Pronouns, Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjections Help (page 3)
Pronouns are small words that give people big problems. Pronouns cause some of the most common errors in English. Look back to the earlier Common Errors section for more examples:
- Me and Tad wait impatiently for summer.
From what you've learned, you know that this sentence contains a plural subject: Me and Tad. Wait is the plural verb. What's wrong with the sentence? The pronoun me is wrong. Remember that the function of the pronoun in the sentence dictates the form you choose. In this incorrect sentence, me is used as a part of the plural subject, but it is not a subject pronoun. How can you know that? Look at the following chart, which will solve most of your pronoun problems.
|Subject Pronouns||Object Pronouns Receive the Action||Ownership Pronouns|
Now go back to the incorrect sentence. Remember that function is key!
- Me and Tad wait impatiently for summer.
What is the subject? It is Me and Tad. Look for the pronoun me in the previous chart. It is in the column titled Object Pronouns Receive the Action. Does the pronoun me receive the action of the verb wait? No, it's trying to act as the subject of wait (as Tad is). Object pronouns cannot do that. Correction: Tad and I wait impatiently for summer. Also, remember to mention yourself second.
Pronouns Practice and Answers
Correct the pronoun errors in each of the following sentences.
- Me and my friends meet one night a month for dinner.
- Him and me are best friends.
- My boss gave he and I the same raise.
- Send the letter to he by express mail.
- That gift is from Alex and I.
1. My friends and I… 2. He and I… 3. …gave him and me… 4. …to him… 5. …from Alex and me.
As incredible as it may seem, there is much more to learn about the correct use of pronouns, so you will find more instruction and practice in a later chapter. However, this section serves as an excellent introduction to what is to come.
Prepositions link, or relate, nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.
Common prepositions include:
- Now take a look at some examples:
- The child held the toy over her head.
The preposition over introduces the phrase over her head. Head is the object of the preposition. You can see that the phrase over her head tells where the child held the toy, so it acts as an adverb that describes the verb held.
- The officers in the boardroom prepared for a long meeting.
The preposition in introduces the phrase in the boardroom. The phrase describes which officers are being talked about. The word officers is a noun. What part of speech describes a noun? An adjective does, and therefore this prepositional phrase acts as an adjective, describing a noun.
- We met in the boardroom.
The preposition in introduces the phrase in the boardroom. In the boardroom describes where we met. The prepositional phrase acts as an adverb, describing met.
- We found termites under the porch.
The preposition under introduces the phrase under the porch. What does this prepositional phrase tell you? It tells you where the termites were found. The prepositional phrase describes the verb found; thus it acts as an adverb.
Prepositions Practice and Answers
Find the prepositional phrase in each of the following sentences. Tell which word the prepositional phrase describes. The first one is done for you.
- A new bank opened in town.
- Don't position all the furniture against the walls.
- One bottle inside the carton was smashed.
- Please place the key between the doors.
- I opened the car door and left my coffee cup on top.
- Please tell me more about Larry.
- I'm teaching a class in the adult school.
- We heard children laugh at the park.
- The new program on TV has a huge audience.
- The logs in the fireplace burned brightly.
1. in town/opened 2. against the walls/position 3. inside the carton/bottle 4. between the doors/place 5. on top/left 6. about Larry/tell 7. in the adult school/class 8. at the park/laugh 9. on TV/program 10. in the fireplace/logs
In the following sentences, first find the subject (it is not in the prepositional phrase); then decide if it is singular or plural. Does the verb match the subject in number? If not, correct the verb. The first sentence is done for you.
- The bottles inside the carton is all broken. The word bottles is the subject and it is plural. The verb is is a singular verb. Change the singular is to its plural form, are.
- The newspaper between the doors are old.
- The paint cans against the walls was left open.
- My friend, among all my classmates, are the smartest.
- The most exciting movies in the list is adventure movies.
1. bottles are 2. newspaper is 3. cans were 4. friend is 5. movies are
The word conjunction means "to join with," and that is exactly what this part of speech does. Common conjunctions and, or, and but join or coordinate our thoughts. They connect words to other words:
- Lise and Gregor came to America a few years ago.
The two parts of the subject, that is, Lise and Gregor, are connected by and.
- Which words are connected in the following sentences?
- I couldn't decide whether I should read a book or clean the house.
The phrases read a book and clean the house are connected by or.
- Dave had always been short, but he finally grew as a teenager.
The clauses before and after the comma are connected by but.
For, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so all coordinate words, phrases, and clauses. You can use the acronym FANBOYS to remember these conjunctions. Because of their function, they are called coordinating conjunctions.
There is another way of connecting equal parts of a sentence: using correlative conjunctions. The difference between correlative and coordinating conjunctions is that correlative conjunctions come in pairs that relate to one another. Examples are either/or, neither/nor, both/and, not only/but also:
- Either I will pass the test, or I won't be driving.
- The rain ruined not only the flowers, but also the grass.
Finally, subordinating conjunctions function to connect or link dependent and independent clauses. You can identify the independent clause by finding the part of each sentence that can stand alone. For example:
- Until I leave, I'll be in charge. (independent clause: I'll be in charge)
- When you call me, I'll put dinner in the oven. (independent clause: I'll put dinner in the oven)
- Zeke died a lonely man because he never tried to make friends. (independent clause: Zeke died a lonely man)
In the preceding sentences, the subordinating conjunctions are until, when, and because. Here is a more complete list of subordinating conjunctions:
- as if
- as long as
- but that
- even if
- except that
- ever since
- if only
- in case
- just as
A later section will show how important it is to coordinate or subordinate thoughts with the use of conjunctions, since they add interest, meaning, and contrast to writing.
Conjunctions Practice and Answers
In each of the following sentences, circle the conjunctions and decide what kind it is—coordinating, correlative, or subordinating.
- Abby and Michael are siblings.
- I had to decide between having a big breakfast or saving room for lunch.
- Karra had always loved sewing, but she didn't take sewing lessons until she was in her thirties.
- Neither the new computer nor the old one is working now.
- Until the clock strikes 5 P.M., we'll work!
- Because it is so hot, we've run the air-conditioning for days.
- Your comment was neither funny nor helpful.
- Our relationship is not only warm, but also encouraging.
- You join the group first, and I will follow.
- Since the candidate addressed our issues, we voted for her.
1. and/coordinating 2. or/coordinating 3. but/coordinating 4. neither, nor/correlative 5. until/subordinating 6. Because/subordinating 7. neither, nor/correlative 8. not only, but also/correlative 9. and/coordinating 10. Since/subordinating
Interjections and Articles
We emphasize and exclaim with interjections: Wow! Whew! Oh no! Hey! Great! There's nothing much more to say about them; there are no rules. Just don't use them too much.
Articles a, an, and the point to nouns:
- The movie starts at 8 P.M. (The points to the noun movie.)
- A fruit drink may or may not be good for your diet. (A points to the noun drink.)
- An old friend came by to visit. (An points to the noun friend.)
Articles are considered either definite or indefinite. In the first example sentence, the article the points to a specific movie, that is, the one at 8 P.M. In this case, the is a definite article. On the other hand, a fruit drink may be any you can think of, not definite but indefinite. The same is true of an old friend; an does not point out Harry, Lois, or Gabe, but any friend. An acts as an indefinite article.
We often think of articles functioning as adjectives because they do what adjectives do—describe the nouns they introduce.
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