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TEAS English Study Guide: Language knowledge spellings

In this section of TEAS study guide, we will look at a few concepts you need to understand as part of English language. 

English spelling: Common rules

Consonant-ending words

When adding a suffix to a word, it is common practice to double the preceding consonant. 

Single and multiple syllable words, as well as those ending in a single consonant, follow this rule.

Examples include the following

  • Single syllable: Beg → begging 
  • Single syllable: Shop → shopped 
  • Not adding another constant because it ends in a double: Add → adding  
  • Multiple syllable, on the last syllable is the accent: Deter → deterring 
  • Multiple syllable, on the last syllable is the accent: Regret → regrettable 
  • Accent on the first syllable, no extra t necessary: Compost → composting 

Y or c ending words

If the letter y comes after a vowel, it should be maintained when adding a suffix. 

Before adding a suffix, a y is changed to an i if the word ends in a consonant and y (unless the suffix also begins with i). 

Examples include the following:

  • Keeping the y: Pay → paying 
  • Changing to i: Bully → bullied  
  • Because the -ing is the suffix, the y is kept: Bully→ bullying 

A k is typically appended to the end of a word if the suffix begins with an e, i, or y. 

Examples include the following:

  • Panic  → panicky
  • Mimic  → mimicking

Words including ie/ei or having an e at the end

Unless it comes after a c or sounds like an a, i is usually spelled before e in most words. 

According to these rules, the words below are spelled correctly. 

  • I before e: Believe, friend, piece  
  • Except after c: Conceited, ceiling, receive  
  • Sounds like an a: Neighborhood, weight  

You need to check if the e at the end of a word is silent before you can add a suffix to it. 

If that’s the case and the new suffix begins with a consonant, the e will be maintained.

It will be dropped, however, if the suffix starts with a vowel. 

Examples include the following:

  • Keep the e: Age → ageless  
  • E falls away: Age → aging 

The e is kept, however, in some exceptions, for example, when the suffixes -able or -ous are added to a word that ends in -ce or -ge.

Examples include the following:

• Courage  →  courageous

• Notice  →  noticeable

Words that conclude with  -ise or -ize

Only a few words in the English language end in -ise.

Most use -ize, which sounds the same.  

Here are some examples, however, of those that end in -ise.

  • Comprise, arise, circumcise, chastise, advise, advertise, demise, despise, excise, franchise, incise, premise, reprise, surprise, and televise

Examples of some words that end in -ize are:

  • Capitalize, privatize, visualize, ostracize, organize, idolize, legalize, and mobilize.  

Keep in mind that the American spelling -ize is more common than the British one for some words, for example, baptize (US) and baptise (UK).

Words that conclude with -ceed, -sede, or -cede

Except for exceed, proceed, and succeed, there are no other English words that end in -ceed. 

The only word in English with the suffix -sede is supersede. 

The suffix -cede is used at the end of many words that sound like -sede or -ceed. 

Examples include the following:

  • Precede, concede, recede, 

Words that conclude with -able or -ible

Nothing is set in stone when it comes to words that end in -able or -ible. 

Some examples include the following:

  • Likable, unbeatable, sensible, credible, feasible, and edible

If you need to make an educated guess, you may find it helpful to know that there are more words ending in -able than in -ible.

Words concluding in -ance or -ence

Here are some examples of when you might use the -ence, -ency, or -ent suffixes:

  • The letter c precedes the suffix and sounds like s – innocence
  • The letter g proceeds the suffix and sounds like j – intelligence, negligence

The suffixes -ance, -ancy, and -ant are typically used when:

  • The letter c precedes the suffix and sounds like k – significant, vacant
  • The letter g, with a hard sound, precedes the suffix  – elegant, extravagance

No hard and fast rules exist for when the suffix comes before other letters. 

Examples include the following: 

  • Using the letter a: Finance, abundance, and assistance  
  • Using the letter e: Decadence, competence, and excellence

Words concluding in -tion, -sion, or -cian

The sounds of shun or zhun can be heard in words that end in -tion, -sion, or -cian and no clear-cut rules are in play with these words.

Examples of some of them include:

  • Motion, expression, optician, musician, electri, nations, and action.

Ai or ia combination in words

The vowels in ia are pronounced separately, as in guardian, while in ai they blend together, as in Britain. 

Examples include:

  • Where ai makes one sound: Faint, hair, praise, and captain 
  • Where ia makes two sounds: Diamond, nuptial, humiliation, and bacteria 

Plural form rules

-ch, -sh, -s, -x, or -z ending nouns

To form the plural form of a noun that ends in the letters ch, sh, s, x, or z, an -es is added to the end of the word rather than the singular s. 

Examples include:

  • Church → churches
  • Bush → bushes
  • Bass → basses
  • Mix → mixes
  • Buzz → buzzes

Proper names follow the same pattern, so the Grosses would be used for the Gross family.

Nouns concluding in y or ay/ey/iy/oy/uy

Adding an -ies at the end of a noun that normally ends in a consonant and y is how you get the plural form. 

For example:

  • Fly → flies

Adding an -s at the end of a noun that normally ends in a vowel and y is how you get the plural form. 

For example:

  • Alley → alleys

Nouns concluding in -f or -fe

By replacing the f with a v and the addition of es, you can pluralize most nouns ending in -fe or -for.  

The following are examples:

  • Knife → knives
  • Self → selves
  • Wolf → wolves

Roof becoming roofs, however, is an exception to this rule. 

Nouns concluding in o

You can add -es to ost nouns ending with a consonant and o to pluralize them. 

Here are some examples:

  • Hero → heroes
  • Tornado → tornadoes
  • Potato → potatoes

You can add an s to most nouns ending with a vowel to pluralize them.

Here are some examples:

  • Portfolio → portfolios
  • Radio → radios 
  • Cameo→ cameos.

However, musical terms ending in o are an exception to this rule. 

Even if they end in a constant and o, s will be added to pluralize them.

Here are some examples:

  • Soprano → sopranos
  • Banjo → banjos
  • Piano → pianos.

Numbers, symbols and letters

By adding an apostrophe and an s, you can pluralize numbers and letters. 

Here are some examples. 

  • Those whose surnames begin with the letter K are known as the K’s.
  • It was into teams of 4’s that the boy scouts were broken down into

Compound nouns

Nouns composed of two or more words, often denoted by hyphens, are called compound nouns. 

Sister-in-law is an example of a compound noun. 

It’s to the noun portion of the word that you would add an s to make them plural; for example, sister-in-law becomes sisters-in-law. 


There are some words that have no obvious pattern for changing the singular to the plural. 

It’s possible to make a few words plural by altering the vowels within them. 

For example:

  • Woman → women
  • Goose → geese
  • Foot → feet

The plural form of some words differs notably from the singular. 

Here are some examples:

• Mouse → mice

• Ox → oxen

• Person → people

There are some words that have no difference between their singular and plural forms. 

Here are some examples:

  • Salmon
  • Deer
  • Moose  

Words that are commonly misspelled

Here are a range of words that are commonly misspelled.

  • Accidentally, accommodate, accompanied, accompany, achieved, acknowledgment, across, address, aggravate, aisle, ancient, anxiety, apparently, appearance, arctic, argument, arrangement, attendance, auxiliary, awkward 
  • Bachelor, barbarian, beggar, beneficiary, biscuit, brilliant, business
  • Cafeteria, calendar, campaign, candidate, ceiling, cemetery, changeable, changing, characteristic, chauffeur, colonel, column, commit, committee, comparative, compel, competent, competition, conceive, congratulations, conqueror, conscious, coolly, correspondent, courtesy, curiosity, cylinder
  • Deceive, deference, deferred, definite, describe, desirable, desperate, develop, diphtheria, disappear, disappoint, disastrous, discipline, discussion, disease, dissatisfied, dissipate, drudgery
  • Ecstasy, efficient, eighth, eligible, embarrass, emphasize, especially, exaggerate, exceed, exhaust, exhilaration, existence, explanation, extraordinary
  • Familiar, fascinate, February, fiery, finally, forehead, foreign, foreigner, foremost, forfeit
  • Ghost, glamorous, government, grammar, grateful, grief, grievous 
  • Handkerchief, harass, height, hoping, hurriedly, hygiene, hypocrisy 
  • Imminent, incidentally, incredible, independent, indigestible, inevitable, innocence, intelligible, intentionally, intercede, interest, irresistible, 
  • Judgment
  • Legitimate, liable, library, likelihood, literature
  • Maintenance, maneuver, manual, mathematics, mattress, miniature, mischievous, misspell, momentous, mortgage 
  • Neither, nickel, niece, ninety, noticeable, notoriety
  • Obedience, obstacle, occasion, occurrence, omitted, operate, optimistic, organization, outrageous
  • Pageant, pamphlet, parallel, parliament, permissible, perseverance, persuade, physically, physician, possess, possibly, practically, prairie, preceding, prejudice, prevalent, professor, pronouncement, pronunciation, propeller, protein, psychiatrist, psychology
  • Quantity, questionnaire
  • Rally, recede, receive, recognize, recommend, referral, referred, relieve, religious, resistance, restaurant, rhetoric, rhythm, ridiculous
  • Sacrilegious, salary, scarcely, schedule, secretary, sentinel, separate, severely, sheriff, shriek, similar, soliloquy, sophomore, species, strenuous, studying, suffrage, supersede, suppress, surprise, symmetry
  • Temperament, temperature, tendency, tournament, tragedy, transferred, truly, twelfth, tyranny
  • Unanimous, unpleasant
  • Vacuum, valuable, vein, vengeance, vigilance, villain
  • Wednesday, weird, wholly

Words that are commonly confused

Who, which, and that

Relative pronouns such as which, that, and who are used to add context or clarify a noun.

It’s only for things that which is used.

Here’s an example: 

  •  Bob’s bike, which has been giving him endless trouble, stopped running last week.

It’s only for people or things that the word that is used. 

When used to describe people, it is used in an informal manner.

Here’s an example:

  • Is that the new Santana song?  


  • Is Linda Perry the songwriter that wrote Katie Perry’s biggest song?

It’s for animals that have a name, as well as people that we use who.

Here are some examples:

  • Sting was the composer who wrote the Police’s biggest hits.
  • Celine’s parrot, who is called Bingo, talks a lot. 


Words with the same or similar sound but different spellings and meanings are called homophones.

Let’s start with to, too, and two.

It’s as an adverb or preposition that to can be used.

It can show relationships, purpose, or direction. 

Here are some examples:

  • I went to the boat show
  • I want to go to the boat show with you

Too can mean more than enough, very, or as well, and it is an adverb.

Here are some examples:

  • I can ride a bike too
  • I have drunk too much cola

Two is a number.

Here’s an example, of how it is used:

  • I drank two cola tins

We move onto there, their, and they’re, which people often get wrong, and they can operate as pronouns, adverbs, or adjectives.

In many cases, they are used to start a sentence off, but they can also be used to show a place.

Here are some examples:

  • I sat there yesterday
  • There is something in his backpack

Used to show ownership, their is a pronoun. 

Here is an example:

  • She is their older sister, they can leave with her

They are is the shortened form of they are. 

Here is an example:

  • Did you know they’re going to the Katie Perry concert without us?

Then there is knew and new.

The past tense of know is knew.

For example:

  • I knew their sister

If something is described as new, it is either recently introduced or never before used.

For example:

  • I have the new Katy Perry CD.

Then and than are terms we must also discuss. 

Then is a sequence-indicating adverb,

For example:

  • I am stopping at the store on the way home from work, then getting the tickets for the Katie Perry concert.  

It’s only for comparisons that the word than is used.

For example:

  • Gena likes Katie Perry better than Madonna.

Two other words that people often get wrong are its and it’s.

A pronoun that shows ownership = its.

For example:

  • The dog is in its bed

It’s is a shortened form of it’s.

For example:

  • It’s an honor to be Katie Perry’s biggest fan

Then we have your and you’re.

Ownership is shown through the pronoun your.

For example:

  • This is your Katie Perry concert ticket

You’re is a shortened version of you are.

For example:

  • You’re wrong! The Katie Perry concert is on Friday, not Saturday. 

Last in this section are affect and effect.

It’s easy to confuse these two because their meanings are pretty similar, and they can be used as both verbs and adverbs.  

Here’s how they are used.

Affect as a noun: a displayed mood, a feeling, or an emotion

Here’s an example:

  • While I expected her to be crying, she had a flat effect after her Katie Perry ticket was stolen (she showed no emotion).

Affect as a verb: to change, alter, or influence

For example:

  • I brought her another Katie Perry ticket and that had an affect on her mood, and she started to smile. 

Effect as a noun: a consequence, or a result

For example:

  • Buying another Katie Perry ticket will effect our budget for the month

If a noun form is required, you can feel confident choosing effect as the correct answer.

The noun form of affect is rarely used outside of technical medical descriptions.

Although the verb form of effect is more common than the noun form, you should still not expect to see it very often on the exam. 

Affect is the best option if you need a verb but can’t decide between them based on their definitions.


When two words have different meanings, but share the same spelling, we call them homographs. 

Look for hints in the text’s context to determine the intended meaning of these words. 

Consider the various meanings the word spot can take, for example, a stain, or a spot.

For example:

  • I couldn’t wear my Katie Perry shirt to the concert, there was a big spot of ink on it. 

This indicates the latter meaning of spot, as mentioned above. 

Here are some other homographs to consider.


As a noun: Where you can open an account, lend money, etc. 

As a verb: To collect  


As a noun: What will be addressed at a seminar 

As an adjective: When one feels satisfied or pleased


As a noun: A monetary penalty for some offense

As an adjective: Small, petite, thin


As a noun: Makes a pleasant smell when burned (usually for religious reasons)

As a verb: To make someone angry or to frustrate them


As a noun: Highest position, in first place

As a verb: Directing the actions of others


As a noun: Something that can be picked up and looked at but has no life of its own 

As a verb: Disagreeing with something someone says


As a noun: Vegetables and fruits

As a verb: To create or make something


As a noun: Something to be thrown away (garbage)

As a verb: Not allowing something to happen


As a noun: Something to study

As a verb: To subdue or force


As a noun: Comes from our eyes when we cry

As a verb: To pull apart or separate

End Punctuation


Except when using question marks and exclamation points, always use a period at the end of a sentence.

Declarative sentence

A declarative sentence is one that provides facts or makes a claim.

Examples include: 

  • I can drive a car
  • The train left today at 9 a.m.

Imperative sentence

A command or order is given via an imperative sentence.

Examples include:

  • You need to follow me to the teacher’s office 
  • Bring me that laptop

Period placement in abbreviations

Take note of the following:

  • Time: 4 p.m.  
  • Names: Mr. O’Grady, Bob Jr.
  • Places:  Washington Ave.

 An abbreviation is a term for a shortened version of a longer term.

Question marks

Following a direct question with a question mark is the proper format for their use.  

The question mark is unnecessary after a polite request, and here, a period can be used. 

Here are examples of both a direct question and a polite request.

  • Direct Question: What is for breakfast this morning?  
  • Polite Requests: Will you please drive me to the shop.

Exclamation marks

After a string of words or a sentence that conveys strong emotion or emphasizes a particular point, an exclamation mark is appropriate. 

Do not overuse exclamation marks, however, as only appropriate exclamatory interjections warrant their use.

Here are some examples of where exclamation marks are warranted.

  • We won!
  • That’s incredible! 
  • That’s a beautiful ring!


Understanding the relationships between words and phrases is facilitated by the comma, but you won’t need one in every sentence. 

When using commas, make sure that you put them in the correct position in the sentence, as if you don’t or fail to use one where you should, what you are trying to convey may not be clear to the reader.  

Some of the rules that apply to comma use are as follows:

  • Prior to a coordinating conjunction connecting independent clauses:  Mark dug up four clams, and I dug up two clams.
  • Following an introductory phrase: After the band played their last song, we went to the bar for a drink.
  • Following an adverbial clause: Studying the corals, I was awed by the beauty of sea life.
  • Separating a series of items: I will bring the cool drink, the glasses, and the champagne.
  • When interjects are used: Wow, you are an amazing guitar player.
  • Following yes and no responses: Yes, I’d love to be there.
  • Between nonessential modifiers: Bob Malone, who plays bass, was promoted to band leader.
  • To set apart nonessential appositives: Richard Bong, an American fighter pilot, was born in Wisconsin.
  • To set apart nouns of direct address: You, Bob, are the only person that can fix this television.
  • To set apart interrogative tags: This is the last bus, correct?
  • To set apart contrasts: You are my sunshine, not my darkness.
  • When writing dates: August 15, 1995, is when Japan formally surrendered and World War II was over.
  • When writing addresses: My house is at 45 Washington Avenue, New York.
  • When writing geographical names: London, England, is a city I’d love to visit.
  • When writing titles: Mandy Mercer, Ph.D., is my new lecturer.
  • To set apart expressions like he/she said: “You can begin,” he said, “by greeting me properly.”

Coordination adjectives that aren’t joined and can be separated by commas. 

Not every adjective is coordinate, however; for example, parallel or equal.

Look at these examples to understand better:

  • Incorrect: My small, black cat followed me to work.
  • Correct:  My small, loyal cat followed me to work.

You can easily check if your adjectives are coordinated in two ways. 

Firstly, you can use and to join the adjective phrases.

Secondly, the order of the adjectives can be changed.  


When two clauses or phrases are of roughly equal importance, the semicolon is used to join them. 

Here are some rules for using semicolons.

  • When a coordinating conjunction does not connect closely connected independent clauses, use a semicolon between them: You are correct; we should go with your idea then.
  • When a transitional world links independent clauses, use a semicolon between them: I think we can disagree on this; however, I am not sure about my family
  • When a series of items have internal punctuation, break them up with a semicolon:  I have traveled to London, England; Paris, France; and Berlin, Germany.


The purpose of the colon is to emphasize the text that comes after it. 

Following a fully independent clause, you must use a colon. 

Colon use includes the following rules:

  • Following an independent clause, use a colon when making a list: I want to learn to cook many different cuisines: Italian, Thai, Japanese, and Spanish.
  • Explanations: There is one thing that stands out about you: character.
  • When giving a quote: The preacher started his sermon: “God is love”.  
  • In a formal letter, after a greeting: To whom it may concern: 
  • Showing time (hours and minutes): The time is  1:15 p.m.
  • To set apart a title and subtitle: This book is called “Reach for the Sky: The story of a legless fighter pilot.”


Extra details are included in parentheses. 

You can use them to label a sequence of letters or numbers, too. 

Don’t overuse them, as they can add confusion if you do.  

Here are ways in which parentheses are used:

  • Providing further information: The Great White Shark (see Appendix A) is a dangerous predator found in waters all over the world.
  • Series: Include in the email (1) your name, (2) your address, and (3) your question for the author.

Quotation Marks

Direct quotes from a person’s speech or writing should be enclosed in quotation marks. 

Do not enclose indirect quotations in quotation marks. 

With an indirect quotation, you convey the speaker’s meaning without directly quoting them. 

When ending a quote within a quote, use single quotation marks.

Here are some examples of direct, indirect, and quotes within quotes:

  • Direct quote: Bob said, “I am driving to Harry’s apartment.”
  • Indirect Quote: Henry said that he would be early for lunch and would meet us in the bar.
  • Quote inside a quote: The preacher asked, “Have you all read ‘Psalm 23’?”

It’s standard practice to enclose the titles of shorter works in quotation marks: 

This includes websites, subdivisions of books, TV episodes, poems, short stories, magazine and newspaper articles, etc.  

Here are some examples:

  • “Andy and the Enchanted Apple” (short story by Frank Craig)
  • “Ode to a Grecian Urn” (poem by John Keats)

It is not common practice, but quotation marks can be used to draw attention to irony or to show that a word is being used in a non-standard way. 

Avoid or minimize the frequency of such usage, however.

Here are some examples:

  • The manager cautioned Wayne that he was treading dangerous ground. There is no dangerous ground in the office, but the manager is telling Wayne that he needs to start improving his performance.   
  • Mom thanked Sally for being “on time.” Sally wasn’t really on time, she was late and Mom was making a point about it. 

Only full stops and commas go inside quotation marks; colons and semicolons go outside.  

When a question or exclamation mark is included in a quote, it goes inside the quotation marks.  

If the question or exclamation mark fits in with the context of the entire sentence, it should not be enclosed in quotation marks.

Examples include:

  • Period and comma: We practiced “Blue suede shoes,” “Rock around the Clock,” and “Splish Splash.”
  • Semicolon: They sang “Hopelessly devoted to you”; then, they went for a 10-minute break.
  • Exclamation mark – part of a quote: The crowd shouted, “Hallelujah!”
  • A question mark accompanying the entire phrase: Is your favorite book “The Lord of the Rings”?


There are two ways that apostrophes work.

First, they can indicate possession. 

Second, in contractions, they show the deletion of letters.  

With possessive pronouns, however, you won’t need to use an apostrophe.

These include: his, hers, its, ours, theirs, whose, and yours.

Here are examples of how you would use an apostrophe in singular nouns, plural nouns (with -s), and plural nouns (without -s). 

  • Singular nouns: Mike’s bike. A poem’s core idea. My sister’s puzzle  
  • Plural nouns with -s: The scissors’ blade. Girls’ soccer ball 
  • Plural nouns without -s: Women’s deodorant. The people’s library


Compound words are separated by hyphens. 

Here are examples of when you can make use of hyphens:

  • 21 to 99 (compound numbers) need to be written out in words: He needs twenty-five more home runs to beat the college record.   
  • When it’s as an adjective that written-out fractions are used: We are three-quarters of the way there.
  • When it’s before a noun that compound adjectives are placed: The poorly-fed cat was on the prowl for food.
  • When it’s hard to read unusual compound words or they can be mixed up with other words. You need an anti-inflammatory cream.

There are other rules for hyphens that we won’t cover here, but you can find them in a dictionary, for example. 


In addition to serving as an alternative to parentheses, dashes can indicate a pause or shift in the logic of a sentence. 

To create a dash in written text, use two hyphens with no space either before or after them. 

Dashes have the following functions:

  • Use internal punctuation to separate a parenthetical remark or an appositive: The four flowers–daffodil, rose, tulip, and orchid–are all growing so well. 
  • Indicating a shift in tone or thought 

Ellipsis Marks

When omitting text from a quotation, use the ellipsis mark, which consists of three periods (…). 

Use four periods to indicate the omitted text and the end punctuation mark if a complete sentence or more is taken out of the quoted passage. 

No ellipsis should be used before a quotation mark. 

You shouldn’t put an ellipsis at the end of a quote unless the last word or two of the last sentence are cut.

Here is an example:

  • “Then he picked up his car at the garage…paid the bill…later he went to the bar.”


When you use brackets, you’re doing so for two main reasons.

  • The use of parentheses within parentheses: The pilot in question, Douglas Bader (who lost his legs in an aircraft crash  [see Appendix  C]), was captured by the Germans in 1941.
  • Imparting information to a quotation that is not present in the original: The grandfather explained, “My grandchild is attending the same school as I did [Red Hill High].”


English Language Grammar knowledge

Parts of Speech

There are eight different parts of speech, so let’s jump straight into them. 


A noun is any name given to a specific person, location, thing, or idea, and they can be broken down into two main types: common nouns and proper nouns. 

Nouns can also be concrete or specific, or more general and abstract. 

Let’s look first at common nouns

Common nouns, which refer to people, places, and things without any special significance, are not typically capitalized. 

Here are some common noun examples:

  • People: chef, teacher, worker, lady, man
  • Places: university, fast food restaurant, bank
  • Things: tree, motorcycle, bench

 Let’s move on to proper nouns

Proper nouns are always capitalized as they name specific subjects.

These can be places, people, or things, for example.  

Here are some examples of proper nouns:

  • People: George Bush, Katie Perry, Donald Trump
  • Places: Africa, London, The New York Opera House
  • Things: Pluto, The Great Barrier Reef, The Liberty Bell

If you are referring to our plant, you will always use a capital E, but if you are referring to earth, as in the ground made up of sand or rocks, for example, no capital is necessary. 

What about general and specific nouns?

Conditions, or idea names, are what general nouns are used for, while it’s people, places, and things our senses take in that specific nouns deal with. 

General noun examples include:

  • Condition: weak, ugly
  • Idea: lies, peace

Specific noun examples include:

  • People: mother, child, enemy
  • Places: skate park, library, town
  • Things: chocolate cake, hail, sneeze

Next, we have collective nouns.

A group of people, places, or things acting together fall under the banner of collective nouns.

Here are some examples:

  • Public
  • Team
  • Group
  • Dozen
  • Flock
  • Committee

Articles are typically used with collective nouns to indicate that they refer to a single entity, so a football team is a group of football players. 

A football team consists of numerous different individuals, but for grammatical purposes, they are all considered to be one large group. 

A collective noun ceases to be such when it is used to describe individual members of the group rather than the group as a whole.

Here are some examples of that:

  • The football team are going to compete nationally this year: Wrong
  • Correct: The football team is going to compete nationally this year: Right
  • The members of the football team is competing nationally this year: Wrong
  • The members of the football team are competing nationally this year.: Right


Pronouns are a type of word that can replace a noun in a sentence. 

They can be reciprocal, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative, personal, intensive, and relative.

Personal: Nouns and pronouns used as subjects in a sentence are cased as nominative.

Any noun or pronoun functioning as the sentence’s object is objective.

Nouns and pronouns that indicate possession or ownership are possessive.

First, let’s look at this in the singular.

  • First person: I (nominative). Me (objective), My, mine (possessive)
  • Second person: You (nominative). You (objective). You, yours (possessive)
  • Third person: He, she, it (nominative). Him, her, it (objective). My, mine (possessive)

Now let’s look at it in the plural.

  • First person: We (nominative). Us (objective), Our, ours (possessive)
  • Second person: You (nominative). You (objective). You, yours (possessive)
  • Third person: They (nominative). Them (objective). Their, theirs (possessive)

Here are some other examples:

  • They themselves, he himself, and I myself are examples of intensive pronouns.
  • Whose, whom, who, and which are examples of relative pronouns.
  • Whose, whom, who, what, and which are examples of interrogative pronouns.
  • Those, these, that, and this are examples of demonstrative pronouns.
  • All, any, each, everyone, either/neither, one, some, and several are examples of indefinite pronouns.
  • Each other and one another are examples of reciprocal pronouns.


A sentence cannot exist without a verb, as this shows the being or action thereof.  

Basically, a verb describes the state of something, the action that has been taken on it, or the state in which it finds itself.

There are two types of verbs: transitive verbs and intransitive verbs. 

When an action (for example, jumping) shows a receiver (for example, dog) of that action, you have a transitive verb.

Intransitive verbs are those that do not specify a direct object of the action. 

Here are examples of both transitive and intransitive verbs.

  • Transitive: He plays the drums. Peter joined the team.
  • Intransitive: He wept. Sharon fell down.

If you are unsure whether a verb is transitive or intransitive, make use of a dictionary, but in some cases, it might be both. 

Let’s move on to action verbs and linking verbs.

Action verbs serve to illustrate a subject’s actions, as their name suggests. 

An action verb can function as a complete sentence on its own, unlike most other word types. 

To connect a subject to another part of speech, such as a noun, pronoun, or an adjective, a linking verb is most effective.

Complete sentences always include a verb, but this is not true for linking verbs, as they cannot be on their own. 

The sentence is not complete if this is the case. 

Linking verbs include the following: taste, sound, smell, seem, look, grow, feel, become, be, and appear.

Here are some more examples:

  • Action: He shouts. Jump! She strums.
  • Linking: Incorrect usage: I am. Correct usage: I am Peter.

Take note that some verbs have what seem like prepositions following them but are actually integral to the meaning of the verb itself; these are called phrasal verbs.

Examples of this verb type include: drop off, look up, and call off. 

Let’s look at voice as well.

Both active and passive voice are possible with transitive verbs.  

You can tell if a verb is active or passive based on whether the subject acts or is acted upon. 

The verb is said to be in active voice when it is the subject of the sentence that is performing the action. 

The verb is said to be in the passive voice when the subject is the one being acted upon.

Here are some examples:

  • Active: Mike flew the plane. (Mike, the subject, is carrying out the action, which is flying the plane.)
  • Passive: The plane was flown by Mike. (The subject, which is the plane, gets the action from Mike.)

Next, we have verb tenses

To indicate when an action took place in terms of time, writers use verb tenses, and the form of the verb can be indicated via present and past tense, for example. 

Present actions, like I sing, can be changed to past actions like I sang. 

Auxiliary or helping verbs are necessary to show form changes in other tenses.   

Examples of auxiliary verbs include will, were, was, had, has, have, is, are, and am. 

Here are some more examples of verb tenses:

  • I sing (present tense). I have sung (present perfect tense).
  • I sang (past tense). I had sung (past perfect tense).
  • I will sing (future tense). I will have sung (future perfect tense)

Let’s look at those various tenses in more detail:

  • It is now at the current time that the action is happening in the present tense: He sings in the shower every morning.
  • It is in the past that the action happened in the past tense: He sang in the shower an hour ago.
  • It is in the future that the action will happen: I will sing in the shower tomorrow. 
  • It is in the past that the action started, but it is currently continuing, or at an unspecified time, it took place previously with the present perfect tense: I have sung in the shower three times today.
  • Two actions took place, with the first coming before the second and the second occurring in the past with the past perfect tense: Before I sang in the shower (action 2), I had a cup of coffee (action 1). 
  • Both the past and future are used by the action in the future perfect tense, so before a moment in the future, the action has already ended: When she comes to pick me up, I would have already showered.  

Next is conjugating verbs

You are conjugating a verb when you need to change its form. 

Singular, present tense (sing); singular, past tense (sang), and past principle (sung) are a verb’s key forms. 

In order to form a tense, the past participle requires a helping verb.  

Here are some of the different ways in which you can conjugate a verb:

We start with the singular.

  • Present tense: I sing (first person). You sing (second person). He, she, it sings (third person)
  • Past tense: I sang (first person). You sang (second person). He, she, it sang (third person)
  • Past principle: I have sung (first person). You sing (second person). He, she, it sings (third person)

Next, the plural.

  • Present tense: We sing (first person). You sing (second person). They sing (third person).
  • Past tense: We sang (first person). You sang (second person). He, she, it sang (third person).
  • Past principle: We have sung (first person). You have sung (second person). They have sung (third person).


Nouns and pronouns are modified by an adjective, and it will mostly answer a question.

These questions can include:

  • How many?
  • What kinds?
  • Which one?

While they might come after the linking verb in the sentence, more often than not, it’s before the word that they modify that an adjective will appear. 

Here are some examples from the adjectives above:

  • The third song is my favorite. (Which one?)
  • This shoe is red. (What kind?)
  • I am going to buy two handkerchiefs to match my socks. (How many?)

While talking about adjectives, we must mention articles.

Nouns can be either definite or indefinite, and articles serve as adjective identifiers for these categories. 

Definite nouns relate to a specific idea, person, or thing, and the article the precedes them. 

Indefinite nouns do not relate to a specific idea, person, or thing, and the article a or an or and precedes them.

If you are not sure whether to use a or an, if its use is before a word starting with a vowel, always use the latter. 

Some examples;

  • Definite: I lost the radio that belongs to me.
  • Indefinite: Does anyone have a radio to share?

 What about adjective comparison?

You will find that while some adjectives are absolute, others are relative (used to show a comparison between things).  

Comparison is shown in a different way when using absolute adjectives, like listening to two albums by Katie Perry.

One you love and think is perfect, and the other is great but doesn’t quite hit the same heights.

One album cannot be more perfect than the other; it’s an impossibility, so either you think it’s perfect or imperfect. 

So the absolute adjectives here are perfect and imperfect. 

Adjectives that compare one thing or person to another will reveal their relative qualities.

Positive, comparative, and superlative are the three degrees of adjectives. 

Here are some examples:

  • The normal form of the adjective is positive degree: He is fast. This game is easy.
  • One person/thing is being compared to another person/thing in the comparative degree: He is faster than me. I ran further, so my legs are more tired than yours.
  • Two or more people or things are compared in the superlative degree. He is the fastest person in the state. 


A verb, adjective, or even another adverb can be modified by using an adverb. 

Adverbs typically address one of the following questions: When? Where? How? Why?

Not and never are adverbs too.

The effect of words can be amplified or diminished by the adverbs that modify them.

Here are some examples:

  • He makes his way swiftly through the throng.
  • A gentle current of water flows languidly through the rocks

An adverb is denoted by the morpheme -ly.

It’s to the root of the word that you will see this added; for example, slow becomes slowly. 

Some words that end in -ly can function as other parts of speech because they do not follow this rule.  

For example, ugly, silly, lonely, early, friendly, and holy are examples of adjectives that end in -ly.

A dictionary can help if you are unsure whether a word that ends in -ly is either an adverb or an adjective. 

Keep in mind that not all adverbs have the ending -ly, even though many do.

Let’s look at adverb comparisons.

Adverb comparison follows the same rules as used when comparing adjectives.

The standard form for adverbs is the positive degree.

Consider the following example: 

  • She arrives soon

The comparative degree is used to evaluate two entities in relation to one another.

For example:

  • His legs are longer than hers. 

To compare two or more things or people, use the superlative degree.

For example:

  • He drinks the most out of all of his friends. 


A preposition shows a relationship between a word in the sentence and an object and is a word you will find before a noun or pronoun.

Common prepositions include: About, before, during, on, under, after, beneath, for, over, until, against, between, from, past, among, beyond, in, through, with, around, by, of, to, within, at, down, off, toward, without

Here are some other examples:

  • The towel is in the cupboard.
  • The moon rotates around Earth.


These are used to join clauses, phrases, and words, but they will also show a link between the pieces that they have joined.  

Equal parts of a sentence are connected by coordinating conjunctions. 

Correlative conjunctions show the connection between pairs, while subordinate (dependent) clauses are joined with independent clauses using subordinating conjunctions. 

Let’s look closer at coordinating conjunctions.

So, for, nor, or, and, yet, and but are all examples of coordinating conjunctions.  

Here are examples of how they are used:

  • The broken tree was big, but it was light.
  • He ran in the night, and she ran in the day.

What about correlative conjunctions?

Not only… but also, either… or, and neither…nor are examples of this type of conjunction.  

Here are examples of how they are used.

  • Either you are going with us or you are staying in your room as punishment.
  • She not only played the guitar but also a small drum at the same time. 

Next up are subordinating conjunctions.

These include: After, although, because, before, in order that, since, whenever, so that, where, unless, wherever, until, whether, when, while.

Here are some examples:

  • I am thirsty because I did not drink water.
  • He went to bed when she went home.


Words used as exclamations, or interjections, as they are known, can stand on their own or be incorporated into a sentence. 

They serve as an introductory device and are therefore frequently placed at a sentence’s beginning. 

They can be used to signal a shift in one’s thinking or perspective when inserted into a sentence midway through.

Interjections include the following: Wow!, Ouch!, and Hey!

Sentence structure: Subject-verb agreements, predicates, and subjects

English Language knowledge, subject structure


A sentence’s subject identifies the person or thing being discussed.

The sentence can directly state the subject in it, or sometimes, that subject is implied.

The simple subject and all of its modifiers make up what we call the complete subject of a sentence.  

Ask Who or What to help find the complete subject of a sentence, and complete the question by putting in a verb.  

The complete subject is the answer, and this will include prepositional phrases, adjectives, and any other modifiers. 

Take the complete subject, strip the modifiers, and you will have the simple subject. 

Problems such as subject-verb agreements as well as sentence fragments are easily overcome when you can locate a sentence’s subject easily. 

Here are some examples:

  • The big, brown horse is the one he wants for his birthday. Here, the complete subject is the big brown horse, while the simple subject is horse.
  • The old dentist is joining us for tea. Here, the complete subject is the old dentist, while the simple subject is dentist.

While the verb’s subject is not present in an imperative sentence, it is understood.

It’s usually before the verb that the subject will be found but in sentences that start with There was or There are, it can be found after the verb.

Direct use includes:

  • Bob knows the way to the library. Who does? Bob does.
  • The stew needs a few more hours. What needs a few more hours? The stew does.
  • At 6 a.m. Bob will leave for work. Who will leave for work at 6 a.m.? Bob will.
  • There are five donuts in the refrigerator for her. What is in the refrigerator? Donuts.
  • There are rats and mice in the house. What is in the house? Rats and mice.

Implied use is a little tricker:

  • Go to Granny for me. Who is going to Granny? You are.
  • Come stand over here and watch your brother. Who is going to watch your brother. You are. 


A subject and predicate are required in every sentence. 

The predicate provides context for the subject and describes it in some way, while the subject informs us what the sentence is about. 

Take the sentence, He sings, for example.  

The predicate here is sings, while the subject is obviously he.

If we have a predicate and a subject, the sentence is complete, although many sentences aren’t as simple and do contain more information.

Let’s look at another sentence: Bob and Tina play musical instruments on Wednesday nights at the bar.

Here, the predicate is what they play (musical instruments), when (Tuesday night), and where (at the bar), while the subject is obviously Bob and Tina. 

Subject-Verb Agreement

If you have a singular subject, then a singular verb is necessary.

The same can be said for plural subjects and plural verbs. 

One thing, place, or person is singular, while more than one of those three would be plural. 

Both the subject and the verb need to be in the same person (either first, second, or third) for the sentence to make sense. 

If the subject is third person singular, the present tense ending -s is added to the verb; otherwise, the verb’s ending remains unaltered.

Here are some examples of number agreement:

  • Pete runs home: Singular subject (Pete). Singular verb (runs).
  • Pete and Ruth run home: Plural subject (Pete and Ruth) Plural verb (call).

Here are some examples of person agreement:

  • I am singing: First person
  • You are singing: Second person
  • He is singing: Third person

Subject-Verb agreement complications

Subjects and verbs and the words between them

Agreement between the simple subject and the verb is unaffected by intervening words.

Here is an example:

  • The love (simple subject) of my life leaves (simple verb) for a trip tonight: 

So the verb leaves is not influenced by the phrase my life. 

What about compound subjects?

When and, or, or nor join two or more nouns, the result is a compound subject, which serves as the sentence’s main subject.

Joined by and

An and-joined compound subject is counted as two separate subjects and thus calls for a plural verb.

Here is an example:

Bob and Peter (plural subjects) are (plural verb) singing at the bar tonight. 

Joined by or/nor

The verb must agree in number with the component of the compound subject that is closest to it when joined by or or nor.

Here is an example:

Bob or Peter (subject) want (verb) to sing at the bar tonight. 

Indefinite pronouns as subject

When a pronoun does not refer to a particular noun, it is said to be indefinite. 

Depending on the context, some indefinite pronouns can only be used as singular nouns, while others can be used either as singular or plural nouns.

Let’s look at those that are always singular.

Commonly used singular pronouns include each, either, everybody, anybody, somebody, and nobody.

Here is an example:

  • Each (singular subject) of the cyclists has (singular verb) a different bike model.

To be clear, each and either can function as adjectives as well (each person is different, for example). 

The subject is always singular if it is modified by one of these adjectives.

What about always plural?

Both, several, and many are all plural nouns.

Here is an example:

  • Both (plural subject) of the dogs were (plural verb) too tired to fight.

Sometimes, we need to depend on context

Depending on the meaning of the sentence, pronouns like some, any, all, none, more, and most can refer to either the singular or plural.

Here is an example:

  • All (singular subject) the baby’s food was (singular verb) still there on her plate.
  • By the end of the evening, all (plural subject) of the guests were (plural verb) tired and ready to go home.

Plural or irregular form in other situations

News, mathematics, physics, and economics are examples of nouns that have a singular meaning but a plural form.

Scissors and pants are both nouns that can only be used in the plural, there is no singular version.

Even though mathematical operations have multiple possible forms, their meanings are typically viewed as singular. 

If you are unsure of whether a noun with a plural form should be used in the singular or plural, consult a dictionary.

Sentence structure: Clauses, usage of pronouns, and complements

English Language knowledge of Sentence structure: Clauses, usage of pronouns, and complements


A noun, pronoun, or adjective that provides additional information about the sentence’s subject or verb is called a complement.

Direct objects

When a verb is used, the noun or pronoun that the verb acts upon is called the direct object. 

Keep in mind that a direct object is not required for a complete sentence, only a subject and verb is required to do so. 

Finding the direct object of a verb involves asking who or what the verb refers to.

Here is an example.

  • I took the cake.

Indirect objects

Words or phrases that describe the effects of an action on a third party or an object are called indirect objects. 

There must always be a direct object in a sentence if there is an indirect object. 

Find the verb and then ask to/for whom or what you want to know the indirect object in a sentence.

Here are some examples:

  • We taught the young magician (indirect object) a new trick (direct object).

Predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives  

It was previously discussed that it is as action verbs or linking verbs that verbs can be categorized.

The subject is connected to words in the predicate that describe or define it by linking verbs.

If these words are nouns or pronouns, they are known as predicate nominatives, but if they are adjectives, they are called predicative adjectives. 

Here is an example:

  • My brother (subject) is a chef (predicate nominative).
  • Your sister (subject) is kind (predicate adjective).

Usage of pronouns

The noun that a pronoun replaces is known as the antecedent. 

When the number (singular or plural) and gender (male, female, or neutral) of a pronoun and its antecedent are the same, the two are in agreement. 

Here are examples:

  • Bob (antecedent) came by our house and he (pronoun) stayed by us: Singular agreement
  • Bob and Tom (antecedent) came by our house, and they (pronoun) stayed by us: Plural agreement

When deciding on the proper pronoun to use in a compound subject or object, try substituting the pronouns individually for the compound. 

Which one is appropriate will be determined by your familiarity with pronoun usage.

Here is an example:

  • Claire and (me, I) will be going to the bar to hear Tom and Bob sing.

In this example, the correct pronoun to use as an object is I.

Try rewriting the sentence without the noun that follows the pronoun (as in “we boys”) to see if it works better.

Here is an example:

  • We/Us girls played chess last year.

Because Us cannot be used as the subject of the sentence (it doesn’t make sense), the answer is We.

The antecedent should be clearly pointed out by the pronoun. 

In this example below, we see how a pronoun reference that is unclear or not explicitly expressed might be confusing

  • Bob and Jim went up to sing and he started them off by singing the first verse: Unhelpful

Was it Bob or Jim that started them off?

  • Bob and Jim went up to sing and Bob started them off by singing the first verse: Helpful

Due to their placement in a sentence, pronouns can change their form.  

The subjective case is used for pronouns that function as subjects in a sentence. 

The objective case appears with pronouns that serve as objects. 

When used as possessives, pronouns will appear in the possessive case. 

Here are some examples:

  • She is coming to the fair: The subject of the sentence is the pronoun she and this is subjective case.
  • Bob took her to the bar. The object of the sentence is the pronoun her, and this is objective case.
  • The beer is mine. The ownership of the beer is shown by the pronoun mine, and this is possessive case.


Words that have both a subject and a predicate (verb) are said to make up a clause and they can either be dependent or independent. 

While the thoughts in a dependent (or subordinate) clause are incomplete, those in an independent clause are not. 

A dependent clause consists of a subject, a verb, and sometimes objects or complements, but unless it is joined to an independent clause, it can never be a complete thought.

Adjectives, adverbs, and nouns are dependent clauses’ primary roles within sentences.

Here’s an example:

  • I am dieting (whole term is the independent clause) because I want to lose weight (the whole term is the dependent clause).

Having both a subject and a verb, I am dieting stands on its own as a complete thought and is therefore an independent clause. 

While it contains a subject and verb, the dependent clause, because I want to lose weight, won’t stand alone as a complete thought.

Attached to an independent clause, it provides further explanation.

Dependent clause types

Let’s start with adjective clauses.

When a noun or pronoun is modified by an adjective clause, the clause is considered a dependent clause. 

The relative pronouns who, whose, whom, which, and that, or the relative adverbs where, when, and why, mark the beginning of an adjective clause. 

It is after the noun they modify or rename that you will find an adjective clause, so it’s to the independent clause that they can have a distinct connection.

Here are some examples:

  • This is the fast food outlet (the whole term is the independent clause) where I tasted my first hamburger (the whole term is the adjective clause).

These clauses can be essential (very important) or nonessential (define or explain a person or thing) to/in a sentence.

Unlike essential clauses, which are required to define a person or thing, non-essential ones provide additional information.

Nonessential clauses will have commas between them, while essential clauses won’t.

Here are some examples:

  • Douglas Bader, a legless fighter pilot, is my hero: The nonessential clause here is the term a legless fighter pilot.

We move on to adverb clauses.

When a clause modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb, it is called an adverb clause. 

It is common practice to position adverb clauses before or after the independent clause in sentences that contain more than one dependent clause. 

Words like after, although, as, before, because, if, since, so, unless, when, where, and while signal the beginning of an adverb clause.

Here is an example.

  • When the robber ran outside (adverb clause), I called the cops. 

What about noun clauses?

It is as a subject, object, or complement that a noun clause, which is a dependent clause, can be used. 

How, that, what, whether, which, who, and why are all examples of verbs that introduce noun clauses.  

An adjective clause may accompany these words as well, however.  

The noun clause should follow the verb of the independent clause unless it serves as the subject of the sentence.

We move on to subordination.

To best combine two ideas, one of which is more important than the other, an independent clause should be created around the more important idea, while the less important idea should be placed in a dependent (subordinate) clause in a process known as subordination.

Here is an example:

  • He ate a starter, main course, and dessert. He was still hungry: Separate idea.
  • Despite eating a starter, main course, and dessert, he was still hungry: Subordinated.

Structuring sentences: Parallelism and phrases

English Language knowledge of Structuring sentences: Parallelism and phrases


When used as a noun, adjective, or adverb, a phrase is considered to be a single unit of speech. 

Adding specifics to a sentence or renaming something within it is the task of a phrase, but it will never be a complete thought.

Prepositional phrases

The prepositional phrase is one of the most common you will find in the English language.   

You can identify a prepositional phrase by its structure, which consists of a preposition followed by the noun or pronoun to which the preposition refers. 

Prepositional phrases are typically used in the same way as adjectives and adverbs.

Here are some examples:

  • The food is on the table: Here on the table is the prepositional phrase.
  • Among the old bottles, Bob found one still full of wine. Here among the old bottles is the prepositional phrase.

Verbal phrases

Any phrase or word that derives from a verb but does not serve that function is called a verbal, and it may be used as an adverb, an adjective, or even a noun, based on the form it takes.  

The verb in a sentence is never replaced by a verbal, however. 

Here are both correct and incorrect examples of verbal phrases: 

  • The dog is wagging its tail: In this correct example, is wagging is the verbal phrase. 
  • Eating breakfast, the sun rose over the mountains: This is an incorrect example because the verb phrase is not complete due to a missing auxiliary verb. By adding a subject, such as I, to make the sentence as follows – While I was breakfast, the sun rose over the mountains

In the English language, infinitives, participles, and gerunds are the three types of verbals that you will find. 

There is a corresponding phrase for every kind of verbal.

This is made up of any modifiers or complements and the verbal itself. 

Let’s also talk about participles.

Participles are a special kind of verbal form that is always used in the adjective position. 

It’s with -ing that the present participle always ends, while -d, -ed, -n, and -t is how past principles end.

Modifying nouns and pronouns typically have participial phrases placed either right before or right after them.

Examples include the following:

  • Stuck on a ledge (this is the participle phrase), the girl started to scream for help.
  • As the league’s top goal scorer (this is the participle phrase), he accepted the award.

Next, we look at gerunds

It’s as a noun that this type of verbal will always function.  

It’s always in -ing that gerunds end, much like present principles.

One simple way to tell them apart is by the function they serve in sentences (participles are always adjectives). 

Whenever it appears in a sentence, a gerund or gerund phrase takes on the role of a noun, making it suitable for use as a subject, predicate nominative, or object of a verb or preposition. 

Here are some examples:

  • Teaching young guitar players is something I love doing: In this sentence, the gerund is teaching, while the subject is teaching young guitar players.

Infinitives are up next. 

As a multipurpose verbal form, an infinitive can be used in a variety of contexts.

This includes as an adverb, an adjective, and a noun.  

To is the word that makes up an infinitive but is linked with the verb’s most basic form.

As with all other types of verbal phrases, an infinitive phrase includes the verbal itself and all of its complements or modifiers.

The verbal and all other complements or modifiers are included in the infinitive phrase, as is the case with all kinds of verbal phrases.

Here are some examples:

  • People run track to improve their fitness: In this phrase, to improve is the infinitive, while the adverb is the term to improve their fitness. 

Then there are appositive phrases.

To define or rename nouns or pronouns, you can use a word or phrase known as an appositive, which can include all infinitive phrases, gerund phrases, and noun phrases. 

Here are some examples.

  • My friend, a talented artist, painted a beautiful mural. Here, the appositive phrase is a talented artist as it refers to my friend.
  • The car, a shiny red Ferrari, sped past us on the highway. Here, the appositive phrase is a shiny red Ferrari, as it describes what it was doing – sped past us on the highway.

Essential and non-essential appositive phrases are possible.

If the noun, pronoun, or phrase being described or renamed is too broad for its meaning to be understood without the appositive, then it must be qualified by using one.

Here is an example:

  • My sister’s dog Max, needs a bath. Here, the essential phrase is my sister’s dog Max, because, without it, we don’t know who needs a bath.
  • John’s car, a sleek sports model, is parked in the driveway. Here, the nonessential appositive phrase is a sleek sports model, because if it were missing, the sentence would still make sense. 

Next, absolute phrases

A phrase that consists of a noun and a participle is an absolute phrase.

It is independent because it won’t explain or modify a word but will make what is being described far clearer to the reader.  

Here is an example:

  • The game over, we went out for pizza. The absolute phrase here is the game over with the noun being game and the participle being over. 


Items and ideas presented in a series, such as in a list, need to be stated in grammatically equivalent ways in order to avoid confusing the reader. 

That is to say, if you use a gerund to express one idea, you can’t use an infinitive to express another idea because they are not equivalent.  

So you cannot say I enjoy needlework and to garden.

You may say I enjoy reading and gardening, however. 

It’s important to ensure all items are parallel in a list of two or more things. 

Here’s another example:

  • He went to the garden center, bar, and the movies in the afternoon. This is incorrect because two out of the three places are preceded by the.
  • He went to the garden center, the bar, and the movies in the afternoon is the correct way to write this sentence.

Structuring sentences: Structure, purpose, and fragments

Knowledge of english language Structuring sentences: Structure, purpose, and fragments

The purpose of a sentence

When we look at sentences, there are four main types.

These are exclamatory, interrogative, imperative, and declarative.

Let’s look at each in a little more detail. 

Stating a fact and ending with a period, you have a declarative sentence.

  • Example: The sky is blue.  

While an imperative sentence generally ends with a period, it doesn’t always have to.

What it does, however, is give an instruction to someone to do something. 

  • Example: Don’t forget to take your lunch.  

The question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence indicates that it is asking a specific question.

  • Example: Will we be seeing you on Friday?

An exclamation point marks the end of an emotionally charged sentence known as an exclamatory sentence. 

  • Example: I can’t believe that happened right in front of us! 

Sentence structure

The type and quantity of clauses in a sentence determine its structure. 

Sentence structure can be classified in four ways:

There should only be one main clause in a simple sentence, with no subordinate clauses, while a compound verb or subject is possible too.

Here are some examples:

  • Bob (single subject) filled (single verb) the swimming pool.
  • Bob and Joe (compound subject) filled (single verb) the swimming pool.
  • Bob (single subject) filled (compound verb) the swimming pool and cleaned (compound verb) the deck.
  • Bob and Joe (compound subject) filled (compound verb) the swimming pool and cleaned (compound verb) the deck.

There is no dependent clause in a compound sentence, but you will find two or more independent clauses. 

In these sentence types, a comma or semicolon will join a coordinating conjunction with an independent clause. 

Here are some examples:

  • John went to the store (independent clause), and Mary went to the park.
  • Although she studied hard for the exam, she did not pass it (independent clause).

A sentence is considered a complex sentence when it contains one or more dependent clauses but also one independent clause.

Here is an example:

  • After I finish my work (dependent clause), I will go to the gym (independent clause).

Two or more independent clauses and one dependent clause are found in a compound-complex sentence.

Here is an example:

  • Cats are independent animals (independent clause), but they still crave attention (independent clause), which is why they will often rub against their owners while purring (dependent clause).

Any form of writing, be it a speech or an essay, should make use of a variety of sentence types.

You can create rhythm, create engaging passages, and show off your writing style by not only using different sentence constructions but by varying their lengths as well. 

If not, writing can simply become too boring for the reader. 

The effectiveness of a passage’s sentence variety can be judged by looking at the number of different sentence types and lengths it contains. 

It’s also essential to monitor the beginnings of sentences and steer clear of using the same words or phrases repeatedly. 

Sentence fragments

If you remember, we learned that in order for a string of words to be seen as a sentence in grammar, there must be one (or more) independent clauses found in it. 

A sentence fragment results when this is not the case, and depending on the type of fragment you find, you will have different ways of going about fixing it.  

It may be as easy as taking out a subordinating word (like when, because, or if) from the beginning of the fragment if the sentence in question is a dependent clause. 

An alternative is to insert an independent clause into a related neighboring sentence.

Or add a missing part when a subject or verb is missing from the fragment.

Let’s look at some examples of sentence fragments:

  • Running down the street: This is a sentence fragment because it is missing a subject and predicate.
  • Because he didn’t study for the exam. This is a sentence fragment because it is missing a dependent clause.

Here’s how those sentences can be fixed:

  • I saw a boy running down the street. Here we have added a subject (I) and a predicate (saw) to complete the sentence.
  • Because he didn’t study for the exam, he did not do well on the test. By adding an independent clause (he did not do well on the test), we fixed the sentence fragment.

Here is an example of removing a word to fix a sentence fragment.

  • Because he wanted to run faster. A simple fix here is to take away the subordinating word (because), making the sentence a complete one (He wanted to run faster).

Lastly, when combining with another sentence, you have a third fix for sentence fragments. 

Let’s use the example above and see how we can fix it.

  • Because he wanted to run faster, he focused on speed training for a week.

Run-on sentences

When several independent clauses have not been joined together in the correct manner, you have what is known in grammar as a run-on sentence.

There are various ways in which this can be fixed.

Firstly, clauses can be properly joined together by adding a coordinating comma and a conjunction.

When the second clause explains something in the first, you can add a colon, semicolon, or dash.

Secondly, you could rather split the sentences into more than one. 

When the independent clauses are either not that closely related, or long, this is the best way to fix a run-on sentence.  

Thirdly, one clause can be made a dependent clause. This not only makes the sentence more engaging but is also the most simple method to use. 

Lastly, a compound verb can be used to reduce one clause. 

You can take away the subject in the second clause if both use the same subject. 

This will leave a sentence that includes one clause and a compound verb.

Although these are the most basic solutions, the most effective way to fix a run-on sentence is to rewrite it from scratch by rearranging the ideas within it.

Dangling and misplaced modifiers

Let’s start by looking at dangling modifiers

When there is no clear logical connection to a word found in a sentence by a verbal phrase or dependent clause, you have a dangling modifier.

Here is an example:

  • After finishing my homework, my friends came over to watch a movie.

The dangling modifier here is After finishing my homework because it’s not clear who finished the homework, the friends, or the person.

The correct way to fix this is by adding I and changing finishing to finished. 

  • After I finished my homework, my friends came over to watch a movie.

What about misplaced modifiers?

Modifiers’ grammatical flexibility allows them to be used in a wide variety of positions within a sentence.

But this can lead to the wrong word being modified by them, or sometimes it’s not possible to work out which of the words is being modified. 

Here is an example:

  • Jane served pizza to the children on paper plates.

The misplaced modifier here is the phrase on paper plates.

So who was on the paper plates, the children or the pizza?

Here is how you would fix this misplaced modifier by changing its position in the sentence so it makes sense:

  • Jane served pizza on paper plates to the children.

Then there are split infinitives.

When a preposition or adverb comes between the word to and the coordinating verb that pairs with it, you have a split infinitive.

Here is an example:

  • To boldly go where no one has gone before.

The split infinitive here is the phrase to boldly go.

You can fix this sentence to remove the split infinitive as follows:

  • To go boldly where no one has gone before.

There are situations where it’d be preferable to use a split infinitive because it would clarify and simplify the meaning more effectively than the alternatives, so there is no overall rule that says they shouldn’t be used.

Double negatives

You can use two negatives to convey a positive meaning in standard English.

Here’s an example:

  • I didn’t see nothing wrong with the movie.

Here the double negative is the phrase didn’t see nothing wrong.

While this is acceptable, from a grammatical perspective, it’s probably easier to say:

  • I didn’t see anything wrong with the movie, or
  • I saw nothing wrong with the movie

Negative modifiers should never be paired together (never, no, not, none, nobody, nothing, neither). 

In English, the phrases scarcely, barely, and hardly are also considered negative modifiers, so don’t use them with other negatives either.  

Language knowledge

English Language knowledge

Enhancing writing clarity through grammar

For the sake of the reader’s comprehension, writers should always ensure they write clearly and use correct grammar.

Part of this is writing in full sentences.

This means that a subject and a predicate should be found in each sentence.

When describing various events that take place through their writing, writers should make sure that the right verb tenses help guide the reader.  

The use of a specific tense in writing is sometimes essential. 

It is common practice, for instance, to require present-tense writing from academic writers.

To ensure that their message is conveyed as precisely and clearly as possible, writers should also exercise caution when selecting their words for each passage.

Tone can also be affected by the choice of words used, so writers should be aware of the tone their writing conveys and make any necessary adjustments if necessary.


The use of transitions between ideas and sentences as well as paragraphs helps readers move from one concept to the next and indicates the relationships between ideas and sentences.

When it comes to the use of transitions in their writing, authors ought to exercise discretion and only do so when absolutely necessary. 

The author’s purpose, including time, comparison, and conclusion, amongst others, can all be indicated by the use of a transition. 

The tone should be varied depending on the target audience when using phrases of a transitional nature as well. 

It’s relatively easy to find when you will need a transition when working with various transitional phrases and words.

Look out for sections where flow may be disrupted when reading through the text, and consider putting in a transitional phrase where necessary to reestablish that flow.  

Unnecessary transitional phrases can be taken out too when discovered while revising a draft.  

Transitional word types

  • Before, until, then, when, soon, since, now, lately, recently, meanwhile, earlier, immediately, afterward: These are all transitional words for time.
  • Finally, besides, next, and, again, also, moreover, further, second, first, too: These are all transitional words for sequence.
  • Once more, again, also, likewise, in the same way, similarly: These are transitional words for comparison.
  • In contrast, yet, regardless, on the other hand, on one hand, nevertheless, instead, however, despite, although, but: These are all transitional words for contrast.
  • Accordingly, the, if, as a result, so, since, to this end, then, therefore, thus, consequently, because: These are all transitional words for cause and effect.
  • Specifically, in fact, indeed, to illustrate, such as, for instance, for example: These are all transitional words for examples.
  • Beside, opposite, beyond, below, above, next to, to the right/left, here, far, near: These are all transitional words for place.
  • Although it is true that, of course, it may appear, naturally, granted that: These are all transitional words for concession.
  • In conclusion, to conclude, as a result, therefore, to summarize, on the whole, in short, in other words, as noted, as mentioned earlier: These are all transitional words for repetition, summary, and conclusion. 
  • Moreover, furthermore, also, and: These are all transitional words for addition.
  • In general, broadly speaking, in broad terms: These are all transitional words for generalization.

Working out the narrator’s setting

Writers should make deliberate decisions about the vocabulary and sentence structure they employ when crafting texts for specific audiences and purposes. 

Slang and colloquialisms are acceptable in narrative and informal writing, and it is something that writers will use quite often. 

If the setting of the text is not explicitly stated, these words can help the reader visualize it. 

Because slang tends to evolve with each new generation or decade, using it can provide additional context about a given time and place. 

It is also up to the writer to decide on the level of formality that is suitable for the work and this can often be achieved through a particular tone or even the writing style of the author themselves.  

Since authors address readers of different ranks or relationships with different diction and formality, working out the level of formality can help those reading the text zero in on its specific context.

This is a useful tool for clearing up what the intended audience is as well as the overall purpose of the writer. 

If the reader isn’t already clear on the writer’s intent and intended audience, they can be gleaned from an examination of these elements.

Formal and informal  

Most forms of writing call for some measure of formality, but the exact level depends on the nature of the writer-reader relationship. 

In a school or work environment, however, formal writing is a necessity, and a moderate to high level of formality will be found in the likes of newspapers, textbooks, and business communication, for example.

Personal emails, private letters, and written communication between associates that know each other well, however, will tend to be far more informal. 

Being able to identify the difference between formal and informal writing is a necessary skill that you should have for the exam. 

Keeping an eye out for perspective shifts in the written piece is one strategy for achieving this goal. 

To avoid sounding too casual when formality is called for, writers will typically avoid using first-person pronouns (e.g., I think that my point is very clear) unless they are providing a personal example.

Also, keep an eye out for an author who writes to his or her readers directly (e.g., Readers like you will understand this argument).

In doing so, they will almost always be writing in an informal manner. 

Consistency in formality is a hallmark of a good writer. 

Confusion can result from sudden changes in formality or point of view in writing.

While on this subject, let’s chat a little more about clichés

These phrases no longer carry the weight they once did because they have become so commonplace and are overused.  

Because of this, the author is actually better off leaving them out of the passage altogether, and most good writers will. 

Another option is to make changes to a cliché so that it is not predictable and empty of meaning.

Here are some examples of overused clichés:

  • Time heals all wounds.
  • Actions speak louder than words.

Let’s focus on jargon for a moment. 

Professionals in the same field will use a distinct vocabulary known as jargon and this is related to that field.  

Writers typically reserve jargon for sections where they know the audience will be familiar with the terms.

If the audience is more general, then jargon should be left out. 

The exaggerated language used for the purpose of impressing rather than informing is a hallmark of jargon. 

A lack of precision and difficulty in readability make jargon-filled sentences problematic.

Here are some examples of jargon that will only appeal to a very specific audience:

  • The CTA on the landing page needs to be more prominent to improve our click-through rate.
  • We need to optimize our SEO strategy to improve our website’s ranking on SERPs.

How is slang different?

Slang is a form of informal language that is understood by a select few, and while it can be useful, it will only appeal to a small audience. 

Here is an example:

  • That party was lit! Here the slang word is lit, which means exciting and full of fun.


Found in informal writing, these take on the form of a phrase or a word.

Don’t confuse it with slang, however, because more people will be familiar with a colloquial term or word. 

In some cases, slang could form part of a colloquialism, but as a contraction. 

Here is an example of a colloquialism:

  • Fixin’ to: This is an example of a colloquialism from the American South and means about to. 


A writer’s style is similar to their voice. 

Revising is the time to check that the writer’s chosen tone is consistent with the paper’s intended audience and subject matter. 

Word choice and sentence structure may be constrained by the text’s formality and purpose, both of which affect how a writer conveys style. 

There are three primary effects that can be achieved by writers through their use of style:

  • They convey additional meanings beyond those stated.
  • The author’s perspective is conveyed, for example, as persuasive and argumentative (or others). 
  • Feelings are shared or expressed through the words of the writer.

Informal and formal language revision

When revising and editing a piece of writing, it is important for the author to keep in mind the level of formality that is appropriate given the text’s intended purpose and readership. 

The writer needs to be familiar with the various varieties of informal language so that they can find them in their work. 

The writer also needs to know how to replace informal language with more formal options or more recognized phrases. 

Rephrasing an informal expression into a more formal one may require as simple an adjustment as choosing a more appropriate synonym, but it may also necessitate some serious consideration of the phrase’s original meaning. 

When revising their work, writers should be thorough and careful to maintain the proper level of formality.

Adapting speech to a wider range of cultures

Writing for a diverse audience, or one that may include readers from different cultural backgrounds than the author, requires careful consideration of word choice out of respect for those readers. 

Any clearly offensive or insensitive language should be changed by the author during the revision and editing process. 

Some examples of this kind of language include those that reinforce or uphold preconceived notions about a person based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, or other characteristics.

Words that are stereotypically associated with one gender can be changed to more neutral terms that apply to everyone.

As an example, because the fire department includes both men and women, you wouldn’t use the term fireman anymore as in the past; instead, you would say firefighter.  

People-first language is a way of rephrasing language that puts an emphasis on a person’s condition or physical characteristics rather than the person themselves.

An example of this is to say the person who is deaf instead of the deaf person.

In other words, you are putting the person before their disability. 

Selecting different words to avoid reinforcing a stereotype can be more of a challenge.  

Revising stereotypes in writing requires the author to pinpoint the part of their statement that is biased or stereotypical and explain why this is inaccurate. 

After identifying an inaccurate statement, the writer must replace it with one that is more objective and truthful. 

Point of view

The writer’s point of view is the perspective from which the text is created, and there are three types you will come across.

  • The story is told by a participant in it or someone who observed it in the first person.
  • When a piece is written directly to the person reading it, this is known as the second person. If the writer wants to draw the reader in, then this is a device that they often use. You will note the use of the second person point of view when you is used often in the writing.
  • The most often-used point of view is that of the narrator, which we usually assume is the writer’s voice.

Well-organized paragraphs

A passage’s message is developed further in a series of body paragraphs that follow the introductory paragraph.

An effective paragraph centers on one main idea. 

It is common practice to summarize the paragraph’s main idea in the topic sentence. 

Paragraphs typically have one overarching sentence that serves as a topic sentence and this introduces what will be within the paragraph.

Following the topic sentence will be sentences that elaborate on the idea from the topic sentence.

Paragraphs don’t necessarily need to start with the topic sentence, especially if the sentences that come before it explain the topic sentence thoroughly. 

Paragraphs, as a whole, should adhere to the point they set out to make. 

This means cutting out any phrases that don’t contribute to the main point of each paragraph.

Paragraphs need to have an overall point that is well-supported by relevant details within the supporting sentences.

For a paragraph’s main idea to make sense, it needs to be adequately developed in the paragraph itself.

To cover the main point, two or three sentences might not be adequate. 

A brief paragraph here and there can serve as an appropriate transition, if necessary.  

Paragraphs with more than a couple of sentences are the backbone of any well-developed argument, however. 

There are various ways to develop paragraphs.

Using examples is one of the methods that’s frequently used, and they help to illustrate the point being made by the writer. 

It is common practice for writers to provide an example when they are discussing a topic that their readers may find difficult to grasp. 

Authors can provide supporting evidence through examples when they write about contentious topics.

An illustration is a long example that typically takes multiple sentences to fully explain.

Authors can do a great job of making a point that is unfamiliar to their readers by using carefully chosen illustrations.

The purpose of an analogy is to find similarities between seemingly unrelated things. 

Writers use analogies to get readers to consider a topic in new ways. 

These analogies can be used to educate readers, shed light on the abstract, or bolster an argument. 

Although analogies work well in writing, they require careful handling when employed as argumentative tools. 

It’s possible for two things to share some similarities while having vastly different characteristics, for example. 

When the links between causes and effects are widely believed to be true, the use of this technique can work well in writing. 

The effect can be stated in the paragraph’s topic sentence, while the causes can be included in the supporting paragraphs.

Writing is always improved by having a structure, and this technique allows authors to give their paragraphs that structure.

Let’s talk about how to develop paragraphs. 

Narration in the form of a paragraph relates an event or series of events that tell part of the story the writer is trying to get across to the reader.

It’s usually in chronological order that sentences are arranged.

The purpose of a descriptive paragraph is to paint a mental picture of a specific person, place, or thing. 

Authors create an immersive experience for their readers by including sensory details that engage one or more of their senses.

Time order is an important consideration in a process paragraph.

For example, opening a car door and then sitting in the driver’s seat. 

This type of writing typically explains or instructs readers on how to carry out a specific task. 

Making comparisons highlights shared qualities as well as key distinctions between two things. 

Focusing on the differences only, however, a writer is then using a contrast mechanic in their writing. 

Point-by-point or the use of following paragraphs for in-depth comparisons and contrasts are both acceptable. 

There are many reasons why a writer would start a new paragraph:

  • To separate the introductory and concluding sections
  • To indicate a change in subject matter or perhaps time and place
  • To provide additional details to explain a point previously made 
  • To emphasize a connection between causes and effects, or a comparison,

What about paragraph lengths?

Between 100 and 200 words is the paragraph length that’s comfortable for most readers.  

When using shorter paragraphs, a stop-start effect is often the case, and that could be off-putting to readers, but in other situations, it can be used. 

On the other hand, a reader’s attention span is tested when paragraphs run on for far too long. 

Of course, there are times when long paragraphs are a must, especially in scientific papers, for example as this portrays that the piece carries gravitas and depth.

Due to the limited space available in newspaper columns, journalists are often forced to condense lengthy passages into shorter ones.

The text’s introduction and conclusion are typically the first and last paragraphs. 

Paragraphs used for this purpose are typically shorter than those used elsewhere in the text. 

One paragraph per point in the body of the written work is appropriate for shorter essays, while several paragraphs per point are appropriate for longer pieces. 

A writer needs to be adaptable, as some ideas will call for more time and effort than others. 

Always look at paragraph lengths and decide if those that are excessive should be broken up or if you can combine shorter paragraphs, where necessary.  

Last, in this section, let’s discuss keeping paragraphs coherent

Paragraph coherence results when sentences and paragraphs flow smoothly from one to the next without pauses, transitions, or other disruptions. 

Several techniques exist for easing the transition between old and new data:

  • Paragraphs that flow well have topic sentences and supporting details that are clearly connected to one another. The main idea is stated in the topic sentence, and the body of the text should elaborate on that idea with specific details, examples, and illustrations.  
  • Paragraph coherence is improved by the repeated use of keywords. Variations of these keywords could be a necessity to avoid dull language.  
  • To show idea similarity, parallel structures are used in sentences more often than not, as they help to highlight similar information in connected sentences.  
  • It is helpful to use the same verb tense throughout a paragraph. The overall flow of words is affected when tenses are constantly changed, making the paragraph difficult to understand.  

Expressing ideas in writing through language and vocabulary use

Expressing ideas in writing through language and vocabulary use

Practice is essential

The ability to write well is one that requires constant practice and improvement. 

Writing may come easily to some people. 

They rarely experience writer’s block due to a lack of inspiration. 

It’s likely that their arguments will convince you when you read their papers. 

Others suffer through the process of writing because it is often too daunting for them. 

Believe that you can get better as you study for the test, and be ready to review a variety of writing samples.

Reading is a perfect way to get ready for the English and language usage section of the TEAS exam. 

You can expand your mind and learn new ideas by reading books, magazines, and newspapers. 

You can form a stance and an opinion on these matters as you consider what you have read.

Discussion with friends can help you refine your thoughts and opinions. 

Try putting your thoughts on paper as if you were going to share them with the world after you’ve had a chance to form your own opinions.

Don’t forget that there are benefits beyond just passing the test. 

Reading critically and writing effectively are two of the most important skills one can have. 

The skills you acquire by practicing analysis of a passage’s arguments and clear expression of your own ideas will serve you well throughout your life.

The writing process

There are many parts to the writing process, which we will discover below as we start with brainstorming.

A creative way of approaching a subject can be helped by employing this method. 

Simple free association on the subject will do the trick to start off. 

Write down all of your ideas about the relevant subject, even if they’re just a few words long, and do so without critical thinking, more in a quickfire manner as ideas come to you. 

The next step is to review the list you have created a few times, noting any idea clusters, patterns, or repetitions that pop up.

Because of this, a wide range of new original thoughts can emerge as you consider the subject.

Next, let’s discuss free writing

When compared to brainstorming, this is a more organized process. 

With your topic in mind, write down everything that pops into your head, but take a limited amount of time to do so, say two to three minutes. 

Even if many of your sentences make no sense, free writing is a useful technique because it can lead to unexpected discoveries and insights. 

Because ideas are expressed in full sentences, free writing often yields better results than brainstorming. 

The two methods, however, can be used together to great effect.

What about planning?

Planning is the process of organizing a piece of writing before composing a draft. 

Planning can include creating an outline or a graphic organizer, such as a Venn diagram, a spider-map, or a flowchart. 

These methods should help the writer identify their topic, main ideas, and the general organization of the composition. 

Preliminary research can also take place during this stage. 

Planning helps writers organize all of their ideas and decide if they have enough material to begin their first draft. 

However, writers should remember that the decisions they make during this step will likely change later in the process, so their plan does not have to be perfect.

Let’s look at drafting as well. 

Writers may then use their plan, outline, or graphic organizer to compose their first draft. 

They may write subsequent drafts to improve their writing. 

Writing multiple drafts can help writers consider different ways to communicate their ideas and address errors that may be difficult to correct without rewriting a section or the whole composition.

Most writers will vary in how many drafts they choose to write, as there is no “right” number of drafts. 

Writing drafts also takes away the pressure to write perfectly on the first try, as writers can improve with each draft they write.

Lastly, we have revising, editing, and proofreading.

Writing a first draft is just the beginning; the next steps include polishing the work through revision, editing, and proofreading. 

The process begins with general alterations that can be applied to large chunks of text and progress to more targeted tweaks later on. 

The first step is revising the piece to make sure it is written for the right people, contains everything it needs to, stays on topic, and is structured sensibly. 

It’s possible to go back and fix mistakes made in the first draft in subsequent revisions too; in fact, the revision process should be carried out for each and every draft.  

When compared to the revision stage, the editing stage is more focused. 

When editing a piece of writing, make sure the paragraph transitions are smooth, the paragraphs are all on topic, and the text flows well. 

Errors in grammar that can’t be fixed without substantially altering the text may also be addressed during this stage of editing. 

Corrections for spelling, grammar, and typographical errors are made during the proofreading phase.

Recursive writing approach

It’s good to know that the revision process can happen in any order, regardless of how you typically approach writing. 

While the phrase suggests otherwise, the recursive method of writing is not that complicated.

In a nutshell, recursive writing means you might have to go back over previous steps even after you’ve finished the subsequent ones. 

The lack of a strict chronological sequence when doing so is also implied. 

Planning, writing, and editing phases can run at the same time. 

In order to produce a polished piece of writing, writers must repeatedly go through the steps of outlining, drafting, and revising.


With citations, we need to look at two things: sources and citing them, and plagiarism. 

Let’s start with citing sources

While it is important for researchers to incorporate their own ideas into their work, it is also important to properly credit the work of others when using their information or ideas.

It is helpful to keep track of each source’s publication information as you gather research, as this will make incorporating citations into your final paper much simpler. 

In order to avoid plagiarism, it is important to carefully record where you found each idea used in your composition or project. 

Both direct and indirect citations are subject to this rule.

What about plagiarism?

To avoid plagiarizing unintentionally, knowing what constitutes plagiarism is crucial. 

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person’s ideas, words, or work. 

Plagiarism can occur unintentionally when a source is not properly cited or when a citation is created that does not correspond correctly.

Plagiarism can occur even when a person makes a sincere effort to properly credit sources but makes a mistake in doing so.

For this reason, before publishing, all citations should be reviewed to ensure that they are indeed correct.  

It is not necessary to provide a citation when the information is the author’s personal reflections or observations.

Using structural analysis to work out word meanings

The ability to read and comprehend text requires at least a passing familiarity with the fundamentals of language. 

The process of determining the meaning of a word by dissecting it into its component parts is known as structural analysis. 

Prefixes and suffixes, as well as the root word itself, are all components of a word. 

You can learn the meaning of words you don’t know by studying their component parts, such as prefixes, suffixes, and other linguistic building blocks.

Words often use prefixes, which are combinations of letters placed at the beginning of a word, and suffixes, which are combinations of letters placed at the end of a word. 

The root is the central part of a word. 

This would be represented graphically as prefix + root word + suffix. 

Analyze the word by isolating its parts, such as the root, prefix, and/or suffix. 

Find out what you can about the root word by consulting its prefix and/or suffix meanings.

It is possible to estimate the meaning of a word by looking at its prefix and/or suffix, even if one does not know the meaning of the root. 

Common prefixes and suffixes can help shed light on the meaning of an unknown word and your coursework will have examples of these that you should go through for the exam. 


Affixes are a type of morpheme in the English language, added to the end of words to form new, related words.

New words are created by adding a derivational affix to an existing word. 

To create the noun happiness, for instance, the affix -ness is added to the end of the adjective happy.

Different grammatical forms of words are created by adding inflectional affixes.  

The -s plural affix transforms the singular noun book into the plural noun books, for example.

It is in front of existing words that you will find prefixes or affixes.

Think of the word heat and then add pre- to it, which makes pre-heat or to apply heat beforehand to something when cooking.

Interfixes use affixes in the middle of words to create new words, while circumfixes add parts to the beginning or ending of a word.

Look through your coursework to learn more about these examples. 


Suffixes, which can have two possible functions, attach to the end of a word’s root and add additional meaning to the word. 

They allow you to change the tense of a word without altering its meaning or to create entirely new words. 

It’s possible to alter the spelling of a word’s root by adding a suffix. 

Double the final consonant of the root word if the suffix begins with a vowel. 

If the root word is one syllable or the accent falls on the final syllable, it’s only then that this rule applies. 

It’s necessary to change the root word before adding some suffixes. 

The e at the end of the root word must be dropped before adding the suffix if it begins with-ing, so write becomes writing as an example. 

The final e of the root word is not omitted if the suffix begins with a consonant rather than a vowel; for example, hope becomes hopeless. 

Argument, acknowledgment, and judgment are words that are the exception to this rule, however. 

When adding a suffix to a word with a consonant before the final y, the y is changed to an i, for example, plenty becomes plentiful.  

Your coursework has adjective, noun, and verb suffixes that you can learn to help you in the exam when it comes to this section. 


Conclusion on Knowledge of english language

There you have it for our TEAS 7 study guide.

We hope you find the information in it useful.

Always remember, however, that this is a guide and does not supplement the coursework in any way.

Good luck!

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