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Writing Resources: Grammar and Composition

A downloadable spreadsheet comparing various components of both APA and MLA style.

Overview of Grammar and Composition

On this page, you can find downloadable and printable explanations of common grammar and sentence errors, as well as information about the writing process and essay structure. 

Grammar and Sentence Structure

Parts of Speech

Nouns  Includes the topics: nouns that look like verbs, proper and common nouns, concrete and abstract, singular and plural, and plural vs possessive nouns.

Pronouns sometimes fill in for nouns. There are many different kinds of pronouns, mainly personal, demonstrative, relative, interrogative, and indefinite. This is a 3-page handout explaining pronouns as well as such problems as noun-pronoun reference and the difference between it's and its

Verbs are the action words in a sentence. This 3-page handout includes types of verbs, verb tenses, gerunds and infinitives, active and passive verbs, and the three verb moods.

Adjectives and adverbs are descriptive words. This 2-page handout describes what they modify and how to form the comparative and superlative forms.

Prepositions show relationships within a sentence. This 1-page handout defines prepositions further, explains prepositional phrases and dangling prepositions, and offers a list of examples of prepositions.

Conjunctions link words, phrases, and clauses together. This 2-page handout explains the difference between coordinating and subordinating conjunctions and clauses, and begins to discuss correct sentence structure.

Sentence structure and types of sentences 

Run-on sentences, comma splices, and sentence fragments A very brief (1-page) explanation that might make a big difference in your writing! After reading, practice fixing these sentences. The second sheet holds the answers, so resist the urge to look there until you've done your best.

Types of phrases and how to use them in sentences


Subject-verb agreement A 3-page handout that clarifies some of the more confusing cases of making nouns and verbs agree in number.

Parallel construction This 1-page explanation clears up confusion about a very common problem!

Commonly Confused Words

Writing a Paper

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was any good essay: THE WRITING PROCESS (Some Brainstorming and Pre-writing ideas.)

Keeping it together: UNIFIED ESSAY STRUCTURE

What's your point?: THESIS STATEMENTS

Out of the puzzle pieces emerge a picture: PARAGRAPHS