Declaration of Independence Skills and Principles
Spelling of Plural Nouns
1. Add an -s to form the plural of most words. stereo--stereos elephant--elephants
2. For words that end in a "hissing" sound (-s, -z, -x, -ch, -sh), add an -es to form
3. If the word ends in a vowel plus -y (-ay, -ey, -iy, -oy, -uy), add an -s to the word.
4. If the word ends in a consonant plus -y, change the -y into -ie and add an -s to
form the plural. enemy--enemies, baby--babies
Possession of Nouns
Nouns take either an 's or an s' to show possession.
Capitalization of Particular Documents
Since documents with specific names are proper nouns, they are capitalized.
Commonly Confused Words: Lay versus Lie
lie, lying (to tell a falsehood)
I lied to my mother. (past)
I have lied under oath.
lie, lying (to recline)
I lay on the bed because I was tired. (past)
He has lain in the grass.
lay, laying (to put, place)
I laid the baby in her cradle.
We have laid the dishes on the table.
After laying down his weapon, the soldier lay down to
Will you lay out my clothes while I lie down to rest?
Comma in Punctuation of Dates
Put a comma between the day and year in a date.
Numbers at the Beginning of a Sentence
Spell out numbers when they are the first word in a sentence.
Periods after Initials
In names, put a period after initials.
Commonly Misused Words: Doubt with But
When one uses the word doubt, do not follow it with the word but.
Must of, should of, could of
These are incorrect. They are written the way they sound, but they should be
must have (must've), should have (should've) and could have (could've).
Use of Ellipsis in a Quote
If you leave words out of a quotation, use an ellipsis mark to indicate the
omitted words. If this occurs at the end of the sentence, add a period,
creating four periods. Remember that this punctuation goes inside the
ie = believe, field, yield, priest, shield
i before e
cei=receive, receipt, conceited, conceive
except after c
"I" = ei Eileen, height, sleight, stein,
or when sounded as "I" as in
or when sounding like a
"A" = ei weigh, weight, neighbor, sleigh,
as in neighbor and weigh
neither, weird, foreign, leisure "X" = ei either, weirdo, foreigner
seize, forfeit, and height
"X" = ei seizure, forfeiture, protein,
are the common exceptions
Spelling: I before E Rule
but don't let the C-I-E-N
cien = cien!=science, efficient, sufficient,
words get you uptight!
The exclamation point is used after an interjection or at the end of a
sentence showing strong emotion.
Unclear Antecedent/Pronoun Referent
An antecedent is the noun to which a pronoun refers. If the antecedent is uncleardifficult to decide the noun to which the pronoun refers-correct the pronoun by
using a specific noun in its place. If the pronouns you and they are used, make sure
that there is actually an antecedent identifiable in the passage. Be careful not to
use the same preposition twice to refer to two different antecedents. At times, a
sentence can be rewritten to bring the pronoun closer to its antecedent and thus
make the antecedent clear.
Tim asked him if he knew him. To whom do the him's refer?
Tim asked Marcus if he knew Michael.
Punctuation of a Split Quotation
A split quotation is a direct quotation that is interrupted by the tag line (the
phrase identifying the speaker). Punctuate it as you would any direct
quotation, but do not capitalize the word when you resume the quote after
the tag line if it does not begin a new sentence. As with all direct
quotations, put quotation marks only around the words that are being
There are four cases (forms):
Subjective case is for pronouns used as the subject.
(I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who)
The objective case is for pronouns used as objects of verbs or prepositions.
(me, you, him, her, it, us, them, whom)
Possessive case is for pronouns that express ownership.
(my/mine, your/yours, his, her/hers, it/its, our/ours, their/theirs, whose)
Reflexive case is for when you have already used the antecedent in the sentence.
It is NEVER the subject of the sentence.
(myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves)