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Grammar Review for Police Officer Exam Study Guide (page 3)

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Updated on Jul 5, 2011

Capitalization

You may encounter questions that test your ability to capitalize correctly. Here is a quick review of the most common capitalization rules.

  • Capitalize the first word of a sentence. If the first word is a number, write it as a word.
  • Capitalize the pronoun I.
  • Capitalize the first word of a quotation: I said, "What's the name of your dog?" Do not capitalize the first word of a partial quotation: He called me "the most diligent officer" he had ever seen.
  • Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives. See the table on the next page for more about proper nouns and adjectives.

The following passage contains no capitalized words. Circle those letters that should be capitalized.

when I first saw the black hills on January 2, 2010, i was shocked by their beauty. we had just spent new year's day in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and had headed west toward our home in Denver, Colorado. as we traveled along interstate 90, i could see the black hills rising slightly in the distance. president Calvin Coolidge had called them "a wondrous sight to behold." i understood why. after driving through the badlands and stopping at wall drug in wall, South Dakota, we liked the way the evergreen-covered hills broke the barren monotony of the landscape. my oldest daughter said, "dad, look! there's something that's not all white." we could see why the Lakota regarded the black hills as a holy ground. we saw Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park, the home of the largest herd of buffalo in North America. we also drove the treacherous Spearfish Canyon Road. fortunately, our jeep Cherokee had no trouble with the ice and snow on the winding road.

Check your circled version against the corrected version of the passage that follows.

When I first saw the Black Hills on January 2, 2010, I was shocked by their beauty. We had just spent New Year's Day in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and had headed west toward our home in Denver, Colorado. As we traveled along Interstate 90, I could see the Black Hills rising slightly in the distance. President Calvin Coolidge had called them "a wondrous sight to behold." I understood why. After driving through the Badlands and stopping at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, we liked the way the evergreen covered hills broke the barren monotony of the landscape. My oldest daughter said, "Dad, look! There's something that's not all white. "We could see why the Lakota regarded the Black Hills as a holy ground. We saw Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park, the home of the largest herd of buffalo in North America. We also drove the treacherous Spearfish Canyon Road. Fortunately, our Jeep Cherokee had no trouble with the ice and snow on the winding road.

Practice

Now try these sample questions. Choose the option that is capitalized correctly.

  1.  
    1. This year we will celebrate christmas on Tuesday, December 25 in Manchester, Ohio.
    2. This year we will celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, December 25 in manchester, Ohio.
    3. This year we will celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, December 25 in Manchester, Ohio.
    4. This year we will celebrate christmas on Tuesday, December 25 in manchester, Ohio.
  2.  
    1. Abraham Adams made an appointment with Mayor Burns to discuss the building plans.
    2. Abraham Adams made an appointment with Mayor Burns to discuss the Building Plans.
    3. Abraham Adams made an appointment with mayor Burns to discuss the building plans.
    4. Abraham Adams made an appointment with mayor Burns to discuss the Building Plans.
  3.  
    1. Abigail Dornburg, MD, was named head of the review board for Physicians Mutual.
    2. Abigail Dornburg, MD, was named Head of the Review Board for Physicians Mutual.
    3. Abigail Dornburg, MDWas named head of the review board for Physicians mutual.
    4. Abigail dornburg, MD, was named head of the review board for Physicians Mutual.

Answers

  1. c.
  2. a.
  3. a.

Punctuation

A section on the written exam may test your punctuation skills. Make sure you know how to use periods, commas, and apostrophes correctly.

Periods

Here is a quick review of the rules regarding the use of a period.

  • Use a period at the end of a sentence that is not a question or an exclamation.
  • Use a period after an initial in a name: Millard K. Furham.
  • Use a period after an abbreviation, unless the abbreviation is an acronym.
  • Abbreviations: Mr., Ms., Dr., a.m., General

    Motors Corp., Allied Inc.

    Acronyms: NASA, AIDS, MTV

  • If a sentence ends with an abbreviation, use only one period: We brought food, tents, sleeping bags, etc.

To prepare you for questions involving proper use of a period, look at the pairs of sentences and select the ones that are correct.

  1. General Motors Corp. makes Chevrolet cars.
  2. Mr Darcy reported his Chevrolet stolen.
  1. Jan. 1 falls on a Monday next year.
  2. January. 1 falls on a Monday next year.
  1. Our team is the best!
  2. Our team is the worst!.

You should have selected choice a in all three sets. In the first pair, the abbreviation Mr. requires a period. In the second pair, January does not require a period when it is spelled out rather than abbreviated. In the third pair, there is no need for two forms of punctuation at the end of the sentence.

Commas

Using commas correctly can make the difference between presenting information clearly and distorting the facts. The following chart demonstrates the necessity of commas in written language. How many people are listed in the sentence?

Here is a quick review of the most basic rules regarding the use of commas.

  • Use a comma before and, but, so, or, for, nor, and yet when they separate two groups of words that could be complete sentences.
  • Example: The S.W.A.T. leader laid out the attack plan, and the team executed it to perfection.

  • Use a comma to separate items in a series.
  • Example: The student driver stopped, looked, and listened when she got to the railroad tracks.

  • Use a comma to separate two or more adjectives modifying the same noun.
  • Example: The hot, black, rich coffee tasted great after an hour in below-zero weather. (Notice that there is no comma between rich [an adjective] and coffee [the noun rich describes]).

  • Use a comma after introductory words, phrases, or clauses in a sentence.
  • Examples: Usually, the class begins with a short writing assignment. [introductory word] Racing down the street, the yellow car ran a stoplight. [introductory phrase] After we responded to the call, we returned to our normal patrol. [introductory clause]

  • Use a comma after a name followed by Jr., Sr., or some other abbreviation.
  • Example: The class was inspired by the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Use a comma to separate items in an address.
  • Example: The car stopped at 1433 West G Avenue, Orlando, Florida, 36890.

  • Use a comma to separate a day and a year, as well as after the year.
  • Example: I was born on July 21, 1954, during a thunderstorm.

  • Use a comma after the greeting of a friendly letter and after the closing of any letter.
  • Example: Dear Uncle Jon, Sincerely yours,

  • Use a comma to separate contrasting elements in a sentence.
  • Example: Your essay needs strong arguments, not strong opinions, to convince me.

  • Use commas to set off appositives (words or phrases that explain or identify a noun).
  • Example: My partner, a rookie, is named Ron.

The following passage contains no commas or periods. Add commas and periods as needed.

Dr Newton Brown Jr a renowned chemist has held research positions for OPEC Phillips Petroleum Inc Edward L Smith Chemical Designs and R J Reynolds Co His thorough exhaustive research is recognized in academic circles as well as in the business community as the most well-designed reliable data available Unfortunately on July 6 2000 he retired after a brief but serious illness He lives in a secluded retirement community at 2401 Beach Sarasota Springs Florida

Check your version against the following corrected version.

Dr. Newton Brown, Jr., a renowned chemist, has held research positions for OPEC, Phillips Petroleum Inc., Edward L. Smith Chemical Designs, and R.J.Reynolds Co. His thorough, exhaustive research is recognized in academic circles, as well as in the business community, as the most well-designed, reliable data available. Unfortunately, on July 6, 2000, he retired after a brief but serious illness. He lives in a secluded retirement community at 2401 Beach, Sarasota Springs, Florida.

Look at the pairs of sentences involving proper use of a period, and select the ones that are correct.

  1. Our team works well together, but so does the team from the other stationhouse.
  2. Our team did well on the test yet we were beaten by the team from the other stationhouse.
  1. The crime was reported by John Smith, Jr.
  2. John Smith Jr. reported the crime.
  1. My partner lives at 1234 West Grove Street, New Haven Connecticut.
  2. My partner lives at 1234 West Grove Street, New Haven, Connecticut.

You should have selected choice a in all three sets. In the first pair, the comma was omitted before "yet." In the second pair, the comma was omitted before "Smith." In the third pair, a comma should separate the name of the city from the state in which it is located.

Apostrophes

Apostrophes communicate important information in written language. Here is a quick review of the two most important rules regarding the use of apostrophes.

  • Use an apostrophe to show that letters have been omitted from a word to form a contraction.
  • Examples: do not = don't; national = nat'l; I will = I'll; it is = it's

  • Use an apostrophe to show possession. See the table below for more examples.
  • Examples: Juan's dog; Nikia's house

To get you in the mindset for questions involving proper use of an apostrophe, look at each pair of sentences and select the version that is correct.

  1. Juan's dog chewed its bone.
  2. Juan's dog chewed it's bone.
  1. The men's locker room was always messier than the women's locker room.
  2. The mens' locker rooms were always messier than the women's locker rooms.
  1. Don't fingerprint a prisoner without first safeguarding you're weapon.
  2. Don't fingerprint a prisoner without first safeguarding your weapon.

In the first pair, you should have selected choice a. In choice b, "it's" is not the possessive, but is the contraction "it is." In the second pair, the correct choice is a because there is no need to add an s to the word men, which already indicates plural. Women's should follow the same format as men's. In the third pair, you should have selected choice b because "you're" is not possessive, but is the contraction for "you are."

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