Topic Name Description
Course Syllabus Page Course Syllabus
1.1: Recognizing Parallel Structures Page Grammar and Mechanics
Now that we know what a grammar structure is, let's consider parallel sentence structures, or parallelism, and how they influence a sentence. Parallelism refers to using the same grammar structures throughout a sentence. Look at this examples: Parallel: The math teacher needed to include subtraction, multiplication, and division in the third term. Non-parallel: The math teacher needed to include subtracting, multiplication, and dividing in the third term. Can you identify the error? To maintain parallel structure and make a sentence easy to follow, we need to keep words and phrases in the same grammar tense, time, and number. In this example, the parallel structure uses the ending -tion to do this. Read this resource for more examples and a deeper explanation of how parallel structures work.
Page How to Use Parallel Structure in Your Writing

Review this list of recommended strategies to help you improve your grammar.

1.2: Using Modifiers to Describe Book Adjectives and Adverbs

Descriptions add detail to what we read and help the reader "see" what the writer is thinking. In English we use modifiers to do this. When we know how different modifiers are used, we can better understand their meaning and build our vocabulary. This resource shows how adjectives and adverbs are used to modify a word or phrase. An adjective is a word that describes a noun (a person, a place, or a thing). Adjectives give us information about something so we can better understand it. Similar to an adjective, an adverb describes a verb and offers the reader more information about an action. Read this resource to learn how modifiers are used in English.

1.3: Using Structure to Organize Book Modes of Rhetoric

Structure doesn't just stop at a single sentence. We use organizational structures to determine the best ways to fit sentences together in a text. Authors choose a mode, rhetoric, or organization scheme that is most appropriate for their message and place their sentences in that order. By recognizing these modes of rhetoric, we can see how authors may revise a text to make it clear to the reader. Review these examples for ways to organize sentences.

Unit 1 Knowledge Check Page Unit 1 Knowledge Check

In Unit 1, we learned how to identify and use correct grammatical structures. Now, you'll practice recognizing correct and incorrect structures and consider how to make unclear sentences easy for the reader to follow.

2.1: Using Context Clues to Build Vocabulary Page Context Clues

When reading you use clues to help you figure out what is happening. Sometimes, you'll find the meaning of a word hidden in the sentence you're reading. Words and phrases that you already understand can act like clues in a puzzle. Using the clues given to you in a sentence to figure out the meaning of a word or phrase is called using context clues. Watch this video about context clues.

Book Context Clues Activities

Complete these activities to practice identifying the type of context clue by dragging the correct answer to the box below the example.

Page How to Use Context Clues to Define Words

Here is a handout to help you use context clues to define words.

2.2: Which Word is Correct? Page Specialized Terminology

Even when we use context clues, modifiers, and correct tone, it can be difficult to determine the best way to use a specific word. In English, we frequently encounter specialized and figurative language. These words can mean different things depending on how they are used. For example, specialized words used frequently in app development may not be used in marketing. Or the same words may be used but in very different ways. The videos in this section will help you develop strategies for determining appropriate word use.

Page Activity: Specialized Terminology

Watch the video "Specialized Terminology", then complete the terminology chart below to help you master the specialized terminology for this subject.

Page Figurative Language

Specialized terminology, refers to when we use a word or phrase figuratively to imply something that does not match its precise definition.

Page Activity: Figurative Language

Watch the video "Figurative Language", then complete the activity to practice identifying the difference between literal statements and figurative statements.

2.3: Finding Clarity with Tone and Diction Page The Importance of Wording

In addition to making sure we're selecting the correct or most appropriate word or phrase, we also need to make sure it's being used in a way the reader will understand. Tone, diction, and syntax (word order) influence how a reader interprets a text. Consider this example: You recently got a new job and are very excited. You want to send two emails letting people know. The first person you want to tell is your best friend. The second person is your current boss. How would those emails differ? If you write in a very formal tone to your friend, they may think you're not excited about the new job. Even worse, they could think you're upset with them for some reason. Alternately, if you use an informal tone with your boss, they may consider you unprofessional. The message may ultimately be the same, but the tone is very different. Review this advice on using tone, diction, and syntax to create an appropriate message.

Page Reader-Centred Writing

Getting a clear understanding of your audience is important in communicating effectively. It also enables you to imagine your audience as you write and revise. Read about reader-centered writing and try the revision exercises.

Unit 2 Knowledge Check Page Unit 2 Knowledge Check

In Unit 2, we used context clues to build vocabulary and considered the best word choices based on tone and diction. Now, you'll practice selecting the correct vocabulary to clarify the text for the reader.

3.1: How to Use Verbs Page Subject-Verb Agreement

When writing a sentence, we want to take care to use the same plural or singular tense and not confuse our readers. This is called "subject-verb agreement". Take this two sentences, for example, the first one uses correct subject-verb agreement, while the second sentence makes an error in number agreement. Can you see the difference?

1. The pants are too small for my brother.
2. The pants is to small for my brother. The noun "pants" is plural, so the verb needs to be plural, too. "Are" is plural, but "is" is singular, so "pants are" is the correct use of the noun and verb together. Read this resources for more information on subject-verb agreement.

Page Verb Tense Shift

Just as verbs need to agree with the sentence's subject, they must also agree with each other. If a sentence talks about the past, all the verbs need to remain in the past tense. Similarly, if the sentence is about the present, all the verbs need to stay in the present tense. When you have two sentences giving information about the same event, keep your verbs from both sentences in the same tense to avoid confusing the reader. Read this page on verb-tense agreement.

Page Unnecessary Tense Shifts

Read this brief explanation of unecessary tense shifts and how to spot them when reading or writing.

3.2: What Do I Do with Pronouns? Page Using Pronouns Correctly

A common error in English grammar is shifting pronouns. Like verbs, pronouns need to agree in number, but they also need to agree with the noun they're replacing (the antecedent). This can be tricky if a sentence has multiple nouns that the pronoun could refer to. Keeping this straight is important for a sentence's clarity. Review this resource, and complete the exercise, to see how pronouns agree with their antecedents.

3.3: Looking for Descriptions Book Adjectives and Adverbs

English language users love to add layers of descriptions. Think about the last time you ate something truly delicious. How many words could you use to describe it that don't use the name of the food at all? You can start simply, with sweet, salty, hot, or cold. But that's not enough, is it? How about delectable, tender, wholesome, flavorful, or pungent? What about describing how you ate it? We could use heartily, greedily, or carefully. We could also mention how it was prepared: freshly, skillfully, or healthily. We could go on and on. Using adjectives and adverbs adds information and interest to a text. Using these words correctly is important for a message to be easy for a reader to understand and visualize. Read these sections on using descriptive words correctly.

3.4: Building Editing Strategies Page Editing Grammatical Errors
Now that we understand a variety of grammatical structures, let's practice how to identify and correct errors. By revising a text to make its language use more accurate, we improve its clarity and efficacy. Read this resource and complete the exercises to practice recognizing and editing grammatical errors.
Unit 3 Knowledge Check Page Unit 3 Knowledge Check

Unit 3 reviewed the best ways to use descriptive words and pronouns. We also had an opportunity to practice editing strategies to help find and correct errors in language use. Now, you'll read a short passage and then find and correct its grammar errors.

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