Grammar Review

Since coming to Japan, I’ve taught English at conversation schools and in private.  While it’s fairly easy to teach English when you’re part of a school, it’s much more difficult when you’re on your own, since there isn’t any sort of a support system.   But what’s great about teaching privately is that you get to create your own lessons, tailored to the needs of your student.

But in order to teach effectively, it’s important to brush up on your grammar.  While I could easily sit down and review these rules on my own, I thought it might be useful to do it online where others might be able to benefit from “chicken scratch.”

I can’t really promise regular posts, but I think you can at least expect to find something new here on a semi-regular basis.  No promises though.

I’ll most likely stick with the basics to begin with.  I’m no grammarian, so corrections would be appreciated.

Today’s Quick Review

I’ve been reading through Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and thought I’d go through some of the materials covered in the book. I’ll discuss the first couple of rules today.

Forming the possessive singular by adding ‘s

This works with all nouns, regardless of the final consonant.  The exceptions: ancient proper names and words like “conscience” and “righteousness.”

Of course, pronominal possessives have no apostrophe: hers, theirs, its.  Indefinite pronouns do require an apostrophe: one’s, anybody’s.

In a list of three or more items with one conjuction, there should be a comma after each item except the last.

Therefore: apples, oranges, pears, and watermelon

The last comma before the conjunction is referred to as the “serial comma.”

Business firms can be different so it’s usually best to follow the usage of each business.

It should be noted that parts of the first rule and most of the second are fairly flexible.  What matters most is consistency.  If you don’t like adding ‘s to words that end with an s, then do so for every word that ends with s.  If you like to write your lists without a serial comma, do so consistently.  The problems arise when you flip-flop between the two different styles.

I’m going to end today’s Grammar Review here.  If anyone has additional notes, questions, or comments, please feel free to leave them down below.

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