Chapter 9： Correcting Problems with Modifiers
Adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases are all part of a group of words, clauses, and phrases that are modifiers. Modifiers describe nouns, pronouns, and verbs in a sentence. Modifiers help to make your writing vivid, clear, and specific.
The problems with modifiers are created when the modifier either has nothing to describe in a sentence or it has been placed in the wrong spot in the sentence so it describes the wrong element in the sentence. Misplaced or dangling modifiers can create confusing and often unintentionally funny sentences.
The best way to avoid the problem of dangling or misplaced modifiers is to be sure that the modifier is placed next to what it describes in a sentence. This is fairly simple with single word modifiers. Working with phrases and clauses that modify requires paying very close attention to what is being described by the phrase or clause so that you can be certain that placement in the sentence is correct.
Chapter 12： Verbs： Consistency and Voice
Once you have decided whether to write in the present tense or the past tense, you must remain consistent. You cannot shift tenses in the middle of a sentence or the middle of a paragraph unless there is a reason within the context of the writing to make a change in time. In other words, you can't go from the past to the present and back to the past if all the events you are describing occurred in the past. You must remember when you are editing to check the tenses to be sure that you have been consistent with the choices you've made. Correcting shifts is easy. Simply choose one of the tenses and make everything with in the sentence that tense.
Voice describes the subject of the sentence. When the subject of the sentence does the action of the sentence, it is considered active. When the subject of the sentence does not do the action with in the sentence, the subject is considered passive. Passive voice is wordier and weaker than active voice so you should avoid using it whenever possible.
Chapter 10： The Four Main Forms
Verbs are one of the essential ingredients in the creation of sentences. Verbs tell the reader when something occurs through the use of tense. Tense is time. Verbs tell the reader whether the action is happening now, in the past, or in the future. Verbs have four main forms and it is these forms used alone or in combination with helping verbs that create the tenses.
The four main forms are the present form, the past form, the present participle, and the past participle.
In addition to having four forms, verbs also come in two types-regular and irregular. Regular verbs use the same pattern to create the main verb forms; irregular verbs do not use the same pattern. Three of the most common verbs in English are irregular verbs and need special consideration. Those verbs are be, have, and do. Good writing requires that the writer have mastery of verbs and the main forms of both regular and irregular verbs.
Chapter 11： More on Verb Tenses
You have already studied in Chapter Ten the four main verb forms. These verb forms are combined with helping verbs to create tenses other than the simple present and simple past tenses. Some tenses describe the continuation of action from the past to the present or the present in to the future. In addition, some tenses describe more than one action being completed in the past, but at different times. These are the progressive and perfect tenses.
The progressive tense is created using a form of the verb be with the present participle of the main verb. The perfect tenses are created by combining a form of the helping verb have with the past participle. It is important not to confuse these tenses with the simple present and simple past tenses. An easy way to separate them is to remember that both the progressive tense and the perfect tenses use helping verbs. Simple tenses do not use a helping verb.
It is important when you work with the past participle to put the -d ending on the participle particularly for the verbs use and suppose. In addition, make certain that you do not substitute the preposition of for the verb have in phrases like could have, would have and should have.
Chapter 8： Using Adjectives and Adverbs
Adjectives and adverbs are the words we use to describe. Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns and adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Without adjectives and adverbs we would not have the ability to distinguish between similar items.
Adjectives generally appear before the word they describe. They can also appear after a being verb like is, are, was, were, am, has been as well as other being verbs like feels, looks, seems, smells, and sounds. When adjectives are used with being verbs they will follow the verb rather than appearing before the noun or pronoun.
Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs answer questions like How? How much? How often? When? Where? and Why? Adverbs can appear either before or after the word they describe.
There are a few adjectives and adverbs that can be confused such as good and well and bad and badly. Good and bad are adjectives; well and badly are adverbs. It is also important not to confuse adjectives when you are making comparisons. When you are comparing two items, you use the comparative form in which the adjective ends with -er as in colder or has the word more in front of it as in more intelligent. The superlative form compares three or more items and uses either -est or the word most to create its form. Adjectives and adverbs are often used in making comparisons because adjectives and adverbs are the tools we use to distinguish one item from another.
Chapter 7： Using Parrallelism In Sentences
Parallelism is achieving balance in sentences. When you present similar points in a sentence, those points should have similar structure. This means that if you have a list of adjectives, that each word you use in the list is an adjective. If you are presenting a series of verbs, the verbs all use the same form and tense. When sentences aren't parallel they are often very awkward and difficult to read. Readers should not be distracted from the meaning of your writing because your sentences aren't understandable.
Parallelism is achieved by finding the list within a sentence and then checking to see what type of structure best suits your meaning. Sometimes a preposition can introduce a list of three objects; at other times, each object will need its own preposition. You make those decisions when you evaluate the sentence you are trying to make parallel.