The Least You Should Know about English: Form A / Edition 7

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For over twenty years, the simple, friendly approach of THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENGLISH has helped students with their spelling, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph structure.

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Editorial Reviews

Written for students who need to review basic English skills, this book can be used in the classroom and at home as a self-tutoring text. The eighth edition includes a new section on parts of speech, an enhanced section on writing, and new exercises, writing samples, and assignments. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780155080317
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.99 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

With an amazing gift for explaining the basics of punctuation and grammar, Paige Wilson, Assistant Professor at Pasadena City College, focuses on the vital basics of English, reinforcing fundamental concepts with an abundance of easy-to-follow exercises.

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Table of Contents

What Is the Least You Should Know? 1
1. Word Choice and Spelling 4
Your Own List of Misspelled Words 4
Words Often Confused 5
Proofreading Exercise 14
Sentence Writing 14
Words Often Confused (Set 2) 15
Proofreading Exercise 24
Sentence Writing 24
The Eight Parts of Speech 25
Paragraph Exercise 29
Sentence Writing 30
Contractions 30
Proofreading Exercise 36
Sentence Writing 37
Possessives 38
Proofreading Exercise 44
Sentence Writing 44
Review of Contractions and Possessives 44
Words That Can Be Broken into Parts 46
Rule for Doubling a Final Letter 47
Progress Test 50
Using a Dictionary 51
2. Sentence Structure 57
Finding Subjects and Verbs 58
Paragraph Exercise 64
Sentence Writing 64
Locating Prepositional Phrases 65
Paragraph Exercise 70
Sentence Writing 71
Understanding Dependent Clauses 71
Paragraph Exercise 77
Sentence Writing 78
Correcting Fragments 79
Proofreading Exercise 85
Sentence Writing 86
Correcting Run-on Sentences 86
Review of Fragments and Run-On Sentences 93
Proofreading Exercise 94
Sentence Writing 94
Identifying Verb Phrases 95
Review Exercise 99
Using Standard English Verbs 100
Proofreading Exercise 106
Sentence Writing 107
Using Regular and Irregular Verbs 108
Progress Test 117
Maintaining Subject/Verb Agreement 118
Proofreading Exercise 124
Sentence Writing 125
Avoiding Shifts in Time 125
Proofreading Exercises 126
Recognizing Verbal Phrases 127
Paragraph Exercise 132
Sentence Writing 133
Correcting Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers 134
Proofreading Exercise 137
Sentence Writing 138
Following Sentence Patterns 138
Paragraph Exercise 144
Sentence Writing 145
Avoiding Cliches, Awkward Phrasing, and Wordiness 146
Proofreading Exercise 153
Sentence Writing 154
Correcting for Parallel Structure 155
Proofreading Exercise 160
Sentence Writing 161
Using Pronouns 161
Proofreading Exercise 169
Sentence Writing 169
Avoiding Shifts in Person 170
Proofreading Exercises 170
Review of Sentence Structure Errors 172
Proofreading Exercise 174
3. Punctuation and Capital Letters 175
Period, Question Mark, Exclamation Point, Semicolon, Colon, Dash 175
Proofreading Exercise 181
Sentence Writing 182
Comma Rules 182
Proofreading Exercise 188
Sentence Writing 188
Comma Rules 4, 5, and 6 189
Proofreading Exercise 194
Sentence Writing 195
Review of the Comma 196
Comma Review Exercise 196
Sentence Writing 197
Quotation Marks and Underlining/Italics 197
Proofreading Exercise 202
Sentence Writing 202
Capital Letters 203
Review of Punctuation and Capital Letters 209
Comprehensive Test 210
4. Writing 212
What Is the Least You Should Know about Writing? 213
Basic Structures 213
I. The Paragraph 213
Defining a Paragraph 214
Types of Paragraphs 214
II. The Essay 216
The Five-Paragraph Essay and Beyond 217
Defining an Essay 217
A Sample Essay 217
"Verbal Shorthand" 218
Writing Skills 219
III. Writing in Your Own Voice 219
Narration 220
Description 222
Writing Assignments 223
Assignment 1 Narration: Famous Sayings 223
Assignment 2 Description: A Picture Worth 250 Words? 224
IV. Finding a Topic 224
Look to Your Interests 224
Focused Free Writing (or Brainstorming) 225
Clustering 225
Talking with Other Students 226
Assignment 3 List Your Interests 226
Assignment 4 Do Some Free Writing 226
Assignment 5 Try Clustering Ideas 227
V. Organizing Ideas 227
Thesis Statements 227
Exercise 1 Thesis or Fact? 228
Assignment 6 Write a Thesis Statement 228
Organizing an Essay 228
Topic Sentences 229
Organizing Body Paragraphs (or Single Paragraphs) 229
Transitional Expressions 230
Exercise 2 Adding Transitional Expressions 231
Assignment 7 Can You Communicate Without Words? 231
VI. Supporting with Details 231
Types of Support 232
Assignment 8 Write an Essay on One of Your Interests 234
Assignment 9 Making Decisions 234
VII. Revising Your Papers 235
Assignment 10 What Does It Take to Be a Leader? 237
Revision Checklist 237
Exchanging Papers 237
Proofreading Aloud 238
Assignment 11 What's in a Name? 238
Assignment 12 "Clothes Make the Man" 238
Assignment 13 A Movie or TV Show That Has Made an Impression 238
Assignment 14 Making "Sense" of It All 239
VIII. Presenting Your Work 239
Paper Formats 239
Titles 239
IX. Writing about What You Read 240
Writing a Reaction 240
Assignment 15 Write a Reaction Paragraph 241
excerpt from Backtalk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids 241
Coming to Your Own Conclusions 242
excerpt from Little Journeys 242
Assignment 16 What Are Your Conclusions? 243
Assignment 17 Write a 100-Word Summary 245
"Straight Talk" 245
Assignment 18 Write a Reaction or a 100-Word Summary 248
"Wandering Home" 248
Answers 251
Index 327
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