax and
• Morphology studies word formation (structurally)
• Morpheme=smallest semantic unit in language
• E.g., refund [re + fund]
Can be pluralized and can take a possessive suffix (Derivational
Teacher; Teachers; Teacher’s
Can be formed from verbs and adjectives (Inflectional suffixes)
e.g.; -ment, -tion, -hood;
Expectation; Excitement; Hardship
Can be preceded by a determiner (syntactic distribution)
The teacher; an expectation; the hardship
Can be made past tense (inflection suffixes)
Can follow auxiliaries and modals (syntactic
She walks; She walk-ed
She has been walking
Can be negated with not or un (syntactic distribution)
She did not walk
The latch was left unhooked
Can take comparative/superlative forms
(Inflectional suffixes)
Tall; taller; tallest;
willing; more willing; most willing
Often take the suffix –ly (Derivational
Can’t appear between a determiner and a
noun (syntactic distribution)
The quickly fox
The establishment of regulations will
increase safety.
An emotional response is expected when
hearing news like that.
Hearing is the hardest part.
Sentence Structure
• All sentences must have a subject and a predicate
• Subject=noun or something noun-y
• Predicate=something about the subject but MUST
be a verb
• The computer crashed.
Verbs and Sentence patterns
• Verb determines the relationship between subject
and rest of predicate
• Four types of verbs: Transitive, intransitive, linking,
or to be
Transitive Verbs
• Must contain a direct object (result of the transitive
• Answers “what?” or who?”
• The cyclist has taken performance enhancing drugs.
• John kicked the ball.
Intransitive Verbs
• Does not require a complement, but can take
modifiers (adverbial modifiers, which are often
prepositional phrases)
• Usually can terminate a sentence.
• His computer crashed.
• His computer crashed on Sunday after 5:00pm
(prepositional phrase; adverbial)
• His computer crashed suddenly (adverb; adverbial)
Linking Verbs and to be
• Linking- often verbs of “sense”; require a
complement (subject complement that is either ADJ
or NP)
• John appeared worried.
• The food tasted terrible.
• To be: is, am, are, was, were, etc.
• John is the head of IT.
Function of Modifiers
• Modifiers have a distinct function and a distinct
• Modifiers can modify nouns (adjectival) or verbs
• Function as “adverbial”, “adjectival”, or “direct
Identity of Modifiers
Prepositional phrase – Begins with a preposition (i.e., words that
typically describe time/space)
• John walked on the beach yesterday.
Noun phrase – Any phrase ending in a noun
• Jessica called the doctor.
Participial phrase – Begins with a participal (word formed from a
verb, except for gerunds).
• Joan wanted to leave the car running.
Infinitive – “to” form of a verb
• James went to sleep.
Appositive phrase – phrase that renames an entity
• Jimbo, the president of the fraternity, was a real jerk.
Identify the modifier’s identity (preposition, noun,
participial, etc.) and then identify the phrases function
(adverbial, adjectival, or direct object)
1. The car received its emissions certification.
2. The car, an Acura, arrived from the warehouse.
3. The salesman working on Fridays sold me the car.
4. Technical editing is a class that is offered to juniors
and seniors.
Common Grammatical Errors
Subject-verb agreement
Faulty predication
Dangling modifier
Misplaced modifier
Pronoun-antecedent agreement error
Ambiguous pronoun referent
Pronoun case error
Tense error
Tense sequence error
Misplaced Modifiers: What are
• A modifying word or phrase in the wrong place
• In English, modifiers usually precede the noun they modify
Here are some basic examples
• Billy ate a cold dish of cereal for breakfast.
• Which word is being modified?
• Which word should be modified?
• Only three tacos for $2.89!
• Which word is being modified?
• Which word should be modified?
Do these revisions make more
• Billy ate a dish of cold cereal for breakfast.
• Which noun is being modified?
• Which noun should be modified?
• Three tacos for only $2.89!
• Which noun is being modified?
• Which noun should be modified?
• A misplaced modifier results in two possible meanings or a
meaning the author didn’t intend
• The dog was chasing the boy with the spiked collar.
• The dog with the spiked collar was chasing the boy.
• I almost failed every art class I took.
• I failed almost every art class I took.
Dangling Modifiers
• A modifying phrase that attaches to an NP that
doesn’t appear in the sentence
• Often starts with –ing VP
• Dangling: Running for the bus, my book fell in the
• Fixed: Running for the bus, I slipped and my book fell
in the mud.
Identify the problem as a misplaced or dangling modifier. Fix the problem.
On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin
"Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon, watched by nearly a fifth of the
world's population.
After seeing the benefits of reduced employee turnover, absenteeism, and
lateness, onsite daycare is being provided more frequently as a perk for
working parents.
Cost-efficient and convenient, many of today's corporate employees are
being trained through computer-assisted instruction.
Having submitted the conference registration form after the deadline,
special permission by the chairperson was needed before she could give
her presentation.
Subject-Verb Agreement
• Subjects and verbs must agree in number
• Singular subjects must be paired with singular verb
• The chair of the universities decides on the final
• Plural subjects must be paired with plural verb forms
• The chairs who serve on the committee decide on the
final budget.
Subject-Verb Agreement
Special Considerations
• Collective nouns (can be treated as either singular or
• The committee decides on the budget. (Singular entity)
• The faculty decide on their course schedules.
(Collection of individuals)
• Expletive structures (There is/There are)- Use NP
following the verb
• There are twenty variables in the equation.
• There is a variable in the equation.
Faulty Predication
• Subjects and predicates must work together logically
• Faulty: A book I read believes that there is only one
way to analyze the data.
• Fixed: The author believes…
• Agents can still be non-human though
• The study revealed that…
• The report explains…
Other common causes for
faulty predication
• Misuse of linking verbs or to be
• Faulty: The use of SPSS is the best program for
analyzing quantitative data.
• Fixed: SPSS is the best program for analyzing
quantitative data.
• Pro-forms substitute for whatever phrase they
• Singular pronouns should have singular antecedents
• Every student should complete his or her report by
• Plural pronouns should have plural antecedents.
• All students should complete their reports by Monday.
Identify and fix the error:
1. The players on the basketball team, who are mostly
freshman and sophomores, tries hard to avoid a
early game blowout.
2. The purpose of the book persuades readers to get
involved in community service.