GRAMMAR CONCEPTS GUIDE
GRAMMAR CONCEPTS GUIDE Appositive An appositive is a noun phrase that renames or identifies a noun or pronoun it precedes or follows. Usually, appositives are set off with commas from the rest of the sentence: The girl in the red dress is Sami, our best actress. Commas are not required when the appositive is a name or title: The girl in the red dress is our best actress Sami. Have you read Dean Hughes’s book Brothers? TIP: The memory aid “Appositive ID” can help you remember that appositives identify. Think about a crime show in which the detectives look for witnesses who can positively identify the suspect. TIP: To see if a group of words is an appositive, use this method: Create a new sentence in which you use the word you think is being identified as the subject. Use the verb “is” or “are” as the predicate. Put the group of words right after the predicate. If the new sentence makes sense, the group of words is an appositive, If it doesn’t, the group of words is not an appositive. Example: Put the list on the podium, the wooden stand by my desk. New sentence: The podium is the wooden stand by my desk. (Sensible sentence) Example: The book, which you asked me about, was disappointing. New sentence: The book is which you asked me about. (Crazy sentence) NOTE: In the last example “which you asked me about” does identify the book, but it isn’t an appositive because “which you asked me about” is a clause. Comparisons Adjectives and adverbs are often used to make comparisons. The different forms that are used are called the degrees of comparison.. Here are the rules governing their use: Positive – to describe one thing: The water was cold. The tulips grew quickly. Comparative – to compare two things: The water was colder than it was last week. The tulips grew more quickly than the sunflowers. Superlative – to compare three or more things or one thing to all others The water was the coldest it has been all season. The tulips grew most quickly of the flowers we planted. You create comparative degree comparisons by adding “er” or by adding the word “more” You create superlative degree comparisons by adding “est” or by adding the word “most” In most cases, you make the decision as to whether to add a suffix or the words “more” or “most” based on the number of syllables in the word you are basing the comparison on. Here are the specific guidelines: One syllable words: add the suffix “-er” or “-est” Two syllable words: add the suffix “-er” or “-est” OR the words “more” or “most,” depending on the word Three or more syllable words: add the words “more” or “most” colder coldest funnier funniest more often most often more beautiful most beautiful Key Exceptions: many more most far farther farthest bad worse worse good better best Errors When Making Comparisons: Double Comparisons Using a suffix and the word “more” or “most”: more colder most happiest Faulty Comparisons Using the wrong form for the number of items that are being compared. Examples: Of the two textbooks, the oldest edition is the best. (since two items compared, should be “better”) Of the three sprinters, Chris is faster. (since more than two items compared, should be “fastest”) Adding “er” when the word “more” should be used or adding “est” when the word “most” should be used Examples: Tonya is more nice than her sister. (since “nice” is only one syllable, “nicer” is correct) Tonya is beautifulest girl in her family. (since “beautiful” is three syllables, “most beautiful” is correct) NOT using the “other” or “else” when comparing people/things to a group to which they belong: Examples: I was more pleased than anyone on the committee.(should be “…than anyone else on the committee”) Los Angeles has more freeway traffic than any city in the U.S. (should be “…any other city in the U.S.) NOT stating the things that are actually meant to be compared: Fifi’s ears are bigger than Horace. “Horace’s” OR “Horace’s ears” should be used to show that the ears are being compared.