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ENGLISH GRAMMAR
ENGLISH GRAMMAR

 

 

Well known for its simple, clear explanations and two-page format, Grammar in Use Intermediate is a unique combination of reference grammar and practice book for students of North American English It is an excellent resource for students who are preparing for the TOEFL test and other standard examinations. This colorful new edition is fully updated and includes: more practice in every lesson; nine new units, including eight new units on phrasal verbs; more Additional Exercises in the back of the book to give students extra opportunities to consolidate what they have learned. This book includes a complete answer key that makes it suitable for self-study.

 

More Examples of Misplaced Modifiers

 

Make sure that when you shoehorn additional information into a sentence, it is being wedged in at a location where its relationship to a word or phrase is clear. Each of the following sentences suffers from ambiguity because of sloppy syntax; the discussions and revisions clear the confusion.

 

1. Many students let friends and family know they were safe in social media posts.

 

The sentence implies that students found safety within social media posts, but the fact that such posts were the medium by which students communicated their safe status to friends and family is best relocated to immediately after the subject: “Many students used social media to let friends and family know they were safe.” (This revision also places the key word, safe, where it is most effectively located—at the end of the sentence.)

 

2. Millennials consist of people born from 1980 to 2000; to put it more simply for them, since they grew up not having to do a lot of math in their heads, thanks to computers, their demographic group consists mostly of teens and twentysomethings.

 

The location of “thanks to computers” creates initial ambiguity: Does it modify the preceding phrase, or the one that follows? Computers bear the blame for millennials’ lack of facility with cranial computation, or the age range of their demographic group is credited to computers? The former choice is the correct one, obviously, but it’s not clear until after the first or even second reading.

 

To clarify the sentence’s intent, that parenthetical phrase should appear earlier in the sentence: “To put it more simply for millennials, since, thanks to computers, they grew up not having to do a lot of math in their heads, their demographic group consists mostly of teens and twentysomethings.” Better yet, to reduce comma clutter, write, “Millennials consist of people born from 1980 to 2000; to put it more simply for them—since, thanks to computers, they grew up not having to do a lot of math in their heads—their demographic group consists mostly of teens and twentysomethings.”

 

3. The Financial Conduct Authority is a financial regulatory body that operates independently of the UK government, whose responsibilities include maintaining financial market integrity.

 

The simplest solution for this sentence—which unintentionally states that the UK government, rather than the Financial Conduct Authority, bears the specified responsibility—is to merely replace the comma with and to create a compound modifying phrase. But a more elegant solution is to place the trailing modifying phrase as a mid-sentence parenthetical comment: “The Financial Conduct Authority, whose responsibilities include maintaining financial market integrity, is a financial regulatory body that operates independently of the UK government.”

 

4. In fact, if employers do not reinforce learning, the forgetting curve shows that about 80 percent of important workplace information can be forgotten in the first month.

 

According to this sentence, the failure of employers to reinforce learning causes the forgetting curve to demonstrate the percentage of key workplace information forgotten within a month. But the forgetting curve needs no such prompting. “The forgetting curve” is the subject, and it should be nearer the head of the sentence (after a brief modifying tag): “In fact, the forgetting curve shows that if employers do not reinforce learning, about 80 percent of important workplace information can be forgotten in the first month.”

 

5. If a third party is to be given consumers’ personal information, such as an auditing organization, data should be anonymized.

 

An auditing organization is identified in this sentence as an example of consumers’ personal information. But an auditing organization is an example of a third party, so that parenthetical phrase should immediately follow “third party”: “If a third party, such as an auditing organization, is to be given healthcare consumers’ consumers’ personal information, data should be anonymized.”

 

How the Three Types of Conjunctions Connect Ideas

 

This post defines and discusses the three types of conjunctions (words or phrases that serve as a bridge linking two words, phrases, clauses, or sentences): coordinating, correlative, and subordinating conjunctions.

 

Coordinating Conjunctions


Coordinating conjunctions, also called coordinators, join words, clauses, or sentences of equal importance. The most common coordinating conjunctions, frequently listed in the following order to reflect the use of the mnemonic FANBOYS, include forandnorbutoryet, and so. Others are neitheronly, and “no more,” as well as several British English conjunctive phrases that combine one of the six conjunctions besides nor with that one (such as “and nor”).

 

https://www.englishlearnsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Formal-Writing-Tips.jpg

 

Examples of the ten listed conjunctions in use, accompanied by a description of their functions, follow:

 

I walked, for I was in need of exercise. (rationale)
I walked, and I ran. (addition)
I neither walked nor ran. (alternative without contrast)
I walked, but I ran, too. (contrast or exception)
I (either) walked, or I ran. (alternative with contrast)
I walked, yet I ran, too. (contrast or exception)
I walked slowly, so I ran to catch up. (consequence)
I don’t walk; neither do I run. (addition)
I don’t walk; no more do I run. (addition)
I would walk, only I run. (contrast)

 

Note that the distinction between nor and or, which are generally accompanied, respectively, by neitherand either (although the latter is parenthesized in the pertinent example because it is optional), is that with neither/nor, the choices do not affect each other, whereas with either/or, one choice cancels the other out. But and yet are virtually interchangeable, while the three addition conjunctions, andneither, and “no more,” are listed in order of formality, with “no more” generally restricted to ritualistic or poetic usage. Only is used in the sense of “That [one idea] would be true if this [another idea] were not.

Correlative Conjunctions


Correlative conjunctions include, among others, the following word or phrase pairs, which function to compare two pairs of words or phrases in a sentence that have equal weight; each is followed by an example:

 

as much/as: Vacations like that can be a pain as much as they are a pleasure.
as/as: This party is as dull as I expected it to be.
both/and: Both the car and the truck are new.
either/or: Either go now, or wait until later.
just as/so: Just as you enjoy going to the theater, I like watching movies.
neither/nor: Neither my father or my mother was born here.
no sooner/than: No sooner had she read the letter than he arrived.
not/but: It is not me but her who is to blame.
not only/but also: I am not only tired but also angry.
rather/than: I would rather play tennis than golf today.
the/the: The more you read about it, the greater a problem it seems to be.
whether/orv We couldn’t tell whether the baby is a boy or a girl.

 

Some sentences incorporating correlative conjunctions are easier to construct than others. Those involving either/or and neither/nor, and “not only”/“but also,” are often erroneously composed because the first word or phrase is incorrectly situated in the syntax of the sentence.

 

Note, for example, that in the following sentence, the placement of “either be able to” suggests that “carry on” will have a counterpoint later in the sentence: “Smith should either be able to carry on investing via his equity plan or by using the tax shelter within the new savings account.” However, the counterpoints, separated by or, the second of the two correlative conjunctions, are “his equity plan” and “using the tax shelter,” so either should immediately precede the first of the two choices, just as orimmediately precedes the second choice: “Smith should be able to carry on investing either via his equity plan or by using the tax shelter within the new savings account.”

 

 

 

 

Likewise, in “People did not only see him as a great athlete but also as a great man,” the suggestion is that people did two things in relation to the subject, including seeing him and something else. However, the intended meaning is that they saw him in two contexts, so “not only,” like “but also,” applies to saw and should therefore follow it, while “not only” immediately precedes “as a great athlete,” just as “but also” immediately precedes “as a great man”: “People saw him not only as a great athlete but also as a great man.”

 

Subordinating Conjunctions


Subordinating conjunctions, which join independent clauses and dependent clauses, or introduce adverbial clauses, include, among others, the following words and phrases:

 

after
although
as
“as far as”
“as if”
“as long as”
“as soon as”
“as though”
because
before
“even if”
“even though”
“every time”
if
“in order that”
once
“provided that”
“rather than”
since
so
“so that”
than
though
unless
until
when
whenever
where
whereas
wherever
while
why

 

An adverbial clause is the beginning of a sentence such as “After searching the desk, I checked the file cabinet.” The same sentence can be inverted so that the subordinating conjunction links the independent clause “I checked the file cabinet” and the dependent clause “searching the desk.”

 

Filling a similar role are conjunctions technically known as complementizers, such as that and whether, which turn a clause into a sentence’s subject or object. Examples include that in “John said that she was going to be here” (although that as a complementizer is generally optional) and whether in “I don’t know whether I can attend.” (Here, as in many but not all usages, if is interchangeable with whether.)