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The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation

The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation

by Bryan A. Garner
The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation

The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation

by Bryan A. Garner


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Few people can write on the English language with the authority of Bryan A. Garner. The author of The Chicago Manual of Style’s popular “Grammar and Usage” chapter, Garner explains the vagaries of English with absolute precision and utmost clarity. With The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, he has written the definitive guide for writers who want their prose to be both memorable and correct.

Throughout the book Garner describes standard literary English—the forms that mark writers and speakers as educated users of the language. He also offers historical context for understanding the development of these forms. The section on grammar explains how the canonical parts of speech came to be identified, while the section on syntax covers the nuances of sentence patterns as well as both traditional sentence diagramming and transformational grammar. The usage section provides an unprecedented trove of empirical evidence in the form of Google Ngrams, diagrams that illustrate the changing prevalence of specific terms over decades and even centuries of English literature. Garner also treats punctuation and word formation, and concludes the book with an exhaustive glossary of grammatical terms and a bibliography of suggested further reading and references.

The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation is a magisterial work, the culmination of Garner’s lifelong study of the English language. The result is a landmark resource that will offer clear guidelines to students, writers, and editors alike.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226188850
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 05/16/2016
Series: Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing
Pages: 552
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Bryan A. Garner is president of LawProse, Inc. and Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of the "Grammar and Usage" chapter of The Chicago Manual of Style and editor in chief of Black’s Law Dictionary. His many books on language and law include Garner’s Modern English Usage and Legal Writing in Plain English, the latter from the University of Chicago Press.

Read an Excerpt

The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation

By Bryan A. Garner

The University of Chicago Press

Copyright © 2016 Bryan A. Garner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-226-19129-4


I. The Traditional Parts of Speech

5 How did we arrive at the canonical eight?

The traditional grammarian's approach to parts of speech is often attributed to an ancient of some renown: Dionysios Thrax, who lived in the second century B.C. In Tékne Grammatiké (or The Grammatical Art), he listed eight parts of speech: noun, verb, participle, article, pronoun, preposition, adverb, conjunction. These categories were long accepted by Greek, by Roman, and later by European grammarians — and there were scores of them (hence only some highlights here).

The Roman grammarian Aelius Donatus, who lived in the fourth century A.D., wrote Ars Grammatica — a book that gained great popularity into the Middle Ages. His eight parts of speech were slightly different from those of Dionysios:


noun (adjective) noun (adjective)
verb verb
participle participle
article ____
pronoun pronoun
preposition preposition
adverb (interjection) adverb
conjunction conjunction
____ interjection

Both classified nouns and adjectives together — Dionysios because the two have the same kinds of inflectional endings in Greek, Donatus presumably because he was influenced by predecessors such as Dionysios. But Donatus dropped articles (Latin has none) and separated interjections from adverbs.

The Donatus model was followed by other early influential grammarians, such as Priscian, who lived in the fifth century A.D. So influential was Priscian that he gave us the phrase to break Priscian's head, meaning "to use bad grammar." In Renaissance England, a schoolboy learning Latin might be scolded when he mistranslated a phrase from English into Latin, "No, William, you're breaking Priscian's head!"

So influential was Latin grammar in England that English grammars were sparse until the 18th century. But Shakespeare's main rival, Ben Jonson (1572–1637), wrote a grammar that was published in 1640, three years after his death. Jonson counted "in our English speech ... the same parts with the Latins" — that is, eight. His list was that of Donatus (though Jonson's direct influence was Priscian). But then he added another: articles.

When English grammars began to proliferate in the 18th and 19th centuries, there was great variability in grammarians' counts of parts of speech. In 1711, James Greenwood repeated Donatus's fourth-century roster. Others of the time replicated it. Still other grammarians, however, counted only four — among these being John Entick, Thomas Dyche, Anne Fisher, and James Harris. Some had the number swell to nine (by adding articles, as Ben Jonson had done in 1640) or ten (by adding adjectives). There was simply no consensus.

Not until 1761 did any grammarian settle on the eight that became the canonical parts of speech in English. He was the same man who discovered oxygen: Joseph Priestley (1733–1804). In his Rudiments of English Grammar, he listed these:

• noun

• adjective

• pronoun

• verb

• adverb

• preposition

• conjunction

• interjection

Even so, it took another 80 years or so for those eight to be firmly accepted — perhaps because the categories fluidly relate to form and function. That is, some words are called nouns because they usually function that way, but of course they can often function as adjectives and verbs as well. And any part of speech can function as an interjection. So it's not a perfect taxonomy.

The influential Robert Lowth counted nine in 1762 by adding articles; John Fell followed those nine in 1784; so did George Neville Ussher in 1785 and the highly influential Lindley Murray in 1795. But more grammarians of that period counted ten by adding participles to the mix: Rowland Jones in 1771, Ellin Devis in 1775, Ralph Harrison in 1777, Caleb Bingham in 1785, E. Harrold in 1804, Lady Eleanor Fenn in 1790, John Hutchins in 1791, Caleb Alexander in 1792, Thomas Coar in 1796, Duncan Mackintosh (with his two daughters) in 1797, Daniel Staniford in 1797, Jane Gardiner in 1799, David Gurney in 1801, Alexander Crombie in 1802, and John Comly in 1803. These grammarians were doubtless aware of one another's work to one degree or another.

Some Americans were mavericks. In 1782, Robert Ross wrote The American Grammar with the help of Aaron Burr (the president of Yale College and father to the future vice president and killer of Alexander Hamilton). They counted eight parts of speech in both English and Latin but then speculated: "Since all Discourse must be about Things, their Properties, Actions, and Relations; were it not for long established Custom, we might divide Speech into four Parts, viz. Noun, Adnoun [i.e., adjective], Verb, and Participle." Two years later, Noah Webster, more famous as a lexicographer than as a grammarian, counted six parts of speech. But he was long-lived, and in his final grammar nearly 50 years later, he counted seven — the conventional eight minus interjections. The most extreme examples were James Brown, who in his 1820 American Grammar counted thirty-three, and William S. Balch, who in 1838 counted only two (nouns and verbs).

This little survey only skims the surface. By 1801 there were 297 different listings of English parts of speech accounting for a total of 58 varieties. By the 1840s, however, a consensus was gradually emerging for Priestley's eight:

• noun

• pronoun

• adjective

• verb

• adverb

• preposition

• conjunction

• interjection

The variants gradually became outliers among mainstay school grammars.

Even in recent years, though, the categories aren't fully settled: modern grammarians have set the number at three, four, six, seven, eight (the traditional number), nine, ten, eleven, twelve, and nineteen. One says there is "no definitive answer." In this way, parts of speech are rather like the biologist's species and genera: they are human constructs that aren't immutable.

In the discussion that follows, we examine the canonical eight with full knowledge that the classifications aren't airtight.


Traditional Classifications

6 Nouns generally.

A noun is a word that names something, whether abstract (intangible) or concrete (tangible). It may be a common noun (the name of a generic class or type of person, place, thing, process, activity, or condition) or a proper noun (the name of a specific person, place, or thing — hence capitalized). A concrete noun may be a count noun (if what it names can be counted — as with horses or cars) or a mass noun (if what it names is uncountable or collective — as with information or salt). A noun-equivalent is a phrase or clause that serves the function of a noun in a sentence {to serve your country is honorable} {bring anyone you like}. Nouns and noun-equivalents are collectively called substantives or (especially throughout this book) noun elements.

7 Common nouns.]

A common noun is the generic name of one item in a class or group {a chemical} {a river} {a pineapple}. It is not capitalized unless it begins a sentence or appears in a title. A common noun is usually used with a determiner — that is, an article or other word (e.g., some,few) that indicates the number and definiteness of the noun element {a loaf} {the day} {some person}. Common nouns are often analyzed into three subcategories: concrete nouns, abstract nouns, and collective nouns. A concrete noun is solid or real; it indicates something perceptible to the physical senses {a building} {the wind} {honey}. An abstract noun denotes something you cannot physically see, touch, taste, hear, or smell {joy} {expectation} {neurosis}. A collective noun — which can be viewed as a concrete noun but is often separately categorized — refers to a group or collection of people or things {a crowd of people} {a flock of birds} {a herd of rhinos}. See § 10.

8 [Proper nouns.

A proper noun is the name of a specific person, place, or thing {John Doe} {Moscow} {the Hope Diamond}, or the title of a movie {Citizen Kane}, a play {Death of a Salesman}, a book {Oliver Twist}, a newspaper or magazine {The New Yorker}, a piece of music {U2's "All Because of You"}, a painting {Mona Lisa}, a sculpture {The Kiss}, or any other publication, performance, or work of art. Proper nouns may be singular {Mary} {London} or plural {the Great Lakes} {the Twin Cities}. A proper noun is always capitalized, regardless of how it is used — unless someone is purposely flouting the rules {k.d. lang}. A common noun may become a proper noun {Old Hickory} {the Big Easy}, and sometimes a proper noun may be used figuratively and informally, as if it were a common noun {like Moriarty, he is a Napoleon of crime}. Proper nouns may be compounded when used as a unit to name something {the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel} {Saturday Evening Post}. Over time, some proper nouns (called eponyms) have developed common-noun counterparts, such as sandwich (from the Earl of Sandwich) and china (the porcelain, from the nation China). Articles and other determiners are used with proper nouns only when the last part of the noun is a common noun or the determiner provides emphasis {the Savoy Hotel} {Sam? I knew a Sam Hill once}.

9 [Count nouns.

A count noun has singular and plural forms and expresses discrete, enumerable things {dictionary–dictionaries} {hoof–hooves} {newspaper–newspapers}. As the subject of a sentence, a singular count noun takes a singular verb {the jar is full}; a plural count noun takes a plural verb {the jars are full}.

10 Collective nouns.

A collective noun denotes an aggregate of individuals or things but is itself grammatically singular in form {group} {team} {flock} {herd}. For purposes of verb and pronoun agreement, however, collective nouns may be treated as either singular or plural, depending on whether the emphasis is on the constituent members acting as a unified whole {the committee meets on Tuesday to announce its decision} or, less commonly in American English (AmE), individually {the committee are debating their decision}. The general preference in AmE is to treat collective nouns as singular; the opposite is true in British English (BrE). But when collective nouns appear in expressions of multitude (see below), they are generally treated as plural.

11 Expressions of multitude.

In constructions such as a bunch of amateurs, a collective noun expresses multitude, rather than signifying a unified group. Grammarians call collective nouns functioning this way quantifying collectives. (But some of the most common expressions of multitude use quantifying determiners in place of collectives: number, lot, couple, and few don't function like collective nouns in other contexts.) Such constructions place the quantifying collective or determiner between an indefinite article (a or an) and a postmodifying of-phrase using a plural or mass noun {a host of problems} {a group of doctors} {a set of stemware} {a lot of questions}.

As with collective nouns generally, syntax with expressions of multitude is governed by meaning and not by strict grammar — a phenomenon known as synesis or notional concord. (See § 186.) So while lone collective nouns typically signify the group as a unit and hence are treated as singular, nouns of multitude are distributive: verbs and pronouns must agree in number with the noun following of, not the singular noun of multitude preceding it.

If the noun following of is plural (as it typically is), verbs and pronouns must be too {a number of listeners always complain whenever we bring in a guest host} {a gang of kids were riding their bikes around the neighborhood}. But if the noun is a singular mass noun, use singular verbs and pronouns {a lot of this bread has mold on it}. (If the noun of multitude is plural, however, the accompanying verbs and pronouns invariably are as well {two teams of surgeons operate on their patient} {four sets of china were on sale}.)

Two caveats. First, not all constructions that place a noun between an indefinite article and a postmodifying of-phrase are true expressions of multitude. Constructions referring to containers or units of measurement often take this form {a jar of jellybeans} {a pound of nuts}. Here, the container or measurement noun governs meaning and therefore concord {a bushel of apples costs $60}. And a collective noun may also be followed by an of-phrase describing the group's composition {a school of minnows} {a herd of bison}. In those cases, the ordinary rules for collective nouns apply (i.e., the noun may be treated as singular, depending on emphasis) {a flock of geese makes its way south for the winter} {a flock of geese fly in a V formation}.

Second, when the (instead of a) precedes number of, the emphasis is on the number itself, not the individual things it describes, so it is treated as singular. Compare "a number of applicants were unqualified" with "the number of unqualified applicants was surprising." But not all nouns of multitude are treated this way — consider majority {the majority of senators vote along party lines}. As above, meaning and emphasis determine concord.

12 Expressions of partition.

Expressions of partition, which signify a part of the group represented by the of-phrase (in this context termed the partitive genitive), follow the same rules as expressions of multitude. In place of a noun of multitude, these expressions use a partitive noun {fraction} {part} {portion}, a fraction, or a percentage {a fraction of the students raise their hands} {one-quarter of the competitors start at 10 a.m.} {only 42% of doctors report getting annual physicals}. This category includes partitive constructions using one of those + [plural noun] + who/that, which always take plural verbs and pronouns in the relative clause {she is one of those writers who wake up before dawn to start their work}. Even a fraction that is plural in form is treated as singular if it's followed by of and a mass noun {two-thirds of Mary's garden is planted with gladioluses}. But as with the above constructions also governed by synesis, meaning sometimes necessitates exceptions to the rule {just a fraction of those nails is all you need to do the job}. See § 186.

13 Mass nouns.

A mass noun (sometimes called a noncount noun) is one that denotes something uncountable, either because it is abstract {cowardice} {evidence} or because it refers to an aggregation of people or things taken as an indeterminate whole {luggage} {the bourgeoisie}. The key difference between mass nouns and collective nouns is that unlike collective nouns (which are count nouns), mass nouns never take indefinite articles and typically do not have plural forms. (Compare a team to *an evidence, or two groups to *two luggages.) A mass noun can stand alone {music is more popular than ever} or with a determiner other than an indefinite article (some music or the music but not a music). As the subject of a sentence, a mass noun typically takes a singular verb and pronoun {the litigation is so varied that it defies simple explanation}.

Some mass nouns, however, are plural in form but are treated as grammatically singular {politics} {ethics} {physics} {news}. (See § 190.) Others are always grammatically plural {manners} {scissors} {clothes}. But just as singular mass nouns don't take an indefinite article, plural mass nouns don't combine with numbers: you'd never say *three scissors or *six manners. Some that refer to concrete objects, such as scissors or sunglasses, can be enumerated by adding pair of {a pair of scissors} {three pairs of sunglasses}. Likewise, singular concrete mass nouns can usually be enumerated by adding a unit noun such as piece and of {a piece of cutlery} {seven pieces of stationery}. Both singular and plural mass nouns can take indefinite adjectives such as any, less, much, and some that express general quantity {what you need is some courage} {he doesn't have any manners}.

Many nouns can be both mass nouns and count nouns. With concrete nouns, which tend to be countable, the countable sense refers to individual things or instances {there were white chickens beside the red wheelbarrow}; the mass sense refers to the thing viewed as a substance or material {let's have chicken for dinner}. With abstract nouns, which tend to be uncountable, the mass sense refers to the general phenomenon {the candidate's speech emphasized the importance of education}; the countable sense refers to individual instances or types {she told her son, "You'll never succeed without an education"}.

Properties of Nouns

14 Generally.

Nouns have properties of case and number. Some traditional grammarians also consider gender and person to be properties of nouns. The change in a noun or pronoun's form to indicate these properties is called declension. In English, nouns change form only for number and the genitive case (see § 35); only pronouns truly decline in the traditional sense (see § 56).


Excerpted from The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation by Bryan A. Garner. Copyright © 2016 Bryan A. Garner. Excerpted by permission of The University of Chicago Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

1 The field of grammar
2 Who killed grammar?
3 Why study grammar?
4 Overview of the book               I. The Traditional Parts of Speech
5 How did we arrive at the canonical eight?Nouns  
Traditional Classifications
6 Nouns generally 
7 Common nouns 
8 Proper nouns 
9 Count nouns 
10 Collective nouns  
11 Expressions of multitude
12 Expressions of partition 
13 Mass nouns 
Properties of Nouns
14 Generally
15 Case  
16 Number 
17 Gender 
18 Person 
19 Generally
20 Adding “‑s” or “‑es”
21 Plurals of proper nouns
22 Nouns ending in “‑f” or “‑fe”
23 Nouns ending in “‑o”
24 Nouns ending in “‑y”
25 Nouns ending in “‑ics”
26 Compound nouns
27 Irregular plurals
28 Borrowed plurals
29 Plural form with singular sense
30 Plural-form proper nouns
31 Tricky anomalies 
32 Function 
33 Common case, nominative function
34 Common case, objective function
35 Genitive case
36 The “of”-genitive 
37 Genitives of titles and names
38 Joint and separate genitives
Agent and Recipient Nouns
39 Definitions; use
40 Appositives: definition and use
41 Nouns as adjectives 
42 Nouns as verbs
43 Adverbial functions
44 Other conversions Pronouns
Definition and Uses
45 “Pronoun” defined 
46 Antecedents of pronouns
47 Clarity of antecedent
48 Pronouns without antecedents
49 Sentence meaning
Properties of Pronouns
50 Four properties
51 Number and antecedent
52 Exceptions regarding number of the antecedent
53 Pronoun with multiple antecedents
54 Some traditional singular pronouns
55 Gender  
56 Case  
57 Pronouns in apposition
58 Nominative case misused for objective
Classes of Pronouns
59 Seven classes 
Personal Pronouns
60 Form 
61 Identification
62 Changes in form 
63 Agreement generally
64 Expressing gender
65 Determining gender
66 Special rules
67 Case after linking verb
68 Case after “than” or “as-as”
69 Special uses
70 The singular “they” 
Possessive Pronouns
71 Uses and forms 
72 Possessive pronouns vs contractions 
Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns
73 Compound personal pronouns: “‑self” forms 
74 Basic uses of reflexive and intensive pronouns 
Demonstrative Pronouns
75 Definition 
Reciprocal Pronouns
76 Generally
77 Simple and phrasal pronouns
Interrogative Pronouns
78 Definition
79 Referent of interrogative pronouns
Relative Pronouns
80 Definition
81 Gender, number, and case with relative pronouns
82 Positional nuances
83 Antecedent 
84 Remote relative clauses
85 Omitted antecedent
86 Relative pronoun and the antecedent “one” 
87 Function of relative pronoun in clause 
88 Genitive forms
89 “Whose” and “of which”
90 Compound relative pronouns
91 “Who” vs“whom”
Indefinite Pronouns
92 Generally
93 The indefinite pronoun “one”Adjectives
Types of Adjectives
94 Definition
95 Qualitative adjectives
96 Quantitative adjectives
97 Demonstrative adjectives
98 Possessive adjectives 
99 Interrogative adjectives
100 Distributive adjectives
101 Indefinite adjectives
102 Pronominal adjectives 
103 Proper adjectives  
104 Compound adjectives
105 Relative adjectives 
Articles as Limiting Adjectives
106 Definition 
107 Definite article
108 Definite articles and proper names
109 Indefinite article  
110 Indefinite article in specific reference
111 Choosing “a” or “an”
112 Articles with coordinate nouns
113 Effect on meaning 
114 Omitted article and zero article
115 Article as pronoun substitute
Dates as Adjectives
116 Use and punctuation
Position of Adjectives
117 Basic rules 
118 After possessives  
119 Adjective modifying pronoun
120 Predicate adjective
121 Dangling participles
122 Distinguishing an adjective from an adverb or participle
Degrees of Adjectives
123 Generally 
124 Comparative forms
125 Superlative forms  
126 Forming comparatives and superlatives  
127 Equal and unequal comparisons 
128 Noncomparable adjectives
Special Types of Adjectives
129 Participial adjectives
130 Coordinate adjectives
131 Phrasal adjectives  
132 Exceptions for hyphenating phrasal adjectives
Functional Variation
133 Adjectives as nouns
134 Adjectives as verbs
135 Other parts of speech functioning as adjectives
136 The weakening effect of injudicious adjectivesVerbs
137 Verbs generally
138 Transitive and intransitive verbs
139 Ergative verbs
140 Dynamic and stative verbs
141 Regular and irregular verbs
142 Linking verbs
143 Phrasal verbs
144 Principal and auxiliary verbs
145 Verb phrases
146 Contractions
147 Definition 
148 Split infinitive 
149 Uses of infinitive 
150 Dangling infinitive 
Participles and Gerunds
151 Participles generally
152 Forming present participles
153 Forming past participles
154 Participial phrases
155 Gerunds
156 Gerund phrases
157 Distinguishing between participles and gerunds
158 Fused participles 
159 Dangling participles
160 Dangling gerunds
Properties of Verbs
161 Five properties
162 Active and passive voice
163 Progressive conjugation and voice
164 Generally
165 Indicative mood
166 Imperative mood 
167 Subjunctive mood
168 Subjunctive vsindicative mood
169 Present subjunctive
170 Past subjunctive
171 Past-perfect subjunctive
172 Generally
173 Present tense
174 Past indicative
175 Future tense
176 Present-perfect tense
177 Past-perfect tense
178 Future-perfect tense
179 Progressive tenses
180 Backshifting in reported speech
181 Conjugation of the regular verb “to call”
182 Conjugation of the irregular verb “to hide”
183 Conjugation of the verb “to be”
184 Generally
185 Generally
186 Agreement in person and number
187 Disjunctive compound subjects
188 Conjunctive compound subjects
189 Some other nuances of number involving conjunctions
190 Peculiar nouns that are plural in form but singular in sense
191 Agreement of indefinite pronouns
192 Relative pronouns as subjects
193 “There is”; “Here is”
194 False attraction to intervening matter
195 False attraction to predicate noun
196 Misleading connectives: “as well as,” “along with,” “together with,” etc
197 Agreement in first and second person
Auxiliary Verbs
198 Generally 
199 Modal auxiliaries 
200 “Can” and “could”
201 “May” and “might”
202 “Must”
203 “Ought”
204 “Shall”
205 “Should”
206 “Will” and “would”
207 “Dare” and “need”
208 “Do”  
209 “Have”Adverbs
Definition and Formation
210 Generally
211 Sentence adverbs 
212 Adverbial suffixes
213 Adverbs without suffixes
214 Distinguished from adjectives
Simple vs Compound Adverbs
215 Standard and flat adverbs
216 Phrasal and compound adverbs
Types of Adverbs
217 Adverbs of manner
218 Adverbs of time
219 Adverbs of place
220 Adverbs of degree 
221 Adverbs of reason 
222 Adverbs of consequence
223 Adverbs of number
224 Interrogative adverbs
225 Exclamatory adverbs
226 Affirmative and negative adverbs
227 Relative adverbs
228 Conjunctive adverbs
Adverbial Degrees
229 Generally
230 Comparative forms
231 Superlative forms 
232 Irregular adverbs
233 Noncomparable adverbs
Position of Adverbs
234 Placement as affecting meaning
235 Modifying words other than verbs
236 Modifying intransitive verbs
237 Adverbs and linking verbs
238 Adverb within verb phrase
239 Importance of placement
240 Adverbial objective
241 Adverbial clause
242 “Only”Prepositions
Definition and Types
243 Generally
244 Simple, compound
245 Phrasal prepositions
246 Participial prepositions
Prepositional Phrases
247 Generally
248 Prepositional function
249 Placement
250 Refinements on placement
251 Preposition-stranding
252 Clashing prepositions
253 Elliptical phrases
254 Case of pronouns
Other Prepositional Issues
255 Functional variation
256 Use and misuse of “like”
Limiting Prepositional Phrases
257 Avoiding overuse
258 Cutting prepositional phrases
259 Cutting unnecessary prepositions
260 Replacing with adverbs
261 Replacing with genitives
262 Using active voiceConjunctions
263 Definition and types
264 Types of conjunctions: simple and compound
265 Coordinating conjunctions
266 Correlative conjunctions
267 Copulative conjunctions
268 Adversative conjunctions
269 Disjunctive conjunctions
270 Final conjunctions
271 Subordinating conjunctions
272 Special uses of subordinating conjunctions
273 Adverbial conjunctions
274 Expletive conjunctions
275 Disguised conjunctions
276 “With” used loosely as a conjunction
277 Beginning a sentence with a conjunction
278 Beginning a sentence with “however”
279 Conjunctions and the number of a verbInterjections
280 Definition
281 Usage generally
282 Functional variation
283 Words that are exclusively interjections
284 Punctuating interjections
285 “O” and “oh”II Syntax
Sentences, Clauses, and Their Patterns
286 Definition
287 Statements
288 Questions
289 Some exceptional types of questions
290 Directives 
291 Exceptional directives
292 Exclamations
The Four Traditional Types of Sentence Structures
293 Simple sentence
294 Compound sentence
295 Complex sentence
296 Compound-complex sentence
English Sentence Patterns
297 Importance of word order
298 The basic SVO pattern
299 All seven patterns
300 Variations on ordering the elements
301 Constituent elements
302 Identifying the subject
303 Identifying the predicate
304 Identifying the verb
305 Identifying the object
306 Identifying complements
307 Inner and outer complements
308 Identifying the adverbial element
309 In general 
310 Relative clauses
311 Appositive clauses 
312 Conditional clauses
313 Generally 
314 Anaphoric and cataphoric ellipsis
315 Whiz-deletions
316 Negation generally
317 The word “not”
318 The word “no”
319 Using negating pronouns and adverbs
320 Using “neither” and “nor”
321 Words that are negative in meaning and function
322 Affix negation
323 Negative interrogative and imperative statements
324 Double negatives
325 Other forms of negation
326 “Any” and “some” in negative statements
327 Generally
328 Expletive “it”
329 Expletive “there” 
330 Generally
331 Prepositions
332 Paired joining terms
333 Auxiliary verbs
334 Verbs and adverbs at the outset
335 Longer elements 
Cleft Sentences
336 Definition 
337 Types 
338 Uses  Traditional Sentence Diagramming
339 History and description
340 Benefits of diagrams
341 Using diagrams
342 Criticisms
343 How diagrams work
344 Baseline 
345 Subject
346 Predicate
347 Direct object
348 Objective complement
349 Indirect object
350 Subjective complement
351 One-word modifiers
352 Prepositional phrases
353 Adjective clauses
354 Adverbial clauses
355 Noun clauses
356 Infinitives
357 Participles
358 Gerunds
359 Appositives
360 Independent elements
361 Conjunctions
362 Diagramming compound sentences
363 Diagramming complex sentences
364 Diagramming compound-complex sentences  Transformational Grammar
365 Definition 
366 Scope of section
367 Terminology of transformational grammar
368 Tools of transformational grammar
369 Universal symbols in rules
370 Tree diagrams
Base Rules in Transformational Grammar
371 Parts of speech
372 Sentence basics
Nouns and Noun Phrases
373 Functions of noun phrases
374 Simple noun phrases
375 Types of determiners
376 Numeric and nonnumeric determiners
377 Multiple determiners
378 Determiners in noun phrases
379 Prearticles
380 Noun phrases with determiner and prearticle
Noun-Phrase Modifiers
381 Modifiers
382 Compound nouns
383 Combined rules
384 Number, person, and possession
Verb Phrases
385 Introduction
386 Functions of verb phrase
387 Principal verbs
388 Auxiliaries
389 Auxiliary verbs
390 “Have”
391 Multiple auxiliaries
392 “Be” as a principal verb
Different Types of Principal Verbs
393 Generally
394 Middle verbs
395 Special subtypes
396 Adverbials with principal verbs
397 Simple adverbs
398 Functions of simple adverbs
399 Prepositional phrase as adverbial
400 Noun phrase as adverbial
401 Adverbials of place, time, and manner
402 Number and tense of verbs
403 Deep and surface structure
404 Transformational rules
405 Surface transformation
406 Simple-question transformation
407 Imperative transformation
408 Active- to passive-voice transformation and back again
Spotting Ambiguities
409 Identification
410 Lexical ambiguity 
411 Surface-structure ambiguity
412 Deep-structure ambiguity
413 Active- and passive-voice diagramsIII Word Formation 
414 Generally 
415 Criteria for morphemes
416 Free and bound morphemes
417 Stems and affixes 
418 Inflectional and derivational suffixes
419 Compounding
420 Conversion
421 Shortened forms 
422 Elongations
423 Reduplicative forms
424 Loan translations 
425 Acronyms and initialisms
426 NeologismsIV Word Usage
427 Grammar vsusage
428 Standard Written English
429 Dialect
430 Focus on traditionTroublesome Words and Phrases
431 Good usage vs. common usage
432 Using big data to assess linguistic change
433 Preventive grammar
434 Glossary of troublesome expressionsBias-Free Language
435 Maintaining credibility
436 Gender bias
437 Other biases
438 Invisible gender-neutrality
439 Techniques for achieving gender-neutrality
440 Necessary gender-specific language
441 Sex-specific labels as adjectives
442 Gender-neutral singular pronouns
443 Problematic suffixes
444 Avoiding other biased language
445 Unnecessary focus on personal characteristics
446 Unnecessary emphasis on the trait, not the person
447 Inappropriate labelsPrepositional Idioms
448 Idiomatic uses
449 Shifts in idiom
450 Words and the prepositions construed with themV Punctuation
451 IntroductionThe Comma
Using Commas
452 With a conjunction between independent clauses
453 After a transitional or introductory phrase
454 To set off a nonrestrictive phrase or clause
455 To separate items in a series
456 To separate parallel modifiers
457 To distinguish indirect from direct speech
458 To separate the parts of full dates and addresses
459 To separate long numbers into three-digit chunks
460 To set off a name, word, or phrase used as a vocative
461 Before a direct question inside another sentence
462 To set off “etc.,” “et al.,” and the like at the end of a series
463 After the salutation in an informal letter
Preventing Misused Commas
464 Not to separate a subject and its verb
465 Not to separate a verb and its object
466 Not to set off a quotation that blends into the sentence
467 Not to set off an adverb that needs emphasis
468 Not to separate compound predicates
469 Not to use alone to splice independent clauses
470 Not to use after a sentence-starting conjunction
471 Not to omit after an internal set-off word or phrase
472 Not to set off restrictive matter
473 Not around name suffixes such as Jr., III, Inc., and Ltd.
474 Not to separate modifiers that aren’t parallelThe Semicolon
Using Semicolons
475 To unite two short, closely connected sentences
476 To separate items in a complex series
477 In old style, to set off explanation or elaboration
Preventing Misused Semicolons
478 Not where a colon is needed, as after a formal salutation
479 Not where a comma suffices, as in a simple listThe Colon
Using Colons
480 To link matter and indicate explanation or elaboration
481 To introduce an enumerated or otherwise itemized list
482 To introduce a question
483 Use a colon to introduce a question
484 After the salutation in business correspondence
485 To separate hours from minutes and in some citations
486 Without capitalizing the following matter needlessly
Preventing Misused Colons
487 Not to introduce matter that blends into your sentenceParentheses
Using Parentheses
488 To set off inserted matter that you want to minimize
489 To clarify appositives or attributions
490 To introduce shorthand or familiar names
491 Around numbers or letters when listing items in text
492 To denote subparts in a citation
493 Correctly in relation to terminal punctuation
494 To enclose a brief aside
Preventing Misused Parentheses
495 Not before an opening parenthesisThe Em-Dash (or Long Dash)
Using Em-Dashes
496 To set off matter inserted in midsentence
497 To set off but emphasize parenthetical matter
498 To tack on an important afterthought
499 To introduce a specification or list
500 To show hesitation, faltering, or interruption
Preventing Misused Em-Dashes
501 Not using more than two in a sentence
502 Not after a comma, colon, semicolon, or terminal periodThe En-Dash (or Short Dash)
Using En-Dashes
503 In a range, to show tension, or to join equivalents
Preventing Misused En-Dashes
504 Not in place of a hyphen or em-dash
505 Not with the wording it replacesThe Hyphen
Using Hyphens
506 To join parts of a phrasal adjective
507 To mark other phrasal-adjective and suffix connections
508 In closely associated compounds according to usage
509 When writing out fractions and two-word numbers
510 To show hesitation, stammering, and the like
511 In proper names when appropriate
512 In some number groups or when spelling out a word
513 With “l‑” suffixes (e.g., “-like”) on words ending in “-ll”
Preventing Misused Hyphens
514 Not after a prefix unless an exception applies
515 Not in place of an em-dash, even when doubled (“—”)
516 Not with an “‑ly” adverb and a participial adjective
517 Not in a phrasal verbThe Apostrophe
Using Apostrophes
518 To indicate the possessive case
519 To mark a contraction or to signal dialectal speech
520 To form plurals of letters, digits, and some abbreviations
Preventing Misused Apostrophes
521 Not to form other plurals, especially of names
522 Not to omit obligatory apostrophesQuotation Marks
Using Quotation Marks
523 To quote matter of 50 or fewer words
524 When using a term as a term or when defining a term
525 When you mean “so-called” or “but-not-really”
526 For titles of short-form works, according to a style guide
527 To show internal quotation using single marks
528 To signal matter used idiomatically, not literally
529 Placed correctly in relation to other punctuation
Preventing Misused Quotation Marks
530 Not for a phrasal adjective
531 Not to emphasize a word or note its informalityThe Question Mark
Using Question Marks
532 After a direct question
Preventing Misused Question Marks
533 Not after an indirect questionThe Exclamation Mark
Using Exclamation Marks
534 After exclamatory matter, especially when quoting others
Preventing Misused Exclamation Marks
535 Not to express your own surprise or amazementThe Period
Using Periods
536 To end a typical sentence, not a question or exclamation
537 To indicate an abbreviated name or title
538 Placed properly with parentheses and brackets
539 To show a decimal place in a numeral
Preventing Misused Periods
540 Not with an abbreviation at sentence endBrackets
Using Brackets
541 In a quotation, to enclose matter not in the original
542 In parenthetical matter, to enclose another parenthetical
543 To enclose the citation of a source, as in a footnote
Preventing Misused Brackets
544 Not in place of ellipsis dots when matter is deletedThe Slash (Virgule)
Using Slashes
545 To separate alternatives (but never “and/or”)
546 To separate numerical parts in a fraction
547 Informally, to separate elements in a date
548 Informally, as a shorthand signal for “per”
549 To separate lines of poetry or of a song
Preventing Misused Slashes
550 Not when a hyphen or en-dash would sufficeBullets
551 To mark listed items of a more or less equal rankingEllipsis Dots
Using Ellipsis Dots
552 To show that an unfinished sentence trails off
553 To signal rumination, musing, or hesitation
554 To signal an omission of matter within a quotation
555 With following period, to show omission at sentence end
556 With preceding period, to show omission after sentence
Preventing Misused Ellipsis Dots
557 Omitting space or allowing a line break between dots
558 Beginning a quotation with ellipsis dotsSelect Glossary
Sources for Inset Quotations
Select Bibliography 
Word Index
General Index
Pronunciation Guide

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