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Grammar and Punctuation

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Joanna Bartell

on 6 October 2015

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Transcript of Grammar and Punctuation

Successful Communication
and Paper Writing

Grammar, Punctuation, Zombies, and Active vs Passive Voice
Possessive, Plural
A Lot and the Alot
Our is a plural possessive adjective: "That is our car."
The word "are" is the present tense form of "to be" used with first person plural, second person singular and plural, and third person plural.
we are, you are, they are, I am, she/he/it is
Ex: "Those are my dogs."
(It's important!)
Passive Voice
How to avoid it (with zombies)
The first example is written in passive voice, and when "by zombies" is inserted after the verb, the sentence still makes sense.
If you can add the phrase "by zombies" after the verb in your sentence, then the sentence is written in passive voice.
Example: She was chased [by zombies].
Zombies chased her [by zombies].
This rule does not apply when the word "by" is used to mean "next to."
Example: "She slept soundly [by zombies]."
Even though the sentence in this example is in active voice, the insertion of "by zombies" still works, but ONLY because "by" is used to mean "next to."
Punctuate this sentence properly:
woman without her man is nothing
Woman, without her man, is nothing.
Woman: Without her, man is nothing.
Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours?
The same letter, punctuated differently...
Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
"Its" is possessive: "I took its diaper off and discovered it was a girl."
"It's" is a contraction for "it is": "I took its diaper off and discovered it's [it is] a girl!"
Note: When writing academic or professional papers - such as for your (future) job - avoid using contractions. Contractions are used regularly in oral style language, but they are unnecessary and often inappropriate when used in written style language.
"Your" is possessive: "I stole your puppy."
Where as "you're" is a contraction for "you are": "I stole your puppy because you're a bad pet owner."
Note: Again, in academic or professional papers, just don't use contractions.
To reiterate, simply do not use contractions.
"Effect" is usually used as a noun: "The effect on the child was devastating."
"Affect" is usually used as a verb: "The child was affected by his parents."
If you can substitute another verb, then "affect" is the correct word.
"The child was affected [eaten] by his parents."
"Then" is used to divide time: "I went to the hardware store to buy the rat poison, then I went home and cooked my parents dinner."
"Than" is used for comparison: "I am smarter than my parents; I found out their plan and would rather weaken them with rat poison than have them eat me first!
If you said, "I would rather weaken them with rat poison then have them eat me first," you are putting events into a measure of time, wherein you weakened your parents with rat poison, and then they ate you first, presumably before the other children.
Punctuation is Important
Sometimes the difference between life and death is a comma....
Punctuation actually does stuff....
Punctuation creates meaning...
Poor punctuation may cause potential employers to question your character...
... your friends, too.
Even worse than making you look uneducated and careless, these so called "common" mistakes have the potential to damage your credibility...
Still no...
A lot of beer cans...
If you can add the phrase "by zombies" after the verb in your sentence, you are using passive voice.
Passive voice tends to make sentences awkward and confusing. You should avoid it.
Use zombies to help you!
Much thanks to:
Matthew Inman's web comic The Oatmeal for all of the wonderful grammar comics.
Allie Brosh's blog Hyperbole and a Half. The Alot really is better at everything than we are...
On the other hand, the insertion of "by zombies" does not make sense in the second sentence, which is written in active voice.
Used in the same sentence:
"Those are our dogs."
Who Cares?
You do!
(And so do your potential employers...)
According to Time Business and Money...
92% of employers use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to recruit new employees.
According to Time, recruiters can and will ask for access to your online profiles; if you do not give it to them, they will likely think you are hiding something.
Poor grammar and spelling is more likely to cause a negative impression of you than "posts about your latest binge-drinking adventures."
I care, too!
Always use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation in homework, papers, and presentations (Power Point, handouts, etc.).
(And so does your audience!)
Schawbel, Dan. (2012, July 9). "How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Make Hiring Decisions Now." Time Business and Money.
If you can replace
"it is" or "it has" in your
sentence, then use "it's."
"Its" indicates possession.
For example:
"It's your job to herd
the cats! It's ALWAYS
been your job!"
In the first instance, it's stands for
"it is." In the second instance, it's
stands for "it has."
For example:
"That cat wants its tail back..."
In this case, "its" is referring to the cat.
*Note that you cannot replace "it is" or "it has" for the word "its" in this case.
"You're" stands for "you are."
For example:
"You're the master when it
comes to herding cats!"
"Your" indicates possession.
For example:
"Where did you get your cat wrangling skills, anyway?"
*Note: What happens when you try to replace "your" with "you're"?
"How did you lose ALL of the cats? The Cat Master title is no longer yours!"
"I didn't realize the lock was loose on the cat pen when I fed them last. I guess it's not your fault. You're the Cat Master!"
Hot dog.
Full transcript