11 ESSENTIAL RULES OF GRAMMAR

 

1. To join two independent clauses, use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a sentence modifier.

 

 

2. Use commas to bracket nonrestrictive phrases, which are not essential to the sentence's meaning.

 

3. Do not use commas to bracket phrases that are essential to a sentence's meaning.

4. When beginning a sentence with an introductory phrase, include a comma.

5. To indicate possession, end a singular noun with an apostrophe followed by an 's'. Otherwise, the noun's form seems plural.

6. Use proper punctuation to integrate a quotation into a sentence. If the introductory material is an independent clause, add the quotation after a colon. If the introductory material ends in "thinks," "saying," or some other verb indicating expression, use a comma.

7. Make the subject and verb agree with each other, not with a word that comes between them.

 

8. Be sure that a pronoun, a participial phrase, or an appositive refers clearly to the proper subject.

 

9. Use parallel construction to make a strong point and create a smooth flow.

 

10. Use the active voice unless you specifically need to use the passive.

 

11. Omit unnecessary words.